Teams have to take advantage of every scoring opportunity they get when up against the Everett Silvertips and their stingy defense.
The Spokane Chiefs, after erasing a two-goal deficit and forcing overtime, had a glorious chance in the extra frame, but a Luke Toporowksi redirect attempt fell into the chest of Everett goaltender Dustin Wolf.
That allowed the Silvertips to head the other way down the ice, and they made it count. Cole Fonstad scored his second of the game 3 minutes, 6 seconds into overtime to give Everett a 3-2 win over the Chiefs at the Arena Sunday. The win clinches the U.S. Division title for the Silvertips.
Wolf made 31 saves for Everett, while Spokane’s Mason Beaupit stopped 30 in the loss.
Fonstad scored the first and last goals for Everett, and Spokane’s Blake Swetlikoff was the lone goal scorer for Spokane, getting both goals on second period power plays.
The loss stings, but there was still plenty to like from the Chiefs’ perspective.
“Lots of positives from that one,” head coach Adam Maglio said, comparing his team’s performance to last week’s two losses to Everett. “We get it to OT and they capitalize on a chance and we just miss. I liked our effort.”
The Chiefs were noticeably more aggressive against the Everett attack and disciplined in the defensive zone. But Fonstad still managed to put Everett up 1-0 when he used traffic in front of Beaupit to score from the point 6:28 into the game.
Everett took a 1-0 lead into the intermission and wasted little time adding to it in the second. Jackson Berezowski beat Beaupit for a power play goal 30 seconds into the second period to give Everett a 2-0 lead.
The two-goal lead may have reminded observers of Everett’s 5-0 and 6-1 wins last week in Spokane. But the Chiefs made sure things went differently this time.
With Jacob Wright in the box for elbowing, Spokane’s second power play unit got the Chiefs on the board when Swetlikoff controlled a rebound near the side of the net and wristed one past Wolf. The play started with a key faceoff win, allowing Spokane to control possession.
“I think I was just at the right spot at the right time. We had a good shot from the point and it was just a bouncing puck that happened to land on my stick so I did my best to fire it upstairs,” Swetlikoff said.
Swetlikoff tied the game with his second power play goal with just 57 seconds left in the second period when he tipped in a Matt Leduc shot from the point.
“Our power play was working hard tonight,” Swetlikoff said. “It was going well and Leduc fired one from the left point and I just had my stick out and it went off my stick and behind Wolf.”
Spokane was officially 2 for 4 on the power play, though their first man advantage was only 30 seconds long coming off a brief 4-on-4.
Neither team could solve the other goaltender in the third period, but Fonstad was able to cut across the front of the net and slide one through Beaupit’s legs for the overtime winner.
The Chiefs have just one home game left – Tuesday’s matchup with the Tri-City Americans. Then it’s three road games May 7-9 to end the season.
The Chiefs are perhaps playing their best hockey of the season, and a lot of that has to do with the injury list being shorter and the addition of Toporowski.
“Being a little more healthy here helps,” Maglio said. “There’s a lot of competition in the lineup and we’re kind of treating this like playoffs. The guys that are going are going to get in nightly and certainly I’ve seen a real good effort and a real good compete out of the group here in the last few.”
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