The Chilliwack Chiefs took two points from one of the BCHL’s top dogs Sunday (Nov. 27), handing the Surrey Eagles a 6-2 loss at the South Surrey Arena. The loss was only the fourth in 20 games for Eagles, who sport the third best record in the 18-team league.
Chilliwack jumped on shaky starting goalie Michael Sochan, beating him three times on eight shots in the first period.
Mason Kesselring opened the scoring at 4:53, followed by AJ Lacroix at 7:18. Ryden Evers slipped a puck behind Chiefs stopper Austin McNicholas at 9:52 but Dylan Kinch scored at the 16 minute mark to give his crew a 3-1 lead through 20 minutes.
Chilliwack pushed the lead to 5-1 with second period goals by Michael Stenberg and Nathan Morin. Stenberg’s was his first in six BCHL games since coming up from the USHL, and Kinch collected his team-leading eighth of the season in period three to wrap up the scoring.
McNicholas stopped 28 of 30 shots in the Chilliwack net, winning for the third time in his last four starts. The New York product needed a bounce back effort after a rougher outing Saturday night (Nov. 27) in Coquitlam. Facing another of the BCHL’s better squads in the Express (11-7-3-1, third in the Coastal conference), the Chiefs fell 7-5 in what head coach and GM Brian Maloney called “one of our worst showings of the year.”
Coquitlam scored four goals on 22 first period shots, with Ray Hamlin, Gavin Giesbrecht, Mirko Buttazzoni and Tyler Kopff lighting the lamp behind McNicholas. Chilliwack got two goals on 14 shots, one from Kinch and the other from Mateo Mrsic.
Buttazzoni’s second of the game had Coquitlam up 5-2 just 71 seconds into the middle frame, but the Chiefs battled back on goals by Kesselring and Abram Wiebe.
After Drew Garzone made it 6-4 early in the final frame, Kinch scored to set up a frantic finish. But Hamlin was able to put the game away with an empty netter.
As much as he didn’t like the Coquitlam game, Maloney was happy with the Surrey win, which leaves his team with a record of 11-8-0-1.
“A completely different team showed up Saturday,” Maloney said. “It was a quick turnaround playing against arguably the best team in our conference, with them having a day’s rest. We played a really mature game, which was nice to see.”
Chilliwack has a mid-week match coming up Wednesday night (7 p.m.) at the Chilliwack Coliseum when they host the struggling Langley Rivermen (6-14-0-2). They’re on the road Friday (Dec. 2) against the Nanaimo Clippers and Saturday (Dec. 3) against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.