Holden Katzalay scored the winning goal with a finger snap on the clock Saturday night as the Surrey Eagles stunned the Chilliwack Chiefs with a 4-3 win at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
Head to head meetings between the division rivals had resulted in 15 straight Chilliwack wins coming into this game.
But after a bad first period, Surrey played near flawless road hockey to hand the Chiefs their first regulation time defeat in nine home games this season.
Chilliwack fell to 11-6-3-1 while the Eagles improved to 7-13-0-1.
The Chiefs dominated the opening 20 and led 2-0 at the break on goals by Brett Willits and Nikita Nesterenko.
Brett Willits got the scoring started at 3:46, potting his seventh of the year on a Chilliwack power play. Carter Wilkie started the play with a centering pass from the right wing wall. Camped out at the right goal post, Kyle Penney collected the puck, pulled it to his forehand and tried to beat Surrey goalie Thomas Scarfone. His try failed, but Willits was waiting to poke the rebound through the keeper.
Wilkie’s helper extended his current point streak to five games (two goals, three assists) and gave Willits a goal in two straight.
Nikita Nesterenko doubled the lead at 18:25.
Skating down the left wing, Willits saucered a pass into the slot where Nesterenko was left totally open. The New Yorker finished with a five hole shot for his sixth of the year.
Chilliwack out-shot Surrey 21-6 in period one and looked like they’d cruise to a one-sided win, but the Eagles turned the tables in the middle frame.
Out-shooting the Chiefs 13-5, the visitors stormed back to take the lead on goals by Brandon Santa Juana, Wyatt Schlaht and Hudson Schandor.
Two of those came on the power play. On Santa Juana’s, Katzalay won a puck battle in the right corner and put the puck into the goal mouth where his teammate lifted the puck over the glove of Chilliwack goalie Hudson Thornton.
Schlaht tied the game at 10:08, beating Thornton with a rifled wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle, and Schandor gave Surrey the lead at 18:12.
Chilliwack drew even 2:51 into the final frame on a goal by hometown kid Brett Rylance.
No. 6 planted himself in front of the Eagles net and got his stick on a Wilkie shot, deflecting the puck through Scarfone for his fifth of the season.
But the home side struggled to get open ice, and managed just seven third period shots.
Katzalay’s winning goal came with just 1.7 seconds on the clock, scored off a goal-m0uth scramble. Cristophe Tellier started the play, winning the puck behind the Chiefs net and putting a centering pass in front for Schandor.
He was stopped, but as the puck settled at the right goal post, Katzalay was able to nudge it across the line.
The three stars were Katzalay (first), Wilkie (second) and Santa Juana (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Arlo Merritt.
Chilliwack has a short turnaround before their next one. The Coquitlam Express are in town Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. start at the Chilliwack Coliseum.