Twists and turns in first round series

After watching games one and two, who can predict what happens next between the BCHL's Chilliwack Chiefs and Prince George Spruce Kings.

If games one and two of Chilliwack’s first round playoff series taught us anything about how games three, four and maybe five will go, it’s that nothing is predictable.

The Chiefs lost 3-1 in game one Friday, with Spruce Kings goalie Kirk Thompson stopping 43 of 44 shots?

OK, maybe you saw that coming.

But did you or anyone else see the Chiefs beating Prince George 10-1 in the Saturday night rematch?

That’s not a misprint.


“I thought we had a good game in the loss, and we just didn’t get the bounces,” said Trevor Hills, who scored three of Chilliwack’s goals. “But we stepped it up another notch and played real well from the net out.”

Hills and company learned 3:03 into Saturday’s game that Thompson is not some invincible goaltending beast.

Austin Plevy proved that when he beat the stopper with an unscreened wrister from the left faceoff dot. Phil Zielonka did the same a minute later, blowing a shot past Thompson from the high slot.

“It definitely showed he was human like everyone else, especially when he was unbelievable the night before,” Hills said. “It was good to get some pucks past him and get him out of the net.”

Thompson was pulled 13:36 into period two after giving up five goals on 22 shots, his aura of invincibility shattered.

Liam McLeod came on in relief and didn’t fare any better.

By the end of the night, Hills had three, Zielonka had two and five Chiefs (Plevy, Josh Hansen, Tanner Burns, Alex Perron-Fontaine and Ryan Donohoe) had singles in a record setting offensive explosion.

Chilliwack tied the franchise mark for goals in a playoff game, and set a franchise record for most lopsided playoff win.

“This was a lot of fun, but we don’t want to get too high,” Hills said. “It’s certainly good for our confidence, which is good for us going forward.”

Game three of the series was played Monday night, after Progress press deadlines.

Check to see how that went.

Which brings us to game four, tonight at the Prince George Coliseum.

The Chiefs will either have their backs against the wall, facing elimination, or be in position to close out the series. Either way, Hills said the team needs to have a short memory, not lingering on what happened a game or two before.

“It’s a tighter rink and a more physical game when we play up there,”

Hills said. “It should be hard-nosed playoff hockey, and we don’t want to have to come back home for a game five. Anything can happen if it gets that far, so it’s better to finish it off in PG.”

On the Prince George side, the Spruce Kings accomplished one of their goals by earning a split in Chilliwack. And Dupas believes Thompson will bounce back as the series goes on.

“Kirk can steal the series by himself if that’s the way it has to go. We hope that we don’t put him in a position where he has to steal the series, but he’s capable of doing it,” Dupas noted. “(Mitch) Gillam and Kirk, I think, are a bit of a saw off. The difference is they have a lot of firepower. We haven’t been scoring as much as we’d like to.”

For Dupas and his underdog squad to complete the first round upset, they will have to put some pucks behind Gillam.

Chilliwack’s goalie have up three through the first two games (with a fourth into an empty net). Dupas knows his team can’t rely solely on Thompson and expect to win.

“You don’t beat Mitch Gillam very often when he can see the puck, so you need to have traffic there and you need to have rebounds and we have to make sure we’re there cleaning those things up,” he said. “It’s scoring by committee for us, the way it’s been all year and if we play solid in our zone, limit their power-play opportunities, I think we have a good chance.”

Check Thursday’s Chilliwack Progress sports section for a summary of games three and four, plus a look ahead.

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