The Chilliwack Chiefs did what they needed to do Saturday night, knocking off the Westside Warriors 5-2 at Prospera Centre to give themselves a shot at third place in the Interior conference standings.
Unfortunately, the Prince George Spruce Kings did what they had to do as well, knocking off the Penticton Vees 5-2 to pick up two points and make sure they can’t be overtaken.
You read that right.
The Vees lost for the first time since Nov. 5 and at the worst possible time for the Chiefs, who are now locked into fourth place and a first round playoff date with Penticton. No matter what Chilliwack does in tomorrow’s regular season finale against Trail, PG is safe and the Interior conference final standings are now set in stone.
The first period between the Chiefs and Warriors featured some of the worst work on the power play that you will ever see.
Just 2:12 in, Westside’s Brett McKinnon mugged Chilliwack’s Malcolm Gould. McKinnon dropped his mitts and started throwing wild rights. Gould kept his gloves on, bobbing and weaving until the linesmen jumped in.
McKinnon ended up with five minutes for fighting and two minutes for instigating, setting the Chiefs up with seven minutes of power play time.
They did absolutely nothing with it.
With one minute left in McKinnon’s mess, Reid Simmonds plowed into Chilliwack netminder Mitch Gillam, drawing two minutes for goalie interference and giving the Chiefs a two man advantage for one minute.
They did absolutely nothing with it.
No sooner did Chilliwack get off the power play than the Warriors went on it.
David Thompson was given an interference minor for a cross-check, and Matt Hutchinson followed him to the box 1:08 later for holding.
Westside looked slightly threatening on a 52 second two man advantage. Gillam made one particularly larcenous save off Peter MacIntosh, gloving his one-timed point shot and adding the ol’ around-the-world twist for emphasis.
Though 11 minutes of power play time resulted in zero goals, Chilliwack finally found the net five-on-five.
Malcolm Gould scored with just 4.6 second left in the opening frame, sniping a five-hole shot through Warriors keeper Dwayne Rodrigue for his team-leading 33rd of the year.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Westside 13-12.
The Chiefs finally got their power play rolling in the opening minutes of period two.
With Shawn Hochhausen banished to the box for slashing, Gould netted his second of the game, tucking a tight short side shot over Rodrigue’s right shoulder.
But Westside answered back just 45 seconds later on a strike by rookie winger Evan Anderson.
Playing in his third BCHL game, the Vancouver native scored his first BCHL goal, darting into a goal-mouth scramble and punching the puck past Gillam at 2:57.
The teams traded two more before the period was done.
Michael Spring put the Chiefs up 3-1 at 5:57 with his fifth of the season. The Kelowna native parked in the goal mouth, collected a pass from Mathieu Tibbett and took two whacks at the puck before popping past Rodrigue.
With 5:24 left in the middle frame, Westside captain Max French scored on a wraparound to get his Warriors back with one.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Westside 27-23.
The third period was boring, which was a good thing for Chilliwack.
The Chiefs did a masterful job shutting down the Warriors attack, and iced the game with 3:52 remaining on Gould’s hat-trick marker.
The North Vancouver scored this one on a rush down the left wing, firing a wrist shot that rattled the water bottle sitting atop the Westside net.
The Warriors pulled Rodrigue to the net with over two minutes remaining, and Derek Huisman scored into the empty net with 1:05 on the clock.
Gould drew the assist.
The three stars were Gould (first), French (second) and David Bondra (third).
Announced attendance was 2,721.
Tomorrow’s home game at Prospera Centre is a 5 p.m. start.