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Chiefs Derail Express In Coquitlam

Mitch Gillam made 32 saves and was named the game’s second star. Photo: Garrett James

That was quite the effort from the Chilliwack Chiefs, I must say.

A 4-1 victory. Outshot the Coquitlam Express on this night 42-33. Austin Plevy scored twice. Josh Hansen added his team leading 12th, matching his total from all last season, Kiefer McNaughton scored his first as a Chief…..

But there was more to it than that. There’s always more to it then that.

Here’s what I saw:

– Chilliwack’s first goal came less than five minutes in on a powerplay. Plevy finished off the play, as he had six times previously with the extra man, but it was Shea Laurent who made it happen with a crisp cross-seam pass from the left circle. Good communication in finding Plevy open at the side of the goal for the first of the game.

– Cole Huggins really locked in after that, though. The Chiefs had numerous chances to blow the game wide open, including a tremendous individual rush by Trevor Hills, but Huggins was certainly up to the task through the rest of the first period, and nearly all the way through the second.

– Back to Trevor Hills – he didn’t score, although he probably should have. This kid currently exudes confidence when he carries the puck. Some of the moves he made in tight spaces were….well…absurd. Fun to watch on this night.

– Coquitlam (for whatever reason) saved their big push to the third period, when they were already trailing 3-0. They’ve won just once against divisional opponents this year.

– Now, as for how the Chiefs increased a 1-0 advantage (which felt like it stayed that way forever, thanks to the great work of Huggins) to a 3-0 advantage…We’ll come back to Plevy again. Ben Israel made a nice play at centre ice late in the second period to create some room for a rush into the zone. He put the shot on net, which Huggins committed to fully, and stopped. He didn’t freeze it, however, kicking it into the slot, on to the waiting stick of Austin Plevy.

If you’re going to kick a rebound into the slot to Austin Plevy, you’re gonna have a bad time.

– Josh Hansen scored. Again. Next. (A real back-breaker, too. Right at the end of the second period shorthanded to go up 3-0. A shot I’m sure Huggins would like to have back.)

– At least, that goal seemed like a back-breaker. Kiefer McNaughton opened the scoring in the third period to make it 4-0 for his first as a Chief, which Garrett Forster, who set the goal up with a clean faceoff win, celebrated by falling over while skating out for the post goal hug, tipping McNaughton over in the process. (This was incredibly funny.)

– The laughter subsided quickly when Coquitlam’s Phil Zielonka got behind the Chilliwack defense, and roofed a backhand deke on Mitch Gillam to break the shutout bid. The Express woke up after that, peppering Gillam with 19 shots in the period.

Their puck pressure was impressive, and the Chiefs found themselves having to calm down a little. John Siemer, Alex Kerfoot, and Mitch Nardi did their absolute best to bring the Express back, but Gillam was at the top of his game on this night. He made a few very nice saves, tracking pucks through crowds on point shots, and staying calm on a pair of net-mouth scrambles.

So with that, the Chiefs now find themselves with ten victories, sitting atop the Mainland Division, and second overall in the BCHL behind (Guess who?) Penticton. The road trip continues Saturday against a struggling, agitated Vipers team in Vernon. The Vipers lost at home Friday night to the rival Silverbacks in overtime. You can bet that’s not sitting well there, so the Chiefs will have to be ready if they want to push the win total to eleven.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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