Chilliwack ( Vanni De Bartolo ) – Tommy Lyons scored twice including the game winner and Connor Milburn scored his first career BCHL goal and added an assist as the Chilliwack Chiefs outlasted the Prince George Spruce Kings 6-5 Saturday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
The annual First Responders Night featured the Matthew Hutchinson Memorial awards that were handed out before the game before a crowd of over 2,500 which included many former Chilliwack Chiefs who currently serve in some capacity as a First Responder.
Prince George weathered an early Chilliwack storm in the opening few minutes of the game backed by goaltender Carter Woodside who made a number of big saves in the opening period. Nick Poisson scored his first of two goals on the night on the very first shot the Spruce Kings fired on Mathieu Caron. Later in the period at the 14:51 mark Prince George extended its lead to 2-0 when Nick Bochen scored his sixth of the season. Thirty-four seconds later, on the ensuing shift, Arlo Merritt cut the Chiefs deficit in half scoring his 13th of the campaign finishing off a pretty passing play in the attacking zone.
Chilliwack outshot Prince George 16 – 6 in the period but trailed 2-1.
The second period saw the flood gates open for Chilliwack as the Chiefs scored four times in the period.
Peter Reynolds drew the Chiefs even at the 4:29 mark when he drifted into the Spruce Kings zone and fired what seemed to be a harmless looking shot that fooled Woodside on the glove side. Thirty-four seconds later Chilliwack took its first lead of the night when Milburn notched his first goal of the season to put the Chiefs up 3-2. Then just under three minutes later, Ethan Bowen scored his 10th of the season on the power-play. The Bo-Show returned to action Friday night against the Coquitlam Express after missing 16 straight contests due to injury and made his first home appearance Saturday night against Prince George since suffering the injury in late November. The Spruce Kings drew to within one goal at the 14:37 mark when Poisson netted his second of the game. Then with just under two minutes remaining in the period Lyons converted his 12th of the season on the power-play to give Chilliwack a 5-3 lead after forty minutes of play.
Chilliwack outshot Prince George 15-12 in the period.
Lyons scored his second of the night early in the third period to extend the Chiefs lead to 6-3. Less than two minutes later the Prince George power-play went to work and Fin Williams was able to rip home 10th of the season to give the Spruce Kings some life. Then at the 12:57 mark Corey Cunningham was able to direct the puck towards the Chilliwack goal with Caron down and out in the blue paint and bank the puck off his pads and into the net. But that was as close as Prince George got as Caron and the Chiefs shut the door the rest of the way in the final minutes of play.
Nikita Nesterenko extended his point streak to seven games after collecting his eleventh multi-point game of the season. The Minnesota Wild draft pick sits three points back of Victoria’s Cody Monds for the rookie scoring lead in the BCHL.
The Chiefs next game is Wednesday January 29th when they play host to the Merritt Centennials at the Coliseum. Game is 7pm.
You can catch all the play-by-play action with Vanni De Bartolo and Tyler Garrah on Produce Gone Wild Chiefs hockey beginning with the pre-game show at 6:35pm.