That’s all the time the Spokane Chiefs needed to put the Everett Silvertips in their place.
Spokane blitzed Everett from the opening puck drop, scoring three times in the opening moments, and the Chiefs outclassed the Tips to the tune of a 4-1 victory Sunday night.
Jared Cowen put a shot through the net to open the scoring, then Tyler Johnson and Dominik Uher added goals in quick succession as Spokane delivered the knockout punch before the ice surface at Comcast Arena even had a chance to dry.
Everett limited the damage after that, but only because of the efforts of relief goaltender Kent Simpson as Spokane dominated from start to finish. If not for Simpson, the high-flying Chiefs may have reached double digits for fifth time this season.
“We weren’t ready,” Everett captain Landon Ferraro said. “It was (Everett’s third game in three nights), but it doesn’t matter if you’re a little tired, you have to be more mentally prepared. They played a three-in-three as well. We have no excuses, it wasn’t a very good effort from the very beginning.”
Matt Marantz also scored for Spokane (27-11-3-2), which has been the surprise team of the WHL’s Western Conference. Little was expected of the Chiefs this season, but with Sunday’s victory they moved into a tie with Portland for first place in the conference — and Spokane has two games in hand.
“Everybody believes in what we’re doing, and I don’t have a guy who’s not on board,” explained first-year Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur, whose team was coming off an 11-2 thrashing of Kootenay in the WHL’s first ever outdoor game Saturday in Spokane. “We play structured, we play hard for 60 minutes and we don’t let up. At the end of the day we have some guys who are pretty talented, too.”
Ryan Harrison scored the lone goal for Everett (18-21-2-4). Luke Siemens lasted just 1:28 in goal for Everett after allowing the first two goals on three shots. Simpson stopped 42-of-44 in relief.
“It was a mercy pulling for me to get (Siemens) out of the net, the way our guys started,” Everett coach Craig Hartsburg said. “They let him hang out to dry. The first two goals weren’t the goalie’s fault, but something needed to wake that crew up. That was totally unacceptable how we started, and we didn’t get a whole lot better as it went on, either.”
The Chiefs didn’t make it any easier on the Tips, either. Spokane was first to the puck, won most of the battles and made few mistakes. The combination gave Everett no chance of a comeback.
“They played the game the right way,” Hartsburg said of the Chiefs. “They work. They take pride in their work and their checking game. It looked to me like they really enjoy working.
“Our kids, right now we work when we’re comfortable with it,” Hartsburg continued. “It’s unacceptable how we work, I’ve said that for two or three weeks. It’s been a battle to get these guys to work, and to work with a purpose. It’s easy to say, ‘Go out and work,’ but we don’t get into position quick enough, we don’t get cover over our checks quick enough, we don’t want the puck in tight spaces because it’s hard work to play there. It’s something we’ve got to fix.”
There was no chance for Everett to fix anything Sunday as a disastrous start put the Tips in an insurmountable hole.
Spokane’s first goal was the second faulty-net goal of the season at Comcast Arena. Cowen blasted a shot from the left circle that went clean through the net, causing play to continue for 21 seconds. When the whistle blew, a video review took place that confirmed the puck went through the net, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead just 1:11 in. The same thing happened at the same east goal to Portland’s Ryan Johansen on Oct. 6.
Then just 17 seconds later it was 2-0. Johnson stripped an Everett defender and skated free on a breakaway. He made a move around Siemens, the goal sending Siemens to the bench in favor of Simpson.
That didn’t chance Everett’s fortunes at all. Spokane quickly received a power play and converted at 3:08. Brenden Kichton’s shot from the point was tipped on goal by Uher. Simpson stopped the initial tip, but Uher flipped in his own rebound to make it 3-0.
Play evened out after that, with the Tips creating several scoring chances the remainder of the period. However, Everett was unable to find the net, despite the benefit of three power plays.
Spokane consolidated its lead just 13 seconds into the second period. Marantz’s shot off a faceoff was blocked, but he got to the loose puck and fired past a screened Simpson to make it 4-0.
Everett finally got on the board at 11:28. Ferraro wriggled his way around a defender on the rush, then fed Harrison, who shot past Reid. But that was mere consolation as the Tips were fortunate not to surrender any more goals the rest of the way.
Chiefs 4, Silvertips 1
Spokane 3 1 0—4
Everett 0 1 0—1
First Period—1, Spokane, Cowen 10 (Johnson, Kichton), 1:11. 2, Spokane, Johnson 34, 1:28. 3, Spokane, Uher 12 (Kichton, Johnson), 3:08 (pp). Penalties—Hayer, Everett (tripping), 2:33; Holmberg, Spokane (goaltender interference), 4:18; Vandane, Spokane (interference), 6:08; Gow, Spokane (tripping), 15:06.
Second Period—4, Spokane, Marantz 11 (Kuhn), 0:13. 5, Everett, Harrison 16 (Ferraro, Maxwell), 11:28. Penalties—Johnson, Spokane (holding), 1:02; Harrison, Everett (cross checking), 5:33.
Third Period—no goals. Penalties—Fowlie, Everett (hooking), 8:20; Cowen, Spokane (checking from behind), 15:39; Bardaro, Spokane (high sticking), 18:40.
Shots on goal—Spokane 17-14-16—47. Everett 14-6-13—33. Power-play opportunities—Spokane 1 of 3. Everett 0 of 6.
Goalies—Spokane, Reid 27-8-2-1 (33 shots, 32 saves). Everett, Siemens 6-7-0-0 (3 shots, 1 saves), Simpson (44 shots, 42 saves).
Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog
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