Chiefs push Spruce Kings to brink of elimination

A 5-3 win in game three has the Chilliwack Chiefs in position to eliminate Prince George from the BCHL playoffs Tuesday night.

The Chilliwack Chiefs have the Prince George Spruce Kings in a stranglehold heading into game four of their first round BCHL playoff series.

After beating Prince George 5-3 Monday at the Prince George Coliseum, the Chiefs lead the best-of-five series 2-1.

A win Tuesday night sends Chilliwack on to the second round.

The Chiefs got off to the best start possible Monday, scoring just 20 seconds in.

On the opening shift, Philip Zielonka pounced on a loose puck in front of the Prince George cage and punched it past Thompson for his third of the series.

Chilliwack doubled the lead four minutes later on a greasy goal by Josh Hansen. Austin Plevy fired a bullet from the right faceoff circle, and Hansen had the puck hit him before flopping into the Spruce King net.

Chilliwack’s third goal was a pretty effort from Zielonka, who scored at 9:31. The 20-year-old came out from behind the net and showed great patience, waiting, waiting and waiting for roofing the puck over Thompson.

Shots on goal in period one favoured Chilliwack 13-4, and they added to their lead just 46 seconds into period two.

Zielonka picked up another point, assisting on a goal by linemate Mathieu Tibbett. Tibbett took the feed and shoveled the puck past Thompson for his second of the series.

The Spruce Kings got one back late in the second period when Coltyn Hansen scored on a five-on-three power play, but the Chiefs led 4-1 heading to the final frame.

They led 5-1 just 1:02 into period three after a goal by Luke Esposito. The Connecticut pounced on a PG turnover, came in on Thompson and deked to the forehand, sliding the puck into the cage for his first of the playoffs.

The Spruce Kings got that back at 2:47 on a goal by captain Trevor Esau, who beat Chiefs keeper Mitch Gillam clean on a post-and-in slapshot from the point.

They got another at 9:43.

Jake Lebrun attacked Cooper Rush on a one-on-one rush, turning the big blueliner inside out. He finished with a low glove-side shot, getting the Spruce Kings within two.

With Thompson pulled for the extra attacker and Trevor Hills in the penalty boxing for roughing, Prince George ended the game with a six-on-four advantage. But the Chiefs held tight, getting to the final whistle unscathed.

Game time tomorrow is 7 p.m.