Heading into Sunday afternoon’s BCHL battle at Prospera Centre, the Chilliwack Chiefs were like a man crawling across the desert, desperate for a drink under the scorching sun.
Then, on the horizon, the Cowichan Valley Capitals (2-19-3-1) appeared like some great big frosty glass of water.
Yes, the league’s schedulers did the Chiefs a favour sending the league’s worst team to town at just the right time, and Chilliwack (13-11-2-2) snapped a four game losing skid with an 8-2 win.
Goals 147 seconds apart by Kaden Pickering and Jared Turcotte had the Chiefs up 2-0 on the Capitals through 20 minutes.
Pickering opened the scoring on a Chilliwack power play at 13:33. Rookie Harrison Blaisdell started the play at the left point with a pass to Jake Gresh at the right point. The defenceman glided down the wall and saucered a pass into the high slot, where Pickering lasered the puck past Caps keeper Adam Marcoux.
Turcotte’s goal came on a two-on-one rush. Adam Berg collected the puck in the neutral zone and sent it ahead to Tommy Lee. Flying down the left wing, No. 11 dished a centering pass over the stick of a sliding Cowichan Valley defender into the goal mouth where Turcotte punched it past Marcoux.
The home team added to their lead with another power play goal 1:36 into period two. Lee picked up his second assist of the game with a pass to Berg below the right faceoff dot. Berg rifled the puck past Marcoux for his fourth of the season.
The power play clicked again for Chilliwack’s fourth goal at 8:28.
This one was all Gresh. The defenceman reeled in a puck deep in his own zone and took off on an end-to-end rush. The Connecticut native ended up swooping behind the Cowichan Valley net and carrying the puck all the way back to the point where he finally wound up with a slap-shot. The disc hit somebody in the goal mouth, changing direction as it squibbed between the legs of Marcoux and trickled across the goal-line.
Less than two minutes later Corey Andonovski pounced on a turnover in the Capital zone. Defenceman Andrew McCann blew a tire as No. 19 in white flew by him, cutting hard across the goal-mouth and lifting a backhand shot under the cross-bar for his seventh of the year.
That chased Marcoux from the net, with backup J.J. Pickette taking his place.
Pickette carried an 8.33 goals against average and .818 save percentage into the cage, sporting throwback-brown goalie gear, and the backup kept Chilliwack off the board for the rest of the period.
At the other end, Mathieu Caron was looking for the shutout, but his bid for the goose-egg came to an end 5:48 into the final frame.
Chilliwack’s Berg put the Caps on the power play, drawing four minutes for a series of brutal cross-checks to Cowichan Valley’s Brandon Cherwalk. The visitors were 0-5 with the man advantage to that point, but David Laroche finally cashed in a PP goal, popping the puck past Caron on a shot from the right faceoff circle.
The Capitals followed that with an even-strength goal from Raphael Gosselin at 8:45, answered quickly by Chilliwack’s Dawson Martin.
Fifty five seconds after Gosselin tipped a McCann point shot past Caron, Martin waded into a goal-mouth scramble and swept the puck past Pichette for his first BCHL goal.
Regan Kimens sniped his seventh of the season from the top of the left faceoff circle with 7:35 remaining and Ryan Miotto scored on a breakaway with 4:44 remaining to wrap up the scoring.
The three stars were Gresh (first), Berg (second) and Harrison Blaisdell (third).
The Fortis B.C. Energy Player of the Game was Turcotte.
Final shots on goal favoured Chilliwack 37-31.