Spokane Chiefs broke a three-game losing streak and scored a huge 2-1 victory Tuesday night over the Everett Silvertips.
The Chiefs got goals from Kailer Yamamoto and Jaret Anderson-Dolan while goalie Dawson Weatherill had 26 saves to get the much needed win.
“We still have to be better,” Coach Don Nachbaur said. “We gave up so many breakaways. But the goalie was the reason we got two points tonight. We gutted it out.”
The Chiefs (3-4-1-1, 8 points) came out sharp for the third straight game while facing the white-hot Everett Silvertips (8-2-1-1-0, 17 points). The Chiefs this week added forward Tanner Wishnowski, who traveled all day Tuesday and got a one-hour nap before he hit the ice for Spokane.
“She was a grind, for sure,” said Wishnowski, who came to the Chiefs in a trade with the Kelowna Rockets. “It’s exciting. It’s nice to get an opportunity.”
Spokane came out aggressive and got several good looks early before Tyson Helgesen tried a long shot 10:40 into the first period. The shot somehow skipped through and Yamamoto redirected it past past Everett goalie Carter Hart to put the home team up 1-0. The goal was Yamamoto’s seventh of the season, which leads the team.
“I put my stick out and it bounced over his pad into the net,” Yamamoto said. “It was good to get on the score sheet early.”
Then some seven minutes later, Spokane got its offense set up in front of the Silvertips net. Yamamoto fired a pass to Anderson-Dolan who changed the angle of his stick and the puck deflected off the stick into the net past Hart to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.
“It was actually a terrible pass by me, but (Anderson-Dolan) batted it up and over,” Yamamoto said. “I thought getting those two early goals was huge for our team.”
About two minutes before the end of the period, Chiefs’ Curtis Miske gave up the puck and it led to a three-on none breakaway for the Silvertips.
Just in front of the net, Spokane’s Weatherill bit on a fake by Patrick Bajkov, who passed it to former Chiefs forward Dominic Zwerger. But Weatherill somehow got over to defend Zweger’s shot to keep the Silvertips scoreless.
Weatherill “has been huge for us the past couple of games,” Yamamoto said. “It’s great to have a goalie you can count on.”
The teams played an even start to the second period before Spokane got a power play. The Chiefs finally showed a coordinated attack, but the Silvertips played just enough defense to score a penalty kill.
Everett finally got something when Zwerger, who was traded to Everett at the start of the season, found a streaking Bajkov. He fired it past Weatherill to make it 2-1 Chiefs at the 16:01 mark of the second period.
In the third period, the Chiefs scored another penalty kill and the teams played quite even. About half way through, however, Bajkov again came open in front of the Spokane net, but he couldn’t get the puck past Weatherill.
“He’s earning his stripes,” Nachbaur said of his backup goalie. “He’s earning the right to start more games when he plays like that.”
The Chiefs now embark on a six-game road trip, which is the longest of the season. They next play Friday at Regina and don’t return home again until Nov. 4 against Red Deer.
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