Jordan Kawaguchi scored a pair of goals Monday night, leading his Chilliwack Chiefs to a 4-3 win over the Langley Rivermen in game three of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series.
Kawaguchi’s crew surrendered the game’s first goal, roared back with four straight then hung on to earn a well-deserved road win in a building they haven’t done well in this season.
The Chiefs hold a 2-1 lead in the series heading into game four tomorrow night in Langley.
The Rivermen opened the scoring 8:23 into period one.
A blocked shot in their own end turned into a two-on-one rush the other way, with Max Kaufman flying down the right wing. Kaufman got the pass through a diving Chilliwack defenceman and Nicholas Ponak put it over the blocker of Chiefs netminder Mark Sinclair.
Chilliwack got that one back just over two minutes later on a fortunate-bounce tally by Jordan Kawaguchi. The captain created his own luck, getting a Langley player to cough up the puck behind the Rivermen net. Gooch tried a wraparound and watched as the puck blooped up into the air. With Kohen Olischefski causing all sorts of havoc in the goal mouth, Langley netminder Bo Didur couldn’t glove it. The puck flopped across the line and the teams ended the opening frame knotted at 1-1.
Tommy Lee scored the only goal in the second period.
Kale Kane did most of the work. Stepping out of the box after serving a penalty, No. 16 had a breakaway. The Quebec kid fooled Didur with a pretty move, but hit iron with his shot. Cole Poliziani had the first whack at the rebound but couldn’t connect. Lee followed up and jammed the disc across the line.
Kawaguchi gave his team an insurance marker in the first minute of period three.
At the tail end of a Chilliwack power play, and moments after being on the receiving end of a big hit by a Rivermen player, Captain K wound up and beat Didur with a supersonic slap shot. The Langley stopper may not have seen the puck through an Anthony Vincent screen and the Chiefs led 3-1.
Kohen Olischefski beat Didur with a rocket shot from the high slot at 3:48, forcing Langley head coach Bobby Henderson to use his timeout.
The bench boss settled his team down and watched as Zac Masson scored with 7:36 remaining to cut the deficit to two.
Didur was pulled for the extra attacker with a little under two minute remaining and a Ryan Barrow goal with 44 seconds left created a frantic finish. But Chilliwack survived to the final whistle, with Olischefski winning a huge defensive zone draw with 19 seconds left to seal the deal.
The three stars were Kawaguchi (first), Kaufman (second) and Kane (third).
Announced attendance at the George Preston Arena was 1,050, bolstered by a large contingent of Chiefs fans who may be back tomorrow (Tuesday) night for game four.