Chiefs salvage split in crucial weekend road trip

The first place Chilliwack Chiefs kept the second place Prince George Spruce Kings from gaining ground in weekend BCHL action.

Dennis Cholowski and Jordan Kawaguchi scored two goals apiece Saturday night as the Chillwack Chiefs doubled the Prince George Spruce Kings 6-3.

The game was played at the Prince George Coliseum, with the Chiefs salvaging a valuable split from their Mainland division rivals.

PG downed the Chiefs 5-2 Friday night behind an outstanding effort from goalie Jesse Jenks.

The Spruce Kings netminder stopped 31 of 33 shots to earn first-star honours, with Cholowski and Mason Boh the only Chiefs to slip pucks behind him. Boh’s goal was his first of the season.

Aidan Pelino was in the Chilliwack net, stopping 22 of 27 Prince George shots. He gave way to backup David Poirier for the Saturday rematch.

The Chiefs led 1-0 through 20 minutes on a power play goal by Cholowski.

PG’s Brogan O’Brien tied the game 5:43 into period two, but Chilliwack tallied three goals in 2:50 to blow the game open.

Kawaguchi scored at 14:57 and 17:47, sandwiching a Luke McColgan snipe. The Chiefs led 4-1 through 40.

Rory Bell scored his sixth of the year shorthanded at 12:12 of period three, and Cholowski scored into an empty net with 1:18 to go.

Poirier stopped 22 of 25 pucks.

The Chiefs come out of the weekend in excellent shape at 19-9-0-1, first in the Mainland division.

The Spruce Kings (17-12-0-2) are second, three points back, with Chilliwack holding two games in hand.

The Chiefs remain on the road for a midweek game, tonight in Salmon Arm against the Silverbacks (10-12-2-5).

They host the Coquitlam Express Friday night at Prospera Centre.

The Express (11-15-1-4) are fourth in the Mainland division, with one of the BCHL’s most potent offences (3.71 goals per game) derailed by one of the league’s most porous defences (4.16 goals against per game).

Chilliwack wraps up its pre-Christmas slate on the road, visiting the Trail Smoke Eaters (12-15-0-1) Saturday and the Penticton Vees Sunday.

The Vees game, by winning percentage, is a battle of the BCHL’s top two teams.

Penticton (26-4-0-1) has the league’s top winning percentage at .855, followed by Chilliwack’s .672.

 

l The Chiefs got one of their walking wounded back, with Brandon Tkachuk suiting up in Prince George.

The 20 year old Calgarian had missed the last six games with injury.

Chilliwack is still without blueliners Mark Esposito and Olivier Arseneau.

Forward Liam Ferguson is also injured.

Abbotsford native Kohen Olischefski filled in for the Prince George games.

 

l After earning honourable mention status last week, the Chiefs have climbed back into the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20.

The Chiefs slide into the 18th spot, one of two BCHL teams making the list.

The mighty Vees are No. 3, up three spots from last week, and the Vernon Vipers snared an honourable mention.

 

l Ex-Chilliwack Chief Garrett Forster is the latest BCHL Player of the Week.

Forster, a Chief from 2011 to 2013, scored two game-winning goals and had five points for Victoria in weekend wins over Cowichan Valley and Merritt.

Find more info online at bchl.ca