Kirk Thompson left the Chilliwack Chiefs in the dark.
The Prince George Spruce Kings goalkeeper was almost unbeatable, in a game that was interrupted by a power outage in the first period. Despite the outage, Thompson allowed his team to grab the early advantage in the BCHL Mainland division best-of-five series with the Chiefs as they skated to a 3-1 win Friday at Prospera Place.
The 20-year-old was stellar in the Spruce Kings' net all night stymying the Chiefs scorers from the opening whistle to the final buzzer stopping 43 of 44 shots fired his way, including a brilliant save off Chiefs forward Luke Esposito on a shorthanded breakaway in the middle frame. The Spruce Kings had nine of their 20 shots in the third period on Chiefs goalie Mitch Gillam.
Thompson had already made eight saves when the Spruce Kings were credited with their first shot on net in the first period, a long dump-in by captain Trevor Esau. Just as the playoff jitters appeared to be fading for the Spruce Kings four of the lights at Prospera Place flickered out, causing the officials to send the teams to their dressing rooms for an early intermission with 3:52 left in the period.
It was the second power outage the Spruce Kings have experienced in their last three games. On March 3, when the Spruce Kings were hosting the Langley Rivermen at the Coliseum some of the lights went out which had the officials sending the teams to an early second intermission.
But it was the Chiefs' scorers who were feeling powerless to solve Thompson all night.
With Thompson doing his job the Spruce Kings veteran scorers came through as Cameron Lawson found the twine behind Gillam late in the second period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Coltyn Hansen gave the Spruce Kings a 2-0 advantage early in the third period and added an empty-net goal to seal the win. With three seconds remaining in the game Mathieu Tibbet was able to push the puck past Thompson to break the shutout bid.
David Stephens had two assists for the Spruce Kings while Lawson also had a two-point night. Lyndon Martell also earned an assist.
The Spruce Kings killed off all three Chiefs man-advantage opportunities.
Prince George has won three straight games at Prospera Place, including the last two regular season meetings. In the regular season the third-place Spruce Kings (25-22-1-8) had a 2-5-0-1 record against the second-place Chiefs (33-21-1-1).
The Spruce Kings lost defenceman Kevin Guiltinan in the third period to a checking from behind minor penalty and a game misconduct. A checking from behind penalty usually results in a two-game suspension but it couldn't be confirmed at press time if Guiltinan would miss the next two games.
Other BCHL teams to notch Game 1 wins were: Nanaimo, Penticton, West Kelowna, Victoria and Surrey.
Game 2 is tonight, 7 p.m. in Chilliwack.