It had been eight days since the Spokane Chiefs had played a hockey game, and it was apparent in the team’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Everett Silvertips Thursday at the Arena.
Hunter Campbell had two goals for the Silvertips, and goaltender Dustin Wolf stopped all 32 shots he faced. The Chiefs were scoreless on four power-play opportunities, including a 4-minute power play in the third period.
The Chiefs’ layoff was due to a positive COVID-19 test in the Tri-City Americans team that wiped out two games last weekend. The Chiefs got plenty of practice time during the layoff, but it was difficult to get into the routine of preparing for a game.
“You have to do your best to push in practice and compete against each other out there, but it’s hard,” Chiefs head coach Adam Maglio said. “There’s nothing like game action.”
The Chiefs fell down 1-0 just 2:27 into the game when Campbell scored his first goal, but the Chiefs outshot Everett 12-11 in the first period and were able to counter Everett’s rush. Spokane’s Ty Cheveldayoff had a nice chance on a breakaway, but Wolf stood tall in net.
The Silvertips poured it on in the second period. Ryan Hofer made it 2-0 2:01 into the second period, and Spokane couldn’t capitalize on its chances.
Adam Beckman rang one off the post, and Cordel Larson had a bad angle on a puck that Wolf badly misplayed behind the net. The puck squirted out in front of a gaping-wide net, but Larson’s angle was too tight and he couldn’t take advantage.
“You have to take what they give you, and you have to be patient as far as playing as close to mistake-free game as you can against them,” Maglio said. “We have to capitalize on those chances. If we get one early there, if one of those goes in, it’s a different game.”
Campbell scored his second of the night on the power play at 14:11 of the second, and Jacob Wright followed up with a goal on a 2-on-1 with 35 seconds left in the second. Wright found himself on the advantage after a Chiefs defenseman fell down in the neutral zone.
Giving up a goal in the last minute of a period is bad enough – also giving up a goal in the first minute of the ensuring period makes things worse. That’s what the Chiefs did, as Ethan Regnier scored his seventh of the season for Everett just 53 seconds into the third to give the Silvertips a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Chiefs’ goose egg on the power play didn’t help their cause, either. The Chiefs came into the game with the league’s seventh-best power play unit and used key power play goals to come back against Everett and Portland on April 13 and April 14, respectively.
But Spokane didn’t have a power play until the third period when it was already down 5-0. The Chiefs’ first power play was of the 4-minute variety after Jackson Berezowski was called for clipping. The Chiefs couldn’t get anything going against Everett’s penalty-kill unit, and their subsequent power-play opportunities had the same result.
The Chiefs played 15-year-old Saige Weinstein for the second time this season. Maglio said Weinstein’s ice time will gradually increase as he gets more experience.
“We eased him in in the first game against Portland and we’ll increase his minutes as he goes along,” Maglio said. “He’s a young player, but he can play. He’s going to earn the minutes he gets. I like what I’ve seen out of him these two games.”
The Chiefs and Silvertips are back at it Friday at the Arena.
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