The Chilliwack Chiefs dug themselves a hole too deep Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
In a much-hyped battle of the Mainland division’s top teams, the Chiefs spotted the Wenatchee Wild a four goal lead.
They came back with three of their own, but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 4-3.
The Chiefs suffered their third straight loss and saw their record dip to 9-5-2-0 while first place Wenatchee improved to 11-2-1-0.
The Wild jumped on the Chiefs with two power play goals in period one.
Brendan Harris and Colin Burston did the damage and Wenatchee picked up another PP payoff just 63 seconds into the middle frame.
With Justin Dixson in the penalty box for hooking, Wild forward Charlie Combs took a pass from Harris at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, cut into the blue paint and slipped the puck inside the far post for his league-leading 13th of the year.
The Wild were 3-3 on the power play while Chilliwack waited for its first man advantage chance.
Wenatchee had the ice tilted for much of the second period and AJ Vanderbeck chased Mark Sinclair from the Chiefs net 7:09.
His even strength marker forced Chilliwack coach Jason Tatarnic to call a timeout and put backup Brendan (Barry) in goal.
Coach T’s team finally got on the board at 11:20 on an Aaron O’Neill goal. The Wild coughed up the puck to Anthony Vincent just inside their own blueline. Vincent got the puck to O’Neill and the Tennessee native popped the puck past Wenatchee keeper Anthony Yamnitsky for his sixth of the year.
The Chiefs looked like a different team from that point on and got within two at 15:31 on a Will Calverley goal. The rookie got his stick on a Powell Connor wrist shot from the point, deflecting it between Yamnitsky’s legs for his second BCHL goal.
The shot clock favoured Wenatchee 21-15 through 40 minutes, but the Chiefs had a chance heading to period three.
Anthony Vincent got Chilliwack within one with eight minutes to play, skating unchecked through the slot and finishing a Jordan Kawaguchi feed for his second of the season.
Tatarnic brought Barry to the bench with 1:39 to go, but the Wild held on for the win, drawing first blood in what should be a hugely competitive season series.
The three stars were Vanderbeck (first), O’Neill (second) and Brendan Harris (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Linden Hora.
Announced attendance was 2,329.