In their first game out of the Christmas break, the Chilliwack Chiefs dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings at Prospera Centre Wednesday night.
The two goal margin was extremely flattering for the home side, with the Chiefs getting out-played in all facets of the game.
Chilliwack looked sluggish from the start, giving up 11 first period shots on goal while generating just three of their own.
Chilliwack came up empty on a pair of early power plays and spent the rest of the period on their heels as the Spruce Kings turned up the heat.
Prince George had two glorious chances to open the scoring.
Working on a power play midway through the opening frame, defenceman Ben Woodley cranked a point shot that got through Chilliwack goaltender Mitch Gillam. But the Chiefs stopper alertly flung himself backward, sweeping the puck off the goal-line.
Minutes later, PG’s Tyson Witala found Michael Klonarakis uncovered in the slot. The long-named one hit iron and the game remained scoreless.
The game’s next goal came early in the third period, with Michael Colantone scoring for the Spruce Kings.
PG scoring leader Paul De Jersey forced a turnover 10 feet inside the Chilliwack blueline and threw the puck towards the net. Jujhar Khaira gathered it in and had shots stopped by Gillam. Colantone followed Khaira into the blue paint and finally popped the puck past Chiliwack’s netminder to knot the score at 1-1.
The game winner came with 6:40 left in the third period. With Chilliwack’s Mike Spring in the penalty box for interference, De Jersey dangled past Chiefs D-man Shay Laurent, and fed a cross-crease pass under the stick of Mike Berry to Colantone.
The Arizona native calmly buried his 17th, leaving Chilliwack with precious little time to stage a comeback.
Any hopes were officially dashed with 3:25 remaining as De Jersey set up Colantone’s hat-trick tally on a three-on-one.
Chilliwack’s Josh Hansen set up Spencer Graboski on a late power play, but a De Jersey empty netter with 37.1 seconds left sent the season’s second largest crowd home disappointed.
Announced attendance was 3,204.
The final shots on goal were 40-21, favouring Prince George.
The three stars were De Jersey (first), Colantone (second) and (third) Gillam.
Chilliwack is back on home ice Friday night at 7 p.m., taking on the Merritt Centennials on another key Interior conference clash.