The Chilliwack Chiefs drew first blood in their first round playoff series against the Langley Rivermen, skating to a 4-1 win Friday night at Prospera Centre.
Making his return to the lineup after finishing the regular season on the injured list, netminder Mark Sinclair stopped 28 pucks and looked healthy doing so.
Four different Chiefs scored goals and Chilliwack looked like a team that finished 20 points ahead of the Rivermen in the Mainland division standings.
The Chiefs led 2-0 through 20 minutes, dominating the first period from start to finish.
Davis Bunz opened the scoring at 2:57 on a goal that will haunt Bo Didur’s dreams. Bunz squibbed a backhand shot through the Langley netminder from the left faceoff dot, raising his stick as the puck snuck under Didur’s arm and crawled across the goal-line.
Langley spent most of the period scrambling around their own end, and it led to Chilliwack’s second goal at 4:28.
Kohen Olischefski found himself alone with the puck in the goal-mouth, pulling it to the forehand and stuffing it inside the right post.
Despite holding a major edge in play, the Chiefs were on the short side of the power play chances. Langley had three opportunities which let them stay close on the shot clock (13-10). Chilliwack had none.
The Chiefs led by three early in the second period after a Colin Bernard goal. Bernard went to the net as Aaron O’Neill uncorked a shot from the right wing, chipping the rebound past Didur at 7:03.
Langley got one back on a late snipe by Angus Crookshank, who roofed a shot on a rush down the right wing.
Chilliwack led 28-18 in shots through 40 minutes.
The Chiefs scored the only goal in a sleepy third period. With 4:57 to go Jake Smith led a 2-on-1 rush with Kale Kane. Smith saucered a pass through the Langley defender to Kane who finished with a pretty backhand-forehand move.
Langley finished the game with a lengthy five-on-three power play but couldn’t cash in.
The Rivermen finished the night 1-for-6 with the man advantage while Chilliwack was 0-for-1. The Chiefs out-shot Langley 39-29, which makes the penalty disparity hard to figure.
The three stars were Bunz (first), Kane (second) and Sinclair (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Linden Hora.