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Spokane Chiefs overwhelmed by three-goal second, fall to Seattle Thunderbirds in series finale

UPDATED: Sun., May 9, 2021

Chiefs goaltender Mason Beaupit makes one of his 55 saves in the Chiefs’ season-finale loss to the Thunderbirds on Sunday evening in Kent, Wash.  (Courtesy of Larry Brunt / Spokane Chiefs)
Chiefs goaltender Mason Beaupit makes one of his 55 saves in the Chiefs’ season-finale loss to the Thunderbirds on Sunday evening in Kent, Wash. (Courtesy of Larry Brunt / Spokane Chiefs)
By Kevin Dudley The Spokesman-Review

Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down last March, the Spokane Chiefs finished their Western Hockey League season in style with a goalie goal.

This year, it was a goalie fight.

It was the only fight Spokane could generate as they ended the brief 2021 season with a thud, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Seattle Thunderbirds at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. The Chiefs finish the season in fourth place in the U.S. Division, ahead of only the Tri-City Americans.

Mason Beaupit faced an astonishing 58 shots on net for Spokane and traded blows with Seattle goaltender Jackson Berry with 31 seconds remaining. Both were given an early exit.

The fight started after Berry took a slight post-whistle jab at Spokane’s Reed Jacobson.

It was the culmination of a frustrating night for the Chiefs and Beaupit, who played remarkably well in net and prevented the score from getting too far out of hand.

Spokane could put only 21 shots on Berry.

Keltie Jeri-Leon continued his dominance of the Chiefs, scoring his seventh against Spokane this season. He also added an assist.

Jeri-Leon opened the scoring 33 seconds into the second period on the power play. Luke Toporowski was in the box for Spokane after he took a holding penalty as the first period ended.

It didn’t get any better from there for the Chiefs as they gave up 24 shots on net in the second period alone. Mekai Sanders scored his first goal of the season at 10:53.

Five minutes later, Sam Oremba scored his second of the season on the power play after he was left alone in the left circle.

Special teams were an issue for Spokane as the Chiefs allowed Seattle to score two goals on three power plays. The Chiefs’ power play was ineffective, going scoreless on three chances.

Both the Chiefs and Thunderbirds were playing their third game in as many nights. Seattle, though, played at home on Saturday, while all three of Spokane’s games were on the road.

The Chiefs didn’t take advantage of Seattle being shorthanded, either.

The Thunderbirds dressed only 17 skaters, one less than the standard 18. The Thunderbirds were down to 11 forwards, thanks to injuries and a suspension to Cade McNelly, who was punished for a hit against Everett on Saturday.

The game was the final one for 20-year-olds Eli Zummack, Matt Leduc and Bobby Russell. Spokane finished their 21-game season at 6-10-4-1. Adam Beckman was the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals and 10 assists. Zummack had nine goals and 13 assists.

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