EVERETT — The Spokane Chiefs were late to arrive Sunday at Angel of the Winds Arena because of inclement weather on Snoqualmie Pass.
They probably won’t mind the trip home, however, as they departed Everett with a convincing 5-2 Western Hockey League victory over the Silvertips before 6,087 fans.
Spokane (36-21-3-2, 77 points) has lost just twice in its past 12 games. Both defeats came at home to Everett. But Spokane also has won two straight at Angel of Winds, including a 2-1 overtime victory on Feb. 9.
“They’re playing good hockey and we said that all along,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “It was humbling. We’ll learn from it and we gotta get better this week.”
U.S. Division-leading Everett (41-18-2-3, 87 points) had won four straight and saw an 11-game point streak come to an end.
“(We) took our foot off the gas and they’re a good team that is going to beat you every time when you’re not playing at your best,” Everett captain Matt Fonteyne said. “Moving forward we just need to focus on the things that we can control and all that is just work ethic and working hard shift after shift.”
Projected first-round NHL draft pick Ty Smith had two assists for Spokane and five different Chiefs found the net.
The Chiefs led 3-1 as both teams entered the third period down a man following penalties to Everett’s Riley Sutter and Spokane’s Jake McGrew. Spokane utilized the extra ice as Hudson Elynuik found Filip Kral for a one-timer off the rush at 1:34 that give Spokane a three-goal advantage.
Matt Leduc then scored on a wrister from the slot at 15:34 to push Spokane’s advantage to 5-1.
Everett answered a minute later when Sean Richards skated in from the blue line and sniped a wrister from the slot to make it 5-2.
It was far too little too late.
“We sometimes want to complicate the game, and the guys that keep it simple and keep to their strengths end up on top, and teams that stick to the simplicity of the game normally end up on top,” Williams said. “It’s when you complicate it that you end up with some losses.”
Bryce Kindopp had given Everett a 1-0 lead when he finished a feed from Kyle Walker from the slot at 16:26 in the first period. Everett outshot Spokane 14-8 in the opening period.
“I thought our first period was pretty decent, but after that they just stepped up and we didn’t,” Fonteyne said. “Props to them. They had a lot of travel today and they had a three-in-three as well, and we didn’t come out as hard as we needed today.”
Things changed quickly in the second period. The Chiefs tied the game when Riley Woods beat Dustin Wolf on a wrister through traffic at 7:42, and Riley McKay gave Spokane the lead for good when he banged home a loose puck through Wolf’s legs at 13:44.
Then Kailer Yamamoto took control of a Tips turnover at the blue line, walked in and fired a wrister from the left circle that got past Wolf for a 3-1 advantage at 15:59.
“When you make mistakes with that type of team and that type of skill set, you see how quickly they score,” Williams said. “Going into these Sunday games it’s not so much the physical component of a three-in-three, but it’s the mental side. I thought we just weren’t quite sharp there.”
Spokane goalie Donovan Buskey earned the win with 29 saves on Everett’s 31 shots. Wolf lost for the first time since Jan. 6. He saved 24 of Spokane’s 29 shots.
The Tips play host to Kelowna at 7:35 p.m. Friday.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.
Chiefs 5, Silvertips 2
Spokane 0 3 2—5
Everett 1 0 1—2
1st Period—1, Everett, Kindopp 19 (Walker, Walker), 16:26. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period—2, Spokane, Woods 21 (Smith, Fafrak), 7:42. 3, Spokane, McKay 3 (Anderson-Dolan, Smith), 13:44. 4, Spokane, Yamamoto 19 (McIndoe), 15:59. Penalties-Toporowski Spo (interference), 8:31; McGrew Spo (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 20:00; Sutter Evt (slashing), 20:00.
3rd Period—5, Spokane, Kral 6 (Elynuik), 1:34. 6, Spokane, Leduc 1 (Zummack, Faith), 15:34. 7, Everett, Richards 20 (Bajkov, Davis), 16:29. Penalties-Vitelli Evt (slashing), 1:53; Richards Evt (boarding), 10:30.
Shots on Goal—Spokane 8-7-14-29. Everett 14-9-8-31.
Power Play Opportunities—Spokane 0 / 2; Everett 0 / 1.
Goalies—Spokane, Buskey 9-9-0-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Everett, Wolf 12-6-0-0 (29 shots-24 saves).