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Sunday, December 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Spokane Chiefs lose to Seattle Thunderbirds in overtime

By Kevin Dudley The Spokesman-Review

In hockey, greasy goals still count the same as flashy goals.

Needing a boost down 2-0 heading into the third period, the Spokane Chiefs got two goals of that variety to regain momentum.

But despite the momentum and opportunities in overtime, the comeback fell short after Seattle’s Austin Strand scored his second of the night 3:48 into the extra period, giving the Thunderbirds the 3-2 victory.

Strand’s goal came after Seattle goalie Rylan Toth stopped a chance by Kailer Yamamoto. Toth got his stick up and tripped Yamamoto on a bang-bang play, much to the displeasure of the hometown fans.

The third period was a far cry from the first two frames, which saw Seattle take a 2-0 lead on two goals in the second period.

The Chiefs came out energized in the final frame and were outshooting the Thunderbirds 7-1 halfway through the period.

“That third period, mentally we had to buckle down because it was starting to slip away at two-nothing,” Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur said. “Momentum is everything. I thought guys got pucks down in their end and we played most of the period in their end.”

Momentum’s cyclical nature showed itself when the Chiefs seemed to have given it away after taking two penalties late in the third period.

First, defenseman Tyson Helgesen went off for holding with 3:50 remaining in a tie game. On the ensuing faceoff, Hudson Elynuik was called for a violation after he played the puck with his hand in the dot.

That put the Chiefs down two men with little time left.

But they quickly regained momentum by killing off Seattle’s two-man advantage, and even saw Kailer Yamamoto gain a partial breakaway during the penalty kill.

“Our guys competed (during the penalty kill),” Nachbaur said. “(Dalton) Hamaliuk blocked shots, Taylor Ross was blocking shots, (goalie Dawson Weatherill) was making saves, and our guys battled hard. That’s the time you’ve got to buckle down and I thought our guys were so invested in winning.”

The Chiefs – ninth in the Western Hockey League in power-play conversion rate at 22 percent – were scoreless on four power-play opportunities.

After a scoreless and largely uneventful first period, Seattle’s Alexander True tipped in an Ethan Bear slap shot on the power play to open the scoring.

Strand scored his first of the night later in the period to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead.

Eli Zummack got the Chiefs on the board in the team’s energized third period after finding the puck in a net mouth scramble and putting it past Toth, who protested immediately, feeling the whistle should have been blown sooner.

Alex Mowbray got his first goal in a Chiefs sweater when he put a puck on net that fooled Toth.

“I just kind of threw it on net and luckily it went in,” Mowbray said.

Though he was happy to get his first goal as a Chief off his chest, it was a little bittersweet.

“It feels good but I’d much rather have it happen in a win,” he said.

Mowbray’s goal helped send the game to overtime, where each team had its fair share of chances in the short frame.

After Yamamoto was stopped, Strand was able to be the hero for Seattle.

“I think we deserved better than to lose in overtime but we competed so hard,” Nachbaur said.

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