Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chiefs 4 Smoke Eaters 3

Shay Laurent's slapper from the left-wing circle 13 minutes into the third period sent nearly 2,600 Chilliwack fans home happy in a 4-3 Chiefs win over the Smokies at Prospera Centre.

Laurent's goal, only his second of the season, completed a four-goal comeback for the Chiefs, who fell behind 3-0 midway through the second period after two quick goals by Trail.

The Smokies opened the scoring twelve minutes in on a power-play when a Marley Keca point shot rebounded to Brent Baltus: the Nanaimo product lifted home a backhander for his seventh goal of the season as Trail led 1-0 after twenty minutes.

The Smokies added two more in a 49 second span in period two, the first a Garrett McMullen wrister that struck the back bar from the right side, the second an Erik Cooper effort from the low slot.

But a penalty shot awarded to Chilliwack's David Bondra changed the tide of the game, after he was adjudged to have been hauled down by a Smoke Eaters defender on a partial breakaway.

Bondra outwaited Smokies goaltender Lyndon Stanwood and backhanded in a goal on the penalty shot, and Chilliwack added a second when David Thompson snuck in from the point and wired home a wrister.

The Chiefs equalized just shy of the eight minute mark of the third, when tonight's first star Malcolm Gould snapped home a hot wrist shot from the top of the slot.

Laurent's winner gave the home side their first (and only) lead of the game just over four minutes later, and despite a late power-play Trail were unable to find a tying goal of their own over the final eight minutes of the third.

Despite the loss, another strong effort tonight from the Smoke Eaters. Tanner Clarkson, though held off the scoresheet, continued to show promise and created several scoring chances. His line with Riley McDougall and Brandon Long impressed, while McMullen, Connor Tiechko and Cooper enjoyed another strong game.

Gould was the most dangerous Chief on the ice, and a deserving first star, especially in the absence of leading scorer Derek Huisman, who served the second of a two-game suspension.

Up Next: The Smokies head a few blocks down the street from the team hotel here in Langley to face the Rivermen tomorrow (Sunday) at 2:00. Join me for all the action with my broadcast beginning at 1:55.

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