It had been 374 days since the last Spokane Chiefs game, so why not play as many minutes as possible?
The Chiefs visited the Seattle Thunderbirds to open the WHL season Friday and the two teams couldn’t decide things in regulation or overtime and needed a shootout to pick a winner.
Spokane went 0-for-2 on its shootout opportunities, while Seattle netted both of its shots to take a 4-3 win in Kent, Washington. Spokane has little time to dwell, as they visit Everett on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Adam Beckman finished with a goal and two assists for the Chiefs and Eli Zummack had two helpers . Keltie Jeri-Leon led the way for Seattle with two goals.
It didn’t take long for Spokane to get on the board, as Beckman made it 1-0 just 24 seconds into the game. Beckman took a faceoff win by Zummack and scored from a tight angle at the bottom of the faceoff circle.
Raegan Wiles made it 2-0 Spokane 12:24 into the second when he sent a laser from the top of the circle past Seattle goaltender Thomas Milic. It was Wiles’ first goal of his major junior career after going pointless in 38 games last season.
The Chiefs’ top line of Beckman, Zummack and Cordel Larson was able to keep possession in Seattle’s zone much of the night, but the Chiefs found themselves in their own zone for far too long with the team’s other three lines.
That contributed to Seattle scoring three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead, starting with Jeremy Hanzel’s first WHL goal on a 2-on-1 at 15:57 of the second period.
In the third period, Jeri-Leon scored two goals 1:05 apart to give Seattle the lead.
Jeri-Leon, who hit the post twice before finding the net, scored at 4:58 of the third on a power play.
Just a little more than a minute later, Jeri-Leon got his second goal past Spokane goaltender Campbell Arnold from the slot off a nice feed from Henrik Rybinski to give Seattle the lead.
The Thunderbirds had all the momentum, but two Seattle penalties 11 seconds apart with less than five minutes to play gave Spokane a 5-on-3 power play.
The Chiefs wasted no time tying the score, with Erik Atchison redirecting a Beckman shot to make it 3-3.
Seattle couldn’t take advantage of an overtime power play, and both teams had tired legs on the ice throughout the five extra minutes, giving way to the shootout.
Rybinski and Payton Mount scored their shootout tries for Seattle, and Beckman and Atchison came up empty, giving Seattle the opening night victory.
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