Chilliwack Chiefs goaltender, Daniel Chenard, shoves Ryan Sandelin of the Penticton Vees during Saturday night’s game at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Penticton Vees double up Chilliwack Chiefs in BCHL Showcase battle

The Vees broke a close game open with four second period goals in a rematch of the 2017 BCHL final.

Is it fair to call a BCHL game in late September a big one?

Normally, no.

But a case could be made that Saturday night’s battle between Chilliwack and Penticton at Prospera Centre was a crucial game for the Chiefs. Consider that the 2018 Royal Bank Cup hosts were 1-2-1-1 coming in, facing the defending champions, a Vees team that has never lost a game at the Bauer BCHL Showcase.

Consider that Chilliwack heads out on a tough two-game road trip through Trail and West Kelowna and comes home to face Wenatchee Oct. 6.

And consider that after Saturday night the team is already over 1/10th of the way through their 2017-18 schedule.

So how should fans feel about a 6-3 loss to the Vees that dropped the Chiefs to 1-3-1-1? Time to panic? Maybe not. But you’re excused if you’re starting to feel a tiny bit anxious.

The Chiefs got the start they wanted just 161 seconds in when Michael Lombardi opened the scoring. Powell Connor put a quarter-slapper on net from the right point and Penticton netminder Nolan Hildebrand let the rebound drop in the goal-mouth. Lombardi charged into the blue paint and lifted a shot under the cross-bar for his second of the season.

The Vees got that back at 12:31.

On a Chilliwack power play, defenceman Bryan Allbee bobbled the puck at the right point. Owen Sillinger pounced, stepping past him for a breakaway.

Chiefs netminder Daniel Chenard stopped him. Chris Klack followed the play and Chenard stopped him too, sticking out his right leg to make a big save. But Klack had one more try and this time the goalie couldn’t stretch out far enough to prevent the 20 year old from sliding the puck inches inside the left post.

Chilliwack took less than two minutes to regain the lead on Ryan Miotto’s first BCHL goal.

Credit Powell Connor with another assist as the big blueliner took off on a solo rush up the right wing. Penticton defender Joseph Leahy did his job, riding No. 27 into the right corner. But with one hand, Connor was able to sweep the puck on net, where Miotto was waiting to squeeze it between Hildebrand’s left skate and the right goal post.

Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Chilliwack 13-9.

But Penticton erased the one goal deficit and blew the game open by scoring four goals in 4:32 late in the middle frame.

Ryan O’Connell started the deluge with a four-on-four snipe at 14:53.

A couple shifts later defenceman Nicky Leivermann picked up his first BCHL goal. The 98-born defenceman sidestepped a Chilliwack defender at the right point and was able to walk into prime shooting position before firing a water-bottle popper over Chenard’s shoulder.

Thirty four seconds after that it was Jared Nash speeding down the right wing and beating Chenard with a low short-side shot.

And finally, on a Penticton power play, Massimo Rizzo beat Chenard from the high slot with a shot the screened goalie never saw, sending the Vees to the final frame with a 5-2 lead.

Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Penticton 23-19.

The Vees added one more goal in the third period, a power play strike from Owen Sillinger.

The Chiefs wrapped up the scoring on a late power play, with Skyler Brind’Amour burying the rebound of a Harrison Blaisdell shot for his first junior A goal.

The game had its positives and you can see glimpses of what the Chiefs may become.

It’s only a matter of time, for instance, before Corey Andonovski becomes a dominant force for Chilliwack. He shows flashes of an impressive power forward skill set that will make him too much for most BCHL D-men to handle.

Harrison Blaisdell looks outstanding for a 16 year old and Connor appears to have taken a significant step forward as a 17 year old defenceman, at both ends of the ice.

As for the rest? The Vees are the dragon the Chiefs will likely have to slay to get where they eventually want to go, and now they know how good the dragon is.

The three stars were Sillinger (first), Leivermann (second) and Blaisdell (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Michael Lombardi.

 

Kaden Pickering of the Chilliwack Chiefs keeps his eye on the puck during Saturday night’s game against the Penticton Vees at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Will Calverley (#8) and Powell Connor of the Chilliwack Chiefs go up against Chris Klack of the Penticton Vees during Saturday night’s game at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Bobby Young of the Chilliwack Chiefs keeps his eye on the puck during Saturday night’s game against the Penticton Vees at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Skyler Brind’Amour of the Chilliwack Chiefs goes for the puck during Saturday night’s game against the Penticton Vees at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Bobby Young of the Chilliwack Chiefs goes head to head with goaltender Nolan Hildebrand of the Penticton Vees during Saturday night’s game at Prospera Centre. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Penticton council sends housing project back to drawing board

B.C. Housing had proposed 52 units of modular housing for the corner of Green Avenue and Main Street

Nine properties in Twin Lakes under evac order

RDOS concerned about a possible breach in Twin Lakes flood armouring

Okanagan jail likely driver of region’s violent crime hike

South Okanagan-Similkameen’s top cop says violent crime happening in jail, not after inmates released

Penticton council green lights sharps disposal inquiry

City staff will help an ad-hoc committee refine a list of locations for sharps disposal bins

They came for a good time on Shuswap Lake

Trooper plays for hundreds on Shuswap Lake this past May Long weekend

MLA pushing province and pharmaceutical to save Vernon woman

Cystic fibrosis patient can’t afford $20,000/month medication she needs to survive

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Most Read