The Chilliwack Chiefs seem to have found their starting goaltender. Now they just need to figure out how to put the puck past the guy at the other end of the rink.
The Chiefs were crushed 7-1 by the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday night but salvaged an overtime win Sunday to split the weekend series.
Netminder Lyndon Stanwood started both games for the Chiefs, and while no goalie wants to allow seven goals, he still turned away plenty of rubber Friday night, making 46 saves.
Jaret Babych got the Chiefs' lone goal in the first before the floodgates opened in the second frame.
The Spruce Kings' third goal came late in the period in controversial fashion, as Brent Lashtuk roofed a backhand as Stanwood fell to the ice. Chiefs head coach Harvey Smyl took exception to the goal and was ejected for his troubles after protesting that a Spruce Kings player had interfered with Stanwood.
After a pair of losses in the BCHL Showcase, the victory was the Spruce Kings' first of the season. The scoreline was plenty indicative of the play, as the home side badly outshot the visitors 53-17 in the cramped confines of the Prince George Coliseum.
Saturday's game seemed like it could go in the same direction-and not only because another coach got thrown out.
The Chiefs were outshot 18-4 in the first period, but somehow took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room thanks to Carter Cochrane's first British Columbia Hockey League goal.
Cochrane and his defensive partner Kiefer McNaughton both charged the net, and the young dman scooped up a rebound to put Chilliwack ahead.
Prince George tied the game late in the second period when Bryan Christian pounded a rebound past Stanwood. The shot was the only puck that would get past the Chiefs' netminder, who made 42 saves to hold his team in the game.
If Chilliwack's power play was better, they wouldn't have needed extra time. The Chiefs had eight power play opportunities Saturday, including a string of six in a row punctuated
by the ejection of Prince George coach Dave Dupas for his vocal disagreement with the referees. But the power play remains scoreless in 21 chances this season, and it took four-on-four overtime for Chilliwack to break the deadlock. Zach Diamantoni opened up space in the middle of the rink and dropped the puck to McNaughton, who fired a rocket into the Prince George net to give the Chiefs a much-needed, if not deserved, win.
The Chiefs don't play next until Sept. 28, a two-week break during which the team's young roster will hope to find the solution to scoring in the BCHL.
While three points in four games isn't so bad, the scorelines are more worrying. In four games, plus 11 minutes of overtime, the Chiefs have scored just five goals. No other team has less than nine. It's not just a case of bad puck luck, or a defensive style of play. The Chiefs have allowed more than 40 shots in all four games and been outshot 182-97.
Possibly the worst news is this: with two points Saturday, McNaughton is now leading the Chiefs in scoring. In 96 previous BCHL games, he had 16 points.
Meanwhile Austin Plevy, who placed second in scoring in the entire league last year, has just one assist through four games.
-with files from Sheri Lamb, Prince George Citizen
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