The Chilliwack Chiefs snapped a three game losing skid with an exclamation point Saturday, bombing the Langley Rivermen 7-1 at Prospera Centre.
One night after dominating the Rivermen in Langley, but losing 3-2, the Chiefs took their Mainland division rivals apart.
Craig Puffer and Luke McColgan had two goals apiece, the Chiefs out-shot Langley 46-21 and improved their record to 11-4-0-1.
A scrambly first period saw the Chiefs take a 2-0 lead on goals by McColgan and Rory Bell.
McColgan’s eighth of the year came on an early power play, with Jacob Kearley drawing a double-minor for high sticking. With the second minor still in effect, Chilliwack defenceman Evan McEachern one-timed a bullet from the point that hit a Langley defender on its way to the net.
The puck settled at the top of the goal-crease, where McColgan slid a backhand shot past Rivermen keeper Darren Martin.
Chilliwack’s second goal also came from a defenceman’s point shot, with captain Eric Roberts firing a low blast that Bell slickly re-directed past Martin for his second of the year.
The next goal didn’t come until early in period three, but it was worth the wait.
Flying through the neutral zone, Puffer took a lead pass from Tipper Higgins. Crossing the Langley blueline, he doodle-dipsied his way through Rivermen defender Zach Bleuler before snapping a glove side-shot past Martin for his team-leading 15th.
The Rivermen answered back a couple minutes later with a goal by Matthew Graham. The Nova Scotia native thwarted the shutout bid of Chilliwack’ Mitchell Datz, deflecting a William Campion point shot past the goalie.
Tempers flared midway through period three, with Langley’s Charlie Pelnik earning a rare gross misconduct penalty.
Players on both sides started shoving each other at the Chilliwack bench, with the North Carolina native in the middle of the fracas. A linesman hauled him out, but had to work hard to keep him away. Pelnik dropped both his gloves and gestured several times at the Chiefs bench before the linesman was finally able to get him into the tunnel leading to the Langley dressing room.
He faces a three game suspension, and possibly more, for his antics.
When play resumed, it was McColgan collecting his second of the night to put this game away.
The California kid chipped a puck past flat-footed Campion at the Chilliwack blueline, flew down the right wing and cut hard to the net. With Campion and Jordan Schneider hot on his heels, McColgan hammered the puck past Martin for his ninth of the year.
Puffer collected his second of the net less than a minute later, chipping a Jake Hand centering pass past Martin.
As the crowd leapt to its feet, a fight broke out in the left corner. Chilliwack’s Cole Sartorio and Langley’s Kearley traded punches before being escorted off with automatic game misconducts.
Chilliwack’s sixth goal came with 1:48 remaining. Rivermen forward Ryan Coulter tried an ill-advised cross-ice pass at his own blueline, and Chilliwack speedster Jake Larson picked it off. The Minnesota native had a breakaway, and capitalized with his eighth of the year, but he paid a price when Schneider slammed his head into the glass behind the Langley net.
When the dust settled, Schneider and a couple of his teammates were gone and the Rivermen were left to finish up with just 10 skaters. Chilliwack’s Olivier Arseneau put the icing on the cake with less than a second to play, scoring his first BCHL goal on a five-on-three power play.
The three stars were McColgan (first), Puffer (second) and Bell (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Bell.
Announced attendance was 3,023.