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Team effort helps Bailey Brkin, Chiefs post shutout win over Cougars

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

If you were to look at the box score of Wednesday’s Spokane Chiefs game against the visiting Prince George Cougars, you might be confused.

After all, the teams had a combined 14 power plays, yet not a single power-play goal is on the score sheet. That’s not a big concern right now for the Chiefs, as they found four other ways to score in a 4-0 win.

The Chiefs are glad to have the two points in the standings and aren’t dwelling on the missed power-play opportunities. The Chiefs came into Wednesday’s game with the second-best power play unit in the Western Hockey League.

“If I was disappointed in the power play that would mean I would be only results-based,” head coach Dan Lambert said. “I thought we could have had probably six goals on the power play. We had plenty of opportunities. Their goalie, you have to give him credit. He made saves at times that were miraculous.”

Prince George goaltender Taylor Gautheir made 27 saves.

At the other end, Spokane goaltender Bailey Brkin got his second shutout of the season, stopping all 27 shots he faced. Brkin also came up big in the third period with Prince George on a five-on-three power play.

“Whenever you get a shutout certainly your goalie makes the saves that he sees,” Lambert said. “I thought Bailey did that and he was good. Shutouts are typically a team effort and I thought it was that way tonight.”

Riley Woods scored two goals for Spokane, giving him a team-leading 20 on the season. His first one came at 4:13 of the first period when he sent a shot over the shoulder of Gauthier.

Adam Beckman scored his 13th of the season at 12:54 of the second period thanks to a lucky bounce. Beckman tried to center the puck to the slot and instead banked it off a Prince George defender and into the net.

Woods’ second goal gave Spokane a 3-0 lead at 11:53 of the third and came after his teammates hit the post twice in a row.

First, newcomer Luc Smith sniped one off the crossbar. Ethan McIndoe sent the rebound off the near post before Woods picked up the loose puck and slid it into the net.

“It was pretty crazy. I saw (Smith) in the slot and he rang it off the post and (McIndoe) put it off the post too,” Woods said. “I just found it in the crease there and put it in.”

Cordel Larson scored Spokane’s fourth goal into an empty net at 17:38 of the third.

Smith, acquired this week in a trade with the Kamloops Blazers, played his first game in a Chiefs sweater. The 20-year-old finished with an assist and a plus-two rating.

Smith and Woods were teammates earlier in their careers with the Regina Pats and were on the same line Wednesday. That familiarity helped Woods adapt to his new teammate.

“We know each other and the chemistry is already there so it’s pretty good,” Woods said. “He has a lot of size and will stick up for his teammate when he wants to. He’s got good hands and it’s pretty good to have him on my line.”

Smith stood up for Woods, in fact, after the final buzzer. Woods was taken down after the horn and a scrum ensued. Smith and Jackson Leppard came out of the scrum without their gloves and started swinging.

Jake McGrew and Josh Maser were also wrapped up, but neither received fighting majors like Smith and Leppard did. If there were multiple fights after the final buzzer, it could trigger supplemental discipline from the league, but McGrew and Maser were only assessed roughing minors and misconduct penalties.

Lambert doesn’t think the Chiefs will face any supplemental discipline. He waited on the bench after the game to find out from the officials what the penalties would be.

“I wanted to hear what their call was and it sounds like it’s all fine,” he said.

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