by Eric Welsh – The Progress
A fired up Captain Calverley led the Chilliwack Chiefs to a huge home-ice victory Sunday night at Prospera Centre.
Will Calverley’s three goals made the difference in a 7-4 win over the West Kelowna Warriors. The W and the two points that come with it moved Calverley’s crew to within one point of the Surrey Eagles and two points of the Langley Rivermen in the Mainland division standings.
Chilliwack has one game in hand on both them of them and faces the Eagles on the road Monday afternoon, with a chance leapfrog Surrey and tie Langley for the second seed and possible home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
West K captain Jared Marino opened the scoring in this one, netting his 20th of the season on a Warrior power play at 4:53. Marino set up to the right of the Chilliwack net, took a cross-crease feed from Parm Dhaliwal and rifled a sharp-angle shot past Chiefs goalie Daniel Chenard.
Chilliwack got that one back at 9:44 when PJ Marrocco reeled in a cross-ice pass from Ryan Bowen and, from five steps above the left hash marks, lasered a shot past Warriors netminder Nick Amundrud for his 10th.
The visitors re-took the lead at 13:28 when Willie Reim snuck the puck through a maze of players in the goal-mouth, slipping it past Chenard for his 12th.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes were even at 10-10.
Chilliwack tied the game 7:54 into the middle frame. Calverley lugged the puck down the left-wing wall and delivered a centering pass into the goal-mouth, where crease-crashing forward Corey Andonovski was able to chip it past Amundrud.
A shade over two minutes later it was Bowen carrying the puck down the left wing. It ended up in the blue paint, where Amundrud appeared to cover it with his blocker next to the left post. But Bowen poked the puck loose and Calverley knocked it into the net to give Chilliwack its first lead of the game.
Bowen added to the lead with a power play goal at 13:13.
Marrocco started the play, putting a hard shot on net from the left faceoff dot. Bryan Allbee appeared to have an open net as the rebound came out the right side, but Amundrud dove across to make the save. But the goalie was down and out as Bowen buried the second chance, popping the puck inside the left post for his fourth of the year.
The Warriors took just 22 seconds to answer back on a snipe by Chase Dubois.
Dhaliwal led an odd-man rush, skating up the left wing and sending a cross-ice pass past a sprawling Chilliwack defender to Dubois. Chenard went right to left in a hurry and left Dubois with only the smallest sliver of daylight to shoot at, but the Williams Lake native was able to thread the needle with the short-side shot.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured the Chiefs 21-17.
West Kelowna tied the game 5:22 into period three on a goal by Matt Kowalski, who received a cross-ice pass from Calvin Tilsley, walked in on goal and slipped a shot under Chenard.
That came on the first Warriors shot of the period. They ended up with just four in the final 20 minutes.
The Chiefs power play came through with a clutch strike at 12:59 to retake the lead as Calverley buried a rebound off a goal-mouth scramble.
Calverley added the exclamation point and hat-trick tally with 2:56 remaining when he blocked a Tyler Jutting slap shot at the right point, stepped past the D-man, raced in on a breakaway and snapped the puck past Amundrud.
The goalie came out for the extra attacker with 1:34 remaining and Chilliwack’s Anthony Vincent wrapped up the scoring with an empty netter with five seconds remaining.
Calverley was a slam dunk choice as the game’s first start. The second star was Marrocco and the third star was Dhaliwal.
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Jared Turcotte.