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Sports >  Spokane Chiefs

Chiefs drop tight game to Silvertips 2-1; losing streak goes to eight games

Feb. 10, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 10, 2023 at 10:11 p.m.

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

The tandem of Dawson Cowan and Cooper Michaluk in net for the Spokane Chiefs has been among the top tandems in the Western Hockey League in the last week. Unfortunately for Spokane, the offense hasn’t been able to connect on its scoring chances.

That was the case in a 2-1 loss Friday to the Everett Silvertips at the Arena. Still, Chiefs coach Ryan Smith felt his team was the better of the two on the ice and took away plenty of positives.

“We were good as a team and outplayed them,” he said. “I think we were the better team. (Everett was) exhausted at the end of the game and we just couldn’t find the back of the net. We hit a post, we had some shots that bounced around. Our goalie was good, and so was theirs.”

“Their” goalie was Tyler Palmer, who stopped 34 shots in the win for Everett. Palmer was once property of the Chiefs, who picked him in the 10th round of the 2018 Bantam Draft.

Ben Hemmerling led the way for Everett with a goal and an assist.

Everett held a slight lead in shots on net at 36-35. Spokane outshot the Silvertips 11-9 in the third period as the Chiefs pressed for a comeback.

Hemmerling opened the scoring 2:59 into the game when he skated in on a brief breakaway and deked Cowan. Cowan attempted to poke check the puck away, but the high-risk, high-reward move allowed Hemmerling to make a move around him.

Jackson Berezowski made it 2-0 4:10 into the second when he squeaked one past Cowan. It wasn’t immediately apparent that the puck went in, though the call on the ice was a good goal and was upheld upon review.

Spokane had its chances in the second and third periods but couldn’t generate enough offensive zone time. Jake Gudelj narrowly missed when he hit the post.

But Cade Hayes was able to connect at 12:01 of the third to get Spokane on the board. The Chiefs also had a power play opportunity with 3:31 left in the third after Everett’s Aiden Sutter took a tripping penalty.

But even with the man advantage, Spokane wasn’t able to solve Palmer. The Chiefs pulled Cowan to get an extra attacker late in the third but couldn’t find the net.

“We had a very positive work ethic and attitude,” Smith said. “It as a good game and guys played really well. I’m proud of our guys’ battle effort. On any other night, maybe we get a bounce here and there and we’re the winners.”

The Chiefs’ goaltenders have a .957 save percentage in the last week, a big improvement from earlier in the season. The Chiefs are still allowing a lot of shots on average, but their team defense and goaltending has improved greatly.

“Their job is to stop the puck and they’re doing a great job,” he said. “Last weekend and the start of this weekend, they’ve done everything they can to give us a chance. They both have a great work ethic and want to be pros. They approach every day and practice like that.”

The Chiefs and Silvertips are back at it Saturday in Everett.

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