The Chilliwack Chiefs spoiled the final regular season home game for the Express in a 6-5 goal fest Friday.
Mathieu Tibbet led the way for Chilliwack with a 4 point night with 3 goals and an assist.
There was nothing to play for in the game for the two teams in the standings. The Express looking to fine tune their game before the playoffs and avoid injury. Chilliwack looking to finish on a high note on what has been a difficult and non playoff season.
The teams started trading goals in the first 5 minutes of the contest. Canon Pieper opened the scoring 1:34 into the game when he snapped a shot through the legs of Spencer Tremblay for his team leading 32nd of the season.
Tibbet got his big night started a few minutes later when Chilliwack won a face-off in their own zone and quickly fired the puck up to Tibbet who used his size to get the puck to the net and put it past Gordie Defiel.
In the second period the teams really began to fill the net.
The Chiefs took their first lead when Tibbet took the puck hard to the net. His shot was denied by Gordie Defiel but Blake Gober following on the play banged home the rebound.
That was followed by a key turning point in this game. Canon Pieper set up his brother Bo on a two on one break, but he was robbed by a great pad save by Tremblay coming to his left. Chilliwack went up the ice and Daniel Delbianco finished off the rush with his first of the season for a 3-1 Chiefs lead.
19 seconds later the Chiefs thought they had scored again when Andrew Silard beat Gordie Defiel. But the goal was called back. Following the play the Express switched net minders with Pierce Dushenko coming in off the bench.
The Express took advantage of the break they got with Chilliwack's no goal and Ryan Rosenthal scoring his 32nd of the season moments later to pull the Express back within one. Rosenthal and Canon Pieper will try and decide the Express goal scoring crown Saturday night.
The captain then set up the tying marker on the power play with a great diagonal pass through the Chilliwack penalty killers to set up Bo Pieper who got a measure of revenge on Tremblay snapping home his 25th of the season.
Kyle Westerlingh gave Chilliwack the lead in the final minute of the second period when he re-directed a pass from the boards from Ben Butcher.
The Express started the third period strong looking for the equalizer. But it was the visitors getting the upper hand. Tibbet got in behind the Express defense while killing a penalty and scored his second of the night shorthand for Chilliwack's 2nd two goal lead of the night.
Adam Rockwood again pulled the Express back within one on that same power play when he tipped a Marc Biega pass to make it a 5-4 game at 9:31.
Tibbet capped off his hat-trick in the final minutes of the third period when he tipped home Zach Diamantoni's point shot.
Again the Express pulled within one in the final minute when Jace Hennig scored on a deflection of a Zach Hodder point shot. But the Express couldn't muster any more offense and Chilliwack held on for the win.
Spencer Tremblay turned aside 41 of 46 Express shots to post the win.
The regular season will conclude for both teams Saturday night for the re-match Saturday in Chilliwack.