It wasn’t beautiful by any stretch, but a solid workmanlike effort by the Chilliwack Chiefs resulted in a 4-1 home ice win over the Prince George Spruce Kings, Saturday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
After being put on big-time blast by head coach Brian Maloney last week, the BCHL club played the type of game that coaches love.
Pucks in deep. Shots blocked. No hero hockey. Just defensively sound with all the ‘little things’ done right.
It was the type of effort that Maloney will be able to point to in the future and say, ‘See what happens when you do things right?’
Chilliwack snapped a three game losing streak with the victory, improving to 12-7-4-1, good for second spot in the Mainland division.
Prince George fell to 8-11-2-2.
The Chiefs took 71 seconds to open the scoring on a goal by Ethan Bowen.
Taking a pass from Peter Reynolds, Chilliwack’s points leader drove wide around a flat-footed PG defender, cut hard across the blue paint and slipped a backhand shot inside the right post for his eighth of the year.
But the opening frame was also a story of missed opportunities for the home team.
The Chiefs struck out on a 60 minute five-on-three.
About eight minutes in, PG’s Corey Cunningham delivered a dangerous blindside hit to Chilliwack’s Nikita Nesterenko. He was chucked from the game and the Chiefs ended up with three minutes of major PP time, but again they came up empty.
Many nights that comes back to haunt a team.
But two second period strikes gave Chilliwack a comfortable lead.
First it was Jake Larson rocketing down the left wing. With a Spruce Kings defender back in in front of him and providing a screen, the speedster rifled a wrister past goalie Jett Alexander from the top of the faceoff circle at 6:54.
Sixty two seconds later it was Nesterenko stepping around PG defender Brendan Hill and ripping a shot past Alexander from the right hash mark.
The visitors their lone goal with 3:04 to play in the middle frame. Off a neutral zone turnover, Spruce Kings center Ryan McAllister bolted down the right wing and beat Chilliwack goalie Mathieu Caron with a sharp-angle far-side shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle.
The Chiefs got the only goal of the final frame off the stick of Brett Rylance.
Carter Wilkie swooped behind the Prince George net, came out the other side and fired a shot from near the top of the left faceoff circle. Rylance was on the doorstep to bury the rebound for his sixth of the season.
Wilkie had a six game point streak snapped in Langley Friday night, but the Calgary kid has collected nine points in his last eight matches.
That wrapped up the scoring as Chilliwack killed off the remaining 5:03.
The three stars were Bowen (first), Nesterenko (second) and Penney (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Connor Milburn.
The Chiefs return to action next Saturday (Nov. 16), hosting the Cowichan Capitals at the Chilliwack Coliseum with a 7 p.m. start.