The Spokane Chiefs surrendered a 4-2 lead half way through the second period Saturday night before falling 6-5 to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Chiefs gave up four unanswered goals before scratching a fifth goal late. Spokane pulled the goalie with 1:33 to play, but the Oil Kings (11-13-2-0, 24 points) held firmly to get the win.
Coach Don Nachbaur came into the night without three of his top scorers, including Kailer Yamamoto. Then just a couple of minutes into the game, the team lost forward Curtis Miske to what appeared to be a long-term injury.
“I think our style was way too open. We had way too many turnovers,” Nachbaur said. “But we had a lack of bodies. We tried and competed, but what more can you do?”
Following the 10-1 mauling Friday night of the Vancouver Giants, the Chiefs (10-9-4-1, 25 points) quickly fell behind. Just more than 4 minutes into the game, Edmonton’s Kobe Mohr broke ahead of the Spokane defense and got the shot to go past Chiefs goalie Dawson Weatherill.
About six minutes into the game, the Chiefs’ Ty Smith, who at 17 has already become a key leader on the ice, appeared to take a puck to the mouth and he left the ice. He returned for the third period.
The Chiefs rallied at the 12:48 mark at the first period when 16-year-old Eli Zummack fired a shot that rebounded to Taylor Ross. Ross got the puck past Edmonton goalie Patrick Dea to tie the game at 1.
Then with 3:09 remaining in the period, Spokane’s Jaret Anderson-Dolan split two defenders, leaving them both sprawling on the ice. He then then fired a laser past Dea to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Oil Kings to strike a claim in the second period. At the 2:20 mark, Spokane’s Weatherill made a nice save, but the puck bounced back to Edmonton’s Artyom Baltruk, who got it to go to tie the game at 2.
Only 31 seconds later, the Chiefs regained the lead when Dalton Hamaliuk fired a shot that rebounded to Keanu Yamamoto, who punched it in to give the Chiefs a 3-2 lead.
The goal of the night came at the 11:04 mark with the Chiefs defending an Edmonton power play. Hudson Elynuik got free on a breakaway, fired a shot, got his rebound and sent it into the net for a short-handed goal to make it 4-2 Chiefs.
But the Oil Kings rallied late in the period. Aaron Irving and Tyson Gruninger scored 98 seconds apart to tie the game.
Anderson-Dolan scored his second goal, and fifth in two nights after a hat trick on Friday, with 9:31 to play, but the Chiefs ran out of gas.
“It’s always tough when you get a lead like that and you end up blowing it,” Anderson-Dolan said. “We have a lot of injuries, but we are definitely a better team than last week.”
The Chiefs return to the Arena on Wednesday to take on the Portland Winterhawks. Those teams are tied for fourth place in the U.S. Division with 25 points.
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