The Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Coquitlam Express 8-4 last Tuesday in an exhibition game at the Hope Arena.
The game flowed mostly in the Chiefs’ favour, with them keeping possession of the puck in the first period, giving them a quick early lead in the game.
After keeping a 4-0 lead for a majority of the first period, the Express came back and scored two goals in the 17th minute.
That period ended 5-2, with Chiefs defenceman Powell Connor scoring the final goal in a powerplay.
The Express’s head coach Barry Wolff decided he had to tighten the neutral zone.
“We started figuring it out,” said Wolff. “The first period and a half, those guys just came through with their speed.
“They’re high-end intensity with speed and grit, and if you let a team come through the neutral zone like that, they’re gonna hurt you, and that’s how they got their goals.”
The new strategy worked. The game slowed down in scoring pace in the second period, with the Express scoring one goal, while the Chiefs scored two.
Tempers flared, mostly near the Chiefs’ goaltender, with the two teams of Junior A players fighting it out.
The final period ended with one goal each.
Coach Wolff conceded that his players fought a tough battle with the elite Chiefs.
For Chiefs head coach Jason Tatarnic, it was a good game.
“I thought we had a good start to the game,” he said. “We attacked early on, created some offensive chances and capitalized.”
Both teams did recognize the difference in skill level.
“I think we had a more experienced lineup tonight than they did,” said Tatarnic. “To their kids’ credit, they played hard and scored some goals.”
For Wolff, he said this match served as a learning experience for the Express.
“A lot of our young guys were eyes wide open. I mean that’s a good team we played tonight,” he said.
Hope’s contribution to the event came with Olivia Morgan opening with O Canada, while Hope Minor Hockey and figure skater Claire Medlock took to the ice during the intermissions between periods.