Christmas can’t come soon enough for the Chilliwack Chiefs, who should have one wish for Santa.
Please, please, please bring an end to a club-record losing streak that sits at 11 games and counting. The latest loss came in embarrassing fashion Friday night, with the Prince George Spruce Kings pummeling the Chiefs 7-2 at Prospera Centre.
The visitors took just 32 seconds to open the scoring in this one.
On a goal-mouth scramble, Spruce Kings Jake LeBrun and Bryan Christian both had whacks at the puck. Christian, PG’s captain, had the last touch, sweeping a backhand shot past Chilliwack keeper Josh Halpenny.
The Chiefs answered back on a goal by Austin Plevy, with a blast-from-the-past assist to Tanner Cochrane. Last seen wrecking his ankle during last year’s playoffs, the 20 year old was most recently playing in the junior B KIJHL.
Leading a rush down the left wing, Cochrane spotted Plevy roaring into the slot. Plevy took the pass and shot with a split-second release, beating PG keeper Alex Murray for his team-leading 16th of the year.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured the Spruce Kings 15-11.
The wheels fell off early in period two.
PG scored goals at 2:31 (Danny Kiraly) and 4:15 (Marco Ballarin). Both were stoppable shots for Halpenny, who got the hook and was replaced by backup Spencer Tremblay.
But the new goalie fared no better than the old one.
A defensive breakdown left Chad Staley uncovered to beat Tremblay with a five hole shot at 6:13. Less than three minutes later, Brent Lashuk pounced on a turnover just inside the Chilliwack blueline, came in on a breakaway and beat Tremblay for his 11th of the year and a 5-1 Spruce Kings lead. At 11:27, Lashuk beat the goalie again with an unscreened shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
Adding insult to injury, two Chiefs took pucks to the face in the middle frame. Kurt Black returned to the game, while Carter Cochrane did not.
Shots on goals through 40 minutes favoured the Spruce Kings 31-21.
Halpenny was back between the pipes as the third period started.
He was greeted with another goal as Matt Painchaud sniped a shot over the goalie’s blocker at 6:05.
The game’s final goal came from the home team, with Cooper Rush netting his sixth of the year on a Chilliwack power play. The big blueliner flew through the slot, took a pass from Mathieu Tibbet and snapped a shot over Murray’s glove.
Announced attendance was 1,307.
The three stars were Lashuk (first), Christian (second) and Kiraly (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Tanner Cochrane.
The Chiefs are back on home ice tomorrow night for their last game before the Christmas break, a 7 p.m. start versus the Trail Smoke Eaters.