Lanigan leads Tigers past Chiefs
Cam Lanigan doesn’t know if he’s had 55 saves in a game before, but he knows he’s never had two assists in a game.
The Medicine Hat goaltender withstood Spokane’s season-high 58 shots and set up two scores Saturday night to steer the Tigers toward a 4-3 win over the Chiefs at the Arena.
The Tigers’ win, just their ninth on the road in 27 tries, denied the Chiefs their 1,000th win as a franchise. Medicine Hat (25-23-2-1), playing the Chiefs for the only time this season, recorded its eighth win in 11 games.
Lanigan assisted on the Tigers’ first score, Boston Leier’s score at 3:39 of the second period to tie the game at 1. The goal occurred seconds after Spokane’s Dylan Walchuk nearly scored.
Lanigan also notched an assist on the winner, Curtis Valk’s power-play goal with 12:06 left in the game after a Walchuk penalty.
“The two assists, that was a first for me,” said the former Kamloops and Edmonton goalie who called the Arena his “Kryptonite” because of his lopsided losses in Spokane. “It was kind of one of those games where you’re in a zone.”
Spokane (30-18-2-0) outshot the Tigers 22-7 in the second period without scoring and 22-8 in the third period without scoring for the final 17:20.
“Our guys are trying to score soft,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “By that I mean trying to score without paying the price to score. … Their goalie saw every puck. It was easy for him.”
“I don’t think we had much traffic in front of him and he saw every shot,” said Todd Fiddler, who led the Chiefs’ effort with his league-leading 34th and 35th goals and one assist. “I think we have to battle harder in that effort and then I think we’ll have a better outcome.”
Spokane led 1-0 after the first period when Mike Aviani picked up his 50th point of the season while assisting on Fiddler’s score at 17:15.
Leier and Hunter Shinkaruk, scoring his 28th of the season, made the most of the Tigers’ seven shots in the second period and put the Chiefs in a 2-1 hole.
Fiddler tied a team record set by Tony Horacek in 1988 by scoring 8 seconds into the third period for a 2-all tie. The teams exchanged goals 11 seconds apart, with the Miles Koules giving the Tigers a brief 3-2 lead before Blake Gal answered for Spokane.
Lanigan held up through several late flurries.
“Sometimes you make the saves and sometimes it goes in,” he said. “It was nice tonight that we got the bounces.”
“The only guy who was shooting bullets was Fiddler,” Nachbaur said. “Everyone else was shooting muffins.”
The Chiefs have 11 home games left during the regular season.
Spokane completed a grueling stretch of playing seven games in 11 days.
Spokane’s next three games are against the top three teams in the Western Conference: Friday at Kamloops (69 points), Saturday at Portland (81) and Feb. 6 at home against Kelowna (77).