The Everett Silvertips came to Spokane as the hottest team in the Western Hockey League and riding a nine-game winning streak. The Spokane Chiefs made sure it didn’t reach 10.
Hudson Elynuik scored two goals and had one assist, while linemate Zach Fischer scored one goal and had two assists in a 5-3 Chiefs victory.
Both teams were missing key players. The Chiefs were without forward Kailer Yamamoto and defenseman Filip Kral, while Everett was without star goaltender Carter Hart. All three are attending camps for their respective World Junior Hockey Championship teams – Yamamoto with Team USA, Kral with the Czech Republic and Hart with Team Canada.
Despite the revised lineup, the Chiefs continued their streak of outshooting opponents – now at 11 games – and never let the game get away from them. The Chiefs held a 37-26 shot advantage.
Elynuik and Fischer have skated on a line together most of the time since Fischer became a Chief in October. They’ve developed a bit of chemistry, with Elynuik leading the team with 17 goals and 44 points, while Fischer has 14 goals and 23 points.
“I think we read off each other really well and we have to keep doing that,” Elynuik said.
Fischer scored the Chiefs’ first goal of the night on the power play to tie the game at one at 11:43 of the first period. Elynuik assisted on the goal.
Everett’s Sean Richards broke the tie in the second period when he redirected a pass from Patrick Bajkov past Chiefs’ goaltender Donovan Buskey.
The Chiefs spent a lot of their time in their own end in the second period, but got a couple of breaks to retake the lead. First, it was defenseman Nolan Reid who sent a shot past Everett goaltender Dustin Wolf from the point. It was Reid’s 11th goal of the season.
Almost three and a half minutes later, Jeff Faith scored his third of the season from the point to give the Chiefs a 3-2 lead. Faith had been playing at the forward position for most of the season, though he is a natural defenseman.
His versatility is a luxury, Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said.
“Those kinds of guys are extremely valuable because they’re able to do a job at two positions,” he said. “When you have a guy like that it doesn’t hurt as much when you lose a guy like Filip Kral. Jeff was able to do that and I thought he played very solid back there.”
Matt Fonteyne tied the game at four when he skated past the Spokane defense on the power play at 1:52 of the third period.
But that would be all Everett could muster. Elynuik scored a beautiful goal on a tic-tac-toe play for the game-winning goal at 12:47 of the third period.
“Fish (Fischer) had a great forecheck,” Elynuik said. “He was hard on their D and he threw it to Woodsy (Riley Woods) and he found me backdoor for a tap-in.”
Elynuik would add an empty netter to seal the win.
Jack Finley, the Chiefs’ first round Bantam Draft pick this past May played in his first regular season game. As a 15-year-old, Finley can play in up to five games. He skated on the fourth line and was able to get his feet wet, Lambert said.
“I thought he did a good job,” Lambert said. “I had him out there fairly late in a one-goal game and I wanted to see how he was going to react. I thought he did a good job and made a couple good plays. He was on for a goal for and for a 15-year-old coming in I thought he did a good job.”
The win against Everett was the first of three games in three nights for the Chiefs. They play at Portland on Saturday and are home Sunday against Seattle before the Christmas break.
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