The B.C. Hockey League schedule-makers got it right.
The Prince George Spruce Kings will play the Chilliwack Chiefs in the final game of the Chilliwack pod on Sunday to determine the pod champions.
The Chiefs made sure of that Saturday in the home rink at Chilliwack Coliseum, hanging on to defeat the Merritt Centennials 4-3. That win leaves the Chiefs (13-6-0-0) just one point behind the first-place Spruce Kings (13-5-0-1-0) with one game left for each team.
Playing their final game of the season, the Cents erased an early deficit with a pair of goals from Ben Ward first period, both set up by Prince George minor hockey products. Alex Ochitwa drew the primary assist on the equalizer and Brandon Dent had the helper on Ward’s second of the night.
The Chiefs responded with three straight goals. Kyle Penney, Sasha Telequine and Ethan Bowen all found the net behind Josh Dias for a 4-2 lead. Merritt defenceman Talon Zakall brought his team within a goal on a Cents power play near the 10-minute mark of the third period but that’s as close as they got to upsetting the Chiefs.
Chilliwack outshot the Cents 44-37.
Mathieu Caron, the Chiefs’ 21-year-old goaltender, improved his record to 11-5.The Brown University recruit has played in all but three of the Chiefs’ 19 games so far.
Merritt (3-17-0-0-0) finished third in the three-team Chilliwack pod.
The Sprue Kings-Chiefs game starts Sunday at 5 p.m. The game will be webcast on mixlr.com/sprucekings with the voice of the Kings, Cole Waldie, handling the play-by-play. You can also watch the game by subscription on hockeytv.com.