Mitch Gillam stopped 48 of 49 shots Friday night, leading his Chilliwack Chiefs to a 2-1 win over the West Kelowna Warriors at Prospera Centre.
Gillam stopped 20 pucks in the first period and 19 more in the third as Chilliwack improved to 29-18-1-1 on the season.
The Warriors dropped to 23-13-3-8.
The only goal of period one belonged to the Chiefs and defenceman Shay Laurent. With Chilliwack on the power play and Mathieu Tibbett and Philip Zielonka screening Warrior goalie Tyler Briggs, Laurent fired a wrist shot from the right point.
Briggs didn’t see it until it was past him into the net, with Laurent’s third of the year giving Chilliwack a 1-0 lead.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured West Kelowna 20-7, but that was misleading.
The Warriors were putting pucks on net from everywhere, but the Chiefs were the better team in the opening frame.
Chilliwack doubled their lead 5:11 into period two.
Cooper Rush pulled the trigger on his sixth of the season, putting another wrist shot through a screen. Again, it was Tibbett blocking Briggs’ vision as the puck zipped by.
The Warriors cut the lead in half midway through period two.
Taking a draw in the left faceoff circle, Mitch Nardi won a faceoff cleanly back to David Pope, who went top-shelf over Mitch Gillam’s glove for his 15th of the year.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured West Kelowna 30-24.
The third period went by quietly, which is great when you’re protecting a one goal lead. The Warriors pressed and shot from everywhere, but the Chiefs did a good job keeping things to the outside. West Kelowna had the goalie out in the final minute, and Gillam saved his best save for last. The stopper came up big in a goal-mouth scramble, getting his right leg out to stop Seb Lloyd on a point-blank chance.
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Zielonka.
The three stars were Gillam (first), Eric Roberts (Chilliwack, second) and Pope (third).
Announced attendance was 1,670.
The Chiefs are back on home ice tomorrow night at 7 p.m., hosting the Surrey Eagles.