The Spokane Chiefs’ power play was among the least lethal in the Western Hockey League coming into Saturday’s game against the visiting Regina Pats.
But thanks to some tweaks to the power play units, the Chiefs got four power-play goals on five chances in a 7-3 win over the Pats at the Arena.
The Chiefs also got a shorthanded goal and killed some key penalties late in the game to secure the win.
“It was great that our power play stepped up. We were certainly due,” Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said. “It was one of those things where we got pucks to the net, we got deflection goals, we got rebound goals. That’s what needs to happen on the power play.”
The Chiefs got out to a 5-0 lead thanks to the four power-play goals and Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s shorthanded goal. Riley Woods – he had the team’s second power-play goal and third goal of the night when he tipped in a Ty Smith shot from the point – said power-play units played to their potential.
“Before the game, coach kind of switched the units up,” Woods said. “I think our power plays were a little more crisp tonight and the four power-play goals showed that.”
Smith got his fourth goal of the season to open the scoring at the 3-minute, 34-second mark of the first period when he sent a shot from the point past Regina goaltender Tyler Brown.
Anderson-Dolan’s shorthanded goal rounded out the scoring in the first period.
Eli Zummack put a rebound past Brown on the power play at the 4:25 mark of the second period. Woods got his 10th goal of the season before Hudson Elynuik provided insurance when he scored 9 seconds into a power play. It was Elynuik’s team-leading 13th goal of the season.
Regina seemed to wake up after it got on the board with less than 5 minutes to play in the second period. Nick Henry was alone in front of Chiefs goaltender Donovan Buskey and put a rebound in.
Sam Steel scored a little more than 5 minutes into the third period and a little more than a minute later, Matt Bradley powered one from the point to cut Spokane’s lead to 5-3.
The game had suddenly shifted and the Pats were surging. The Chiefs took some penalties and nearly allowed the Pats back into the game.
First it was defenseman Nolan Reid sitting for tripping. Zach Fischer took an interference penalty not long after Reid’s penalty was killed. Regina’s Sam Steel gave Spokane a break, though, when he went off for high sticking 39 seconds into Fischer’s penalty.
At the 14:17 mark, Jeff Faith took a roughing penalty, leaving the door open for Regina to crawl back.
But the Chiefs’ penalty kill was up to the task. Just seconds after killing Faith’s penalty, Elynuik fed Fischer from behind the net and Fischer put it past goaltender Max Paddock, who came in to relieve Brown.
Carter Chorney got his first career goal on a breakaway to pad Spokane’s lead at the 18:06 mark.
“I blocked a shot and then saw an open breakaway and skated as hard as I could,” Chorney said. “I saw an opening between (Paddock’s) arm and the post so I shot it there.”
Chorney’s play impressed his coach.
“I really liked Carter’s game tonight,” Lambert said. “I thought he was physical. He gets in a fight and he gets his first goal. That’s what you want to see from your 16-year-olds.”
That fight was also Chorney’s first career bout. He and Duncan Pierce dropped the mitts in the third period.
“(Pierce) was asking me all game, so I finally said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ”Chorney said. “Might as well get that one out of the way, too.”