Chilliwack Chiefs focus on the future
The Chilliwack Chiefs got a glimpse of young Jordan Kawaguchi's future as a sniper as the rookie scored three goals in the teams two losses on the weekend.
The 16-year-old Abbotsford product scored once in Friday's 8-5 loss to the Rivermen in Langley and then twice in the Chief's 5-4 overtimes loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings at Prospera Centre Saturday.
The goals were just Kawaguchi's sixth, seventh and eighth, but with the season winding down and a number of players leaving the team due to age or college commitments, all eyes are on the future of the team.
Fellow rookie Jake Hand also contributed with three assists over the two games. The six-foot-three-inch, 210-pound Hand has 13 goals and 21 assists in 52 games this season.
Hand kicked off the weekend with a second assist on Jaret Babych's goal from Tanner Cochrane to make it 1-0 at 6:06 of the first against Langley.
The second half of that period didn't go well as the Rivermen scored three in five minutes, including two from Matt Ustaski. The Chiefs were lucky to emerge just down 3-1 as the defence gave up 17 shots in the period.
The second period tilted more Chilliwack's way with shots 13-9 in favour of the Chiefs, but each team allowed three goals, including Kawaguchi's first of the weekend to kick the period off at 2:09.
The game was 6-4 for Langley going into the third, still in sight for the Chiefs, but the game's first star Evan Anderson scored his second for the Rivermen making it 7-4. That was followed up by second star Ustaski's unassisted marker to make it 8-4.
Zach Diamantoni scored an unassisted goal for Chilliwack at 16:56 and 8-5 is how it ended.
Goalie Spencer Tremblay allowed all eight goals on 42 shots.
Saturday back at Prospera was a much better game for the home team, particularly the first period.
Kawaguchi scored his second of the weekend to open the scoring at 9:16 of the first from Kiefer McNaughton. That was followed up by a power-play marker by Mathieu Tibbet from Kawaguchi and Carter Cochrane at 11:25.
A little more than a minute after that, Chilliwack stamped their authority all over the period making it 3-0 on Kawaguchi's second from Caleb Thompson and McNaughton.
The second period, however, was all Langley as they scored three goals to head into the third period tied 3-3.
At 2:59 of the third, Chad Staley scored from Justin Rai to put Prince George up for the first time in the game, but 12 minutes later Jaret Babych tied things up from Hand and McNaughton.
Overtime was quick and painful as Rai scored his second of the game to win it for the Spruce Kings just 19 seconds into the extra frame.
The two final games of the Chilliwack Chiefs 2013/2014 season are this weekend, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. away against the Coquitlam Express and then March 1, which is Fan Appreciation Night, at 7 p.m. at Prospera Centre against the Express.