Salmon Arm 5
With Mainland Division bragging rights on the line, the Chilliwack Chiefs blew a two-goal lead Friday as the Surrey Eagles came from behind to win 6-4.
The Chiefs entered the weekend on a four-game win streak and had appeared to reclaim some of the form shown in the fall. But bad bounces, a lack of discipline and a dearth of energy cost the Chiefs Friday against the Eagles and Saturday in a 5-1 loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Friday's game pitted the top two Mainland Division teams against each other and the first two periods lived up to the hype.
The Eagles took a lead early in the first on a pretty cross-crease passing play, but the Chiefs answered back just two minutes later when Tanner Cochrane cleaned up a messy three-on-two rush by banging the puck past Surrey goalie Michael Santaguida. Philip Zielonka gave the Chiefs the lead soon after when he snapped the puck past Santaguida for his ninth goal in just seven games with Chilliwack.
Jaret Babych stretched the lead with 6: 01 elapsed in the second to begin a hectic nine minutes of play. After Brett Mulcahy clawed back a goal for the Eagles, Austin Plevy scored shorthanded to restore the lead. But Michael Stenerson and Mulcahy each beat Chiefs goalie Mitch Gillam to knot the game up.
After two solid periods, Chilliwack was second best in the third. Drew Best gave the Eagles the lead just two minutes in, and Kevan Kilistoff sealed the victory midway through the period on a nice deflection.
"In the third, it seemed like we couldn't get any energy whatsoever," Chiefs head coach Harvey Smyl said. "We didn't handle adversity very well."
The following evening, the Chiefs came up against a Silverbacks squad with the aim of grinding out an ugly road win.
Salmon Arm scored early in the first on the power play and held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, with Ben Masella scoring the Chiefs' goal late in the period. After a scoreless second, the Silverbacks put three goals on the board in the third to earn a 5-1 victory.
"Salmon Arm played a really greasy type of road game," Smyl said. "They were a hard-working team that was committed to playing solid defence and we were a team of individualists that tried to do things on our own. We didn't have an attack of units, we had an attack of individuals."
Spending lots of time in the box
No other BCHL team has spent more time killing penalties this year than Chilliwack. The Chiefs have been shorthanded 243 times this year, 34 more times than the next most-penalized team.
Against Surrey, the Chiefs found themselves killing eight penalties, while the Eagles were only short-handed once. Salmon Arm, meanwhile, went one-for-four on the power play. The Chiefs penalty killing has been good-Surrey went one-for-eight on the power play, but also surrendered a shorthanded goal-but it's still a truism that it's better to play with five players on the ice than four.
Smyl attributed his team's high penalty-rate to the aggressive style he asks his team to play. But he is concerned about some of the reasons his players are finding themselves serving two minutes. "It's the type of penalties that we're taking: the hook, the hold, the rough after the whistle. Those types of penalties are really hurting us," he said.
Thompson suspended for hit
Chiefs captain David Thompson was forced to miss Saturday's game after being suspended for two games for a hit-from-behind late in Friday's contest.
Thompson was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct after hitting Surrey's Brady Shaw. He will also miss Friday's game in Salmon Arm.