The Chilliwack Chiefs are 4-0 to start the 2014-15 season after sweeping both halves of a home-and-home with the Surrey Eagles.
Chilliwack beat their Mainland division rivals 2-1 in overtime Friday. Jordan Kawaguchi and Craig Puffer had two goals apiece in the Saturday night rematch at Prospera Centre.
The Chiefs won 6-2.
Defensive play was an afterthought in a wide open first period that included end to end play and blue-chip scoring chances for both teams.
The Chiefs had a glorious opportunity less than 90 seconds in when Luke McColgan led a three-on-one rush. Rookie rearguard Dennis Cholowski jumped up to take McColgan’s pass and sent it to Jake Hand on the right wing. Surrey goalie Christian Short tried his best to get across but left the top half of the net wide open. Unfortunately, Hand missed the mark with a shot that sailed a foot high and wide of the right goal post.
The Chiefs opened the scoring at 7:50 on a goal by Cole Sartorio. The second year forward scored on a long-distance snipe from the right boards, with linemate Liam Ferguson cruising through the goal-mouth to provide a screen.
That was Sartorio’s first BCHL goal.
The lead didn’t last long. Seventy seconds later, Chilliwack blueliner Mark Esposito blew a tire whilst skating backwards into his own zone. Surrey’s Ty Westgard darted past, cut to the net and slid the puck through the legs of Chiefs netminder Aidan Pelino.
Chilliwack regained the lead in the final minute on Kawaguchi’s first goal. The Abbotsford native took a long cross-ice pass from Tipper Higgins and flew into the Surrey zone. With Eagle Sam Chatterley in pursuit, Kawaguchi took a shot from the left faceoff circle. The puck came off the heel of his stick, but had enough on it to evade Short.
Kawaguchi’s first of the year sent the Chiefs to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead, and they added to it 2:01 into period two.
Higgins got another assist with some good board-work in the Surrey zone, fighting off three Eagles to get the puck to Rory Bell. Bell took it to the net and fed Puffer for a cross-crease tap-in.
Chilliwack struck again at 4:06, with some Puffer puck-luck giving them a 4-1 lead. On a Chiefs power play, the Connecticut kid banked a centering pass off Latrell Charleson and in for his team-leading fifth of the year.
The Chiefs chased Short from the Surrey net at 11:03.
Kawaguchi collected his second score on a picturesque passing play with Kurt Black.
It started with a Black drop-pass to Kawaguchi a step inside the Surrey blueline. Black got the puck right back as he dashed the left wing. The last pass, from Black, was cross-crease feed to Kawaguchi for a tap-in that brought Surrey backup Daniel Davidson into the game.
Short left having surrendered five goals on 20 shots.
Shots through 40 minutes favoured the Eagles 22-21.
Discipline wasn’t a priority for Surrey in the final frame. First, Quinn Lenihan took a double minor for spearing Chilliwack’s Sartorio. Then, Nicholas Beck was given a double minor for cross-checking.
The net result, a two man advantage for 3:08.
The Eagles almost got away with it.
Surrey killed off the five-on-three, but with 23 seconds left in Beck’s second minor, Esposito wired a wrist shot from the point past Davidson for his first BCHL tally.
Sartorio’s eventful night continued at the 12 minute mark when he dropped the mitts with Surrey’s John Wesley. The Calgary native took Wesley to the ice in the neutral zone and continued raining rights on the overmatched Eagle until the linesmen intervened.
Surrey scored the game’s final goal at 14:33 on a Brian Drapluk rocket from the point.
The three stars were Kawaguchi (first), Puffer (second) and Black (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Sartorio.
Announced attendance was 2,616.
The Chiefs are on the road next weekend for a pair in Prince George. The next home game is Oct. 10 versus Merritt.