It wasn’t the usual suspects providing the offense for the Spokane Chiefs Saturday night at the Arena.
Sure, Adam Beckman scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season, but two rookies, a second-year player and a newly acquired forward also chipped in, giving Spokane a 6-2 win over the Regina Pats in front of 8,035 fans.
Erik Atchison scored his sixth of the season, Reed Jacobson his second and third, and Graham Sward his first. Newly acquired forward Brad Ginnell scored his first as a Chief in the win.
James Porter Jr. got the start in goal for Spokane and turned aside 33 shots.
Seeing the younger players score was satisfying for head coach Manny Viveiros.
“I’m really happy for those kids,” he said. “They worked real hard and if they put an effort in like that, good things will happen. Everybody loves to score and I’m very happy for those kids. It’s nice to get rewarded.”
Atchison opened things up 2:49 into the game when he got one past former Chief Donovan Buskey. The Chiefs couldn’t generate a ton of offense the rest of the period after taking three penalties.
Jacobson got his second goal of the season at 11:54 of the second after taking a feed from fellow rookie Brandon Reller.
Logan Nijhoff scored on the power play for Regina at 13:31 to get the Pats within one.
The Chiefs looked to have a power-play goal early in the third period, but it was waved off due to a high stick. It didn’t matter, because Beckman scored on the same power play seconds later.
The Chiefs’ power play has been struggling recently. Heading into Saturday night, the Chiefs were scoreless in their previous 15 tries. They were 1 for 7 Saturday.
“We certainly talked about our power play and what we need to do,” Viveiros said. “We put pucks on net some more, so that was good.”
After Beckman’s goal, the flood gates opened. Sward scored his first of the season a little more than a minute later, and Ginnell scored 23 seconds after Sward, forcing Regina to pull Buskey in favor of Danton Belluk.
Sward was playing alongside Filip Kral on the Chiefs’ second defensive pairing in place of Bobby Russell. Sward took advantage of the ice time and has earned the trust of his head coach.
“He doesn’t play like a 16-year-old,” Viveiros said. “He’s such a smart defenseman. He makes good plays. He’s going to get better and better the stronger he gets. The vision he has and the composure he has is outstanding. He has a lot of traits like Ty Smith and he sees the ice really well.”
Jacobson scored his second of the night at 14:08 to give Spokane some insurance.
The game was special for Ty Smith. His brother Zack is a forward for Regina and the two had a number of family members in town wearing both colors.
Zack one-upped his brother with a goal – a late one in the waning minutes of the game. Ty Smith finished with an assist.
Porter got his first win in a Chiefs uniform and came up big whenever the Pats showed some pressure.
“He made a lot of really good saves tonight. I thought we gave up more chances tonight then we did (Friday) night,” Viveiros said.
Regina was at the tail end of its five-game tour through the U.S. Division. It finished 1-4 with the only win coming against the Everett Silvertips.
After losing to the Chiefs, the Pats boarded a bus for a 13-hour bus ride home.
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