The Spokane Chiefs put a whopping 59 shots on goal Wednesday night against the Moose Jaw Warriors. And they needed all 59 to come away with a 2-1 overtime victory.
The Chiefs have won six games in a row.
Eli Zummack scored on Spokane’s 59th shot 34 seconds into overtime, securing the victory. It was a sigh of relief for Spokane, as Moose Jaw came in with a lot of injuries and the second-worst record in the league.
Brock Gould was a wall in net for the Warriors, stopping 57 shots. It wasn’t like Spokane was shooting it at his chest all night, either. The Chiefs had a number of scoring opportunities and even had two potential goals reviewed. Spokane controlled possession all game.
“We played a full 60 tonight. We were in their end almost the whole game,” Zummack said. “We played the right way and got rewarded for it.”
Across the ice, James Porter Jr. got the start for Spokane and stopped 17 shots in the win. Porter didn’t see a lot of action, as Moose Jaw only had four shots in the first period, five in the second and nine in the third. But he came up big when needed.
But it was Gould who stole the show, even in a loss.
“We haven’t run into a goalie that hot in my entire career,” Zummack said.
Zummack got his overtime winner after he found space in the slot. He sent a wrist shot over Gould’s right shoulder, sending 4,637 fans home happy.
“We had some really good scoring opportunities. It seemed no matter what we were doing it just wasn’t going to go in for us,” Chiefs head coach Manny Viveiros said. “I’m happy with the way the kids stuck with their game. They didn’t get frustrated.”
Viveiros emphasized the point that his team didn’t stray from its system. Even with the tilted ice, it could have been easy for the Chiefs to get desperate and try and freelance on the ice.
“After we got (24) shots in the first period, we just had to continue to do what we were doing and we’d win the hockey game,” Viveiros said. “It’s the law of averages. As the game kept going, we put up a lot of shots and the percentages were proving me wrong. But that’s fine, that’s hockey. Anything can happen. I’m pleased with the way we played.”
Moose Jaw got out to an early 1-0 lead after Chase Hartje put a rebound past Porter at 3:16 of the first. Hartje’s goal stopped a 158:30 shutout streak for Porter, dating back to Jan. 25.
It was the only goal the Chiefs surrendered.
Spokane got on the board at 7:53 of the second when Zummack found Graham Sward in front of the net. Sward put it home for his second goal of the season.
The Chiefs will need to improve their power play, as Spokane went scoreless on three power-play opportunities. Moose Jaw came into the game with the league’s worst penalty kill, while Spokane’s power play –which has been effective lately – is the league’s fourth best.
Getting the two points against Moose Jaw was important, as Spokane will play its next five games on the road, starting Friday against the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs don’t return to the Arena until Feb. 28.
With the playoffs around the corner, Spokane needs these wins to keep pace and ready itself for tougher competition in the postseason.
“We have to go in with the mindset to work hard and block shots and do whatever it takes to win,” Zummack said. “We’ve been doing that lately and it’s been paying off for us. Going into Portland, we’re not going to change anything. We’re going to go in there and go to win.”
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