Chilliwack Chiefs captain Will Calverley turned in the game of a lifetime Sunday night, lifting his team to a 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Junior Senators at Prospera Centre.
Calverley scored all four of Chilliwack’s goals in the victory as the Chiefs cracked the win column, evening their record at 1-1.
For the record, no one in the arena who would know could remember this happening before, one player scoring all four goals in a 4-3 win and Calverley was understandably happy.
“It was a good night where the D did a good job getting pucks through, and I was able to sneak behind their D,” Calverley said with a grin. “I’ve been practicing my tips the last couple days and tonight the puck went where I wanted it to.
“Hopefully I didn’t use up all my puck luck in one night!”
Making the semi-finals is the first goal in the five-team RBC Cup, and getting this win gives Chilliwack a huge leg up in the quest to make the final four.
But it wasn’t easy.
Ottawa must have read the scouting report on Chilliwack’s power play, the one that says the Chiefs can’t score, because the Senators didn’t hesitate to play rough in period one and pick up a few minors in the process.
Four times Ottawa players were sent to the box and four times the Chiefs failed to make them pay.
Chilliwack’s offensive issues weren’t limited to five-on-four. Late in the period, Adam Berg forced a turnover at the Sens blueline which sent Tommy Lee and Corey Andonovski away on a two-on-none. They didn’t register a shot.
Seconds later Anthony Vincent led a two-on-one rush flanked by Jared Turcotte. Vincent feathered a pass across the goal-mouth and Turcotte sent his shot a half-foot wide of the right post.
Ottawa directed seven pucks on net in the opening 20 and one of them evaded Chiefs netminder Daniel Chenard.
It was a tough play for the young goalie, with Ottawa’s Gabriel Morin crashing the crease and getting his stick on a centering pass/shot from teammate Devon Daniel, who fired the puck on net from the right-wing wall.
The Senators doubled their lead 3:05 into period two on a goal by Nick Lalonde.
Danny Pion was the playmaker, delivering a pass across the slot to Lalonde, who caught Chenard sliding across his crease and beat him with an against-the-grain shot low to the blocker side.
Ryan Miotto woke up the slumbering Chiefs crowd midway through the period when he drilled Morin into the glass behind the Ottawa net with enough force to knock the pane out of its brackets.
The captain, Will Calverley, brought the crowd to its feet minutes later with a power play goal.
With his team already down a man, Ottawa’s Pierre-Luc Veillette was sent off for high-sticking, giving Chilliwack a five-on-three for 1:51.
PJ Marrocco flew down the left wing, blowing by Daniels on his way to the Senators net. Nine times out of 10 Marrocco takes the shot from that close, but this time he sent a pass across to Calverley, who beat Ottawa goalie Connor Hicks under the cross-bar to give his team hope heading to the final frame.
The captain produced his second of the game midway through the third period, going to the front of the net, fighting off a check from Adrien Bisson and getting his first of three deflection goals off a point shot slapper by Kyle Yewchuk.
But less than two minutes later, Finn Evans restored the Ottawa lead with a goal that Chenard would certainly want back. Evans beat him with a sharp-angle backhander from the end-line, sneaking the puck over the goalie’s shoulder. Chenard looked skyward in disbelief as Evans celebrated a potential backbreaker.
That goal could have haunted the Chenard’s nightmares if Calverley hadn’t produced another game-tying goal at 14:09.
Again it was No. 8 heading to the net, getting his stick on a Jake Gresh just-put-it-on-net slapper from the right point and deflecting it past Hicks to send this game to overtime.
“He (Daniel) is a guy who battles for us every night and stands on his head most nights,” Calverley said. “I thought he played pretty well in this one, but he holds himself to a high standard and he came up to me and thanked me for scoring that goal.”
The Chiefs lasted just 18 seconds in Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to Wenatchee. This time they made it 4:55 and came away with the win.
In a carbon copy of his previous two goals, Calverley again went to the front of the net and again got his stick on a shot from one of his D-men, deflecting a Powell Connor wrister from the right point under the left leg of Hicks for the win.
“We feel good,” Calverley said afterwards, assessing his team’s first two games. “We played a good team yesterday with Wenatchee and another good one today and every team we see here will be good.
“It’s been nine weeks since the BCHL playoffs so there’s going to be some rust, but we’ve just got to use our legs and out-skate teams.”
Calverley was the obvious choice as Chilliwack’s Player of the Game while Evans won the award for Ottawa.
The Chiefs have the day off Monday, returning to action Tuesday against the Wellington Dukes. The lone game tomorrow (Monday) has the Dukes facing the Steinbach Pistons at 7 p.m.