Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Spokane Chiefs

Spokane Chiefs drop physical game to visiting Thunderbirds 4-1

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 29, 2021

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Chiefs and Seattle Thunderbirds played a tight checking game Friday night at the Arena.

But two quick Seattle goals late in the second period took the wind out of Spokane’s sails, and the Chiefs couldn’t overcome the deficit in a 4-1 loss.

Mekai Sanders had two goal for the Thunderbirds, and Scott Ratzlaff stopped 28 shots to earn the win. Jared Davidson had a goal and two assists for Seattle. Graham Sward scored Spokane’s lone goal.

The Chiefs started Manny Panghli in net, his first appearance of the season. Panghli stopped 26 shots, including a breakaway on Seattle’s first attempt of the night.

The Chiefs were down two key forwards in Reed Jacobson and Bear Hughes. Jacobson is out indefinitely with a broken leg. Hughes is listed week to week with an upper-body injury.

The Chiefs also lost forward Grady Lane in the second period after a collision behind the net. That forced the Chiefs to juggle the lines a bit, including icing an all-rookie fourth line.

Things went south when Luke Toporowski took an ill-advised tripping penalty off a faceoff in a scoreless game. Twenty-nine seconds later, Jordan Gustafson broke the tie and put Seattle up 1-0 on the power play with a goal at 17:49 of the second period.

“That was definitely the turning point, for sure,” Chiefs head coach Adam Maglio said. “Those are avoidable moments in a game. But I thought the group being down some forwards fought real hard.”

Sanders scored his first of the night to give Seattle a two-goal lead. Sanders’ tally came with just 37 seconds left in the second period.

The third period wasn’t any better, as Jared Davidson gave Seattle a 3-0 lead 6:55 into the period. Sanders scored his second of the game at 14:37. Sward’s goal was shorthanded and came at 16:37. But it was too little, too late.

The Chiefs put 30 shots on net and had plenty of shot attempts blocked by the Seattle defenders.

“I thought we had some (chances) especially around the net,” Maglio said. “I think we probably could have done a little bit better getting in (Ratzlaff’s) eyes, especially when our ‘D’ had it up top. I thought we had chances to capitalize and score. We need to find a way to put those in.”

The game was a physical one, as expected. Spokane defenseman Sage Weinstein threw his body around throughout the night and took a huge hit from Sanders halfway through the first period. Weinstein got right back up and joined the play, but Lane came to his defense and squared off with Sanders.

“We knew they played hard and I thought our guys competed and matched that,” Maglio said. “That was a game we thought it would be, hard in the trenches.”

The physical game was mostly clean, too. Seattle scored on one of its three power-play chances, and Spokane went scoreless on two power-play opportunities.

Panghli showed why he’s earned a full-time roster spot, despite the final score. Panghli was poised and mostly in control throughout the night, taking good angles and engaging the Seattle shooters.

“I thought he was great for a first start. He’s a young goalie still,” Maglio said. “I thought he was composed and focused and after goals against he rebounded quick. His rebound control was quite good, so we were happy with him.”

Both teams have a quick turnaround. Seattle heads to Tri-City and the Chiefs welcome the Everett Silvertips Saturday.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.