True, the Spokane Chiefs have won 18 consecutive games from the Everett Silvertips at the Arena. But Sunday night's win allowed the Chiefs to add to another positive season-long trend. Read story
The Chiefs took a 2-1 lead that they never relinquished on Mitch Holmberg's power-play goal with 2 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second period.
“When I gave it to Mitch, he made it so easy for me,” said Adam Helewka, who assisted on the play. “He got so open in the slot, it was a no-brainer to give it to him. … That was a big goal for us, to get that lead, and we needed to do something on our power play.”
Thanks to that goal, and outscoring Everett 3-2 in the third period, Spokane improved to 24-1-0-0 for the season when it leads after two periods.
It wasn't easy, however. Spokane took a 3-1 lead at 8:11 of the third when midseason acquisition Marcus Messier scored his third goal in the last five games. But the Silvertips struck back less than a minute later on Brayden Low's goal.
Mike Aviani's score at 11:34 for a 4-2 lead looked like a backbreaker, but Everett pulled rookie goalie Carter Hart around 17:15 and scored about 20 seconds later, courtesy of Cole MacDonald.
Spokane fought off Everett's extra skater down the stretch and got Holmberg's empty-netter in the closing seconds, off Aviani's feed.
“We had some timely plays,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “The (Holmberg) power play in the second period was a big goal, and Mike Aviani’s goal at the end of the penalty kill. Our penalty kill was pretty good (4 for 4), so we had some good things. But our overall game wasn’t as good as (Saturday) night, so it was a huge drop-off, just in terms of intensity and work ethic.”
Spokane went 1 for 3 on the power play to finish the weekend 4 for 9. The Chiefs had been 0 for 19 in their previous five games.
“It was definitely an exciting night, that’s for sure,” Holmberg said. “It wasn’t the best game we’ve played, but it was a win, so that’s all you can look at right now.”
Holmberg said he hadn't kept up with the league scoring lead, which Nicolas Petan of Portland had taken over from him. The two are tied now with 100 points apiece. Holmberg also said that he didn't realize he led the WHL in winning goals.
But Holmberg DID know the last time Everett won at the Arena. The 20-year-old said it was in his second game with the Chiefs, as a 16-year-old.