If Friday’s night’s 1-0 loss to the Victoria Royals was possibly the worst game the Chiefs have played this season, Saturday night’s game against the Prince Albert Raiders may have been their best.
The Chiefs put 48 shots on net and used six goal scorers to secure a dominating 7-0 win in front of 6,039 fans at the Spokane Arena.
The 48 shots were a gigantic improvement from Friday’s 19. The Chiefs also limited the Raiders’ chances, allowing only 13 shots throughout the night.
Backup goaltender Donovan Buskey got the start and his first shutout.
“There was no doubt the team wanted to play more of what Spokane Chiefs hockey should be,” head coach Dan Lambert said. “I thought it started from the first shift and everyone bought in.”
That first shift set the tone for the rest of the game. The line of Riley Woods, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Kailer Yamamoto put pressure on the Prince Albert defenseman and kept the puck in the the Raiders’ end.
The scoring started almost immediately after the second shift began. Hudson Elynuik came fresh off the bench to snipe one past Prince Albert goaltender Ian Scott from the left circle just 1 minute, 12 seconds into the game.
“It was my first shift of the game and I saw Kailer grab (the puck),” Elynuik said. “I know he’s going to make a play and chip it off the boards and it got to me right in stride and I got lucky it went in.”
It was Elynuik’s 12th goal of the season.
Defenseman Dalton Hamaliuk got his first goal of the season at the 16:05 mark of the first period after taking a nice cross-ice pass from Luke Toporowski.
Nolan Reid continued his hot streak and scored the only goal of the second period after taking a pass from Eli Zummack from behind the net to the slot. Reid has 10 goals on the season. He scored just one goal all of last year.
The Chiefs’ defenseman scored three goals on the night, with the third coming off the stick of Tyson Helgesen. Helgesen was parked at the side of the net and batted the puck out of midair past Scott.
Zach Fischer scored a power-play goal to pad the lead at the 13:31 mark of the third period and followed it up with his second of the night about four minutes later after he took a nice drop-pass from Elynuik.
Toporowski rounded out the scoring when he got his first career goal at the 18:09 mark.
“Luke Toporowski was challenged early in the season with his work ethic and how he competes,” Lambert said. “I thought tonight he really responded well playing with Zummack and (Jake) McGrew. That’s what you need to see. Those guys need to get better and continue to grow. I thought Luke did a great job.”
Buskey got the start in net after appearing in just four games leading up to Saturday. Lambert was pleased with how the 17-year-old handled himself.
“When you look at our schedule, Buskey hasn’t had a lot of playing time, which is probably unfair to him because of how hard he’s worked,” Lambert said. “We were able to get him a start tonight and we were really happy to see his first shutout.”
The Raiders finished up their tour through the U.S. Division, winning just one of five games. The 7-0 drubbing won’t make the nearly 900-mile bus ride home.
The Chiefs are back on the Arena ice against the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday.
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