Everett dropped in at the Arena and dropped a stick, and then the Spokane Chiefs dropped the hammer, pounding out an 8-1 win Sunday night.
The Silvertips were playing the last game of a two-week, nine-game road trip that included two close losses (3-1, 3-2) in Spokane and were frustrating the Chiefs and their 4,151 fans once again.
But late in the second period Everett goalie Kent Simpson dropped his stick on an innocent play behind the net. Marek Kalus stopped the puck along the right wall and fired a shot at Simpson, who made the stop but couldn’t clear the puck, allowing Mike Aviani to push it into the net for a 3-1 lead.
The Chiefs (9-4-0-1, 19 points) broke the game open with three goals in 97 seconds early in the five-goal third period. It started at 5:14 when Jarid Hauptman scored his first career goal. Then Anthony Bardaro notched his 10th goal of the season at 6:36, and just 36 seconds later Aviani got his second of the game.
“It was going to come eventually,” Hauptman said. “I wasn’t really too worried.
“This was a nice confidence builder. We played hard, really ran the game and a lot of young guys stepped up.”
There were also two late goals. Dominik Uher got the first, then went crashing into the boards with pressure from behind by Lucas Grayson, who received a charging major. Uher was helped off the ice with what appeared to be a head injury. Defenseman Tyler King got his first career goal during the ensuing power play.
“I think we were licking our wounds from last night (a 4-1 setback against Tri-City),” Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. “We’re still trying to find our identity, how we have to play to be successful. I think there are too many individuals that are trying to play their own game. Tonight we played as a team and the results are there.
“We had some great performances by our young guys.”
Instead of falling behind as they did in the previous two meetings, the Chiefs had a 2-0 lead after one period.
Striking first was newcomer Carter Proft, poking the puck past Simpson after Liam Stewart carried it hard to the net. That goal, Proft’s first in his second game after coming from Brandon in a trade, was at 7:33.
“It’s real exciting,” Proft said. “There is a good corps of leadership and it trickles down. Everybody wants to win.”
At 13:57 Mitch Holmberg went high from the right circle for a power-play goal.
But the Silvertips (4-13-0-3, 11) didn’t go away. Tyler Maxwell scored his 11th of the season during a 5-on-3 power play in the early minutes of the second period, keeping things interesting until late.
“We were stumbling at that point, too,” Nachbaur said. “We stuck with it. I think we wore them down. Going into the third, we kept pressing. We didn’t see the results the first two periods but we stayed with it, they made some mistakes and we capitalized
“We moved some guys around tonight. We have to because I think some guys need different perspectives.”
Simpson was pulled after Bardaro’s goal, which came on the Chiefs’ 43rd shot. He was replaced by Austin Lotz, who allowed three goals on 12 shots. Luke Lee-Knight made 15 saves for Spokane.
“We outshot them really bad,” Hauptman said. “We played in their end basically the whole first period. The only chances they had were the power play. I think we just have to play the game the right way, work hard, shoot pucks and do what our team does best.”
The Chiefs play two games in Portland next weekend before returning home for pair of games in two weeks.