Midget star on mark when Dub comes Collins

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

Chris Collins loves the Saddledome.

On New Year's Day, he scored a hat-trick to lead the Calgary Baffaloes to a 6-5 double-OT win over the Vancouver Giants at the 'Dome in the Mac's final.

Last night, he scored his first career WHL goal as he helped the visiting Chilliwack Bruins beat the Calgary Hitmen 5-4. As excited as he was about scoring his first goal in the Dub, Collins said it takes a back seat to the Mac's championship.

"I'm going to have to say the hat-trick (is more important)," Collins said.

"Just because we won the Mac's and we had to battle through a lot of games.

"But this is still pretty big."

Collins gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead in the final minute of the second period when he batted a rebound off the backboards out of mid-air and into the net.

"I kinda got lucky with the rebound off the backboards. I just whacked at it and it went in," said Collins, who will also suit up with the Bruins tomorrow night in Medicine Hat.

"It feels pretty good, especially to do it at home in Calgary.

"And to beat the best team in the country is pretty cool."

Collins, who played his fourth-career WHL game last night, will join the Bruins fulltime once the Buffaloes' season is over.

But that could be a while.

"That's the plan, but hopefully, my team will go far."

The Buffaloes (13-10-6) sit third in the AMHL's South Division.

Bruins head coach Jim Hillier said Collins' game has come a long way.

"He was really close to making our team out of training camp," Hillier said. "But we didn't know if he was physically strong enough yet.

"We wanted to make sure we played him a lot of minutes. We didn't want him to be an in-and-out player.

"It was a real tough decision, but we sent him back to midget. But it was the best decision.

"It was hard for him, but he's bigger and stronger. And as we saw tonight, he's ready to play in the Western Hockey League."

"He's going to play a big role on our team next year."


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