The Spokane Chiefs relied on the young and the old Wednesday night against the visiting Tri-City Americans.
Manny Panghli, Spokane’s 16-year-old rookie netminder, got his first career start and turned aside 33 shots to lead Spokane to a 5-3 win.
Veterans Adam Beckman and Eli Zummack each had four points in the win for Spokane. Beckman scored a hat trick and added an assist, while Zummack had two goals and two assists.
But the story was Panghli’s performance. The rookie goaltender never looked out of place.
“I was just focused on the game and trying not to get too nervous,” he said. “I just needed to perform for the boys and do whatever I can for them.”
Spokane head coach Adam Maglio was pleased with Panghli’s play.
“He had some confidence in there, even after a weird first (goal against),” he said. “He responded well and I was happy with his play. I thought he actually got better as the game went on which is great for a young goalie.”
The Americans were playing their first game in 15 days due to a COVID pause. Tri-City only got back on the ice Monday.
But there was no sign of rust as Tri-City took a 1-0 lead 41/2 minutes into the game when Sasha Mutala fooled Panghli. The Chiefs got one back when Zummack scored his first of the night at 16:15 off a rebound, helping Spokane tie the game heading into the first intermission.
Booker Daniel scored his third goal of the season just 1:09 into the second to help Tri-City retake the lead. But Beckman tied the game a little more than two minutes later when he sniped one past Tri-City goaltender Mason Dunsford on the rush.
Zummack got his second of the game on the power play to give Spokane a 3-2 lead at 10:25. Zummack’s goal came just nine seconds into the Chiefs’ power play opportunity.
Nick Bowman tied the game for Tri-City with just 2:02 remaining in the second, keeping the see-saw battle going.
Neither team generated a ton of chances in the third, but Daniel took a costly penalty for Tri-City with 3:25 remaining. Spokane, with the league’s eighth-best power play unit, needed just 30 seconds to take the lead when Beckman took a cross-ice pass from Zummack and put it home. The goal ended up being the game-winner.
“It was a great play from (Zummack). Anytime he gets the puck he’s so good at making plays like that,” Beckman said. “He put it on my tape, and I was fortunate to put it in.”
Beckman added an empty net goal to complete the hat trick.
All five Spokane goals came off the sticks of veterans Beckman and Zummack. Veterans Cordel Larson and Bobby Russell also factored in with two assists each. With a young team this season, the Chiefs need those players to lead the way.
“They’re elite players in this league, and they’ve shown it,” Maglio said.
Spokane scored on two of its five power play opportunities, but perhaps more importantly, the Chiefs took only one penalty.
“That’s the discipline we need here,” Maglio said. “If you’re only killing one penalty a night, you kind of take your chances five-on-five and take your opportunities on your power plays.”
Newly returned forward Luke Toporowski was not in the lineup as he completes his mandatory quarantine. Toporowski could be in the lineup on Saturday when Spokane hosts the Seattle Thunderbirds.
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