The Chilliwack Bruins started off a crucial three-games-in-three-nights weekend on the right foot Friday night, walking away from the Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops with a 3-2 overtime win over the Blazers.
Brandon Manning scored the winner 21 seconds into the extra session, helping his Bruins leap-frog Kamloops in the tightly packed Western conference standings. After tonight, three teams (Chilliwack, Kamloops and Seattle) are tied with 45 points, but the Bruins hold seventh in the conference due to games in hand.
Ryan Howse got the good guys off to a solid start in this one, scoring his 31st of the year just 3:07 in.
His goal came on one of just four Chilliwack shots in a pedestrian opening frame.
The second period was livelier. The Bruins out-shot the Blazers 16-14, but Kamloops netminder Jeff Bosch was outstanding. His team picked up the only goal of period two on a tally by defenceman Matt Needham, who picked up his first Western Hockey League goal on assists by Brendan Ranford and Bronson Maschmeyer.
The Blazers grabbed the lead 11:49 into the final frame when ex-Vancouver Giant J.T. Barnett beat Chilliwack netminder Lucas Gore for his ninth of the year. But with less than four minutes remaining, Curt Gogol tied things up, beating Bosch for his fifth of the year.
Manning’s overtime winner was set up by a last minute hooking minor to Dylan Willick that carried into extra time. The Chilliwack captain picked up his 14th of the year as his team improved to 21-20-2-1 on the season.
The three stars were Manning (first), Bosch (second) and Gore (third).
The Bruins play another crucial matchup tomorrow night as they host the Prince George Cougars at Prospera Centre.
Puck drop is 7 p.m.