Jordan Kawaguchi has taken over the BCHL playoffs.
The Chilliwack Chiefs captain scored three goals Tuesday night, leading his Chilliwack Chiefs to a 6-0 game-three road win over the Victoria Grizzlies.
Captain K torched the Grizz for six points in game one. But he was held off the scoresheet as his team was blanked in game two, and was in the penalty box when Victoria scored the game-winning goal in that 2-0 win at Prospera Centre.
You knew he was going to be really, really motivated.
It was Kawaguchi opening the scoring in game three, sniping his eighth of the playoffs in the final minute. Will Calverley won a faceoff in the Grizzly end and the Chiefs threw the puck around the zone until Jake Smith found room to fired a shot at Victoria goaltender Matthew Galajda. Gooch crashed the crease in search of the rebound, jamming it across the line with 47 seconds on the clock.
The second period was pure dominance by Chilliwack.
Kohen Olischefski doubled the lead at 2:58, gloving down the rebound of a Davis Bunz shot in the slot and ripping a top-shelf shot through a screen and past Galajda.
A horrible line change led to Chilliwack’s third goal at 8:45. Both Victoria defencemen were caught in chase mode as the Chiefs stormed into the Grizzly zone. A Calverley shot was blocked but Kawaguchi was left uncovered to tap in the rebound.
Just over two minutes later Kawaguchi led a two-on-one rush, flanked by Anthony Vincent. Kawaguchi rifled a shot over Galajda’s glove, sending Chilliwack to the final frame with a 4-0 lead and a 29-12 edge on the shot clock.
Tennessee native Aaron O’Neill collected his first playoff goal 11:43 into period three, finishing off a pretty passing play with linemate Cole Poliziani.
O’Neill’s goal spelled the end of both starting goalies. Galajda was yanked from the Victoria net for the second time in this series after giving up five goals on 36 shots. Chilliwack coach Jason Tatarnic decided to rest his keeper, Mark Sinclair, replacing him with backup Mathieu Caron.
Sinclair stopped all 17 shots he faced. Caron stopped the rest to share the shutout.
A Justin Dixson power play goal wrapped up the scoring with 4:37 to play, with Wyatt Elmer and Tommy Lee getting assists.
Kawaguchi ends the night with 10 goals and 24 points in 13 playoff games, easily good for the league lead and a first star nod in this game.
Calverley was the second star and Olischefski the third.
The series resumes tomorrow (Wednesday) night with game four in Victoria.