Eric Welsh – Chilliwack Progress
The Chilliwack Chiefs have battled all the way back to even in their first round BCHL playoff series against the Langley Rivermen and will host game seven Sunday night at Prospera Centre.
Down 0-3 in the best-of-seven series after a 5-0 loss Monday, things looked bleak for the regular-season champs.
How things can change in just four days.
Daniel Chenard has been lights-out in the Chiefs net and depth players have stepped up with Chilliwack’s big guns struggling to score.
After a 3-2 road win Friday night at the George Preston Arena, the Chiefs find themselves in position to complete a legendary comeback, with the Rivermen rattled and reeling against the ropes.
Jacques Bouquot had an outstanding game five for the Chiefs. He might have been the best player on the ice, but he didn’t come away with any numbers to prove it.
Puck luck conspired to keep him pointless.
But good and bad luck tend to balance out. The Connecticut native had another great showing in game six, and this time he was rewarded, scoring all three goals for the Chiefs.
Bouquot got the all-important opening goal at 18:32 of period one, set up by Brett Willits, to give Chilliwack a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Mark Gallant continued his John Druceian run in the BCHL playoffs, scoring his eight of this series midway through period two to tie the score at 1-1.
But Bouquot produced his second of the game, scored shorthanded, to restore the Chiefs lead just over three minutes later.
Shayne Battler got a surprise start in the Langley net after Braedon Fleming played the first five.
It seems to have been a coaching decision by Rivermen bench boss Bobby Henderson, who played a hunch despite Fleming being solid through the first five games.
Battler didn’t disappoint. But for three shots by Bouquot, he was flawless.
He stopped 18 pucks in the middle frame alone, keeping his team in the game long enough for them to net the equalizer late in period three.
Chilliwack goalie Daniel Chenard was assessed a rare delay-of-game penalty and the Rivermen quickly cashed on a goal by Tanner Versluis, sending the game to overtime.
Bouquot was back at it in the extra session, coming within a whisker of the hat-trick goal before being robbed by Battler as the goalie dove across his crease.
A couple minutes later Bouquot scored the winner. No. 27 in red took a hot shot that Battler couldn’t absorb. The rebound took a Chiefs bounce off a body in front and found its way into the cage.
The goal came on their 39th shot of the game.
Chenard stopped 33 pucks at the other end. Since allowing three goals on 10 shots in Chilliwack’s game three loss, the goalie has stopped 97 of 101 pucks and is the biggest reason the Chiefs have a chance to win it.
The three stars were Bouquot (first), Battler (second) and Chenard (third).
Puck drop for Sunday’s game seven is 7 p.m. at Prospera Centre.