The Chilliwack Chiefs saw their losing streak extended to eight games Saturday night as they dropped a 6-3 home-ice decision to the Penticton Vees.
Facing one of the BCHL’s top dogs, the Chiefs played an energetic game.
But they gave up three goals in less than five minutes late in the second period, thwarted again by a leaky D that can’t keep pucks out of the net.
Chilliwack fell to 7-23-1-2 on the season, the second worst record in the league.
The Chiefs played an outstanding first period and deserved better than they got.
Chilliwack played fast and aggressive, out-chancing the Vees. But it was Penticton getting the only goal in period one.
Puck luck favoured the Vees as Cody DePourcq tried to put a sharp-angle shot on net from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. The puck hit a Chilliwack defender and bounced across the crease to Travis Blanleil. With Chiefs goalie Spencer Tremblay completely fooled, Blanleil had a tap-in for his seventh of the year.
Chilliwack’s best chance came from Austin Plevy. Taking a pass from Blake Gober, the sniper had a breakaway from center ice in. Gliding towards Penticton netminder Olivier Mantha, Plevy went from backhand to forehand. Mantha butterflied to keep it out.
He faced 17 shots in period one, stopping them all.
Langley’s Josh Cronin made his BCHL debut on the Chilliwack defence.
In the first period, the 18-year-old showed he wasn’t shy, dropping Penticton’s Anthony Conti with a solid shoulder check in the neutral zone.
In the second period, he was victimized on the second Vees goal.
Penticton’s Jack Ramsey went outside-in on a pretty solo rush, stepping past Cronin before slipping a five-hole shot through Tremblay.
On Teddy Bear/Toque Toss Night, the home team made the crowd wait until the 8:33 mark of period two before letting ’em fly.
Chilliwack got on the board with a Jake Hand power play goal.
With two Chiefs and four Vees providing a screen in the Penticton goal-mouth, the Ontario native did a turn-and-shoot from 15 feet out, sneaking the puck past Mantha for his seventh of the year. L
ess than a minute later, good work from Mathieu Tibbet helped Carter Cochrane tie the game. Tibbet pounced on a bobbled puck in the neutral zone, pushing it ahead to Cochrane, who had a full head of steam as he chugged toward the Penticton net. The super-rookie finished with a blocker-side snipe, beating Mantha for his 12th of the year.
Penticton came roaring back when Chilliwack got into penalty trouble.
Minors to Cochrane (high sticking) and Shay Laurent (boarding) put the Chiefs two men down for 96 seconds, and the Vees got two goals.
Ben Dalpe got the first with a slick re-direct of a Brad McClure pass. Steen Cooper got the second, deflecting a Paul Stoykewych point shot past Tremblay at 13:21.
The Vees added their fifth goal at 14:50 on another unfortunate bounce. An Alexandre Coulombe shot from the far right-wing boards hit two or three sticks on the way past Tremblay, with Mitch Newsome getting the final touch for his first BCHL goal.
The Vees scored their sixth goal at 7:56 of period three, with Max Coatta batting a shoulder-high puck past Tremblay for his 13th of the year.
The Chiefs got the game’s final goal at 11:01.
Coming down the right wing, Tibbet spotted Andrew Silard cruising through the high slot. Sillard took the pass and snapped a top-shelf rocket past Mantha for his seventh of the year.
Announced attendance was 1,643.
The three stars were Dalpe (first), Ramsey (second) and Silard (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Cochrane.
The Chiefs are in Prince George for road games Sunday and Monday night.