It’s hard enough to score on Carter Hart, the star goaltender of the Everett Silvertips and Canadian World Junior gold medalist.
It’s even harder when you limit your scoring chances.
That’s the situation the Spokane Chiefs found themselves in at the Arena Saturday night in a 5-2 loss. The Chiefs made Hart’s night easy and made things hard on themselves.
“I don’t think it was anything they did,” the Chiefs’ Jake McGrew said. “I think it was stuff that we did. We got away from our game plan. We weren’t getting pucks deep, going low to high, and we weren’t getting shots on net.”
The Chiefs had 33 shots on net in total, although nearly half of those came in the third period when they had to press.
The Chiefs gave up two goals in less than a minute late in the first period.
McGrew got Spokane on the board to open the game when he tipped a shot from Kailer Yamamoto seconds after a power play expired.
Garrett Pilon tied it when he deflected a shot past Spokane goaltender Bailey Brkin, who got his second start in as many nights.
Those two quick Everett goals put Spokane in a hole. It started when Riley Woods took a slashing penalty at 15:46 of the first. Everett’s Patrick Bajkov took a tripping minor 44 seconds later, and the teams skated 4-on-4.
But that was short-lived once Jaret Anderson-Dolan took an interference penalty at 17:10 of the first, giving Everett a rare 4-on-3 advantage. Matt Fonteyne scored on the ensuing power play, and Pilon added his second of the night on the power play at 18:45 off of a big rebound.
The Chiefs suddenly found themselves in a 3-1 hole after the first period.
“You can’t give (Everett) three goals and expect to beat them,” Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said. “Through bad coverage, through turnovers, through bad penalties, we gave it to them at that moment.”
The Silvertips choked the Chiefs’ transition game and dominated puck possession throughout the second period. They limited Spokane to four shots on net. Fonteyne scored his second of the night on the power play to extend Everett’s lead to 4-1.
Lambert shuffled the lines in the second and third periods in an effort to generate some offense. It worked in the third when Hudson Elynuik cut into Everett’s lead after he made a nice effort play to put a rebound past Hart.
“We’re down three going into the third and whatever we can do to just try and find a spark within the group, and it did spark us a little bit,” Lambert said. “We got one early in the third but not enough.”
That’s all the offense the Chiefs could muster in the third despite putting 14 shots on net. Pilon completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 18:06 of the third.
Everett scored twice on the power play, while its league-leading penalty kill held Spokane scoreless on three tries.
Brkin stopped 29 shots for Spokane.
The Chiefs have some time to rest before welcoming the Brandon Wheat Kings to Spokane on Wednesday.