Prior to last Sunday, the Spruce Kings had a ten game losing streak in the Prospera Centre to the Chilliwack Chiefs. Prince George’s last victory was on February 21st 2014 in overtime, and they picked up the latest win this past Sunday 3-2 in overtime as well. The last regulation win though was January 5th that same year, and that was another drought the Spruce Kings were aiming to end.
After the first period Prince George was being outshot 14-11, but had a 1-0 lead thanks to Travis Schneider. Parker Colley on the left wall was able to bounce a pass out to Ethan Leyh in the slot who wired a shot on Josh Bolding making his third BCHL start. Mark Sinclair was still out from injury sustained on the game winning goal in overtime against PG the previous Sunday. Leyh had his shot bounce in and out of Bolding’s glove, and Travis Schneider was there to pickup the loose puck and slide it in at 9:11.
Prince George came out with a roar in the second, as they had their second power play of the game. Brett Mennear with a great individual effort was able to hold onto the puck in the Chiefs zone, and his pass across the ice was tipped, but right to Adam Burnett. The big defenceman took the puck, and slapped it home for the 2-0 lead at 2:29. Then 28 seconds later Schneider had his second of the game picking the top corner making the score 3-0. That would do it for Bolding’s night as he was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots.
The goalie change would shakeup the Chiefs bench, and they responded the way Jason Tatarnic wanted them to. A three-on-one would emerge for Chilliwack, but the pass across the ice from Tommy Lee was tipped away from Spruce Kings defenceman Drew Lennon. The Chiefs would eventually get their first of the game right before the media timeout. Jordan Kawaguchi went to the box right before the box, and the Chiefs killed it off, and drew a penalty with two second left in his penalty. Coming out of the box, Kawaguchi was able to setup a play that resulted in Will Calverly beating Grant for to make it 3-1 at 12:09.
Three points away from the Chiefs franchise record in all-time points, Kawaguchi would pull the trigger with 4:33 to go in the second to cut that number down to two points. Receiving a pass in the right corner, Kawaguchi cut out, and with Adam Burnett dropping down to take the pass away, roofed the puck into the near corner for his 37th of the season. That cut the lead to 3-2 for Prince George as they headed to the locker room with the narrow margin.
It didn’t take long for Chilliwack to tie the game in the third as 52 seconds in they evened the score at three. Kohen Olischefski drove behind the net, and his centring feed went off the back heel of Kawaguchi out front and just squeaked inside the right post.
At the 13:03 mark, Chilliwack would take their first lead of the game, and again it started with their captain. Kawaguchi in the right corner cross the puck to the far point, and a point shot from Olivier Arseneau was tipped in by Will Calverly out front. The assist tied Kawaguchi for first in scoring all-time amongst Chilliwack Chiefs players with Doug Ast. He nearly broke the record with less than two minutes left in the game as he broke down on a breakaway, but was denied by the blocker of Grant.
The Spruce Kings pushed for the game tying goal, but had difficulties clearing the zone and never wound up being able to pull Grant. There were some after the buzzer antics as Adam Burnett gave Colin Bernard a few punches as play expired.
Prince George will get a few days at home to practice, and then head south for their playoff series with the Wenatchee Wild. Games 1 and 2 are on Saturday and Sunday, with games 3 and 4 being played in the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena on February 7th and 8th. Chilliwack will start their playoff series against the Langley Rivermen on Friday at home.