Jake Hand scored two goals and David Jacobson stopped 39 shots Tuesday night as the Chilliwack Chiefs took game one of their first round playoff series versus Coquitlam.
The Chiefs won 4-1 at Prospera Centre, with Jordan Kawaguchi and Kurt Black also collecting goals.
They now look ahead to game two of this best of seven series, going tomorrow night on home ice.
The Express were the better team in the first period of this one, but it was the Chiefs coming away with a two goal lead.
Kawaguchi got the scoring started at 12:14 with a snipe that will haunt Chris Tai’s nightmares. The Coquitlam keeper let in a softie as the 17 year old Abbotsford native wheeled out from behind the net and fired an extreme sharp-angle shot over Tai’s left shoulder.
Tai could’t be blamed for the second Chilliwack goal, but Taylor Green could. The big Coquitlam defender was casual and clumsy playing a puck in the neutral zone and Jake Hand was on it in an instant, taking off on a breakaway.
No. 15 in red finished with a rising wrister over Tai’s blocker at 18:37.
This game’s next goal didn’t come until late in the third period. Black pulled the trigger on a shot from the high slot that snuck through Tai, wibble-wobbling across the line with 7:48 to go.
The Chiefs did a solid job neutralizing Coquitlam’s top line, which had some zone time and chances but no goals.
True to his word, Chilliwack head coach Jason Tatarnic didn’t match any of his forward lines against the dynamic duo of Corey Mackin and Brett Supinski.
But every time they were on the ice, he sent the defensive duo of Eric Roberts and Brandon Tkachuk against them.
Coquitlam D-man Daniel Fritz scored the only Express goal with 1:57 to go, flinging a puck on net from the point to break up David Jacobson’s shutout bid.
Tai came to the bench with 1:40 to go, giving Coquitlam the extra attacker and Hand iced the game with 54.2 ticks left, scoring into the empty net.
The three stars were Jacobson (first), Hand (second) and Supinski (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Rory Bell.
After a monstrous crowd of 3,752 for last Saturday’s regular season finale, the Chiefs had one of their smaller crowds of the year in this one, drawing just 1,451 fans.
They’re at it again tomorrow (Wednesday) night, with a 7 p.m. start for game two at Prospera Centre.