Chiefs double up Eagles in Mainland division clash

The Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Surrey Eagles 4-2 in a BCHL clash of Mainland division leaders Saturday night at Prospera Centre.

Two wins over two very tough opponents should have the Chilliwack Chiefs feeling a lot better about themselves as the BCHL regular season heads into its final weeks.

Good teams never want to back into the playoffs.

They want to go in on a roll, and weekend wins over the Westside Warriors (2-1, Friday) and the Surrey Eagles (4-2, Saturday) have the Chiefs on track to do just that.

Chilliwack looks less like the team that bumbled through the last three weeks, and more like a team that might do some damage in the postseason.

“We lost a lot over the last couple weeks, and do be in the dressing room tonight with the guys dancing and having fun, it’s good to have a weekend like this,” said Austin Plevy, who had two goals in the win over Surrey.

The Eagles opened the scoring in Saturday’s clash of Mainland division titans, with White Rock’s Joel Audet deflecting a shot past Chiefs netminder Mitch Gillam at 7:06.

But Chilliwack equalized seven seconds later on a goal by Trevor Hills.

The New York was left uncovered in front of the Surrey net, collecting a pass from Luke Esposito and popping the puck past Surrey’s Michael Santaguida for his 11th of the year.

The Eagles regained the lead at 13:07 on a goal by Trevor Cameron.

Gillam came out to play the puck in the left corner, aiming to get it up the boards. But Cameron cut off the clear and, with Gillam doing a desperation lunge across the crease, tucked it in on the wraparound to give Surrey the 2-1 advantage.

Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Surrey 11-7.

Chilliwack played one of their best periods in weeks, dominating the middle frame.

Aside from a couple dump penalties, the Chiefs kept things tidy, and scored the only goal.

Plevy got his 28th of the season at 7:09, scoring on a Chilliwack power play.

With Jordan Klimek in the box for delay of game, Plevy put a shot/centering pass on net from the right corner. The puck hit Surrey D-man Dan O’Keefe in the crease, careening past Santaguida to knot the score at 2-2.

Shots on goal in the second period reflected Chilliwack’s dominance, with the Chiefs holding a 16-7 edge.

The Chiefs took the lead 6:30 into period three on a snipe by Philip Zielonka.

With Surrey’s Adam Tambellini banished to the box for interference, and Chilliwack’s Josh Hansen creating all sorts of havoc around the Eagle net, Zielonka pounced on a loose puck and beat Santaguida blocker-side for his 32nd of the year.

Gillam made a couple eye-popping saves in the final frame, his best coming just 15 seconds in. Tambellini picked off a Luke Esposito pass at the Chilliwack blueline and had a clear path to the net. Gillam challenged, and made a tough glove stop look routine.

The Chiefs faced some potentially big trouble late in period three when back to back minors put them two men down for 34 seconds.

But Chilliwack’s league-leading penalty killers snuffed out the Surrey power play.

They had to kill another one with 3:12 remaining when Jaret Babych was flagged for hooking, but the PK didn’t even allow a shot on that one.

Santaguida came out for the extra attacker with 48 seconds left, but Surrey couldn’t even get across the Chiefs blueline.

“Because of the amount of penalties we take, our penalty kill has to be good,” Plevy said. “Guys were working hard tonight, blocking shots and chipping pucks out and doing everything that makes a PK successful.”

Plevy scored into the empty net with 4.5 seconds left to wrap up the scoring.

“We did a lot of talking over the last week and identified a few things that were costing us,” Plevy said. “We got them figured out this weekend and did all the little things right. Discipline and back checking and all those tiny little things that make a team win.”

Discipline, or a lack of, was something Chiefs coach Harvey Smyl alluded to after a loss to Coquitlam last weekend.

Chilliwack gave Westside just four power play opportunities Friday. But they backslid against Surrey, particularly in the third period.

“We took a lot of stupid penalties lately, and it crept back in against Surrey, and I’m sure Harvey will skate us a bit for those,” Plevy said.

Another nice thing coming out of the weekend was seeing the Chiefs skating with a nearly-healthy lineup.  defenceman Alexander Perron-Fontaine was the only player missing in action due to injury.

“I think tonight was the first time we’ve played with 12 forwards in a month or two,” Plevy said. “We get four lines rolling and keeps guys fresh for the third period. If one line can’t score, we’ve got two other lines that can do it. It’s huge.”

The Chiefs have two games this weekend, starting on the road Friday night in Langley. Chilliwack takes on Prince George Saturday at Prospera Centre with a 7 p.m. start.

Just Posted

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Most Read