Spokane Chiefs unable to hang onto lead against Seattle

In the ongoing debate as to whether a team will come back from a long hiatus rested or rusted, the Spokane Chiefs fall into the rusted category.

After the Chiefs paused for two weeks due to COVID cases in the roster, they were defeated 41:20 in a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in the arena on Friday. It was Spokane’s fourth consecutive loss to the Thunderbirds that season.

Conner Roulette scored two goals for Seattle and Jordan Gustafson had three assists for the win.

The Chiefs played the entire first half and ran out of gas in the third.

“We weren’t good in the first third. It obviously looked like we hadn’t played in two weeks, ”said head coach Adam Maglio. “(Goaltender Mason) Beaupit kept us there and we got back on track in the second. Special teams played a huge role throughout the game. Special teams have to get better. “

The Chiefs gave Seattle six power plays, including three in the first third. That didn’t allow Spokane to find much rhythm. The Chiefs added a 5-minute major to their troubles at the end of the second and third after defender Timafey Kovgoreniya was thrown off the pitch after a header hit.

On the other hand, Spokane only had two power play options.

To make matters worse, Raegan Wiles of the Chiefs left the game in the second period. Combined with Kovgoreniya’s throw, Spokane only had four defenders in the entire third period.

Seattle came out quick in the first third, scoring 15 seconds in the game when roulette hit from the slot. It was the only goal Seattle scored during that time. Beaupit kept the Chiefs in the game and had to face 19 shots in the first 20 minutes alone. In return, Spokane was only able to bring up three shots at Seattle goalkeeper Scott Ratzlaff.

In the second half things turned for the better for Spokane when the Chiefs took a 3-1 lead. Carter Streek, who was acquired by the Saskatoon Blades last week, scored the first goal of his WHL career to tie the game at 3:54 of the second. The Chiefs dropped the puck behind Ratzlaff and it bounced hard off the end boards and in front of Streek to shoot you over the goalkeeper’s shoulder.

Luke Toporowski scored his seventh goal of the season at 8:09 in an almost identical way. The puck bounced off the end boards again during a dump-in and to the right to Toporowksi in front of the net.

Just 15 seconds later, Braden Plaschewsky, acquired earlier this season, scored his first career goal from the top of the goal area to give Spokane a 3-1 lead.

Seattle’s Jared Davidson shot past Beaupit at 5:41 pm to make it 3-2.

The magic didn’t hold for Spokane. Seattle scored three times in the third third.

Sam Popowich gave Beaupit a tip at 6:47 a.m. and Roulette got its second of the game in a power play at 1:03 p.m. Seattle added an empty net from Luas Ciona with 8 seconds to go.

The Chiefs, decimated by injuries last month, got 20-year-old Bear Hughes back from a broken rib. Hughes started skating just before the team’s COVID outbreak and is still getting back to thinking about things.

“I was excited to come back, but I felt slow and step back tonight,” said Hughes. “I wasn’t in the game mentally. I don’t know if I just came back or just wasn’t ready. Tonight I was a little scared and I just have to let my instincts run free. “

Hughes centered the team’s second line and finished minus 3 with two penalty minutes.

The Chiefs hit the road on Saturday night and play at Everett before coming home to face Kelowna on Wednesday.

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