by Eric Welsh – The Progress
Mathieu Caron led the Chilliwack Chiefs to a 2-1 home ice win over the Langley Rivermen Wednesday night at Prospera Centre
The Abbotsford kid stopped 28 shots and the Chiefs got goals from Brett Rylance and Harrison Blaisdell, winning their 20th game of the season (20-8-0-0) and continued their season-long dominance of Langley, beating the Rivermen for the fifth time in five meetings this year.
Hometown kid Brett Rylance got Chilliwack’s scoring started 12:42 into period one, set up by linemates Clark Nelson and Jacob Slipec.
Slipec started the play with a crunching hit on a Langley defender in the right corner. The puck slid to Nelson, who was mucking it up behind the Rivermen net. He fed the puck into the goal-mouth where Rylance banged it past Langley goalie Shayne Battler for his second goal of the season.
The Chiefs got a lucky one in the final minute when Harrison Blaisdell’s chip shot from the left faceoff circle hit a Rivermen defender and fluttered past Battler with less than a second on the clock. The game referees had to double check that the puck beat the buzzer. It did, and Chilliwack led 2-0 through 20 minutes.
The Chiefs peppered the Langley net with pucks in the middle frame, testing Battler 19 times. The goalie was good and he was lucky and Chilliwack couldn‘t beat him.
The game’s next goal came with 7:13 to go in period three, and it came on a Rivermen power play.
Ethan Leyh rifled a low shot from the right faceoff dot that got through Caron, cutting the Chiefs led in half.
The visitors went back to the power play with 3:18 remaining and Caron made one of his bigger stops, thwarting Leyh on a sharp-angle shot and sliding left to right across his crease to thwart Tanner Versluis.
With just over two minutes remaining, Langley coach Bobby Henderson called Battler to the bench, creating a brief six on four advantage. Caron made another big stop on a one-timer rocket from Jake Livingstone. One more stop at the buzzer on a wrister from Leyh got the Chiefs the win.
Final shots were 33-28.
The three stars were Caron (first), Battler (second) and Rylance (third).
The Energy Player of the Game was Nelson.
Chilliwack has a pair of huge home games Friday and Saturday against the team directly behind them in the Mainland division standings as the Prince George Spruce Kings invade Prospera Centre.