The Chilliwack Chiefs opened the 2021-22 season with a split of weekend games against the Langley Rivermen and Coquitlam Express.
Chilliwack dropped the opener by a 7-5 count Friday at Langley’s George Preston Arena, bouncing back to beat Coquitlam 7-2 in Saturday’s home opener.
CHILLIWACK 5 AT LANGLEY 7 – OCT. 8
Frankie Carogioiello scored three goals in his BCHL debut, including two in the first period as his Chiefs took a 2-1 lead into the second period.
The middle frame was a bad one for Chilliwack.
Langley peppered Chiefs goaltender Grant Riley with 14 pucks. Tyler Schleppe, Ryan Upson and Keeton Oakley beat the rookie netminder, with Kienan Draper responding for Chilliwack. The Rivermen led 4-3 through 40 minutes, and goals by Upson and Oakley had them up 6-3 at the 13:37 mark of period three.
The Chiefs made it interesting with a couple of late tallies.
Defenceman Joshua Orrico collected his first BCHL goal at 14:02, and Carogioiello collected the hat-trick goal at 17:14.
Riley was pulled for the extra attacker with 81 seconds remaining, and Joseph Messina scored into an empty net at 18:59.
The three stars were Oakley (first), Upson (second) and Carogioiello (third).
COQUITLAM 2 AT CHILLIWACK 7 – OCT. 9
Riley had a nice bounceback effort in a one-sided win over the Express, stopping 28 of 30 shots sent his way.
Cameron Johnson had three goals for Chilliwack, and four other players collected their first goals of the season.
The Express opened the scoring at 5:38 of period one on a goal by Ray Hamlin, but the Chiefs led 2-1 through 20 minutes after goals by Luca Grabas and Ethan Bowen.
Johnson nabbed his first of the game at 5:20 of period two and defenceman Thomas Messineo made it 4-1 at 11:02.
Ex-Chief Arlo Merritt made it 4-2 heading into the final period, where Chilliwack absolutely dominated.
The Chiefs fired 23 pucks at Coquitlam keeper Adam Manji. Johnson beat him twice and AJ Lacroix also scored.
Meanwhile, the Express managed just two shots on Riley.
The three stars were Johnson (first), Bowen (second) and Brett Rylance (third).
AT 1-1, Chilliwack comes out of the weekend sitting fifth in the new-look nine-team Coastal Conference.
They get Coquitlam (1-1) and Langley (2-0) again in a pair of road games this weekend.
The Chiefs visit the Express Friday night for a 7 p.m. start at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre and they’re back the George Preston Arena Saturday night for a 7:15 p.m. start.