Chilliwack Chiefs beat Penticton Vees in clash of BCHL titans

The top two teams in the league squared off at Prospera Centre with Chilliwack taking a 3-2 decision

Kevin Wall had two goals Saturday night as his Chilliwack Chiefs won the battle of the BCHL’s best, out-dueling the Penticton Vees at Prospera Centre.

The Chiefs won 3-2, improving to 37-12-1-0 and moving six points clear of the second place Vees (33-14-1-2) in the league standings.

Just as importantly, Chilliwack maintained their seven point lead over the Prince George Spruce Kings for top spot in the Mainland division.

Penticton’s Luk Loheit got the scoring started in this one.

The Minnesota native flew down the left wing on a solo rush, darting past Chiefs defender Max Wutzke and cutting hard to the net. Loheit pulled the puck to his forehand and slipped a shot through the legs of Chilliwack goaltender Daniel Chenard at 8:05 of period one.

The home team got that one back at 11:19 on a great effort by Skyler Brind’Amour. The captain didn’t score the goal, but he did everything else to set it up. Spending an entire shift buzzing around the Penticton zone, creating havoc on the forecheck, No. 17 poked the puck away from a Vee at the blueline and had a two-on-one rush the other way. Brind’Amour slid the puck to Cole Donhauser, who put the puck through Penticton netminder Jack LaFontaine for his 17th of the season.

Chilliwack went ahead in the final minute of the opening frame on a shorthanded goal by Wall.

The New York native poked the puck away from Penticton’s Loheit in the slot and had a clear path to the Vees net. Outracing Mason Snell, Wall went five hole, beating LaFontaine for his 25th of the season.

The Chiefs cashed in on another power play early in the middle frame, taking a two-goal lead.

It was Wall again, taking a shot from near the left wing and skating into the goal mouth to pop the rebound past LaFontaine.

The visitors scored the only goal in the third period. Massimo Rizzo scored at 7:16, skating into the blue paint to bury a feed from Jonathan Smart.

LaFontaine was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:52 to go, and seconds later Wall zipped a shot from center ice that missed the empty cage by an inch or two. That didn’t come back to haunt him. Penticton called a timeout and had an offensive zone draw, but the Chiefs locked it down, killing the clock and escaping with the well-deserved win.

The three stars were Wall (first), Brind’Amour (second) and Rizzo (third) with Donhauser the Fortis B.C. Energy Player of the Game.

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