Coming off their best October in franchise history, the Chilliwack Bruins got November off to a fine start Tuesday night, thumping the Kootenay Ice 6-2 in Cranbrook.
On the last game of a hugely successful four-game road trip through the Central division, the Bruins got goals from six different skaters, boarding the bus back to Chilliwack with a record of 3-1-0-0.
Back in the lineup after a three game banishment to the press-box, rookie Steven Hodges opened the scoring in this one, lighting the lamp at 18:13 of the first period. The 16-year-old tallied off a two-on-one rush, snapping a shot low to the glove side of Ice goalie Nathan Lieuwen.
His goal marked the 14th time in 14 games that Chilliwack has opened the scoring.
T.C. Cratsenberg earned an assist, his first point since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs last week.
The Bruins almost added another in the final minute of the period when Kevin Sundher set up Jamie Crooks on an odd-man break. But Lieuwen moved left to right to thwart Crooks, keeping the score at 1-0 heading to period two.
Lieuwen’s luck ran out early in the middle frame as Chilliwack shooters ventilated the Abbotsford native for three goals in 2:44.
Brandon Magee scored his second of the season at 2:11, and Roman Horak notched his 10th of the year on a power play at 4:21. Blair Wentworth added his first of the season 34 seconds later, banking the puck off Ice forward Adam Rossignol for the fourth Chilliwack goal on eight shots.
The Bruins added one more before the period was done, scoring on a late five-on-three power play. With Kevin King already serving a double minor for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct, Kootenay captain Brayden McNabb was sent off for high sticking. Brandon Manning made them pay, wiring a slapshot from the left point that beat Lieuwen to the blocker side.
Despite being out-shot 24-17, Chilliwack carried a 5-0 lead into the final frame.
Ryan Howse finally sent Lieuwen to the bench, scoring a goal that will be on the Western Hockey League highlight reel for weeks. Robin Soudek started the play with a breakout pass that was a foot behind Howse. Streaking down the ice at top speed, the Prince George native somehow managed to reach back and pull the puck between his legs and up to his stick. The Calgary Flames prospect finished the play with a top shelf backhand for his 15th of the season, snapping a personal three-game drought.
Cranbrook fans finally got something to cheer about midway through the final frame when Drew Czerwonka broke up Lucas Gore’s shutout bid. Rossignol scored with eight seconds remaining to wrap up the scoring.
Gore ended the night with 32 saves on 34 shots, recording his eighth win.
The Bruins are back on home ice Friday night, hosting Landon Ferraro and the Everett Silvertips at Prospera Centre.
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.