David Poirier stopped 20 shots in his debut between the pipes and Jordan Kawaguchi scored twice as the Chilliwack Chiefs topped the Coquitlam Express 2-1 Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
The Chiefs continued their strong play on home ice, improving to 9-1-0-0 in the friendly confines, and 14-8-0-1 overall.
An eventful first period started with a first minute fight, with Chilliwack’s Cole Sartorio chucking knuckles with Coquitlam’s Brendan Gulka. The two were jawing at each other before the opening faceoff, and the mitts came off just 15 seconds in.
Sartorio got cheers for the takedown, and both players got the gate with automatic game misconducts.
Chilliwack got this games first goal at 7:43, capitalizing on a couple lucky bounces. Flying over the Express blueline, Luke McColgan fired a shot that thunked off the end-boards and came out the other side.
Linemate Jordan Kawaguchi roped the rebound, and his shot hit Coquitlam’s Owen Stout on its way past goalie Chris Tai.
The Chiefs doubled their lead at 13:51 on another Kawaguchi snipe, featuring a pretty setup from Kurt Black. Shielding the puck on his backhand as he came through the right faceoff circle, Black made a quick move to split two Express defenders and pull the disc inside.
Tai thwarted Black as he snapped a quick shot on net, but Kawaguchi waded into the blue paint and punched the rebound across the line for his 10th of the year.
The Express were unlucky to not get on the board moments later. Langley native Brendan Lamont caught Chilliwack blueliner Dennis Cholowski flat-footed, blowing past the rookie at the blueline. From the right faceoff circle Lamont rifled a shot that caught the left post/crossbar joint, rolled across the goal-line and out the other side.
But Lamont helped get the Express on the board moments later. From the right wing wall he lifted a centering pass into the goal-mouth, with Brett Supinski chipping the puck up and over the glove of Chiefs stopper Dave Poirier.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Chilliwack 12-7.
The score stayed the same through period two, thanks to Poirier. The goalie made his biggest save halfway through the middle frame, thwarting the Express on a two-on-one rush. The Quebec native made the first save on a hot shot from Joey Santucci, leaving a rebound on his doorstep. With Coquitlam’s Cole Bevan closing in, the goalie hurled himself across the crease and made an armpit save.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Chilliwack 27-16.
A quiet and efficient third saw the Chiefs silence the Coquitlam forwards, holding the Express to five shots on goal, none of them all that dangerous.
Referees Brent Hazel and Nick Panter kept their whistles in their pockets the entire night. Chilliwack had three power plays. Coquitlam had just one, a 21 second effort with 18 seconds left in the game that left them no time to net the equalizer.
The three stars were Kawaguchi (first), Tai (second) and Eric Roberts (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Brandon Potomak.
Announced attendance was 2,249.
Chilliwack’s back in action Sunday night, hosting the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-8-2-5) in a 5 p.m. start.