By Jason LaRose, Hockey Canada
CHILLIWACK, B.C. – Kaden Pickering, Corey Andonovski, Harrison Blaisdell and Ethan Bowen all finished with a goal and an assist, and the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) wrapped up the preliminary round at the 2018 RBC Cup with a 4-1 win over the Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) on Thursday night.
The win means the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) claim the fourth and final semifinal spot, and ends the season for the Pistons, who advanced to Canada’s National Junior A Championship for the first time.
Mathieu Caron was solid in the Chiefs goal in his first game action since Feb. 24, making 26 saves.
Chilliwack came out with jump, outshooting the Pistons 14-7 in the first period, and took control with a pair of goals late in the opening frame.
Pickering did the hard work behind the net before setting up Andonovski, who whipped a wrist shot past the glove of Steinbach goaltender Matthew Radomsky for the 1-0 goal at 17:16.
Bowen added a second just 1:11 later, driving to the net and tapping in a fantastic cross-ice feed from older brother Ryan to send the hosts to the dressing room up by a pair.
Caron highlighted a scoreless second period with a penalty-shot save off Austin Heidemann, flashing the leather to keep the Chiefs ahead by two after 40 minutes.
Both teams opened the throttle in the third period, combining for 29 shots on goal – 17-12 in favour of Chilliwack.
Pickering gave the Chiefs a little more insurance at 6:50, crashing the net and sweeping in a Blaisdell rebound to make it a 3-0 game.
Drew Worrad finally solved Caron with the Pistons enjoying a two-man advantage midway through the final stanza, going end-to-end for an unassisted tally, but Blaisdell capped the scoring with 3:15 left to clinch the three points for the Chiefs.
Chilliwack will be on the ice at the Prospera Centre for the second semifinal Saturday night, taking on the Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL) (7 p.m. PT) they try to become the fourth host team in as many years to reach the national final.
The first semifinal features the Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) taking on Wellington at 2 p.m. PT.
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images