Westside win keeps Chiefs in playoff spot

The Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Westside Warriors 4-3 in overtime Sunday, staying one point up on the Vernon Vipers.

Malcolm Gould sniped his second of the game 1:01 into overtime, helping his Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Westside Warriors 4-3 on Sunday.

Gould’s goal salvaged a valuable point for the Chiefs, turning a potentially disastrous weekend into a decent one.

Chilliwack came into Sunday night’s tilt reeling from losses to the Prince George Spruce Kings (4-3 in OT Friday) and Merritt (4-2 Saturday).

With the Vernon Vipers nipping at their heels in the Interior conference playoff race, the Chiefs desperately needed a win over the Warriors.

After weathering an early storm, Mathieu Tibbett got Chilliwack on the scoreboard first, planting his big frame in the goal mouth to punch in a loose puck (assists to Kody Dhaliwal and Josh Hansen).

But Westside scored twice in the middle frame to take a 2-1 lead to the third.

Curtis Toneff scored his first of the year off a feed from Marcus Basara.

Brennan Clark scored off a pass from Max French, beating Chilliwack netminder Mitch Gillam with a pretty forehand-backhand move.

Gould got his team even just 35 seconds into the final frame, picking up his 24th of the year on another Chilliwack power play.

Jaret Babych one-timed a feed from Michael Spring for his fifth of the year, putting the Chiefs up 3-2 at 6:03. But Westside’s Adam Plant tied the game at 11:57.

A Westside giveaway led to Gould’s winner in the first minute of overtime.

The North Vancouver native wired a shot over the glove of Warriors keeper Dwayne Rodrigue for his fourth game-winning goal of the year.

The net result of a 1-1-1 weekend is that the Chiefs are still holding onto the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior.

The fifth place Vernon Vipers split a pair of games, losing 6-4 to Penticton on Friday before beating Westside 3-2 in overtime Saturday.

At 27-21-1-3, Chilliwack leads the Vipers (27-23-1-2) by one point, with one game in hand. A scheduling quirk has the Chiefs playing just one game over the next eight days.

Wednesday night the team is in Salmon Arm to face the woeful Silverbacks. They don’t play again until Feb. 28, at home to Salmon Arm.

The Silverbacks have gone 2-8-0-0 over their last 10 games. Their overall record of 16-30-0-7 has them tied with the Victoria Grizzlies for the second lowest point total (39) in the league.

Only the Trail Smoke Eaters (27) have fared worse.

The Chiefs have owned the head-to-head series with Salmon Arm this season, winning all four games.

The break may help Chilliwack regain some of its health. Chilliwack was minus veteran  defencemen Ty Miller and Shay Laurent versus Westside, and 16-year-old forward Garrett Forster left the game early in the first period.