Penalty Struggles Too Much As Chiefs Fall To Blazers, 6-4
SPOKANE, Wash. – Keanu Yamamoto scored twice and the Chiefs outshot the visiting Kamloops Blazers 46-22 on Saturday night at Spokane Arena, but the Blazers came out on top, 6-4. Spokane had trouble staying out of the penalty box all night, giving Kamloops nine power play opportunities, of which they scored on three.
The Chiefs opened the scoring with back-to-back goals within 11 seconds of each other early in the first period, beginning with Ethan McIndoe’s power play score at the 3:48 mark. Forward Hayden Ostir followed that up by tapping in defenseman Dalton Hamaliuk’s cross-ice pass for his second goal in as many nights to make it 2-0 just four minutes into regulation.
The Blazers stormed back with their first of three power play scores at the 9:26 mark of the opening period as Nick Chyzowski finished off a creative tic-tac-toe play for his ninth goal of the season.
Spencer Bast scored his third of the season at 18:42 with a sharp wrist shot from the right circle to beat Chiefs’ starting goaltender Dawson Weatherill to the far post. His goal, assisted by Garret Pilon and Shaun Dosanjh, tied the game at 2-2.
Kamloops captain Collin Shirley found himself all alone in the slot on a power play at the 19:55 mark of the first, punching in an easy one after a centering feed from Matt Revel to give the Blazers their first lead.
Defenseman Joe Gatenby fired a slapshot from the right circle under Weatherill at the 6:11 mark of the second period to put the Blazers up 4-2. The goal, Gatenby’s third of the season, spelled the end of Weatherill’s night as he was replaced by overage netminder Jayden Sittler.
The Blazers pushed their lead to three goals with their third and final power play goal at the 7:25 mark as Garrett Pilon took a loose puck earned on the faceoff by Chyzowski to beat Sittler with a backhand for his fourth goal of the season.
Yamamoto gave the Chiefs hope later in the second with a highlight reel goal, zigging through the Kamloops defense before flipping a shot past Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Connor Ingram in the Blazers’ net. Forward Hudson Elynuik extended his point streak to six games with an assist, joined by defenseman Jeff Faith.
Yamamoto struck again just 2:01 into the third with a shorthanded goal – Spokane’s third of the season – as he took a loose puck created by linemate Taylor Ross on a breakaway to chip his second of the night past Ingram.
Unfortunately for the Spokane Arena crowd it was all for naught as Kamloops’ leading scorer Rudolfs Balcers slid in his 14th of the season at the 6:22 mark to provide insurance and allow the Blazers to hold strong on defense to close the game.
Spokane finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-9 on the penalty kill. Weatherill made eight saves on 12 shots in 26:11 while Sittler stopped 8-of-10 in 31:02. Ingram proved why he’s one of the top goaltenders in the Canadian Hockey League with 42 saves on 46 shots faced.
These two teams meet again on Wednesday night in Kamloops as the Chiefs venture outside of Spokane for their only road contests of the season. They return to Spokane Arena on Friday, November 25 to host the Vancouver Giants on Jersey-Off-The-Back Night, as fans will have the opportunity to bid on game-worn jerseys from the game that night.