Chiefs edge Express to bump slump

A 45 save effort from goaltender Mitch Gillam helped the Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Coquitlam Express in BCHL action Friday night.

The Chilliwack Chiefs got their first win of 2013 against a team they dominated in 2012, edging the Coquitlam Express 5-3 at Prospera Centre Friday night.

Facing a Mainland division foe they’ve owned this season, the Chiefs got two goals apiece from Spencer Graboski and Luke Esposito to bump a two-game post-Christmas losing skid.

They improved their record to 22-10-1-1 heading into a Saturday night game against another division rival, the Langley Rivermen.

Friday’s first period wasn’t the best for the home team, but they escaped to the break tied 2-2.

Coquitlam had the lead just 1:42 in on a pretty goal by veteran John Siemer. The 20-year-old schooled Chiefs D-man Ben Masella, turning the rookie around on his way to the goal-mouth. Siemer out-waited goaltender Mitch Gillam and slid the puck inside the left post for his 18th.

Chilliwack came back at 5:02 on a goal by Spencer Graboski. On a Chiefs power play, defenceman David Thompson wristed the puck on net from the right point. It hit an Express defender and landed in front of Graboski, who popped it in to tie the game 1-1.

Coquitlam regained the lead 1:05 later on a power play of their own.

Siemer drew the primary assist with a point shot that bounced off the end boards and came out the other side of the Chilliwack net. Phillip Zielonka tucked it inside the right post for his team-leading 20th of the year.

The Chiefs were good on the forecheck in period one, and it was good work down low that led to their second goal.

Graboski and linemates Trevor Hills and Tanner Cochrane buzzed around the Express net. Graboski got the puck and tried a centering pass to Hills. Coquitlam D-man Michael Maciag reached out to stop the pass, and redirected it into his own net.

Shots on goal in the first period favoured Coquitlam 16-14.

The Chiefs tightened up defensively in period two, and surged ahead on goals by Mathieu Tibbett and Luke Esposito.

Tibbett’s tally was one that will haunt Cole Huggins in his nightmares.

The Express goalie Cloutiered a shot from center ice, looking skyward as the puck took a funny last-second bounce and slipped under his right armpit.

Four minutes later, Esposito crashed the net to redirect a Hills shot/pass past Huggins.

His 12th of the year sent Chilliwack to the third with a 4-2 lead.

Shots on goal through 40 minutes still favoured Coquitlam 28-24.

The Express came out buzzing in the final frame, and got within one at 2:40 on a goal by Travis Stephens, who buried a cross-crease feed from Brandon Morley.

Coquitlam kept coming and almost got the equalizer seven minutes later. Mitchell Fyffe made a slick backhanded centering pass to Sam Majka, who one-timed the puck on net. But Gillam butterflied and squeezed the pads to keep it out.

Gillam came up with another massive save with 4:52 remaining. Zielonka had a breakaway from center ice in, going from forehand to backhand with his shot. Gillam stretched post to post and got it with the glove.

Zielonka could only shake his head in disbelief.

As it turns out, that was the last gasp for Coquitlam. Zielonka took an ill-advised spearing major in the final minute, and Esposito scored his second of the game into the empty net with less than a second left remaining.

The three stars were Graboski (first), Siemer (second) and Gillam (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Brodyn Nielsen.

Announced attendance was 1,769.

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read