The Chilliwack Chiefs survived a scare from the cellar-dwelling Surrey Eagles Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
The home team overcame a two goal deficit in the final five minutes, scoring four goals in 4:26 to win 5-3.
Ugly as it was, the Chiefs improved to 17-8-0-1 while Surrey fell to a league-worst 3-20-0-3.
The feisty Eagles surprised the Chiefs in the first period of this one.
Surrey opened the scoring at 6:15 on a goal by Spencer Unger. Quinn Lenihan and Sam Chatterley did the heavy lifting, digging the puck out of the right corner. Chatterly emerged from the scrum, took the puck to the net and fed a pass across the goal-mouth to Unger. The Surrey native had a tap-in behind Chiefs stopper David Poirier.
Chilliwack tied the game at 10:04 on Rory Bell’s fifth of the year. The Ontario native flew into the Surrey zone, launching a shot at Eagle keeper Tyler Read. The goalie got his glove up, but forgot to squeeze, punching the rebound back into the slot. Bell collected the puck, chipping it up and over Read.
But the Eagles regained the 62 seconds later when Darius Davidson got his stick on a Nicholas Beck point shot, fooling Poirier with a redirect.
Davidson’s team-leading eighth sent Surrey to the break with a 2-1 lead, and he supplied the third Eagle goal shorthanded at 3:01 of period two.
This was one that Poirier would definitely want back, with Davidson gliding over the Chilliwack blueline and beating the goalie over the glove from above the circles.
His tally finally woke up the home side. The Chiefs spent the remainder of the period attacking in waves, but they couldn’t beat Read. Tipper Higgins put a puck behind the White Rock native on a hot shot from the slot, only to see it ping off the cross-bar.
Down by two heading to the third, you’d have expected the home team to come out breathing fire. But with five minutes remaining, they’d gained no ground against a tenacious Eagles squad desperate for a win.
Opponents matter, however, and a team like Surrey is prone to coughing up leads.
The Chiefs got within one at 15:07 on a power play snipe by Jake Hand, who beat Read on a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Newcomer Bennett Morrison tied the game at 17:10, threading a point shot through traffic, past the screened Eagle keeper. Chilliwack captain Eric Roberts completed the comeback at 18:23.
The 19 year old scored his first of the year in dramatic fashion, firing a hard shot past Read from the left point.
With 27.1 seconds left, Kurt Black iced the game with an empty netter.
The three stars were Roberts (first), Morrison (second) and Potomak (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Roberts.
Announced attendance was 2,873.