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Rivermen Pull Away In 3rd, Send Chiefs Home Empty

December 2, 2013 Leave a comment

The Chiefs capped a weekend to forget Sunday, losing to the Langley Rivermen by a score of 4-2 at the Langley Events Centre. Chilliwack has now dropped four straight, and were unable to win the two games they had in hand over Surrey. As a result, the Chiefs remain eight points back of the Eagles for the final playoff spot in the Mainland division.

Chilliwack opened the scoring on Sunday, with Austin Plevy cashing in on a three way passing play at the side of the net. Blake Gober found the captain at the right post after Zach Diamontoni held the puck onside near the left point. The Chiefs were able to generate chances and shots on Langley ‘keeper Brock Crosswaithe, and they took the 1-0 lead to the dressing room after one period. It was a first period closer to the one the team played Friday against Powell River.

Langley got the only two goals of the second period, and both stung in their own way. Kevan Killistoff got two whacks at the puck at the tail end of a power play, and put the second shot past Josh Halpenny to tie the game 28 seconds into the second period. The two teams traded chances until Langley’s Matt Ustaski took advantage of a poor pass back to the blueline on a Chiefs powerplay, and broke in on a shorthanded breakaway. Halpenny got a piece of the shot with his blocker, but the puck floated over the shoulder for the goal – the fourth shorthanded goal the Chiefs have allowed in the last four games. That marker was a killer, and gave Langley a lead they would not squander the rest of the night.

There were three fights in this game, with Chilliwack’s Keifer McNaughton, Andrew Silard, and Shay Laurent all dropping the gloves. While all three scraps were entertaining, it was of little consolation to the Chiefs, who lost the big battle on the board for good in the third period. Victor Dombrovsky’s power play goal put Langley up by two, and then Will Cook took advantage of a poor breakout pass in the Chiefs zone, and outwaited Halpenny to slide in the fourth goal.

McNaughton added one late for the Chiefs on a 5 on 3 in the final minute. The Chiefs will get back to practice this week, and prepare for three games on the Island, beginning Friday in Powell River.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

SOEC None Too Kind To Visitors: Aftermath

December 1, 2013 Leave a comment

After putting some thought into a 9-4 Chiefs loss to Penticton on Saturday night at the SOEC, I can break it down into three sections. Not three periods. Three sections.

Indulge me, won’t you? (All 39 of you! You guys are great!)

Part 1: After a superb first period Friday night against Powell River, you felt like the Chiefs could do something similar Saturday night, especially with the catalyst second line of Tibbet/Hand/Silard out first. The tone was ready to be set – but not the way the Chiefs hoped. It was Penticton scoring first, with Paul Stoykowych’s point blank chance deflecting in off of Cody Deporcq’s skate.  The Vees were off and running after stumbling a bit in the previous two weeks. In my three years of paying occasional attention to Penticton’s hockey club, I know it’s not smart to give them momentum in their own building. They had it early, as the Chiefs weren’t able to generate too much. When Brad McClure finished a breakaway off a terrific faceoff win/breakout to make it 3-0, the thought was the Chiefs were in for a long night.

They eventually were. Just not yet.

Part 2: Give the boys a ton of credit here. They certainly could have shut ‘er down after the McClure breakaway, but a late power play and ensuing cannon from Cooper Rush brought the Chiefs some life. What a great shot from Cooper as well – he can do that, and it’s quite a weapon back there when the puck gets through, as Hunter Miska found out. Rush would add another just 34 seconds into the second period, this one coming at 5 on 5 from the left point. High and over the glove. A heater. 3-2. Andrew Silard was stoned by Miska on a breakaway moments after that to keep the deficit at one, but the Chiefs would continue to press, and when Blake Gober banged one in from the side of the crease, the Chiefs were alive. Man, they were alive. Great resiliency from the group to climb out of a hole like that.

Enter Brad McClure again.

Part 3: McClure beat his man off the rush wide to the right circle, and put one of those sharp angle Mario Lemieux jobs over the shoulder of Spencer Tremblay, who had the knee down against the post, but left some room up top. Room  for a premier player in this league to put the puck, as McClure did on the eventual game winner.

That wasn’t the killer. Riley Alfred supplied that when he outmuscled Shay Laurent to the front of the net, and put a backhander past Tremblay in tight. 5-3 Penticton after two. The Chiefs could erase one deficit in that building, but two was too much to ask. The Vees rolled from there, adding four more in the third before Kurt Black got a late one for the Chiefs.

With only 16 shots on goal, the Chiefs certainly made their opportunities count. Give ‘em that, no question. But it’s very hard to ignore the 17 goals allowed in the last two games. Chilliwack can put the puck in the net with any team in the league. What’s frustrating is when you get a five spot at home, followed by four on the road against a good team, and still come up with zero points in the standings.

It starts from the goaltenders on out. They’ll learn from it and be better. They’ll also have no choice, as a quick turnaround sees them battle the Rivermen in Langley at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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