Courtesy of Eric Welsh – Chilliwack Progress
One of the more exciting 3-2 games you’ll ever see saw the Chilliwack Chiefs edge the Merritt Centennials Friday night at Prospera Centre.
Matt Holmes scored the winning goal for the Chiefs, who beat the Cents for the second time in eight days, both times in overtime.
Chilliwack improved to 33-12-1-0 while Merritt fell to 27-14-3-2.
This game featured two of the best offences in the league and the teams engaged in a 60 minute track meet, racing end to end with their skates on fire.
Merritt came in ranking second in the league with 173 goals in 45 games, while Chilliwack had 172 in 45 games, so many goals were expected.
But of course, fans had to wait 35 minutes and 48 seconds for the first score.
Mathieu Gosselin broke the ice late in the second period on a pretty one.
The Chiefs D forgot about one of Merritt’s most dangerous players, who slammed on the breaks in the right corner to lose a defender and skated into the blue paint of the Chilliwack goal crease. The Quebec kid made a slick pivot to his forehand and lifted a shot over the glove of Chiefs keeper Daniel Chenard for his 17th of the season.
The teams traded goals 16 seconds apart early in the final frame.
First it was Harrison Blaisdell sidestepping Merritt forward Christian Sabin at the Centennials blueline, walking in and rifling an ice-level shot inside the far post at 1:22.
On the very next shift Rylan Van Unen collected a funny one, banking a sharp angle shot off the back of Chenard when the goalie left a sliver of space between himself and the goal post.
But Chilliwack came right back, with Brett Willits deflecting a point-shot wrister from Colton Kitchen past Roden at 3:19.
That was the last goal of regulation time.
The Chiefs got a big break in three-on-three overtime whenVan Unen hauled down Skyler Brind’Amour on a drive to the net, giving the home team a four-on-three power play.
Chilliwack cashed in 45 seconds later. Brind’Amour carried the puck straight up the middle into the Centennials zone, leaving a drop pass for Kevin Wall. Wall left another drop pass for Matt Holmes, who collected the puck in the high slot and ripped a top shelf shot over Roden’s glove for the win.
The three stars were Marcus Tesink (first), Van Unen (second) and Chenard (third).
Brett Willits was the Energy Player of the Game.
The Chiefs are on the road Saturday night in Wenatchee.