New Chiefs goaltender David Jacobson helped the Chiefs steal a win when they weren’t at their best, backstopping his team to victory over the Victoria Grizzlies.
The California kid stopped 30 of 32 shots, often in spectacular fashion, to earn his first BCHL triumph, a 4-2 win at Prospera Centre.
A lethargic first period saw the Grizzlies out-shoot the Chiefs 14-4, only to be thwarted by Chilliwack stopper David Jacobson. His best save could have got him arrested for robbery, with the big goalie butterflying to take a goal away from Brett Gruber on a point-blank shot.
The Grizzlies continued to carry the play in period two, and Jacobson did his best to turn them away. But on Victoria’s 24th shot, with 7:07 left in the middle frame, they finally slipped one by him.
Gruber got the assist with a pass from the right wing that found Dane Gibson for a tap-in at the left post.
The best chance for Chilliwack belonged to Craig Puffer, who took a stretch pass from Vincent Desharnais and had a breakaway from the Victoria blueline in. The Connecticut kid beat the goalie but not the crossbar, clanging the puck off the iron above Michael Stiliadis’s outstretched glove.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured the visitors 27-12 and the Chiefs faced a one goal deficit heading to the third.
A far more energetic home team emerged for the third period and got back on even terms at on a goal by Jordan Kawaguchi. The Abbotsford native camped in the crease as Mark Esposito threw a wrist shot on net from the point. Stiliadis couldn’t locate the puck as it dropped into the blue paint and Kawaguchi found it first, sliding the disc past the keeper for his 15th of the year.
Attacking in waves, the Chiefs drew a power play with 6:22 to go. Seconds later, Rory Bell raised his arms and celebrated the game winning goal, popping in the rebound of a Brandon Tkachuk point shot.
Jake Larson added insurance with 3:48 to go, burying a two-on-one feed from Bell for his 14th of the year.
The Grizzlies got one back with 1:39 to go as Gibson scored his second of the game. Stiliadis went to the bench with 1:24 to go as Victoria sought the equalizer. But Jacobson made a couple saves and the Chiefs sealed the deal with an empty net goal by Jake Hand.
The three stars were Jacobson (first), Thomas Gobeil (Victoria, second) and Larson (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Brandon Potomak.
Announced attendance was 3,007.
The Chiefs are back on home ice Saturday night at 7 p.m., hosting the Surrey Eagles.