If the Spokane Chiefs made a checklist of things to do on Saturday night, they probably crossed every task off their list.
Pour on the offense. Check.
Limit the Edmonton Oil Kings’ opportunities to score. Check.
Score on power-play opportunities, don’t take bad penalties – and if you do, score a shorthanded goal while on the penalty kill. Oh, and of course throw in a couple of fights to entertain the fans.
Check, check, check.
The Chiefs caught fire on Saturday at the Arena – getting two goals apiece from Drayson Bowman, Liberty Lake’s Tyler Johnson and Dustin Donaghy – as Spokane lit up Edmonton with an 11-2 Western Hockey League victory. The 11 goals were the most they’ve scored this season – five away from the franchise high of 16 set before the Chiefs played in the Arena.
“We played a good team that’s kind of struggling without their starting goalie,” Johnson said. “It was a good game for us. We started early and kept going. (Scoring that many goals) is two-sided. On one side you put yourself in their shoes, but at the same time we have to keep playing and work hard and do things the best we can.”
Brett Bartman put Spokane (37-16-0-3) on the board 1 minute, 34 seconds into the game, firing in a slap shot from inside the blue line that sailed above Edmonton goalie Cam Lanigan’s left shoulder and Bowman made it 2-0 when he scored at 3:08 with a well-placed shot from the top of the left circle on Spokane’s first power play.
The Chiefs weren’t done, though.
Brady Calla forced a turnover on the Oil Kings’ attempt at a first pass out of their zone and got Johnson the puck as he skated into the slot. Johnson flipped a backhanded shot for the top-shelf goal at 12:02.
After Michael Burns scored for the Oil Kings to spoil the shutout early, Ondrej Roman took a pass from Bowman around defenseman Henrik Trevonen and slid the puck past Lanigan’s stick for Spokane’s fourth goal of the period at 16:37.
“You get three or four goals in the first period and really start cooking it’s hard to stop that momentum,” Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter said. “I was real happy with our start. The guys set a nice tone for the game and we went from there. I liked the fact that we didn’t let up after the first.”
They just kept right on scoring goals.
It took just more than a minute into the middle period for Spokane to add another insurance goal when Levko Koper scored from the top of the left circle on a quick play by Spokane in the offensive zone.
Once again – they weren’t done lighting the lamp.
Spurgeon scored at 3:34, redirecting Roman’s pass near the left post – which led to a goalie change for the Oil Kings.
That didn’t stop Spokane.
Blake Gal popped in a power-play goal at 7:40 on a play that involved precise passing from all five Chiefs on the ice and Bowman scored Spokane’s eighth goal at 10:57 when he sneaked in a shot that ricocheted off goalie Laurent Brossoit’s pad and into the net.
Edmonton’s Brett Breitkreuz scored the Oil Kings’ second and final goal of the game 7:48 into the third.
Spokane didn’t quit on the offensive end, though.
Johnson scored a shorthanded goal on Spokane’s only penalty kill of the game and Donaghy scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season – both on assists from Ryan Letts – less than two minutes apart late in the final period.
Goalie Dustin Tokarski made 21 saves in net for Spokane.
“We played a complete game,” Sauter said. “We played an honest game and we played to the finish. That wasn’t meant to show anyone up or embarrass anyone. The guys played a full 60 minutes and I’m real happy with that.”
The Chiefs remained four points behind the Tri-City Americans – with two games in hand – after Tri-City (39-16-0-3) defeated Everett Saturday night. … Former Chiefs assistant coach Steve Pleau made his first return to the Arena on Saturday night as the head coach of the Oil Kings. Pleau assisted former Chiefs coach Bill Peters during the 2006-07 season, and was replaced last season by Sauter, who took over as head coach for Peters this season after Peters took a head coaching job in the American Hockey League.