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Rylance Leads Chiefs Over Bulldogs

Courtesy of Eric Welsh – The Chilliwack Progress

The Chilliwack Chiefs hammered the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 5-2 Saturday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum,

The BCHL club picked up where they left off in a 6-2 home ice win over Wenatchee Friday, out-shooting their overmatched opponents 46-23.

As it did in the Wild win, Chilliwack’s red hot power play factored into the victory.

The Chiefs opened the scoring with a PP goal from defenceman Cooper Moore, who took a pass from Nikita Nesterenko and unleashed a half slapper from the right faceoff dot. The puck whistled past Bulldogs goalie Luke Pearson on the short side, giving Moore four goals in eight games to start the season.

The visitors answered back with a power play goal of their own early in period two.

Jackson Doucet took a pass from Jackson Munro and ripped a shot over the glove of Chiefs goalie Kolby Thornton from the high slot.

The Bulldogs took the lead just 60 seconds later on a goal by Mitch Deelstra.

AV’s Stephen Castagna won a faceoff to the right of the Chilliwack net, back to defenceman Carson Hemenway.

The blueliner’s point shot was stopped, but Thorton left a rebound for Deelstra to bury, and AV’s captain fit the puck under the crossbar for his eighth goal of the season.

Nesterenko slipped behind the Bulldogs D, took a stretch pass and had a breakaway from the blueline in. At the last second, Alberni’s Grayson Valente gave him a crosscheck in the back, shoving him into the net without a shot.

He was awarded a penalty shot.

Coming in slow off the left wing, the Brooklyn native went backhand/forehand, sliding the puck inside the right post for his first BCHL goal.

Brett Rylance gave the Chiefs the lead for good 89 seconds later, going hard to the net to redirect an Ethan Bowen centering pass through Pearson for his first of the season.

Rylance added another with 1:27 remaining in the middle of the frame, wading into a goal-mouth scramble to punch the puck past Pearson.

The Chiefs got lucky early in the middle frame when Castagna missed on a gift-wrapped scoring opportunity.

Poking the puck off the stick of a Chilliwack defender who was skating the puck out of his zone, the AV forward had a breakaway.

He beat Thornton with the shot, but the biscuit clanged off the base of the right post and stayed out.

Moments later the Chiefs had their final goal as Joey Larson skated down the left wing and put a five-hole shot through Pearson to wrap up the scoring.

The three stars were Rylance (first), Larson (second) and Hudson Thornton (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Jake Veri.

The Chiefs host the first leg of the BCHL Showcase Festival this week.

They’ll be the ‘visiting’ team Wednesday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum, hosting these same Bulldogs. Then it’s a Thursday nighter against the Coquitlam Express.

Both games are 7 p.m. starts.