Gore stops 77 in shootout loss

If there’s one thing that should make Chilliwack Bruins fans very hopeful heading into the Western conference playoffs, it’s the play of starting goaltender Lucas Gore.

The 20-year-old Kamloops native fought through five inconsistent months, mixing stellar starts with brutal outings as his team slowly slipped out of the playoff picture.

But since late February, Gore has been money in the bank, turning in a series of great performances between the pipes.

He was named the CHL’s goaltender of the week two weeks ago, and Wednesday night he produced his best outing yet.

Gore led his Bruins into Spokane’s Veterans Memorial Arena, where he faced an astounding 78 shots.

While Chilliwack didn’t win the game, Gore’s goaltending earned them a single point — a 77 save effort resulting in a 2-1 shootout loss.

Bruins coach Marc Habscheid is often skeptical when it comes to shot clocks, but even he had to admit Gore had an exceptionally busy night.

“I don’t think they had that many, but even if you take 15 off it’s too many,” the bench boss said. “Spokane was shooting from all over. Every time they had a chance they threw it on net.”

With a wonky bench configuration, Spokane had a short change for two of the periods, maing it difficult for the Bruins to get fresh personel on the ice. The Chiefs used that to their advantage.

“The benches are kind of the opposite of the way they usually are, and Spokane applied a lot of pressure,” Habscheid said. “So even when we got out of our end, we couldn’t get a change. We had turnovers in the neutral zone and then we couldn’t get back out.”

Habscheid has noted several times that Gore’s reversal of fortune coincides with the turnaround of the team in general — more consistent attention to team defence reduces blue chip scoring chances, therefore making life easier on the goalies.

But Gore’s history shows he has a knack for getting better as the games get bigger. He was outstanding in the playoffs last year, and it seems he might be getting back into that zone.

“It’s a good thing (that he rises to the occasion) because we’ve been playing some pretty important games over the last three weeks,” Habscheid said. “His consistency has been good and that’s what we need.”

If Wednesday night’s game was a potential playoff preview, then it might be  worrisome for the Bruins.

Well coached, the Chiefs might not be the most talented team in the league, but they are the best at ruthlessly executing a game-plan.

“They’ve got a good team and they’ve had success against a lot of teams,” Habscheid said of possible causes for concern. “But in the first period we were playing the way we wanted to and the shots were 10-8 or something. Even though things didn’t go our way last night, we still feel good about our game.”

Friday night brings another potential playoff preview as the Bruins visit the Tri-City Americans.

Were the playoffs to start today that would be the first round matchup, a rematch of last year’s opening round.

The Americans took that series in six hard-fought games.

“There’s extra motivation against them because earlier this season, when we were down, they had no problem running up the score on us,” Habscheid added. “We have long memories and that’s all I can say about that.”

The Bruins finish off the regular season Saturday night, hosting Everett. Regardless of the weekend results, Habscheid and company (32-30-3-3-) have guaranteed themselves the first ever .500 season in franchise history

“We just take every game and try to win it, and at the end of the season the league office will tell us who we play,” Habscheid said.

Just Posted

Train ride at Minter store not part of this year’s festive fun

Tough decision made to stop seasonal train in its tracks after injury suffered by Brian Minter

Players Guild challenges Chilliwack residents to solve classic Agatha Christie whodunit mystery

The Chilliwack Players Guild is performing Murder on the Nile from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Deer carcasses don’t belong in green bins, says B.C. city

City of Nanaimo issues reminder to residents, saying fur isn’t compostable

B.C. couple helping wildfire evacuees in northern California

A planned holiday has turned into a humanitarian effort for a Penticton couple

Dead whale discovered on B.C. shore

The whale was discovered Friday morning near the BC Ferries terminal

‘This is gangster,’ bait car thief declares on video

Footage from Abbotsford gains attention on social media

Parents skeptical as Abbotsford school fills French immersion vacancy

School district says new teacher will start Dec. 1 closing vacancy currently filled by English teacher

B.C. to offer gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

Most Read