Over the halfway point of the Western Hockey League, the Spokane Chiefs are still looking to find some consistency.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan posted a hat trick, the third of his career, and Markson Bechtold chipped in two goals, but it wasn’t enough in Spokane’s 6-5 loss to Victoria on Wednesday at the Arena.
“We had some guys that played really well tonight, and some guys that played really poorly,” Chiefs head coach Nachbaur said.
The Chiefs, after Anderson-Dolan and Bechtold scored early goals within the first six minutes of the game, let the Royals’ offense operate at will. Victoria scored four straight goals to conjure up a 4-2 lead in the second period.
But Spokane battled back with goals from Bechtold with 3 minutes, 11 seconds to go in the second period and Anderson-Dolan at the 14:05 mark in the third.
The two teams traded goals, with Anderson-Dolan answering the call again and sending the game to overtime with a goal with 59 seconds remaining in regulation.
In the extra frame it went sour for the Chiefs, as Evan Fiala’s charging penalty put Victoria on the power play, and Phillips scored his second goal of the night with 1:58 remaining to hand the Royals two points.
Victoria was effective on the power play, going 3 for 6, but Nachbaur disagreed with some calls that got them there. In particular, a penalty called on Weatherill for handling the puck out of the trapezoid.
“That’s not a power play, that was perfectly legal that play,” Nachbaur said. “The video is perfectly clear on that.”
Nachbaur also questioned Fiala’s charging penalty in overtime, where he barreled into a Victoria attacker in front of the net.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know what my player is supposed to do, get out of the way?” Nachbaur said. “It’s in front of the net. I thought our player went there with a purpose to move the guy and allow him to get in front of the net, the guy was cutting in at an angle. I just don’t know a different play than that one, I don’t know a different play than that.”
After stellar goalie play last week against Portland and Kelowna, the Chiefs’ netminders took a step back by giving up six goals in back-to-back games against Tri-City and Victoria.
Anderson-Dolan contends it’s what’s happening in front of him that needs to improve in order to help the goalies get in a rhythm.
“It’s not the goalies, we need to play better in front of them,” Anderson-Dolan said. “We’re giving them too many grade-A chances and we’re giving up too many penalty kills.
“We’re not really giving our goalies a chance to succeed right now and we need to pick it up.”
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