Matteo Esposito stopped 24 shots Wednesday night earning his third shutout in just his 11th BCHL appearance.
The rookie stopper backstopped his Chilliwack Chiefs past the Prince George Spruce Kings 4-0 in a midweek clash..
Four difference Chiefs gave him offensive support as his team improved to 17-6-1-2, leap-frogging the idle Wenatchee Wild for first place in the Mainland division.
Veteran blueliner Mark Esposito got the Chiefs on the board in this one, opening the scoring at 11:39 of period one. Taking a pass from Nolan Zweep, Esposito put a wrister on net, slipping it through a forest of legs and skates past Prince George netminder Liam McCloskey.
Chilliwack struck again late in the opening frame.
Seconds after a power play expired, Kale Kane wheeled off the right-wing wall and threw the puck on net. Camped in front of McCloskey, Jesse Lansdell got his stick on it, scoring his ninth of the year on the re-direct.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured the Spruce Kings 11-7.
Unlike another Mainland division team we’ve seen this year (cough, cough, Surrey), Prince George doesn’t fall apart when down a pair. The visitors were buzzing to start period two, hounding the Chiefs with an aggressive and effective forecheck. The Sprucies’ problem is lacking the skill to capitalize on the zone time their hard work generates.
While Prince George posted a donut in the middle frame, the Chiefs added one more off the stick of captain Kawaguchi.
On a Chilliwack power play, Darien Craighead threaded a pass across the goal-mouth to Jordan K. for a tap-in.
His 14th of the year had the Chiefs up 3-0 after two, out-shooting PG 22-18.
Chilliwack’s Brendan Shane added another 6:56 into period three. D-man Austin Adam threw the puck on net from the right point, and McCloskey couldn’t find it. Shane waded into the goal-mouth scramble and whacked the puck into the cage for his second of the year and first as a Chief.
The three stars were Matteo Esposito (first), Dennis Cholowski (second) and Craighead (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Mitch Skapski.
Announced attendance was 1,855.
Chilliwack now looks ahead to a Friday night home date with the Coquitlam Express (10-11-1-3) at Prospera Centre.
Game time is 7 p.m.