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Chiefs rally for thrilling last-minute win
Three goals in the final minute helped the Chilliwack Chiefs down the visiting Surrey Eagles Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
Down by a goal heading into the 59th minute, the home team got two from Mathieu Tibbet and one from Zach Diamantoni to turn the tables. Chiliwack earned its sixth win on home ice this year and improved to 13-35-2-4 overall.
The Chiefs have won three of their last four games, none more dramatic.
Tibbet got the scoring started in this one, sniping his 23rd of the season at 6:16. The veteran shrugged off a weak stick-check from Danton Heinen, found some space in the high slot and rifled a shot over the blocker of Eagles keeper Bo Didur.
Chilliwack's lead was short-lived, with Surrey's Jonah Renouf netting the equalizer just 93 seconds later. Thwarted on a wraparound attempt, the Ontario native collected his own rebound and snapped a short-side shot over the shoulder of Chiefs goalie Spencer Tremblay.
The Eagles took the lead five minutes later on a shorthanded goal by Joseph Drapluk.
Mitchell Fyffe got a well deserved assist. Leading a two-on-one rush down the left wing, the New Westminster kid pulled the puck around diving D-man Daniel DelBianco and whipped a backhand pass across the goal-mouth. Drapluk one-timed it past Tremblay for his 10th of the year.
Tremblay looked to be shaken up late in the period, and backup Josh Halpenny took his spot to start period two.
Penalty troubles had the home team hanging by a thread midway through the middle frame.
First, Tanner Cochrane was given five minutes and a game misconduct for spearing a Surrey defender. On the penalty kill, Kiefer McNaughton drew two minutes for an elbow, putting Chilliwack two men down for 4:15.
The Eagles ended up with just one goal, scored by Drapluk.
With less than five minutes remaining in the middle frame, Tibbet threaded a pass through the legs of Eagle D-man Matthew Dawson. Diamontoni reeled it in and one-handed a shot past Didur, hitting the 10 goal mark for the year.
Diamontoni's crew escaped to period three down just one goal, with shots on goal through 40 minutes favouring Surrey 31-19.
Halpenny made a huge save halfway through period three to keep it a one-goal game.
With his team on the power play, McNaughton tried an ill-advised across-the-blueline pass to Carter Cochrane that was picked off by Drapluk. The native of Pembroke Pines in sunny Florida had a clear-cut breakaway with tons of time to pick his spot, but Halpenny got his left leg on the shot. With 6:46 remaining in the game the Chilliwack kid made another huge stop, getting his glove on a Heinen shot from point-blank range.
The offence made his efforts count, netting the game-tying goal with 55.6 seconds left.
Diamantoni set it up with a centering pass from the left corner. Tibbet pulled the trigger, roofing the puck for his second of the game.
He got the hat-trick tally with 31.2 seconds left. Again it was Diamantoni with the assist, a centering pass from below the endline. Tibbet one-timed this one, blowing it past Didur for the game-winning goal.
Diamantoni added the insurance marker nine seconds later, wading into a goal-mouth scramble to pop a loose puck into the cage.
The three stars were Tibbet (first), Diamantoni (second) and Halpenny (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Mason Boh.
Announced attendance was 1,765.