Lukas Parik is a rookie goaltender living in a new country and playing at the highest level for his age group.
Suffering an injury in his first game wasn’t the best introduction, but since getting fully healthy the Czech goalie has been a stalwart in net for the Spokane Chiefs.
His strong play was on display Tuesday night at the Arena in Spokane’s 4-1 Western Hockey League win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. Parik stopped 33 shots as Spokane stood tall in the defensive end.
“I think the guys helped me a lot, like with the rebounds I try to put away,” Parik said. “They helped in front of the net. The net-front presence, (Seattle) had nothing to shoot at. On the PK they helped me put guys away and helped me a lot.”
Noah King, Eli Zummack and Bear Hughes each had a goal and an assist to lead Spokane. Cordel Larson had two assists.
Spokane peppered Seattle’s Roddy Ross with 41 shots.
“I thought we were in control of the game for close to 60 minutes,” Chiefs head coach Manny Viveiros said. “It was a complete game for us. We played really good, especially with the lead in the third period.”
The Chiefs entered the third period with a 3-1 lead and are 11-3 when leading after two periods. They remain undefeated when scoring four or more goals.
“We wanted to lock it down and play disciplined and not give up anything that was unnecessary (in the third),” Viveiros said.
Zummack opened the scoring at 2:43 of the first after taking a pass from Luke Toporowski and making a move on Ross to put one home. Toporowski was fresh out of the penalty box just prior to the goal.
Seattle tied the game at 10:33 when Connor Roulette skated behind the Spokane defense and slid one past Parik. Roulette passed the puck to himself off the boards and raced past a Spokane defenseman to gain a short breakaway.
Bobby Russell scored on the power play at 16:26 to give Spokane a 2-1 lead. It was Spokane’s first power play in seven total periods dating back to the second period at Everett on Nov. 27.
The Chiefs got seven total power plays against Seattle and cashed in on two of them. Spokane also killed all three of its penalties.
“We were real happy with our power plays. We were creating a lot of opportunities,” Viveiros said. “We hit some posts on the power play, but we created some really good grade-A chances and that was a real positive for us.”
The Chiefs hit the post or crossbar four times.
King scored his third of the season just 19 seconds into the second period after a rebound off a Jack Finley shot bounced all the way to the top of the circle. King was in the right position to snipe one into an open net.
Hughes rounded out the scoring at 15:50 of the third when he scored on a 5-on-3 power play.
The Chiefs had the two-man advantage after Seattle’s Cade McNelly cross-checked Filip Kral just below the chin after the whistle. McNelly was kicked out of the game, and Tyrel Bauer was already in the penalty box for slashing.
McNelly had 21 total penalty minutes. The Thunderbirds took five penalties in the third period. That, combined with Spokane’s plan to keep everything to the perimeter, squashed any hope of a Seattle comeback.
“We wanted to make sure we wouldn’t let them inside our coverage,” Viveiros said. “We made sure to keep them on the outside and we’re happy with the effort.”
The win keeps Spokane in third place in the U.S. Division. The Chiefs head to Vancouver Friday night before returning to the Arena Saturday against the Tri-City Americans.
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