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

RCMP ask for assistance for find missing Chilliwack man

Raymond Gene Jarvis has been missing since early July

Popkum fire chief urges caution after Saturday rescue from Bridal Veil Falls

11-year-old boy was stable, fire chief Walter Roos said, when delivered to a waiting ambulance

City of Chilliwack watching RCMP unionization process carefully

‘We know that this will impact our RCMP contract once an agreement is reached’ – Mayor Ken Popove

Chilliwack RCMP seeing surge in telephone-based tax scam

Victims are phoned by someone claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency, demanding money

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Most Read