Kurt Black of the Chilliwack Chiefs crashes into the net during the first period of a game against the Coquitlam Express at Prospera Centre Saturday night.

Puffer scores three as Chiefs rout Express

Craig Puffer scored five times in back to back weekend wins over Coquitlam, with his team improving to 9-1-0-1.

Craig Puffer continued his rookie season to remember Saturday night, scoring three goals in a 6-3 home-ice win over the Coquitlam Express.

Chiefs goaltender Aidan Pelino stopped 34 of 37 shots as Chilliwack completed a weekend sweep of their Mainland division rivals.

The Chiefs topped the Express 5-3 in Coquitlam Friday night, and come out of the weekend with a 9-1-0-1 record.

Puffer and crew jumped all over the Express in the opening minutes of this one.

The Chiefs got the scoring started just 3:06 in on a goal by Liam Ferguson. The Connecticut kid finished off a three-way passing play that started with a neutral zone turnover. Chilliwack native Ryan Bowen flew into the Coquitlam zone and flipped a pass to Tanner Campbell on the left wing. Campbell threaded a pass through Express D-man Daniel Fritz to Ferguson, who had a chip-in for his third of the year.

Just over a minute later, Tipper Higgins fired a shot from the top of the right circle, with Coquitlam netminder Braden Krogfoss kicking the rebound into the slot. A quick whack by Puffer and it was in the net.

Puffer moved into the league lead in goals at 16:04.

Rory Bell drew the assist, jarring the puck loose with a hard hit on the right-wing boards. Puffer nabbed the disc, skated toward the net and waited, waited, waited before slipping a low shot inches inside the far post.

But Coquitlam got one back in the last minute of period one, with Corey Mackin striking on a power play, and came flying at the Chiefs to start period two. Sensing a shift in momentum, Chilliwack bench boss Jason Tatarnic called a timely timeout around the 7:30 mark.

Tatarnic settled his team down and they went to a power play soon after.

With Cameron Bertsch in the sin bin for hooking, Puffer set up Jordan Kawaguchi for a wide-open look at the right hash-mark. The Abbotsford native rifled his shot over the crossbar, but it bounced off the end-glass and back in front, where guess-who chipped it in.

Puffer’s third of the game and 12th of the year gave Chilliwack a 4-1 lead.

After Coquitlam’s Jackson Cressey scored to make it 4-2, the Chiefs went back to the power play. At the tail end of  a Brett Supinski hooking minor, Kawaguchi tried to stickhandle his way through three Express defenders.

He lost the puck, then created a turnover for Jake Hand, who swooped in with a top shelf shot for his fifth of the year, and first since the BCHL Showcase.

Kurt Black added to Chilliwack’s lead in the first minute of period three.

With traffic passing in front of him, Krogfoss didn’t see Eric Roberts launch a wrist shot from the right point. He didn’t pick up Black’s deflection until it was behind him, giving Black his fourth of the season.

Coquitlam’s potent power play gave the Express one more goal, with Joey Santucci sniping his second of the year at 10:21. But Pelino was stout the rest of the way earning his sixth win in seven BCHL starts.

The three stars were Puffer (first), Ferguson (second) and Mackin (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Hand.

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