by Eric Welsh – The Progress
The Chiefs have forced a seventh game in their first-round playoff series against Prince George.
The Chiefs played a dominant game on home ice Saturday night, beating the Spruce Kings 6-1 while outshooting them 31-16. It was Chilliwack’s second straight game where they badly outplayed and outshot Prince George at Prospera Centre, and now they need to bottle up that magic and take it on the road for tomorrow night’s deciding game at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
The Chiefs have one win and two losses (one in overtime) in Prince George so far in this series.
Chilliwack had a great chance at a fast start in game six when PG’s Nolan Welsh took a double minor for high sticking just 1:37 in. All the Chiefs could generate were four harmless shots from the outside, but only 19 seconds after the power play expired, Chilliwack cashed in with an even-strength goal by Ryan Miotto.
Tommy Lee drew the primary assist with a hot shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Spruce King netminder Evan DeBrouwer made the save but left the puck in the blue paint where Miotto was able to steer it into the net on the backhand.
With the crowd still buzzing the Chiefs doubled their lead on a weird one.
Being checked by a Prince George defender about halfway up the right wing wall in the Spruce King zone, Chilliwack’s PJ Marrocco wheeled and fired a centering pass/shot attempt toward the goal. Stationed about 10 feet in front of the net, PG defenceman Layton Ahac had the puck deflect off his skate and past DeBrouwer.
Just past the 11 minute mark of the opening frame the shot clock favoured the Chiefs 12-1, but the Spruce Kings started to press late in the period and got within one in the final minute.
Patrick Cozzi started the play, flying down the left wing and feathering a centering pass into the slot for Liam Watson-Brawn. As the D-man pulled the puck to his backhand it rolled off his stick into the left corner. But Watson-Brawn stayed on it and put a pass back into the slot for Dustin Manz.
Chiefs netminder Daniel Chenard had slid too far to the right trying to stop Watson-Brawn and hadn’t recovered as Manz put the puck into the empty cage for his first of the series.
Kaden Pickering restored Chilliwack’s two goal lead 6:59 into period two with a highlight reel snipe.
Coming down the right wing, No. 18 took a lead pass from Adam Berg, went wide on a PG defender and cut hard to the net. Pulling the puck in tight as he skated through the blue paint, Pickering lifted a top shelf shot under the crossbar for his first of the playoffs.
Through 40 minutes the Chiefs led 3-1 and held a 23-11 edge on the shot clock.
Prince George needed to open it up in the third period and couldn’t. With five minutes to play the Spruce Kings had directed just five shots at the Chilliwack net.
Chenard was sharp when he had to be. Early in the period he showed razor sharp reflexes, stopping Manz on a deflection. The netminder slid left to right tracking the rebound and made a solid positional stop on Cozzi.
With just under five minutes to play and his team looking at an offensive zone faceoff, PG coach Adam Maglio pulled DeBrouwer for an extra attacker. The move backfired within seconds as Chiefs D-man Bryan Allbee collected a loose puck in the right corner and floated it the length of the ice into the empty net.
Ryan Bowen scored another empty netter with 2:47 to play, and Skyler Brind’Amour wrapped up the scoring on a late power play.