Chiefs’ streak at 11
The Spokane Chiefs rolled a natural 11.
In front of a Spokane Arena crowd of 9,042, the Chiefs extended the second-longest winning streak in franchise history to 11 games by stopping the Kootenay Ice, 6-0.
The victory was the 11th straight victory and sixth shutout of the season for goaltender Dustin Tokarski, matching his own franchise record for consecutive victories set last year.
Spokane will go for an even dozen when it plays host to the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Giants Friday night.
Opposing offenses were 0-for-the-weekend against Tokarski.
One night after blanking Chilliwack, 6-0, the Chiefs did the same with the hard-skating, hard-checking Ice, the second-youngest team in the Western Hockey League in terms of average age.
The game devolved into a fight-fest in the final period, with the final tally for penalty minutes being kept in hours instead of minutes. Spokane was ticketed for 69 minutes in penalties, including three misconduct penalties and five fighting majors. Kootenay was flagged for 91 penalty minutes, with four misconduct penalties (one a game misconduct) to go with five majors for fighting.
A brawl in front of the Kootenay penalty box midway through the period saw penalties handed out to a half-dozen players and a brief shoving match between starting goaltenders as they passed each other during a timeout. Tokarski, responding to verbal abuse from the Kootenay bench, skated into his net while holding his stick aloft, pointing to the scoreboard.
“It gets frustrating having to defend yourself like that,” said center Tyler Johnson, who scored a pair of goals, including a short-handed tally in the first period that started the night’s scoring fest. “We know that teams hate to lose and that they are going to keep fighting until the end. We’re a family out there and you just have to trust that your family is watching your back while you’re out there.
The potent Spokane offense now has scored 21 goals in its past three games.
The Ice started newly acquired American Todd Mathews in net. The 18-year-old from Covina, Calif., had three wins in the team’s past four games, two wins coming in games he did not start. Mathews was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Dec. 11 in exchange for a conditional fifth-round draft pick in either the 2009 or 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
Mathews turned away 40 Spokane shots in the game.
Dustin Donaghy scored the first of Spokane’s two power- play goals in the second period, firing a wrist shot past Mathews from the point.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon added a goal and an assist.
Drayson Bowman scored on a wrist shot that caromed off the cross bar in the second period and later added an assist on Mitch Wahl’s goal in the final minute. It was the 10th straight game he has had at least an assist. His 25 goals and 27 assists both are team highs.
Tokarski notched his team-leading sixth shutout of the season by turning away 29 shots.
“Any time you can get on a win streak like this, it feels really good,” Johnson said. “There are going to be times when it will be hard to put the puck in the net and then there will be times like tonight, when shots just want to go in for you. You know that coming in.
“Hopefully, wins like this one will get us on track and get us headed in the right direction for the playoffs.”