The Chilliwack Bruins received a much welcomed boost to their power play on the weekend. Their power play had gone zero for 23 in their last four games. The man advantage continued to have trouble, failing in its first three tries against the Kamloops Blazers, but it came through when it was needed most.
Just 21 seconds into overtime with the Bruins on the power play, Bruins captain Brandon Manning scored the game winner, leading the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Blazers. Roman Horak and Ryan Howse drew the assists on the play. Chilliwack finally broke through, ending the goalless streak on power play 27.
The power play continued to roll on Saturday in Chilliwack against the Prince George Cougars. The Bruins received power play goals from Ryan Howse and Robin Soudek going two for six on the man advantage. Soudek’s goal tied the game 3-3 in the third period. The score remained unchanged through the rest of the third period. For the second straight game, the Bruins were heading for O.T. Chilliwack goaltender Lucas Gore had been outstanding all game and was called on to make a game-saving stop point blank in O.T. on Cougars forward Brock Hirsche.
With that, the game went to the shootout. The Bruin’s Kevin Sundher scored the first marker of the shootout in the second round, just to be matched by Cougar’s star defenseman Sena Acolatse. The shooting gallery continued into the fifth round where it was ended by the Cougar’s Buonassisi, giving the Cougars a 4-3 win. While the Bruins didn’t earn the victory, they did get an all important point in a Western Conference that is still terribly close.
The point helped push the Bruins into seventh place in the conference, ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Kamloops Blazers, and Everett Silvertips. So, if the Playoffs were to start now, the Bruins would wind up playing the second place Vancouver Giants in the first round of the post-season. These two teams have a history together in the post-season that is not pretty; the first year the Bruins were in the league, they met the Giants in the first round. The hard fought series ended in five games. Instead of the traditional handshake exchange at centre ice to end the series, it finished with a centre ice partial bench brawl! So far this season the Bruins are 2-3 against the Giants.
Things are starting to look a bit better with the Bruins, though. With a goal and an assist in the game versus Prince George, Bruins forward Ryan Howse has 188 career points and sits alone as the leading scorer in Chilliwack Bruins history. Howse is also on a seven-game goal scoring streak following the game against the Cougars. The sudden surge from the power play is also a welcome change, as it has connected three times on 10 attempts in the last two games. The Bruins still have one of the league’s best power plays, currently sitting at fourth overall. The man advantage will have to continue to produce in order for the Bruins to make some noise as they drive towards the playoffs.