Christmas came early for the Chilliwack Chiefs in Prince George.
Despite being badly outplayed Saturday night at the Coliseum the Chiefs skated away with their first win of the B.C. Hockey League season, downing the Prince George Spruce Kings 2-1 in overtime.
Spruce Kings head coach Dave Dupas was ejected from the game with four minutes remaining in the third period, a bit of tit-for-tat after Chiefs coach Harvey Smyl received the heave-ho in his team's 7-1 loss Friday. Dupas was still steamed after the game and no one was safe from criticism from the usually mild-mannered coach.
"I think we took seven or eight penalties straight and it was really disappointing the guys worked hard and they deserved to win that game," said Dupas. "It just wasn't going to happen. It just seemed like whatever we did we were sitting in the box. It was a gift to the Chilliwack Chiefs."
The Spruce Kings were on the penalty kill almost half of the third period. The Chiefs' lone penalty of the period came when Kiefer McNaughton went off for roughing along with the Kings' Brent Lashuk late in the period. Chilliwack had eight power plays compared to the Spruce Kings' four, but were unable to score with the extra attacker and are a woeful 0-for-21 this season.
"It's unfortunate that things go that way when the team is really working hard, outplaying a team," said Dupas. "I don't know what the deal is or what's going on there, but maybe Harvey had a say, I don't know. I'm so upset right now with the way things went."
Dupas was sent packing by the referee after the Chiefs' seventh straight power play when he become frustrated at a non-call when the Spruce Kings' centreman was tripped up off a face-off when they could've had an odd-man rush. The puck ended up sliding down the ice for an icing against Prince George.
"If I want to stay coaching in the league I just cannot say anything about what went on out there," said Dupas. "We're all striving to be the best we can. We want to get the best coaches in the league and we get the best players into this league. I think we should just go all the way and just get everybody here that's the best."
Many of the 973 fans at the Coliseum for the game voiced their support for Dupas as he was escorted across the ice to the Spruce Kings dressing room.
The Chiefs opened the scoring on a delayed penalty call late in the first period when Carter Cochrane beat Spruce Kings goalie Alex Murray, but the home side tied it up late in second period when Bryant Christian crashed the net on a rush to put the puck behind Lyndon Stanwood.
McNaughton picked up an assist on the Chiefs' first goal and then fired the winner past Murray on a blast from the point 55 seconds into the overtime.
The Spruce Kings (1-2-0-1) out shot the Chiefs (1-2-1) 43-21.
Even though the Spruce Kings earned three of four points on the weekend and managed to score some goals Friday, Dupas said his players still need to work harder to not let teams off the hook like in Saturday's game or last week's 4-3 loss to Cowichan Valley Capitals when they blew a 3-1 lead.
"We can't keep giving games away," said Dupas. "We have to find a way to score. We have to find a way where somebody's going to make a stop or block a shot or do something at a crucial time to win a game for us. We need someone to do something to help us win a game here."
It doesn't get any easier for the Spruce Kings as their home stand continues this weekend with a visit Friday, 7 p.m., from the Penticton Vees (4-0) who have scored 17 goals and have given up only four. The Trail Smoke Eaters (1-2-0-1) visit the Coliseum Saturday, 7 p.m.