The Chilliwack Chiefs blew the doors off a Mainland division rival Saturday night, bombing the Langley Rivermen 8-1 at Prospera Centre.
Jordan Kawaguchi had a pair of third period goals as his team won their fourth straight.
The Chiefs, second in the division standings, improved to 25-9-5-0 but they didn’t get any help on this weekend’s out-of-town scoreboard. The first place Wenatchee Wild doubled up Surrey 6-3 Friday night and took down the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday to actually gain ground on Chilliwack, moving nine points clear in the race for top spot.
Olivier Arseneau got the scoring started in this one, netting his third of the season at 13:21.
The 20 year old defenceman took a pass from Will Calverley and beat Langley netminder Bo Didur with a laser from the top of the right faceoff circle.
Arseneau’s Chiefs led 10-0 in shots halfway through the first period and 12-5 through 20 minutes. The Rivermen missed the net completely on a couple blue-chip chances, but Chilliwack goalie Mark Sinclair was razor sharp when he had to be.
Not so for Didur. Chilliwack broke the game open in the second period and chased the veteran from the Langley crease.
Chiefs D-man Colin Bernard got his team rolling at 4:52. The rookie blueliner ventured deep into Rivermen territory, squeezing a wraparound under Didur for his third of the season and third in the last four games.
Aaron O’Neill ended Didur’s night at 10:21 (Or did he? More on that later). Taking a lead pass from Kawaguchi, O’Neill got a step on Langley’s Jake Livingstone and fought off the defenceman long enough to slip a backhand shot through Didur.
It was O’Neill’s first goal since Nov. 4 and it was followed 20 seconds later by an Anthony Vincent snipe. Vincent pounced on a turnover in the goal-mouth and popped the puck past new Langley goalie Bradley Cooper, sending his crew to the final frame with a 4-0 lead.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Chilliwack 26-18.
The Chiefs added to their lead 1:35 on a goal by Cole Poliziani. Defenceman Davis Bunz earned the assist, ripping a shot from the right faceoff dot. The rebound came to Poliziani in the slot and the Ontario native ripped it past Cooper for his seventh of the year.
On Score Six Saturday, it was Captain K scoring the big goal. At 8:46, a sharp-angle shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle gave Kawaguchi his 25th of the year and gave everyone in the building vouchers for two free Subway cookies.
Gooch struck again at 11:15 with a helping hand from Nolan Zweep. Zweep collected an assist for the third time in the last four games with a slap shot that missed the target and ended up behind the net. Kawaguchi swooped out from behind the cage and wheeled with another sharp-angle effort that banked off Cooper and in.
Kohen Olischefski blew a wrist shot past Cooper at 12:48 for the final Chilliwack goal.
Remember when we said Didur’s night was done. Well it wasn’t. Langley coach Bobby Henderson yanked shell-shocked Cooper from the net, put Didur back in for the last six minutes and he managed to not give up any more goals.
Langley’s Eric Butte scored with less than two minutes remaining to snap a shutout bid that would have been shared by Sinclair and backup Mathieu Caron, who relieved him early in the third period.
The three stars were Bernard (first), Calverley (second) and Sinclair (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Kale Kane.