Chiefs deserve better in hard-luck loss to Cowichan

The Chilliwack Chiefs fought tooth and nail to get their first home win of 2013-14, but fell 2-1 to the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The Chilliwack Chiefs played one of their most complete games of the season Friday night, taking on the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the friendly confines of Prospera Centre.

But their hard work wasn’t rewarded.

The Chiefs owned the first and third periods, but a second period strike by the Capitals stood up as the winner in a 2-1 final.

Chilliwack’s record slipped to 2-9-1-2 on the season, and they have yet to win a home game.

But this is one they can feel good about.

New Chiefs D-man Quentin McShane scored the lone Chiefs goal, lighting the lamp at 8:38 of period one.

The former Langley Riverman, Nanaimo Clipper and Alberni Valley Bulldog picked off a clearing attempt at the Cowichan Valley blueline, skated in 10 feet and fired a wrist shot over the blocker of Caps keeper Robin Gusse.

It was the first BCHL goal for McShane, who came to the Chiefs with 11 games of junior A experience.

His team was still celebrating when Myles Powell equalized eight seconds later. The Courtenay native took a pass from Taki Pantziris, went to the backhand and slid the puck past Chilliwack netminder Lyndon Stanwood, netting his ninth of the year.

The game took a pugilistic turn five minutes later.

Chiefs D-man T.J. Roche stuck out his knee on a neutral zone hit, sending Caps forward Sam Curleigh crumpling to the ice.

Brayden Gelsinger jumped in to defend his teammate, with he and Roche trading punches at center ice.

Shots on goal in period one favoured Chilliwack 13-10.

The Capitals cranked it up a notch in the second period, and Stanwood had to make several point-black stops to keep his team in it.

Cowichan Valley did sneak one puck past the diminutive stopper.

Curleigh got the last touch on the puck during a goal-mouth scramble, with Jordon Topping also hacking away.

Curleigh was credited with his fifth of the year as the Capitals out-shot the Chiefs 16-9 in period two.

It was Chilliwack’s turn to step on the gas in the final frame.

The home team played maybe their best period of the season, coming at the Cowichan Valley net in waves.

But Gusse was equal to the task, stopping every puck directed his way.

Their best chance came with four minutes to play, when Andrew Silard was sprung on a clear-cut breakaway from center ice in. The Connecticut native saw his shot clang off the left goal post, and Gusse thwarted Jaret Babych on the followup.

Seconds earlier, working behind the net, Blake Gober floated a pass to captain Austin Plevy, whose quick re-direct from six feet out grazed that same left post and stayed out.

Gusse ended up making 15 saves in the final frame to earn his ninth win in 16 appearances.

Stanwood stopped 33 of 35 pucks.

The three stars were Gusse (first), Plevy (second) and Gober (third). The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Roche.

Announced attendance was 1,892.

The Chiefs are back in action Saturday night, with a 7 p.m. start versus the Surrey Eagles at Prospera Centre.