Chilliwack Chiefs drop opening game of BCHL playoffs to Langley Rivermen

The favoured Chiefs let a 4-3 third period lead get away, losing 5-4 to the underdogs at home.

Luck favoured the Langley Rivermen Friday night as they drew first blood in their first round playoff series versus the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The Rivermen benefited from three lucky-bounce goals in a 5-4 win at Prospera Centre, taking the W despite being outshot 41-32.

Tanner Versluis had two of them as Langley beat Chilliwack for the first time in nine meetings this season.

The home team got off to a rocky start and found themselves trailing 2-0 less than eight minutes in.

Ethan Leyh opened the scoring with a power play snipe. Defenceman Alec Capstick held in a clearing attempt at the left point and slid the puck cross ice to Leyh. The Port Moody native ripped a shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Chiefs keeper Daniel Chenard at 6:12.

The Rivermen got lucky on their second one.

A shot from forward Devin Leduc banged off the end boards and teammate Versluis before finding its way into the goal-mouth. It took a 90 degree carom off Chiefs defenceman Brody Gagno and into the net, and the visitors were very, very happy.

But 70 seconds later they were sad as Jacques Bouquot cut their lead in half.

Langley blueliner Jake Livingstone tried an ill-advised diagonal cross-ice pass in his own end. Bouquot intercepted it, skated in alone and put a glove side wrister past goalie Braedon Fleming.

Chilliwack tied it in the final minute on a goal by the captain, Skyler Brind’Amour.

With both teams playing four-on-four, No. 17 in white took a lap around the offensive zone, spinning away from Livingstone along the right wing wall and curling away from Garrett Daly along the left wing wall. He ended up in the high slot where he rifled a wrister that evaded Fleming’s mitt.

The Chiefs took their first lead on a goal by Ethan Bowen.

Brind’Amour drew the assist, shoveling the puck into the blue paint where Bowen found it before Fleming, popping it past the goalie 4:12 into period two.

Versluis scored in similar fashion at 6:15 to briefly tie the game, but a goal from an unexpected source gave the Chiefs a 4-3 lead through 40 minutes.

At the tail end of a long fourth-line shift, Brett Rylance darted into the Langley zone and had the puck poked away by a Rivermen defender. Clark Nelson grabbed the disc, skated behind the net and tucked a wraparound inside the far post.

The Chiefs couldn’t lock it down.

The home team gave up primo chances in the final frame and it eventually came back to bite them in the butt.

Goalie Daniel Chenard started the period staring down Matteo Pecchia, thwarting the Langley speedster on a breakaway. He threw himself across the net to take away a point-blank chance by Leyh, and seconds after that, the goalie slid across his crease and squeezed his legs together as Leyh flew down the left wing and tried a five-hole shot.

But with 4:52 to go, Chenard was down and out in his goal crease as Langley’s Mark Gallant scored on a bank shot from behind the end line to tie the game.

With 1:49 to go, Leyh skated down the left wing and put a centering pass into the goal mouth where it hit a Chiefs defender and pinballed into the net.

Chenard came to the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute and the Chiefs had an offensive zone faceoff with 20 seconds remaining. Brind’Amour won the draw but Chilliwack couldn’t get a shot as the Rivermen held on for the one-goal win.

The three stars were Brind’Amour (first), Versluis (second) and Cole Donhauser (third) with Nelson the Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game.

Just Posted

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from May 26 to June 2

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

Chilliwack school district estimates costs of tampons, pads at $22,500 annually

Free menstrual products to be provided in washrooms and medical rooms by end of 2019

Police find loaded rifle in car of ‘prolific offender’ prohibited from driving

Tyler Houle of Abbotsford arrested Wednesday in Chilliwack

Pedestrian struck in Chilliwack suffered life-threatening injuries

83-year-old transported to hospital by air ambulance after Thursday incident on Keith Wilson Road

VIDEO: Powwow shares culture at Seabird Island Festival

The 50th anniversary of the festival saw its first powwow

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read