The Spokane Chiefs’ bus pulled into the Spokane Arena parking lot at 5 a.m. Saturday morning after Friday’s game in Kelowna. That didn’t give Spokane a lot of time to rest for that evening’s matchup with the Vancouver Giants. Still, the Chiefs’ energy looked good, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Chiefs dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants.
Ty Thorpe had a goal and two assists for Vancouver, and Fabian Lysell had a goal and an assist to lead the way. Spokane goaltender Manny Panghli kept Spokane in it, making 25 saves. Will Gurski had 22 saves in the win.
Vancouver has a lot of speed, and Spokane continues to deal with injuries and was short one forward. Still, the Chiefs didn’t look out of place.
“I thought we were fine tonight, all things considered with the travel schedule,” head coach Adam Maglio said. “I think our guys played hard tonight. I thought (Vancouver’s) top line is very good. That was the difference in the game. That top line really took it to us when they were on the ice.”
That top line of Lysell, Thorpe and Justin Sourdif hemmed Spokane in its own zone for much of the night. Spokane was able to get sticks and bodies in passing lanes and blocked plenty of shots, though its defenders were worn down by the pressure.
“We have to check hard. I thought at times we did,” Maglio said. “At times you saw the fatigue set in but I think we create a lot off our transition game by checking hard, which we did tonight in moments. We have to find a way to it for 60.”
Vancouver jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period. Lysell camped to the right of Panghli and tapped in a rebound at 14:02. Thorpe made it 2-0 at 17:25 when he sniped home a nice pass from Connor Horning.
Graham Sward got Spokane on the board at 2:20 of the second when he scored on the power play from the point. The goal seemed like justice served, as Spokane got the power play after Vancouver’s Thorpe got called for unsportsmanlike conduct for trying to clear Sward’s dropped stick on the ice.
Alex Cotton added a power play goal in the third to extend Vancouver’s lead.
The Chiefs were pushing in the third but a roughing minor to Ty Cheveldayoff with 4:18 remaining and a kneeing minor by Timafey Kovgoreniya with 3:15 remaining meant Spokane spent much of the waning moments on the penalty kill.
Panghli, who hasn’t played since Nov. 5, was well rested and it showed. Panghli made sure the game didn’t get out of hand with a number of key saves.
“(Vancouver’s) a fast team and they have some good players too. I think we did a good job coming from Kelowna because that’s a tough road trip,” Panghli said.
Another well-rested player was Luke Toporowksi, who returned to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension. Toporowski had his chances, but a minus-3 in the scorebook won’t make him happy.
“He inserted some energy in our lineup. You could tell he had good legs tonight,” Maglio said. “Sometimes it takes a player a little bit to get back into rhythm when you miss a few games. I thought he was OK tonight but certainly his energy was good.”
Spokane scored on one of its four power play opportunities, while Vancouver scored on one of its two power plays.
The Chiefs are back on the ice Tuesday when they host the Victoria Royals.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.