In a first versus worst battle Saturday night as the BCHL leading Chilliwack Chiefs skated to a 4-1 win over the 17th place Surrey Eagles at Prospera Centre.
It was a classic bad team vs good team game, with the home team taking their foes a little too lightly.
The visitors got lights-out goaltending from Cayden Bailey, who made 40 saves and his crew was one shot away from tying the game in the third period.
But the sleepy Chiefs pulled it out in the end, beating Surrey (11-37-2-2) for the eighth time in eight meetings this season. Chilliwack extended its current winning streak to eight games, winning their 40th game of the season (40-12-1-0) and staying seven points ahead of Prince George for first place in the Mainland division and the league.
Matt Holmes opened the scoring in this one, netting his 27th of the year off an offensive zone draw. Centre Cole Donhauser went straight ahead off the faceoff in the left faceoff circle and tapped a centering pass into the goal-mouth where Holmes swept a backhand shot through the legs of Eagles keeper Cayden Bailey.
Carter Wilkie doubled the lead at 18:25 on a Chilliwack power play.
Camping in front of the Surrey net, the Calgary kid got his stick on a centering pass from Ethan Bowen, redirecting it past Bailey for his 12th of the year.
The Eagles got the only goal in the middle frame.
Cody Schiavon sniped his third of the season, skating into the right faceoff circle and rifling a far-side shot over the shoulder of Chiefs goalie Nolan Hildebrand.
Holding a slim lead heading to the final frame, Chilliwack finally put the visitors away with a third period power play goal by Harrison Blaisdell. Stationed to the left of the Surrey net, the Abbotsford native buried a backhand pass from Holmes for his 32nd of the season.
The Eagles protested, saying Blaisdell knocked the stick out of a defender’s hands and swept it into the corner seconds before he scored, and they had a point, but the goal stood.
Mitch Andres iced the game with 22.5 seconds remaining, scoring into an empty net.
The three stars were Holmes (first), Nathan Kelly (second) and Bailey (third) with Chilliwack’s Clark Nelson the Energy Player of the Game.
The Chiefs are on the road in Salmon Arm Wednesday night.
They have home games next Saturday and Sunday against Nanaimo and Prince George.