When you compare it to the nine victories they rattled off from Oct. 12 to Nov. 2, the Spokane Chiefs’ three-game winning streak isn’t anything to start bragging about.
Drayson Bowman’s scoring streak, however, is shaping up to be a different story.
The Chiefs’ left-winger found the net twice Friday night to score in his eighth straight game, and Chris Bruton added a goal and an assist as Spokane powered past the East-leading Regina Pats for a 4-2 Western Hockey League victory in front of 5,812 fans at the Arena.
As expected throughout the fierce contest, special teams were a factor. In the end, though, it came down to a few circus heroics and many routine saves from Chiefs’ netminder Kevin Armstrong.
Armstrong stopped 31 shots, including 13 in the final period, as the Pats outshot the Chiefs 15-5 the final 20 minutes.
“It was a real good hockey game for a while and they started coming at us there at the end – but thankfully we held on,” said Bowman. “They were just pressing to get the goal, and we were on our heels a little bit, but Armstrong held us in there and got the job done.
“No doubt, without him we wouldn’t have won the game.”
The Chiefs (16-3-1-2) converted 2 of 5 power-play opportunities while the Pats struck on 2 of 4 with a man advantage.
Regina got on the board first when Chiefs forward Curtis Kelner entered the penalty box for interference at 1 minute, 48 seconds.
The Pats (16-9-0-0) promptly displayed why they are the league’s second-best team on the power play, shifting the puck around the perimeter before the 1-2 punch of Jordan Eberle and Michael MacAngus struck.
Tim Kraus delivered a pass down low to MacAngus, who fooled Armstrong and dished left to Eberle for the easy tap-in at 2:16. The goal was Eberle’s team-leading 20th of the season.
Bruton evened the score at 8:53 and Bowman scored his first goal of the night, receiving a Mitch Wahl pass off the face-off as the Chiefs took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after the first.
Coming into this game, the Pats had outscored opponents 30-7 in the opening period.
“Little bit of a statement game,” Chiefs coach Bill Peters said. “For us to get out with a one-goal lead after the first 20 (minutes) was good – they hadn’t given up many shots real early in the game.”
The Chiefs skated penalty-free in the second while taking a 3-1 lead. With Regina’s Logan Pyett in the penalty box for hooking, Spokane’s top line of Bowman, Wahl and Bruton did what they do best.
Wahl, who finished with two assists, worked a pass inside to Bruton on the right. Bruton backhanded a pass to Bowman for an easy goal, his team-leading 17th, at 8:16.
The Pats pulled within one when Pyett scored on a power play at 6:36 in the third, but Judd Blackwater added an insurance goal for Spokane at 17:46.
Regina goaltender Linden Rowat left the ice for the final 1:30 of the game, leaving the net open and giving the Pats the advantage of an extra skater.
Bruton and Wahl misfired, and Bowman didn’t get a look in what could have easily been his second consecutive – and second career – hat trick.
“We’re on a roll as a team right now, and that’s the main thing,” said Bowman. “It would have been good for me personally, but I’m happy with two.”
The Chiefs play the final of six straight home games tonight, welcoming back Prince George. Spokane beat the Cougars 4-1 on Tuesday night in the Arena.
Chiefs forward David Rutherford’s status has been upgraded to day-to-day. Rutherford (groin injury) has been sidelined since early October. … Forward Dustin Donaghy (hand) is expected back in one to two weeks.