Column: Chiefs go off script in Westside tie

They were expected to lose, but as hockey columnist Jacob Bestebroer notes, the Chilliwack Chiefs defied expectations last weekend.




Those were the words I heard most from people referencing last Sunday’s 7-7 tie between the Chilliwack Chiefs and West Kelowna Warriors at Prospera Centre. I agree fully and would add ‘felt like 1985’ to the list.

Heading in to that game the Chiefs trailed the Warriors by 35 points in the standings and had lost seven straight. The Warriors had won six straight.

The game should not have been close, and when West K took a 1-0 lead 62 seconds in it seemed the expected script would be followed.

But somehow, despite being outplayed by a wide margin in the first period, the Chiefs only trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes. So maybe the Chiefs could make this one interesting.

Or maybe not. The visitors scored two early second period goals to increase their lead to 5-2 and the game was back on script.

What happened next was completely unexpected.

With Josh Halpenny replacing Spencer Tremblay in goal the Chiefs started to get the saves they needed and then managed to score five straight goals to take a 7-5 lead with two and a half minutes left in the third.

West Kelowna is certainly talented enough to score two or more in a short period of time but they were likely going to need help from the Chiefs, which is exactly what they got.

A missed shot at the vacated Warriors net, two icings, a penalty and a few other mistakes allowed the Warriors to score two late ones and send the game to overtime.

The extra time was wild and crazy played four on four then three on three. West K chose to go with three forwards for most of the second overtime and Halpenny was forced to stop a penalty shot to preserve the tie.

It was disappointing to not earn the two points but I’m looking at this in a positive light.

This team did not give up.

They didn’t give up prior to the game or at any point during it. And judging by the number of people in the stands, the fans have not given up either.

That’s nice to see.

Several Chiefs played very well in this game.

Tanner Cochrane led the way with three goals but I want to single out the play of one player as of late.

Jordan Kawaguchi has really started to find his way at this level the last three games. You never know how or when a 16 year old will adjust to this level of hockey and for Jordan it seems to be happening now.

This weekend the Chiefs face the Surrey Eagles twice including Saturday at Prospera Centre.

They are 16 points behind the Eagles in the race for the final playoff spot. Wins in regulation by the Chiefs are a must.

Saturday’s game sponsor is Island Farms which means the return of the skating cow, who is expected to toss ice cream lids with great prizes on them into the crowd. Good times.

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