The Chilliwack Chiefs earned two crucial points on home ice Friday night, edging the Prince George Spruce Kings in overtime.
Brandon Tkachuk scored the winner as his team escaped with a 4-3 win, improving to 28-16-0-1.
Chilliwack moved back ahead of idle Langley in the race for first place in the Mainland division.
The Chiefs opened the scoring just 92 seconds into this one, with No. 14 in red pulling the trigger. Taking a drop pass from linemate Jordan Kawaguchi steps inside the PG blueline, Craig Puffer snapped a shot past the blocker of Sprucies stopper Alex Brooks-Potts for his team-leading 24th of the year.
The visitors drew even at 7:04 on a Riley Hawes snipe. Hawes started the play with a shot from the high slot that whistled right. Jarryd Leung pursued the puck behind the end-line and fed a quick pass back to Hawes, who bang-banged it past Chilliwack netminder David Jacobson for his first of the year.
The Chiefs re-took the lead with 1:31 to go in the opening frame. Rory Bell parked himself in the goal-mouth as Bennett Morrison put a wrist shot on goal from the right point. Bell got a piece of it, fooling Brooks-Potts with the re-direct and collecting his eighth of the year.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Chilliwack 10-6.
A sedate second just one goal, that to Chilliwack’s at 17:33.
Off a pass from Liam Ferguson, Chiefs D-man Olivier Arseneau one-timed a point-shot rocket that Mason Boh deflected past Brooks-Potts.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Chilliwack 17-14.
With the Chiefs still sluggish, the Spruce Kings cut into the lead early in period three. Tkachuk took a double-minor for high sticking and PG’s Braiden Epp, cashed in, crashing the crease to punch a loose puck past Jacobson.
Prince George got the equalizer at 9:27, with Cole Todd rifling a shot over Jacobson’s glove from the high slot.
But the goalie redeemed himself by making a massive stop with five minutes to go. PG’s Adam Clements was left all alone in the slot, looking to bury the winner. As he zeroed in, the Ontario native was probably shocked to see Jacobson come charging out of his net, hacking the puck away like a modern-day Ron Hextall and sending this game to overtime.
Thanks to that stop, the Chiefs lived long enough to get the winner 35 seconds into OT. Tkachuk stepped around PG’s Jeremiah Luedtke at the left point and wristed a shot on net. It had just enough zip to dribble through Brooks-Potts and send the crowd home happy.
The three stars were Ryan Bowen (Chilliwack, first), Leung (second) and Jacobson (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Brandon Potomak.