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Spokane Chiefs, Williams shut out Everett

Lesson learned.

One night after coach Don Nachbaur criticized his Chiefs’ lack of effort in a loss to Red Deer, Spokane turned in a workmanlike performance in blanking Everett, 5-0, Saturday at the Spokane Arena.

“This was a much better effort,” Nachbaur said. “We had a game plan, we stuck to it and we got better results.”

The shutout was the first of the year for the Chiefs and starting goaltender Eric Williams, who was stellar against the Silvertips, turning away 26 shots as Spokane remained a point behind U.S. Division leader Portland in the Western Hockey League.

 “Our goaltending was outstanding,” Nachbaur said. “He (Williams) earned that shutout. He’s been good all year – every 19-year-old in the league is doing what he’s doing, trying to find consistency and show the (NHL) scouts.”

Just as they did Friday night against Red Deer, the Chiefs took an early lead, this time off the rebound on a Jason Fram shot by Connor Cartier 3 minutes into the game. Rookie defenseman Adam Power earned an assist on the play for his first career WHL point.

But unlike Friday night, the Chiefs kept the pressure on Everett, adding a second goal with 3 minutes left in the first period. Dylan Walchuk fired a hard wrist shot off Silvertips goaltender Austin Lotz and Collin Valcourt tapped the loose puck in from the crease.

Each of Spokane’s five goals were scored by different players.

Adam Helewka’s wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle 4:28 into the second period made it 3-0, and the Chiefs added a power-play goal from Todd Fiddler 3 minutes later that forced Everett coach Mark Ferner to swap goaltenders.

Brenden Kichton capped the scoring with a third-period power-play goal.

“Our power play played well, but a big part of our power play is in street clothes, sitting up in the stands,” Nachbaur said, referring to a growing number of injured Chiefs that includes leading scorer Mitch Holmberg and defensemen Tanner Mort and Reid Gow. “We’ve had some young guys step in to fill in our power play and they deserve a lot of credit.”

The loss of Gow following Friday night’s game forced the reshuffling of the Spokane defense.

Kichton paired with Tyler King in the starting lineup, with WHL rookie Jeremy McIntosh paired with Jason Fram and Powers teamed with Cole Wedman.

“I’m not sure when we’re getting anyone back,” Nachbaur said. “Some of (the injuries) are long-term. “

Everett, which has lost five straight, plays here again on Tuesday.