Chiefs double up Kings for season-opening win

The Chilliwack Chiefs opened the 2014-15 BCHL regular season in decisive fashion, thumping Powell River 6-3 at Prospera Centre.

It took the Chilliwack Chiefs six games to collect six goals in the early days of what turned out to be a disastrous 2013-14 season. It took 60 minutes to reach that mark in 2014-15 as the Chiefs opened with a 6-3 walloping of the Powell River Kings Saturday night.

Playing as the road team in their first Bauer BCHL Showcase game at Prospera Centre, the Chiefs got three goals from Jake Hand.

The Chiefs scored the only goals in period one, two of them off the stick of second-year forward.

The 20 year old netted his first on a Chilliwack power play. Flying into the Powell River zone on a solo rush up the right wing, the Oakville, ON, native pulled the puck inside and stepped past Kings defenceman Nick Nonis.

Hand finished with a smart short-side shot under the glove of Powell River netminder Brett Magnus.

Hand sniped another with 16.8 seconds left in the opening frame. Tipper Higgins crossed the Powell River blueline on the right wing and flipped a pass through Nonis to Hand. He caught the far side with his shot, putting him on pace for 116 goals this season.

Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Powell River 8-5.

The Chiefs added to their lead just 32 seconds into period two on a lucky goal by Jake Larson. Working out of the right corner, the first-year forward turned and flung the puck on net. The goalie and two players were in the crease. It went off one of them and in, giving the Quebec native his first BCHL goal.

The Kings got that back on a lucky bounce of their own. A point shot by Kurt Keats hit Chiefs D-man Eric Roberts in the slot. Chiefs goalie Aidan Pelino moved right as he reacted to the point shot, but the puck bounced left to Powell River’s Jarryd Leung. The Victoria native swept a quick shot past the out-of-position keeper at 4:20.

The Kings drew within one on a power play goal by Jeremy Leclerc. Keats picked up his second assist with a cross ice pass that found Leclerc completely uncovered in the slot. The Saskatoon kid had an hour or two to pick his spot, snapping a low shot past Pelino at 9:17.

A worrisome middle frame moment saw Chiefs forward Mason Boh leave after a hit by Powell River’s Cole Arcuri. Boh had his head down in the neutral zone, and Arcuri nailed him with a shoulder, sending Boh straight to the dressing room.

He did not return.

Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Powell River 18-15.

The Kings got the game tied up just eight seconds into the final frame on a goal from Austin Kramer. Powell River generated a two-on-one off the opening faceoff. Arcuri fed a pass through Chiefs D-Man Brandon Tkachuk to Kramer, who pulled the puck to the backhand and slid it past Pelino.

But the Chiefs answered back 82 seconds later on a goal by Liam Ferguson. Jordan Kawaguchi took a hit to make a play in the right corner, getting crunched as he threw a centering pass on net. Ferguson’s first BCHL tally restored the Chiefs lead, and they didn’t look back.

Chilliwack added a fifth goal on the power play at 3:36.

Defenceman Vinnie Desharnais threw the puck toward the Powell River net, with Hand parked in the blue paint.

Hand knocked the puck down, turned and slid it past Magnus for the hat-trick tally, putting him on pace for 174 goals this season.

Defenceman Evan McEachern drew the primary assist on the sixth Chiefs goal. His slap pass into the slot was was re-directed by Craig Puffer, who notched his first BCHL goal at 6:05.

Tempers flared late in the game, and Chilliwack native Ryan Bowen got into his first junior A fight. Off a neutral zone draw, the rookie dropped the mitts with 19 year old Kings forward Jacob Pritchard in a brief scrap that set off scuffles all over the ice.

Chiefs captain Eric Roberts drew a 10 minute misconduct as he jumped in to help his 17 year old teammate.

The teams played the rest of the third in uneventful fashion, with the Chiefs earning their first home-ice win of the year.

They took seven games to do that last year.

The three stars were Hand (first), Ferguson (second) and Puffer (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Roberts.

The Chiefs are back in action Sunday night at 6 p.m. versus the Merritt Centennials.

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