Giving up short-handed goals are back-breakers for any hockey team.
When you give them up on two of three power-play opportunities, it’s even worse.
That’s what the Spokane Chiefs did Sunday night in Kent, Washington, allowing two short-handed goals that contributed to a 4-3 defeat to the Portland Winterhawks.
Portland, playing its first “home” game of the season in Kent due to COVID restrictions in Oregon, peppered Spokane goaltender Campbell Arnold with 38 shots, including 21 in the second period. The Winterhawks used their speed and experience to keep the Chiefs’ defenders on their heels much of the night.
Reed Jacobson led Spokane with a goal and an assist, while both Reece Newkirk and Gabe Klassen had a goal and an assist each for Portland.
Nick Cicek and Klassen scored Portland’s first two goals. Adam Beckman scored Spokane’s first.
Portland’s first short-handed goal came at 12:12 of the second period when Simon Knak raced in on a breakaway. Knak was taken down on the play and crashed into Arnold, but the officials – after conferring with each other – ruled the puck crossed the line in the pileup and counted the goal. There is no video review for goals this season.
Newkirk had Portland’s second shorthanded goal – the winner, no less – at 7:45 of the third. Newkirk forced a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in alone on Arnold before ripping one into the net.
Newkirk’s goal made it 4-1, and it looked like the game was on its way to a route. Spokane defenseman Mac Gross scored his first career goal from the point at 13:08 of the third to cut Portland’s lead to two, giving the Chiefs some life.
A little more than two minutes later, Jacobson got Spokane within one after taking a nice turnaround feed from Owen MacNeil. The game still had more than five minutes to play, giving Spokane plenty of time to get the tying goal.
A Matt Leduc penalty with 2:38 left burst that bubble, and Spokane was forced to defend for the game’s final minutes. The Chiefs did have a couple shorthanded chances, but they couldn’t quite get one past Portland goaltender Brock Gould.
Gould made 30 saves on the night, while Arnold stopped 34 for Spokane.
The Chiefs ended the weekend gaining just one point out of a possible six, thanks to a shootout loss on opening night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Chiefs played three games in three nights and will return to the ice on Friday for their home opener against Seattle.
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