Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

The Chilliwack Chiefs will play for a national championship on home ice tomorrow afternoon after beating the Ottawa Junior Senators in a Saturday night semi-final at Prospera Centre.

The Chiefs gutted out a 3-2 win that was equal parts ugly and thrilling. The Senators gave it everything they had and if a couple bounces go their way they’re the ones playing for the title.

But it’ll be Chilliwack vs Wellington as the locals look to make history.

“I’m feeling pretty ecstatic,” said Chiefs forward Kaden Pickering in the locker room afterwards. “The boys worked hard for six weeks and it’s finally paying off for us. We’re heading to the championship and I couldn’t feel any better.”

The home team got off to an energetic start and opened the scoring on a goal by Anthony Vincent.

Vinnie went to the net and camped at the top of the blue paint as defenceman Marcus Tesink launched a slapper from the left point. Fighting off a check from Ottawa defenceman Joe Alexander, No. 4 collected the rebound, wheeled and stuffed it inside the right post at 9:21.

But the Senators tied it up at 18:09 on a defensive oops by the Chiefs.

Pickering flew back into his own zone on defence and had the puck on his stick in the goalmouth after picking off a centering pass, but couldn’t move it fast enough. Ottawa captain Owen Guy picked his pocket and quickly snapped it past Chiefs goalie Daniel Chenard.

But just 45 seconds later Chilliwack regained the lead on a controversial Skyler Brind’Amour goal.

Adam Berg put a shot on net from the right faceoff circle. The puck popped into the air and Brind’Amour batted it in with a cross-bar high swing. Ottawa’s players immediately signaled high stick, and they might have had a case. But it was close enough that the referees didn’t overturn their call and the Chiefs took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

The second period was a bad one for Chilliwack. Ottawa had the Chiefs on their heels for most of the middle frame, chasing the puck around their own zone.

The Senators scored the only goal of period two off one of those scrambles. With just 50 seconds left on the clock, defenceman Craig McCabe sent a wrister on net from the point. The puck bounced left to Pierre-Luc Veillette, who had a gaping net to shoot at and didn’t miss, tying the game at 2-2 through 40 minutes.

Ottawa continued to press early in the third period, and for a while you might have had the feeling this writer had, that this game wasn’t going to go the right way.

But then, perhaps the most significant goal in franchise history.

Kyle Yewchuk started it with a just-put-it-on-net shot from the right point. Attoning for his earlier error, Pickering tracked the puck down in the goal-mouth and popped it past Sens netminder Connor Hicks with 8:44 to play.

“It wasn’t necessarily that I want to score to make up for that earlier mistake, but I wanted to do something like block a big shot or something like that. Bad bounces happen and that was a bad bounce for me. Luckily I was able to score that goal to make up for it.

“It was kind of surreal when it went in, like I wasn’t even there. You don’t even hear the crowd after. It was crazy.”

Then it was up to the penalty kill to seal the deal. After killing one double minor earlier in the period (Jared Turcotte, high sticking), the PK was called upon to do it again when Skyler Brind’Amour was banished for four minutes. With 1:53 left, the Senators pulled goalie Connor Hicks to make it a six on four.

But the Chiefs hung on for the win, bolstered by a crowd that was as electric as its ever been.

“I think I was screaming louder than they were,” Pickering said with a grin.

Makes you wonder what they’ll be like tomorrow if Chilliwack wins the championship. Find out at 4 p.m. when the Chiefs and Dukes square off at Prospera Centre.

Just Posted

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

Surrey White Rock Ringette Association ‘excited’ about world championships coming to Lower Mainland

Ringette Canada says the sport has reached record registration numbers

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

New chair of Metro Vancouver board is Burnaby councillor

The 40-person board is made up of elected officials from 21 cities and one First Nation

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read