It’s an old adage in hockey: When in doubt, put the puck on net because good things can happen.
That’s what Hudson Elynuik did with 3.5 seconds left Thursday in a back-and-forth battle against the Everett Silvertips. Elynuik’s shot went by Everett goaltender Dorrin Ludwig, giving the Chiefs a 5-4 victory.
“I think we had some traffic in front of the net and (Hayden Ostir) was screening the goalie,” Elynuik said.
The goal came after a nearly 9-minute stretch without a stoppage in play.
The win keeps the Chiefs atop the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division standings. Spokane is 4-1-0, good for eight points in the standings in the young season.
Despite the record, head coach Dan Lambert wasn’t pleased with the way the Chiefs had played so far. The Chiefs needed a good start and got one.
Ethan McIndoe opened the scoring just 2 minutes, 32 seconds into the game when he put the puck past Ludwig. Ludwig was starting in net for Everett because two-time WHL Goaltender of the Year Carter Hart is out with mononucleosis.
Just 1:28 later, Jeff Faith – a defenseman playing forward for the time being – took advantage of an Everett turnover in its own end and snapped one past Ludwig. It was Faith’s first goal of the season. He added an assist in the game as well.
“I think we addressed a few things from our past four starts,” Elynuik said. “I think that was the biggest thing we were focusing on, the start of the game and I think we did a nice job getting two quick ones.”
Ludwig settled in after the first two goals, and Everett rolled on offense in the second period, putting 17 shots on Chiefs goaltender Dawson Weatherill.
Connor Dewar scored on the power play out of a scramble in front of Weatherill to put the Silvertips on the board. Dewar got a second power-play goal with 50 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the game.
“When you have a two-goal lead, you can’t take penalties against a quality team that gets pucks to the net,” Lambert said.
Not a minute into the third period, Dewar completed a hat trick and gave Everett its first lead of the night.
But two minutes later, Taylor Ross scored his second goal of the season from the top of the left circle to tie the game.
Another minute later, Chiefs captain Tyson Helgesen took a nice feed from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and put it past Ludwig to give the Chiefs the lead again. It was Helgesen’s first goal of the season.
But in a seesaw game, no lead is safe.
Riley Sutter scored 5:23 into the third period to tie the game at 4.
The teams played back-and-forth hockey before Elynuik’s shot on net won it for Spokane.
“I thought we did some good things in the third period,” Lambert said. “We spent some time in their zone and got some glorious chances.”
The Chiefs outshot the Silvertips 13-6 in the third period and 34-28 for the game.
The game marked the end of Jake Toporowski’s hockey career. Toporowski decided to retire from hockey and take advantage of the college scholarship he received based on his time in the WHL. Toporowski’s brother Luke is a rookie for the Chiefs this season, and his father Kerry and uncle Brad both played for Spokane.
This was the only game Jake Toporowski had appeared in this season. He ends his junior career with 100 games played and 10 points – all assists.
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