Chiefs sweep BCHL Showcase with Merritt win

Mitchell Datz stopped 33 of 34 shots to win his debut Saturday night as his Chilliwack Chiefs doubled Merritt 2-1.

Kurt Black scored the winning goal shorthanded Saturday night as his Chilliwack Chiefs (2-0) edged the visiting Merritt Centennials 2-1 at Prospera Centre.

The Chiefs won both of their games at the Bauer BCHL Showcase and looked impressive in the process, showing their offensive chops in a 6-3 win over Powell River Friday, then playing airtight defence to stifle the Cents.

The Merritt game was a penalty fest, with referees Brett Iverson and Shane Alyward dishing out six power plays in the first period alone, including an extended five-on-three.

The Chiefs got theirs early when Merritt’s Josh Teves and Jake Clifford took back to back minors, giving Chilliwack the two-man advantage for 80 seconds. The power play sputtered, and the next three calls went Merritt’s way.

The Cents cashed in on their third power play on a goal by Michael Ederer.

Josh Teves got the assist, launching a shot from the point that ended up rattling around the Chilliwack goal crease. Ederer was first to find it, knocking the puck past Chiefs netminder Mitchell Datz at 18:26.

Merritt out-shot the home side 14-8 in period one.

Luke McColgan got Chilliwack even on a bit of a softie, scored 5:01 into period two.

The 20 year old forward skated the puck through the neutral zone into Merritt territory. As a Centennial defender chopped him down in the very high slot, the California native flung an off-balance shot on net.

Merritt goalie Jonah Ihmoo misplayed it, flopping awkwardly on his butt as the puck scooted past.

The Chiefs locked down the D in the middle frame, leaving Datz with little to do. The 19 year old’s best save came with 11.8 seconds left. Merritt’s Brandon Duhaime fought off a Chilliwack check in the goal-mouth, wheeled and fired a top shelf backhand. Ninety nine per cent of the time that shot goes in, but Datz flashed the leather, stabbing it out of the air.

It was one of eight shots he faced the middle frame, with his Chiefs out-shooting the Centennials 14-8.

A phenomenal effort on the penalty kill led to Chilliwack’s game-winning goal nine minutes into period three. With his Chiefs killing a two minute minor, McColgan hustled the length of the ice in pursuit of a clearing attempt and hounded Centennials D-man Shane Poulsen into a turnover behind the Merritt net.

McColgan made a quick pass to Kurt Black in the goal mouth, and the second-year forward stuffed the puck past Ihmoo.

Merritt’s goalie was pulled with just under a minute remaining and the Cents nearly scored on a goal-mouth scramble with five seconds left. But the puck stayed out and the Chiefs escaped with their second win of the year.

The three stars were McColgan (first), Datz (second) and Teves (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Olivier Arseneau.

The Chiefs play a home-and-home against the Surrey Eagles next weekend. Friday night’s game is in Surrey and Saturday’s is at Prospera Centre with a 7 p.m. start.