There really is no place like home for Spokane Chiefs goaltender Aren Miller.
While playing within an hour’s drive of his hometown of Esteban, Saskatchewan, Miller stopped 33 of 35 shots and assisted on two Spokane goals to lead the Chiefs to a 4-2 Western Hockey League victory over the Regina Pats Sunday night.
With the win, Spokane (14-6) attained a couple of franchise firsts. The Chiefs completed their five-game road swing through the prairies of Manitoba and Saskatchewan with three wins and eclipsed a nine-game winless streak at Regina.
Spokane opened the scoring at 7:49 the first period when John Cirjak took a breakaway pass from Trent Whitfield, who had two assists in the game, at the Regina line and slipped a shot past Pats goaltender Tim Winters just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
Regina (11-9) answered when Brad Brown tipped in a rebound of a Josh Holden shot at 14:02 of the first. Miller made the initial save but Brown was able to get just enough on the puck to get the slow-moving puck past Miller.
The Chiefs put the game away with three unanswered goals in the second period. Kirs Graf earned his first WHL goal when he rebounded his own shot at 13:31. Dmitri Leonov made it 3-1 with his fourth goal in three games at 16:11 and Sean Gillam wrapped up the Spokane scoring with a slap shot from the left point at 19:11. The Pats were two men short at the time.
Spokane will face Portland at the Portland Coliseum on Wednesday, before returning home for 7 p.m. contests with Prince George on Friday and Tri-City on Saturday.
Spokane 4, Regina 2
Spokane 1 3 0 - 4
Regina 1 0 1 - 2
First period - 1, Spo, Cirjak 11 (Whitfield, Miller), 7:49 (pp). 2, Reg, Brown 2 (Holden, Kane), 14:02 (pp). Key penalties - McDonald, Reg, 6:07; Gillam, Spo, 13:35.
Second period - 3, Spo, Graf 1 (Haley), 13:31. 4, Spo, Leonov 10 (Bertsch), 16:11. 5, Spo, Gillam 4 (Whitfield, Miller), 19:11 (pp). Key penalties - Morris, Reg, 17:24; Parson, Reg, 18:46.
Third period - 6, Reg, Vlaseelic 3 (Tipler), 7:47. Key penalties - None.
Power-play opp. - Spokane 2 of 7; Regina 2 of 10. Saves - Spokane, Miller 10-8-15-33. Regina, Winters 7-8-x-15, Mercier x-x12-12. A - 3,592.
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