Bryan Allbee had the rare hat-trick from a defenceman, the Chilliwack Chiefs rallied from a three goal deficit and played the Vernon Vipers to a rare tie with a 4-4 final Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.
This game came alive in the final 20 minutes as the Chiefs dug their way out of a 4-1 hole, but for the first 40 minutes it was a snoozer.
The visitors got the scoring started with a Josh Prokop power play goal at 4:52.
With Regan Kimens serving a bench minor for too many men, Chris Jandric started the play at the left point. Gliding right, Jandric slid the puck to point partner Jack Judson. He floated to the top of the right faceoff circle and fed a diagonal cross ice pass to Prokop near the bottom of the left circle.
Chilliwack goaltender Daniel Chenard was slow to react, leaving half his net wide open. Prokop couldn’t have missed had he tried. The Vernon native buried Judson’s feed for his third of the season and a 1-0 Vipers lead.
The visitors doubled it at 11:22 on a goal by Niko Karamanis. Keyvan Mokhtari earned the assist, driving into the Chilliwack zone, cutting left to right across the slot and delivering a pass back against the grain into the goal-mouth. Camped in the blue paint, Karamanis collected the pass on his backhand, wheeled and stuffed it inside the left post for his fifth of the year.
Vernon added a third goal in the final minute of period one.
Viper forward Shane Kelly took a run at Chilliwack defenceman Matt Slick, driving him into the Vernon bench and delivering a blow to the head.
Chiefs D-man Brendan O’Reilly came off the bench to fight Kelly and when the dust settled the Vipers had a four minute power play and both players were banished from the game.
Seconds later it was Vernon blueliner Michael Ufberg launching a wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle that evaded Chenard through a screen.
The Vipers had three goals on nine shots but Chenard remained in net as the second period started.
Chilliwack finally got on the board midway through the middle frame when back-to-back Viper minors set the Chiefs up with a five-on-three for 1:15.
Allbee took a Skyler Brind’Amour pass in the goal-mouth and lifted a top shelf shot over the blocker of Vernon goalie Anthony Yamnitsky.
But the Vipers killed the second penalty and restored their three-goal lead just 132 seconds later on Ufberg’s second of the game.
The Pennsylvania native took a pass from Brett Stapley off the cycle and cut unchallenged across the goal mouth, sliding a backhand shot inside the far post.
That’s the last one that would beat Chenard, who made a series of huge stops to allow his team to battle back in the third period.
Allbee’s second of the game made it 4-2 5:39 into period three. With Skyler Brind’Amour battling a Vernon defender in the blue paint and creating a perfect screen, the defenceman was able to beat Yamnitsky with a wrist shot from the left point.
Less than three minutes later it was Jared Turcotte storming in on the forecheck and jarring the puck loose with a crushing check on Vernon’s Judson on the end boards. Chilliwack captain Will Calverley skated onto the loose puck and took a shot that Yamnitsky stopped, but Turcotte tracked down the rebound and popped it into the cage for his first of the season.
The Chiefs completed the comeback with 3:16 to play on Allbee’s third of the game. Anthony Vincent drew a penalty when he drove hard to the net and forced Vernon’s Michael Young to haul him down. On the ensuing power play Vincent fed the puck to Allbee at the right point and the Prince George native hammered it home to send this game to overtime.
Five minutes of four on four OT solved nothing, thanks to a massive Chenard save on a fast break by Lambert. In three-on-three overtime the goalie got his blocker on a point-blank Karamanis shot from eight feet out.
Calverley had the last and best chance to get a win, set up in front of the Vernon goal with two seconds left only to be thwarted by Yamnitsky.
The three stars were Allbee (first), Ufberg (second) and Calverley (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Vincent.