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Sports >  Spokane Chiefs

Prince George sends Spokane to sixth loss in a row 7-2

Nov. 4, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 4, 2022 at 11 p.m.

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

When Prince George’s Carlin Dezainde was given a controversial goal in the second period, it gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead at a time when the Spokane Chiefs were playing well, despite trailing.

The Chiefs were leading in shots on net and outplaying Prince George at 5-on-5. But Thornton’s goal, which came after the referee blew his whistle, went to review and was eventually allowed.

The goal took the wind out of Spokane’s sails, and the Cougars scored two more goals in the next five minutes to run away with a 7-2 win Friday at the Arena. The loss is Spokane’s sixth in a row.

Spokane associate coach Stefan Legein, standing in for head coach Ryan Smith while Smith coaches Canada Team Red at the Under-17 Hockey Championships, acknowledged the officials made the correct call based on a new rule.

“Their explanation made sense. They talked about a new rule that if the puck kind of never stops the motion of the original shot, which it didn’t, it’s a goal (even with a premature whistle),” Legein said. “You’re never going to be happy with it.”

Spokane couldn’t control the interpretation of the new rule, but it could control how it responded, and the response went in the wrong direction.

Prince George got goals from Caden Brown and Chase Wheatcroft after Dezainde’s backbreaker, putting the game out of reach. Wheatcroft’s goal came on a penalty shot.

“We didn’t answer well tonight. It shouldn’t sink us the way it did and some of that is on myself for reacting the way I did with the referee,” Legein said. “But I thought I needed to try to fabricate some sort of fight in our team. It didn’t work for us tonight but if we can clean those areas up and stop compounding our mistakes, I think we’ll be a lot better.”

The Cougars skated out to a 1-0 lead just 2:23 into the game when Koehn Ziemmer scored on the power play. The penalty kill has been a thorn in Spokane’s side this season, as the Chiefs are worst in the league in that category. The Chiefs have given up 24 power play goals, tied with Tri-City for worst in the Western Hockey League.

Spokane’s 57% penalty kill rate is 11 percentage points behind Tri-City.

The Chiefs gave up power play goals on both Prince George power plays. Ethan Samson scored on the power play at 1:50 of the second.

Raegan Wiles scored on the power play for Spokane with half a second left in the second period. Chase Bertholet had Spokane’s other goal, coming at the midway point of the first period.

Prince George got third-period goals from Ondrej Becher and Wheatcroft.

The lopsided score made Spokane’s 41-25 shot advantage even more curious. The Chiefs couldn’t solve Prince George goaltender Tyler Brennan. Spokane goaltender Cooper Michaluk could only make 18 saves.

The glass-half-full outlook says if the Chiefs can find some goals to go along with their plethora of shots, they’ll find themselves in more games than not.

“Our first period, if we can find that hockey all the time, I mean we were in on the forecheck and outshooting them, we were all over them when we were playing 5-on-5,” Legein said. “We have to clean up those mental lapses and play a full 60 minutes instead of 40, 45 minutes.

“It seems to be those 15 minutes that puts us out the game.”

Both teams meet again at the Arena Saturday.

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