The Spokane Chiefs ran their Western Hockey League win streak to 10 games Friday night in the Spokane Arena, but at a price.
How steep the price may not be known until early next week.
The Chiefs knocked off the Chilliwack Bruins, 6-0 – the kind of victory a team expects when the opponent has as many wins (14) as you have losses. Spokane scored its first two goals on the power play, leading scorer Drayson Bowman picked up a hat trick and goaltender Dustin Tokarski collected the shutout.
The heavy price came in the second period, when leading defender Jared Cowen went down with an injured right knee.
Cowen took a Bruins forward into the boards on what looked to be a routine play, but went down immediately and had to be helped from the ice.
“The doctor took a look at him and we’ll get him checked out (today) after the swelling has a chance to go down,” coach Hardy Sauter said. “We’ll have a better idea early next week.”
Bowman, who ran his scoring total to 24 goals and 26 assists with his three-goal, two-assist performance, was quick to pass along credit.
“I’m playing with the best center around,” he said, referring to Ondrej Roman. “It’s easy to play with Ondrej. I can’t take the credit on a night like this. He puts the puck right on your stick and all you have to do is put it in the net.
“Mitch Wahl and I were struggling earlier in the season to find that chemistry we had last year. Since we’ve split up, we’ve both kind of found our game. Hopefully, we can get back together on the same line and keep it up. But until then, I love playing with Ondrej.”
Bowman said the 10-game win streak has come at just the right time – an opinion he bases on experience.
“That’s the way it was last year,” he said. “We got on a win streak, won something like nine games in a row and that set the tone for the rest of the season. Hopefully, this streak will set us up and we can roll right into the playoffs.”
Jared Spurgeon, Cowen’s defense partner, said the team is trying to keep the streak in perspective, however.
“We’re just trying to go out there every night and play Spokane Chiefs hockey,” he said. “We don’t want to get too overconfident. You can’t do that in this league.”
The Bruins came into the game with a front-office change. Long-time general manager Darrell May was fired Tuesday and team president Darryl Porter assumed his duties.
On the ice, Chilliwack had a familiar problem stopping Spokane’s power play. The first time the teams met, the Chiefs were 4 of 5 with a man advantage. This time, Spokane scored its first three goals with a man advantage and never looked back.
The Chiefs opened the game with a power-play goal when Brady Calla tipped in a shot by Stefan Ulmer from the point 6:38 into the contest.
Defenseman Trevor Glass added a second power-play goal midway through the second period, drilling a wrist shot from the top of the slot past Bruins goalkeeper Mark Fiesen.
Bowman collected the first of his three goals in the second period, breaking free of the Chilliwack defense to beat Fiesen 1-on-1.
Spokane completed the scoring with three in the final period – a pair of Bowman scores sandwiched around a thrilling breakaway goal by Wahl.
Tokarski needed to make 33 saves and survive two 5-on-3 Chilliwack power-play opportunities to notch his 10th consecutive win and fifth shutout.
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