The Chilliwack Chiefs sent a message to the team they will face in the BCHL playoffs, bombing the Coquitlam Express in a weekend home and home.
The Chiefs (37-17-1-3) out-scored the Express (25-28-1-4) 11-3 in two dominant victories that ended the BCHL regular season schedule and set the tone for their best of seven first round series that starts Tuesday night in Chilliwack.
After beating the Express 5-2 Friday in Coquitlam, the Chiefs returned home for the Saturday night rematch at Prospera Centre, firing 56 shots on goal in a one-sided 6-1 win.
For the second straight night, Chilliwack blitzed the Express in the opening period.
The Chiefs counted four first period goals in Friday night’s win in Coquitlam, and spotted themselves a two goal lead just 76 seconds into Saturday’s game.
Tipper Higgins got the scoring started just 43 seconds in, wheeling off the left wing wall, doodle-dipsying past a couple Express defenders and beating Express netminder Chris Tai with a blocker-side shot.
On the next shift, Tai went behind his net to play a Jake Hand dump in, only to see the puck take an unexpected turn in the right corner. The puck caromed into the goal mouth, and Scott Davidson popped it into the empty cage for his 18th.
The Chiefs piled added another one at 6:18. Davidson earned the assist on Rory Bell’s 11th of the year, a top shelf wrist shot wired past Tai from the left faceoff dot.
Craig Puffer made it 4-0 with a power play goal at 10:24. Puffer’s shot from the slot hit a crowd in the goal-mouth, deflecting like a rainbow over Tai’s head.
If not for the Express keeper, the Chiefs could have had another five or six goals. Such was their dominance as they out-shot Coquitlam 22-9.
The only goal in period two belonged to the visitors, scored in the final minute by Brett Supinski.
The Pennsylvania native netted his 48th of the year on a two-on-one, finishing a feed from linemate Corey Mackin.
But Coquitlam never gained any momentum from Supinski’s snipe, and the third period went by quietly.
Just the thing you want when protecting a lead.
Hand provided one exciting moment with 5:59 to go. The Ontario native picked Joey Santucci’s pocket at the Express blueline and had a clear path to the Coquitlam net. The 20 year old cut left to right across the goal-mouth, with Tai following him. Hand slammed on the breaks, pulled the puck to the backhand and slipped the puck across the line.
Ryan Bowen added the sixth Chilliwack goal with 2:51 to go, his shot from the left faceoff dot hitting a Coquitlam stick and deflecting past Tai.
Final shots on goal favoured the home team 56-36.
The three stars were Chilliwack goalie David Jacobson (first), Bell (second) and Davidson (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Brandon Potomak.
Announced attendance was 3,704, the second largest crowd in franchise history.
3,953 were in attendance when the Chiefs played their first game at Prospera Centre in 2004.
The BCHL playoffs start March 3 in Chilliwack, with game one of a best-of-seven series against the Express.