The battle of Mainland division leaders didn’t live up to the hype.
The second place Chilliwack Chiefs hosted the first place Coquitlam Express Sunday afternoon at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
The expected toe-to-toe showdown ended up being a one-sided win for the Express, who made it look easy cruising to a 4-1 win.
Coquitlam turned it on after a slow start, handing the Chiefs their second home ice loss of the weekend. Chilliwack’s record slipped to 11-7-3-1, still good for second spot in the Mainland. Coquitlam improved to 17-4-0-0, leapfrogging idle Penticton and Salmon Arm for first overall in the BCHL standings.
The Chiefs were arguably the better team through the first 20 minutes, but the visitors came away with a 2-0 lead.
Greg Lapointe did the damage on the opener. Pursuing a loose pick into the Chilliwack zone, the Quebec kid outraced Chiefs D Garrett Valk, cut across the goal-mouth and tucked a backhand shot inside the right goal post at 14:09.
In the last minute of the period it was Coquitlam defenceman Drew Cooper sending a wrist shot on net from the right point. Chilliwack goalie Mathieu Caron made the stop, but Massimo Rizzo was lurking in the blue point to bury the rebound.
Shots on goal in period one favoured the Chiefs 12-6.
The Express added to their lead 7:45 into the middle frame on a power play goal by Steven Bellini. A point shot set off a scramble in front of the Chilliwack net. Connor Gregga had the first whack at the rebound and Bellini punched it in for his third of the year.
At the other end, Coquitlam goalie and Chilliwackian Clay Stevenson had the easiest period of hockey ever.
The Chiefs couldn’t put a single puck on net, prompting the Express twitter feed to say, ‘At the media timeout, we have more 2nd period goals than we have shots against. That is good, right?’
Yes it is.
Coquitlam fired 18 pucks at Caron in period two and led 23-12 on the shot clock through 40 minutes.
Chilliwack finally got on the board 2:56 into the third period as Cooper Moore beat Stevenson on a blast from the left point. The defenceman snapped a nine game goal-less drought, collecting his eighth of the season while breathing life back into the building.
A power play goal by Coquitlam’s Rizzo at 7:26 killed whatever momentum the home team had when No. 14 in black located the rebound of a Bellini shot, cut across the goal mouth and snapped a shot inside the left post.
That wrapped up the scoring as the Chiefs managed just five third period shots.
The three stars were an Express sweep with Rizzo (first), Bellini (second) and Cooper (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Brett Willits.
Chilliwack is on the road Friday, visiting Langley, and home Saturday (7 p.m.) to play Prince George.