Spruce Kings edge Chiefs in overtime

It took three on three overtime to settle a BCHL tilt between the Chilliwack Chiefs and Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Chilliwack Chiefs led early, rallied late and fell in overtime, all during an entertaining Saturday night BCHL clash at Prospera Centre.

The Chiefs fell 5-4 to the Prince George Spruce Kings in the second to last home game of the season. Chilliwack (13-37-2-4) has one more in the friendly confines, hosting the Coquitlam Express March 1.

The Chiefs lit up the scoreboard in the first period of this one, firing three past Prince George keeper Jesse Jenks.

The best player on the ice was also the youngest. Chilliwack’s 16-year-old rookie Jordan Kawaguchi had two goals and was dangerous on every shift.

His first snipe was a beauty. The Abbotsford native picked the pocket of PG defenceman Christian Weidauer at the Chilliwack blueline and had a clear path to the Spruce Kings cage. He froze Jenks with a couple of subtle forehand feints, then pulled the puck to his backhand, sliding it past the sprawling netminder.

Prince George shot themselves in the foot a few minutes later, taking back to back penalties to set up the second Chilliwack goal. Jenks took the first with a delay-of-game minor. Bryant Christian’s slash put the Sprucies two men down for 1:21 and Mathieu Tibbet made they pay.

Carter Cochrane got the assist, sneaking in from the point to take a shot from the high slot. The puck hit a body in front and dropped to the ice in front of Tibbet, who turned and swept it in for his team-leading 27th of the year.

Kawaguchi got another beauty just over a minute later. Jumping on a loose puck a step or two inside the PG blueline, he skated into the left faceoff circle and blew a slap-shot past Jenks, picking the top corner of the goalie’s glove.

Jenks was done at that point, having yielded three goals on seven shots. Alex Murray came on in relief.

Kawaguchi almost had his third of the period as time ticked down. He curled off the right-wall and into the slot, taking aim at the far right corner.

He beat Murray, but watched the puck clang off the base of the left goal-post.

Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured the Chiefs 12-10.

Prince George got one goal back early in the middle frame. With Chilliwack’s Jake Hand in the penalty box and his team on the power play, Spruce Kings D-man Skylar Pacheco delivered a rising wrist shot from the point.

Sean Landrey got his stick on the puck, re-directing it down and past Chiefs netminder Josh Halpenny.

Justin Rai was in the right place at the right time as the puck squirted out of a crowd of skaters in the Chilliwack goal-mouth. With Halpenny lying on his tummy, the Surrey native popped the puck into the unguarded cage for a power play goal.

Back to five-on-five, PG forward Brogan O’Brien wheeled down the wing and fired a long-distance shot from the left wing wall. Halpenny stopped it, but left the rebound in the blue paint for Marco Ballarin, who fought off a Cochrane check to punch it in.

Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured the visitors 22-18 and they took their first lead of the game 2:59 into period three.

Chad Staley pulled the trigger on his 28th of the year, firing a backhand shot from the hashmarks that found twine over Halpenny’s glove.

Trying to give his team a spark, Chilliwack veteran Tanner Cochrane dropped the mitts with Stephen Penner at the 7:41 mark. Cochrane spent most of the bout hanging on and dodging overhand rights from the big blueliner, drawing cheers for the fight-ending takedown.

Chilliwack had a glorious chance to draw even with eight minutes left.

On a solo rush down the right wing, Tibbet burst wide around Wiedauer and cut hard to the net. The Prince George defender hooked him in desperation and sent him sliding heavily back-first into the right goal-post.

Sent to center ice for a penalty shot, the 20-year-old veteran sped in at top speed and tried a five-hole shot.

Murray slammed his pads shut to keep it out.

But Chilliwack kept coming, and got the tying goal with 5:26 remaining. Kiefer McNaughton carried the puck over the Spruce King blueline and saucered a pass to Jaret Babych as he scooted down the right wing. Babych fired from the faceoff dot, sneaking the puck through a sliver of space between Murray’s blocker and leg pad.

At the other end, Halpenny made a sprawling stop with 10 seconds left, stretching his right skate as far as it could go to kick a puck off the goal-line.

Five minutes of four on four overtime solved nothing, leaving the visitors to net the winner 19 seconds into three-on-three.

Rai got it, fending off a Kawaguchi check to slip a forehand shot past Halpenny.

The three stars were Kawaguchi (first), Staley (second) and Rai (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Butcher.

Announced attendance was 1,589.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother missing for four weeks

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

Abbotsford International Airport. Black Press file photo.
Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down

Statistics Canada report describes a ‘devastating year’ for air travel

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Most Read