The Chilliwack Chiefs continued their dominance of the Coquitlam Express Saturday night, dumping their Mainland division rivals 7-1 at Prospera Centre.
It was the second time in four days that the Chiefs dispatched the Express with ease, coming on the heels of a 4-1 road win last Wednesday. Counting playoffs, Chilliwack has beaten Coquitlam in 20 straight, and they’ve beaten them in 18 straight at home. With the win, their fourth in their last five outings, the Chiefs improved to 5-6-1-1 while the Express fell to 3-9-1-1.
Chilliwack survived some early penalty trouble that saw Coquitlam gifted 3:25 of power play time, including a five-on-three for 35 seconds.
Back to full strength, Chiefs forward Kaden Pickering got the scoring started with a beauty of a goal 6:18 into period one.
Flanked by Regan Kimens on his left, the speedster led a two-on-one rush into the Express zone. The last man back, defenceman Jake Brien sprawled on his belly to take away the cross-ice pass, but that’s not what Pickering had in mind. The New York native went top corner with a short-side dart over the glove of Coquitlam keeper Reid Cooper for his third of the season.
The Chiefs doubled their lead at 12:19 on a power play goal by Kimens.
Working along the right-wing boards, captain Wil Calverley dished the puck to Bryan Allbee at the point. The blueliner put a wrist shot on net and Cooper couldn’t coral the rebound. Kimens found it first and stuffed it inside the left post for his second of the season.
Chilliwack goaltender Mathieu Caron, who struggled a bit in a 5-1 loss to Powell River Friday, was solid in this one and made a handful of eye popping saves in the first period. His finest was a glove save on a point-blank shot by Coquitlam’s Colby Pederson. Caron made another massive stop late in the period, diving across his crease to rob Jordan Shulting’s one-timer off a cross-ice feed by Haydn Delorme.
The Express had the only goal of the middle frame, a power play snipe by Eric Linell, who pounced on a turnover by Chilliwack forward Tommy Lee and beat Caron for his fourth of the year.
Cooper continued to struggle at the other end, and another rebound led to the third Chiefs goal at 16:49.
This time it was Matt Slick holding in a couple clearing attempts before wristing the puck on net. Cooper left the rebound in the goal-mouth where Ryan Miotto was able to reel it in, wheel 180 degrees and beat Cooper with an against-the-grain far-side attempt.
Chilliwack’s power play, third worst in the league at 15.5 per cent coming in, had a glorious chance to add to the lead early in the third period when Coquitlam’s Doug Scott took a run at Chiefs forward Wyatt Elmer and drew a five minute major (and a game misconduct) for charging.
The Chiefs struck once with the man advantage, with Pickering picking up his second goal of the game.
Jake Gresh started the play with a point shot blast that created a rebound for Kimens. The Ontario native flipped a pass into the goal mouth for Pickering who chipped the puck past Cooper at 4:29.
Captain Wil Calverly added his team-leading seventh of the season at 12:34, with Kimens picking up his third assist of the game.
Tommy Lee struck 25 seconds later. The shifty winger made like he was going to swoop behind the Express net and Cooper took the bait. Lee slammed on the breaks, reversed course and nearly slipped a wraparound inside the vacated left side of the net. Cooper lunged back to make the save but Lee buried the rebound for his sixth of the year.
With the crowd still buzzing, Lee picked up a helper on the next shift.
From the right wing, No. 11 sent a slap-pass into the goal-mouth for Corey Andonovski, who redirected the puck past Cooper at 14:29.
Final shots on goal favoured Chilliwack 43-25.
The three stars were Pickering (first), Calverley (second) and Caron (third).
The Fortis B.C. Energy Player of the Game was Kimens.
Announced attendance was 1.698.