This one might sting for a while.
The Spokane Chiefs took three penalties in the final frame that led to three power-play goals for the visiting Vancouver Giants.
The Giants prevailed 6-5 in a shootout, giving Spokane one of its toughest Western Hockey League losses of the season in front of a sellout crowd of 10,508.
Dawson Holt scored the first power-play goal at 11 minutes, 31 seconds of the third period with Luke Toporowski in the box for cross checking. Holt’s goal made it 4-3 Spokane.
The Chiefs extended their lead to 5-3 when Riley Woods scored his second of the game at 12:43 of the third, but Nolan Reid soon took a roughing penalty and Tyler Popowich made him pay, cutting Spokane’s lead to 5-4.
The Chiefs were holding a one-goal lead with Vancouver pressing late in the game when Ty Smith took an interference penalty with 2:59 remaining. Vancouver’s Tyler Benson scored his second of the night 38 seconds later to tie the game.
“We have to learn to keep our heads,” Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said. “A couple of those penalties were penalties we certainly didn’t need to take.”
After a scoreless overtime, the Chiefs couldn’t find the net during the shootout. Holt scored the Giants’ only goal in the shootout to secure the win.
The loss offset an impressive offensive output for Spokane. The Chiefs got five goals from four players and put 34 shots on Giants 16-year-old goaltender Trent Miner.
“When you look at the body of work of the game, I thought we had a great game and we should have been up by five after the first period,” Lambert said.
The Chiefs had three golden scoring opportunities in the first period. Jaret Anderson-Dolan hit the post on a partial breakaway shorthanded, and the Chiefs couldn’t connect on a 2-on-1 on the same penalty kill.
Anderson-Dolan was also stopped on a breakaway shortly after the penalty expired.
“Guys aren’t bearing down on their chances and you can’t need that many chances to score a goal,” Lambert said. “If you do, you’re not going to get them later on, and you’re not going to get them in the playoffs.”
The Chiefs experienced a similar fate in Friday night’s loss in Seattle.
“These are some of those games that we need to win,” Woods said. “We had a lot of chances and didn’t bury them. That’s a big difference maker.”
The Chiefs lost Ethan McIndoe in the third period after Vancouver’s Ty Ronning clipped him in the Spokane zone. McIndoe had to be helped off the ice and Ronning got a 5-minute major and a game misconduct.
Losing McIndoe, who skates on the team’s top line alongside Anderson-Dolan and Kailer Yamamoto, forced Spokane to juggle its lines a little and shorten its bench.
“It’s something I didn’t want to do and ultimately it probably hurt us,” Lambert said. “When you’re in the penalty box, you only have so many guys that can kill, too.”
In addition to Woods, the Chiefs got goals from Jake McGrew, Anderson-Dolan and Hudson Elynuik.
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