Playing a fresh and defensively sound Everett Silvertips team, the Spokane Chiefs couldn’t much afford to beset themselves with self-inflicted mistakes, like penalties.
Yet that’s what they did in the first period Sunday, giving up one power-play goal on a deflection and another on an even-strength counter attack shortly after.
While the Chiefs managed to tie the game twice after falling behind, they couldn’t convert on their two shots in overtime. Instead, Ronan Seeley scored the overtime game-winner from the left circle to give the Silvertips a 4-3 victory at the Spokane Arena.
“Games against Everett, you’ve got to play a certain way, and you’ve got to capitalize on what you get out there, because you know you’re probably not getting a lot,” Chiefs coach Adam Maglio said.
The Silvertips (1-0-0), who won the U.S. Division during last spring’s shortened season with a 19-4-0 record, had seven power plays, and while the Chiefs successfully killed off six of them, all that time in the box put pressure on the penalty killers and prevented Maglio from rolling lines like he wanted to.
“You’ve got to have depth,” Maglio said. “They play you hard, so you need guys going (who) are fresh, and when you get into penalty trouble … you’ve got guys playing extended minutes in a game.”
The Chiefs (0-1-1) were also playing without Cordel Larson and Timafey Kovgoreniya, who were suspended by the WHL for two and four games, respectively, for their major penalties and game misconducts in the 5-3 loss to the Tri-City Americans on Saturday.
Yet in the second period the Chiefs equalized, first on a Ty Cheveldayoff goal in front of the net and then on a shorthanded goal by Luke Toporowski that wasn’t at first awarded. The referees reviewed it, and the 20-year-old, who was taken down and then slid into Silvertips goalie Koen MacInnes, was given the goal.
“Honestly I just took it to the net,” Toporowski said. “I knew I had a step on their (defenseman), and taking things to the net causes good things to happen. All my teammates were saying it was in. I didn’t see it, but good things happen, I guess.”
Ryan Hofer’s goal late in the second period gave the Silvertips a 3-2 lead, which they maintained until the final two minutes of the third period. But defenseman Mac Gross’ second-career goal (in 45 games) tied the game with 1:52 left.
“It would have been nicer to get the second point,” Toporowski said, “but we can’t hang our heads about it, and we’ve just got to look forward to Friday.”
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