Chilliwack Bruins Kevin Sundher misses a shot on Kelowna Rockets goaltender Adam Brown during Saturday night's game at Prospera Centre.

Wounded Bears take two from Rockets

Wilderness guides will tell you the most dangerous thing in the world is a wounded animal, because they will summon everything they’ve got to stay alive.

The same might be said of the Chilliwack Bruins, who fought with the ferocity of a wounded bear to earn a 4-1 home ice victory over the Kelowna Rockets Saturday night. Missing three veteran defenceman (Brandon Manning, Jeff Einhorn and Zach Habscheid), Chilliwack was forced to play a forward, Curt Gogol, on the blueline. The Bruins also had a rookie, Turner Popoff, playing his first Western Hockey League game on D.

But the Bruins played one of their most disciplined games of the year (just one power play against) and did all the little things that coaches love (shot blocks and back checks) to earn their second victory in as many nights against the B.C. division leading Rockets.

Trying to rebound from a 5-4 shootout loss in their own barn Friday night, Kelowna scored the only goal in the first period. Saskatoon native Max Adolph parked in the blue paint and got his stick on a Mitchell Chapman point shot, tipping the puck five-hole on Gore for his second of the year.

Gore appears to be back in form over the last week, and the 20-year-old was both good and lucky through 20 minutes. He was lucky that Slovakian Gale Koren couldn’t hit a wide open net on a perfect feed from Kevin Smith. He was good on several stops, including a huge one on Minnesota Wild draft pick Brett Bulmer.

Bulmer had a shorthanded breakaway from center ice and had the dekes coming fast and furious as he stormed in. Gore almost bit on a backhand fake, but stretched post-to-post to make the toe save as Bulmer went back to the forehand.

Gore was the busier goaltender in period one, facing 12 shots while Kelowna’s Adam Brown faced 10.

The Bruins offence produced two goals in the middle frame.

Brandon Magee got the good guys on the board at 3:25, fighting off the check of Evan Bloodoff to shovel in the rebound from a Robin Soudek shot. Magee’s 10th of the year knotted the score at 1-1, and set the stage for Kevin Sundher’s go-ahead goal.

Ryan Howse earned the assist with a pass out of the right corner. Camped in the crease, Sundher had his first shot stopped by the right skate of Brown. But he shoved the puck and Brown’s paddle across the goal-line at 17:20.

Video review was required to confirm the goal, but referee Ryan Bonnett pointed to center ice and sent Chilliwack into the final frame with a 2-1 lead.

Shots on goal through 40 minutes were dead even at 21-21.

Through all their ups and downs this year, the Bruins have been very good at protecting late leads (

Commitment to team defence was evident early in period three as Jamie Crooks threw himself in front of a Kelowna point shot, and Gogol went down to block a Tyson Barrie attempt.

At the other end, Howse was making life miserable for Brown and the Rockets, scoring twice to put the game away. MacKenzie Johnston earned an unofficial assist on the first, breaking the cardinal rule of defencemen; thou shalt not throw passes up the middle, particularly when you’re the last man back. Howse picked off Johnston’s ill-advised pass and beat Brown easily at 8:58.

With 5:05 remaining, the 19-year-old Calgary Flames prospect took a dish from Roman Horak and snapped the puck from the left faceoff dot, blowing the puck past Brown for his 39th of the year. Howse’s sniping earned him first star honours, with Horak as the second star and Gogol the third.

Chilliwack returns to home ice tomorrow night at 5 p.m., hosting Jim Hiller and his Tri-City Americans at Prospera Centre.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pothole patching crews in Chilliwack are hard at it in the wake of the big thaw

How is the pothole problem across Chilliwack? ‘It’s pretty bad,’ says city operations director

Basketball coach Harvey Adrian finds fountain of youth guiding Sardis Grade 9 boys teams

Adrian runs two squads at Sardis Secondary School, imparting wisdom to players 60 years his junior.

Semi hits pole on Lickman Road in Chilliwack

Road is blocked in both directions north of South Sumas

TRAFFIC: Roadwork, stalled semi causing major delays on Highway 1 in Langley

Westbound commuters should try the Fraser Highway or 56th Ave

Five Corners Intersection project to start in downtown Chilliwack this spring

A traffic signal, streetlights, water main, new curb/sidewalk, and 3,000 sq.m. of paving are coming

Feds preparing plane to fly Canadians out of Wuhan, once China gives OK

160 Canadians have asked for help to leave province at centre of coronavirus outbreak

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Fraser Valley homeless advocate killed by RCMP leaves behind complicated legacy

Barry Shantz was shot by Lytton police officers after six-hour standoff on Jan. 13

Body found in vehicle at bottom of Mission ravine

Deceased male appears to be the lone occupant of the vehicle, discovered on Dewdney Trunk Road

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in August 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

‘I am so sorry’: Stolen Baby Bear statue reunited with Mama, Papa Bear in B.C. town

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

Most Read