It wasn’t an entertaining or well-played hockey game, but it got the job done for the Chilliwack Chiefs. The home team beat a woeful Cowichan Valley Capitals squad 3-0 at Prospera Centre Saturday night, snapping a three game losing skid along the way.
The win also gave Chilliwack two points in the BCHL standings, locking them into second spot in the Mainland division standings.
And so, despite playing like a fifth place club for most of the last four weeks, Chilliwack (31-21-1-1) will start the playoffs on home ice March 15, hosting the third place Prince George Spruce Kings.
As mentioned, Saturday night’s game was no Picasso.
The Chiefs and Caps played a sloppy first period, with barely a notable scoring chance through 20 minutes.
A game that desperately needed a goal finally got it at 9:02 of period two.
On a Chilliwack power play, Ben Masella put a seeing-eye wrister on net from the point, sneaking the puck past Caps keeper Patrick Spano for his fourth of the year.
The power play clicked again with 4:27 left in the middle frame.
Shay Laurent set up on the left wing boards and fed a perfect cross-ice pass to the far post. Philip Zielonka banged it home for his team-leading 34th.
A fracas to end the second period ended up in a fight to start the third. Chilliwack’s Ben Masella and Cowichan Valley’s Brett Seldon each drew roughing minors as the middle frame came to a close. They yacked at each other in the penalty box, and at the 6:13 mark of period three they dropped their mitts in the neutral zone.
Seldon got in the first shot, catching Masella with a hard right.
But the Chiefs blueliner gave as good as he got, ripping Seldon’s helmet off and landing a couple shots before the linesmen jumped in.
The rest of the third period was uneventful.
The Caps had a couple decent scoring chances, but Chilliwack native Josh Halpenny turned them aside to earn his fifth win of the year, and his first BCHL shutout.
Spano came out for the extra attacker with 1:04 remaining, and Zielonka added the game’s final goal into the empty net.
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Brodyn Nielsen.
The three stars were Laurent (first), Halpenny (second) and Masella (third).
Announced attendance was 1,994.