The Chilliwack Chiefs got back on the winning track Wednesday night, taking two points from a Mainland division rival.
The Chiefs allowed just 11 shots the entire game, beating the Prince George Spruce Kings 5-1 on home ice. Chilliwack snapped a three game losing skid while also gaining ground in the race for first place. The Chiefs improved to 13-7-0-1, moving within three points of PG (14-9-0-2) for top spot in the division.
Brandon Potomak had the only goal in an opening period that featured a ton of power plays but only eight combined shots on goal.
Chilliwack’s penalty kill was particularly busy, with four successful kills. Potomak’s goal came on a Chiefs power play. From the right faceoff circle, the Aldergrove native snapped a shot into the leg of PG defender Stephen Penner. Potomak followed the shot, stepping past Penner and firing the puck past Spruce Kings keeper Jesse Jenks for his second of the year.
Shots on goal favoured Chilliwack 6-2 through 20.
Potomak was in the mix again as the Chiefs doubled their lead 12:18 into period two.
With Chilliwack on another power play, he dished the puck to Jordan Kawaguchi. From the right hash-marks, the second year forward snapped a top-shelf glove side shot past Jenks for his eighth of the year.
But, the visitors would cut into the lead before the middle frame was done.
With 5:12 to go, Chilliwack was hemmed in its zone by an aggressive forecheck. Rookie D-man Darren Rizzolo tried to clear the puck straight up the middle, but Adam Clements knocked it down. His long-distance wrist shot found the top corner over the glove of Chiefs netminder Aidan Pelino, getting PG within one.
Shots on goal favoured Chilliwack 19-8 through 40.
Potomak’s big night continued 3:42 into period three. Attacking in transition, the 19 year old flew over the Prince George blueline, blew past flat-footed Sprucies blueliner Raymond Grewal and swooped toward the net.
Potomak pulled the puck to the forehand as he cut across the goal-mouth, tucking it past Jenks to give his team some breathing room.
Chilliwack’s fourth goal came at 6:43.
Darting down the left wing, Tipper Higgins tossed a backhand shot on net. Jenks bobbled the puck, letting it drop into the blue paint. Kurt Black crashed the crease, and while falling down pushed the puck past Jenks for his eighth of the year.
The final goal came on another power play, with rookie defenceman Dennis Cholowski blasting a shot from the left point. Rory Bell got his stick on it, deflecting the puck past Jenks to wrap up the scoring.
The three stars were Potomak (first), Cholowski (second) and Kawaguchi (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Ryan Bowen.
Announced attendance was 2,462.
The Chiefs are on the road Friday night, but finish the weekend with back to back home games. The Coquitlam Express are in town Saturday night for a 7 p.m. start.
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks visit Prospera Centre Sunday for a 5 p.m. sta