If Saturday’s game was any indication, the Spokane Chiefs have plenty of players they can count on to score as the season inches closer to its final stretch.
Eight players found the net in a dominating 8-3 win over the visiting Tri-City Americans in front of 8,121 fans at the Arena.
Spokane goaltender Bailey Brkin made 23 saves. The Chiefs put 48 shots on 16-year-old Tri-City goaltender Talyn Boyko.
The Chiefs were in a good position after having the night off Friday. Tri-City bused to Spokane in the middle of the night after beating the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips on Friday night on the west side.
“We took advantage of the schedule a little bit by playing a team that played last night and they looked tired,” Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said. “I thought our compete level was hard for them to handle.”
The Americans are a physical team and despite some tired legs, that part of their game wasn’t missing. The Chiefs met the challenge, though, and played smart, disciplined hockey.
The Chiefs didn’t take a penalty until a little more than 5 minutes into the third period.
“When you play a physical team, you have to at least match their compete and their physicality,” Lambert said. “I thought for the most part we had guys who competed harder than maybe they have all year.”
The goals came in flurries, especially in the opening frame.
Eli Zummack got things going when he picked up a loose puck out of a scramble in front of Boyko at 10 minutes, 18 seconds of the first. Tri-City’s Riley Sawchuk answered 31 seconds later when he sniped one past Brkin.
Luc Smith scored a power-play goal after taking a beautiful cross-ice pass from Zummack at 12:55 of the first to regain the lead. Just 20 seconds after that, Cordel Larson tipped in a shot from the point to give Spokane a 3-1 lead.
Michael King scored his first goal of the season at 6:43 of the second period to extend Spokane’s advantage to 4-1.
“I was busting up the middle and (Jack Finley) passed it to me and it was rolling,” King said. “I was just hoping it would bounce over the D-man’s stick and I had a little breakaway and just shot it.”
King also finished with an assist and was part of the Chiefs’ fourth line that impressed all night.
“I think if you want to have success in this league, you need four lines to contribute,” Lambert said. “You can’t ask your big guns to do it every single night because it’s too much.”
After King’s goal, the Chiefs left Tri-City’s Paycen Bjorklund all alone in front. Once the puck came to his stick, Bjorklund made a pretty move to get around Brkin to score the Americans’ second goal.
But 32 seconds later, it was Spokane’s Adam Beckman flipping a loose puck past Boyko and the rout was on. Nolan Reid scored on the power play at 17:44 of the second, and Jake McGrew added a breakaway goal with 25 seconds left in the period to extend Spokane’s lead to 7-2.
Riley Woods scored Spokane’s only third-period goal, and Parker AuCoin did the same for Tri-City.
In addition to the eight goal scorers, the Chiefs had six players with multiple points. McGrew’s goal and two assists led the way. Jaret Anderson-Dolan finished with three assists.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.