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Spokane Chiefs

Red Deer outlasts Spokane in shootout, no goals scored in regulation

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Chiefs held their own against the Red Deer Rebels, one of the top teams in the Western Hockey League, for 65 minutes. It was only when the game came down to a skills competition—a shootout, officially—did the Rebels pull through.

Ben King scored on Red Deer’s second shootout attempt, and Spokane’s Cade Hayes missed on a must-score opportunity to end the game. Berkly Catton and Tommy De Luca missed on Spokane’s first two shootout opportunities, and Red Deer’s Kai Uchacz missed on his opportunity.

The player of the game, though, was Spokane’s Dawson Cowan. The 17-year-old goaltender stopped all 45 shots Red Deer sent his way in regulation and overtime, including 20 in the third period alone.

The loss stings, but given the season Spokane has had to this point, there are positives to take away.

“You play one of the best teams in the league to 0-0, there are lots of positives,” Spokane head coach Ryan Smith said. “I thought our goalie was outstanding. Our will to play hard was there tonight and it felt like a playoff game. We want more games like that.”

Cowan came up big throughout the game, including stopping Uchacz on a breakaway in overtime.

“(Cowan) was the best player in red tonight. He held us in when we needed him to,” Smith said. “His rebound control was excellent. He just looked confident and that’s what you need from your goalies, especially in these tight games. He has your back as things break down and tonight he was good.”

Even with the 45 shots against, the Chiefs held their own in the defensive end. Red Deer didn’t get too many excellent scoring chances, and Spokane was able to get sticks in lanes, bodies blocking shots and played a physical defensive game.

It wasn’t until the third period when the Rebels really put the pressure on Spokane’s defensemen.

“We defended a little too many minutes as the game went on and we were worn down a bit,” Smith said. “But our positioning was good. We just need to make sure we pick up some sticks. I thought we did a lot to deserve the point and probably a second point.”

On the other end of the ice, Spokane didn’t have enough scoring chances and could only generate 26 shots on Red Deer goaltender Kyle Kelsey. Ty Cheveldayoff had the game on his stick in overtime but missed on a breakaway.

“(Red Deer) defends well. They have good sticks and they don’t give you a lot through the neutral zone,” Smith said. “They force you to dump the puck in and they force you to work to get your chances.”

The Chiefs played a disciplined game, a positive change from Friday’s loss to Swift Current. The Chiefs took just two penalties and Red Deer wasn’t able to connect on either power play. Spokane was scoreless on three power play opportunities.

The Chiefs will hop on a bus and head across the state to battle the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.