The Chilliwack Chiefs may finally have found a game-breaker to lead their offence, and his name is P.J. Marrocco.
The Edmonton native, freshly acquired from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonneyville Pontiacs, made an immediate impact in his first game, scoring twice to lead his new team to a 3-2 double-overtime win over the Surrey Eagles Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.
The Chiefs won just their second game in their last eight outings, improving to 14-13-2-2. They leap-frogged Surrey for third place in the Mainland division standings as the Eagles fell to 14-13-2-1.
Looking sharp in Kohen Olischefski’s old No. 21 jersey, Marrocco took just 3:07 to score his first BCHL goal. Just 37 seconds after Surrey’s Ty Westgard opened the scoring, Marrocco took a sharp-angle shot and followed the puck into the goal-mouth, where he shovelled the rebound past Eagle keeper Nic Tallarico.
Marrocco lit the lamp again with a beauty of a snipe at 17:28, flying down the left wing and rifling the puck over Tallarico’s glove from a step or two above the left faceoff dot.
The Eagles drew even 4:47 into period two on a lucky goal by John Wesley. Jackson Ross got the assist, winding up with a slap-shot from the left point. The puck missed the net, caromed off the end boards and came out the other side, where Wesley waited to pop it past Chiefs goalie Daniel Chenard.
The third period was a penalty fest, with three calls going against the home team. Chilliwack’s penalty killers did their job well, and the last call, a blow-to-the-hear call to Surrey’s Cory Babichuk, gave the Chiefs a power play chance with 1:33 remaining. Twenty seven seconds remained as the teams skated into four-on-four overtime, but the Eagles survived without surrendering a dangerous scoring chance.
Back to even strength, Surrey had the best chance to end it when a bad Chilliwack line change produced a three-on-one rush for the visitors. BCHL assists leader John Wesley dished a pass to Westgard in the slot, but the forward put his shot into the crest of Chenard’s jersey.
That was one of several big stops for the rookie goalie, who faced 31 shots overall.
Surrey’s Jeffrey Stewart had a fantastic chance to end it in three-on-three overtime when Chilliwack D-man Powell Connor got caught pinching and the Eagle had a breakaway from his own blueline in. But as he threw some dekes at Chenard the puck rolled harmlessly off his stick and into the corner.
That set the table to another newcomer to come through in a big spot.
Playing his third game for the Chiefs, smooth-skating defenceman Marcus Tesink took a pass from Kaden Pickering in his own end, carried the puck all the way down the left wing and beat Tallarico with a short side shot inches inside the post.
The three stars were Marrocco (first), Anthony Vincent (second) and Tallarico (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Tommy Lee.
Announced attendance was 2,355.