Playing without their two leading scorers didn’t bother the Chilliwack Chiefs one bit as they toppled the Trail Smoke Eaters by a 7-2 count Sunday afternoon at Prospera Centre.
With Harrison Blaisdell away representing Canada at the World Junior A Challenge, and Kevin Wall punted from the game very early in the first period, the Chiefs turned to several different sources for offence. Chilliwack native Ethan Bowen sniped a pair of goals, adding two assists for a four-point night. Another Chilliwackian, Brett Rylance, had three helpers as the Chiefs improved to 24-10-0-0 on the season.
Trail fell to 12-17-4-2, the worst record in the Interior division.
Wall left this one just 135 seconds in after delivering a hit from behind to Trail’s Diarmad DiMurro in the neutral zone.
Wall was given a five minute major and a game misconduct and it’s likely he’ll be handed a four game suspension when the league reviews the hit.
But the Chiefs carried on and Marcus Tesink opened the scoring at the 13:30 mark of period one.
With big winger Jacques Bouquot causing a ruckus in the Trail goal-mouth, Tesink fired a shot from above the right faceoff circle. Smokies goalie Logan Terness was late to react as the puck zipped between his legs, and as the goal-horn sounded 1,300 teddy bears and toques rained from the rafters.
They’ll all be donated to Chilliwack Community Services.
With that out of the way, the Chiefs doubled their lead on a late power play. Brett Willits scored off a goal-mouth scramble, wading into the blue paint and knocking the puck past Terness as Trail D-man Kieran O’Hearn clobbered him from behind.
Chilliwack’s next goal came two minutes into the middle frame, scored by Cole Donhauser.
Bouquot started the play, skating down the right wing and slamming on the brakes 10 feet inside the Trail blueline. Bouquot sent a cross-ice pass to Matt Holmes, who collected the puck in full stride flying down the left wing. Cutting through the left faceoff circle, Holmes dished the puck into the slot where Donhauser ripped it past Terness for his 11th of the year.
Bowen made it 4-0 at 10:36, kind of set up by defenceman Nathan Kelly. The blueliner’s wrist shot from the point hit traffic in the slot and caromed to the right, onto Bowen’s stick. The rookie roofed it for his 13th of the season.
Holmes had the Chiefs up 5-0 early in the third period.
Carrying the puck down the left wing, the New York native skated wide around flat-footed Trail defender Trevor Zins, setting up a two-on-one rush. Linemate Donhauser served as a decoy, going hard to the net to occupy the lone Smoke Eater defenceman. Terness may have anticipated a pass across the goal-mouth because Holmes caught him leaning and snuck a five-hole shot through the keeper for his 13th of the season.
Trail got one back on a power play, with Tyler Ghiradosi deflecting a Hayden Rowan point shot past Chilliwack goalie Nolan Hildebrand.
Bowen answered back with 5:55 to go, burying the rebound of a Willits shot on a Chiefs power play, and with the crowd still celebrating Wyatt Elmer lazered a shot past Terness from the high slot for his first of the year.
Trail’s Kyle Budvarson scored his first career BCHL goal at 16:18 to wrap up the scoring.
The three stars were Rylance (first), Holmes (second) and Bowen (third) with Elmer earning Energy Player of the Game honours.