Spokane, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs fell victim to special teams struggles Friday night as they lost to the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 5-3.
Portland struck first as Swiss forward Simon Knak busted through the neutral zone to get a partial breakaway, beating Czech goalie Lukas Parik to make it 1-0 just over four minutes into regulation.
The Chiefs equalized at 14:40 of the opening frame as Eli Zummack corralled a rebound for his 17th goal of the year, with assists to Erik Atchison and Noah King.
Spokane took the lead at 13:03 of the middle frame when team captain Ty Smith joined the rush to rip home his sixth of the season. Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman earned an assist on the play, extending his point streak to 15 games.
Portland’s Tyson Kozak tied the game at two apiece with 3:07 remaining in the second before Knak struck again barely a minute into the third to give the Winterhawks a 3-2 lead.
The Winterhawks made it 4-2 at 4:13 of the third when Lane Gilliss potted his 11th goal of the year — third against Spokane — on the power play, with assists to Jaydon Dureau and Jake Gricius.
Beckman cut the Portland lead in half with 3:06 remaining in regulation, squeaking his 32nd goal of the season — matching his team-best total from a year ago — past Winterhawks netminder and St. Louis Blues prospect Joel Hofer. Hofer appeared to be trying to play the puck but Beckman beat him to it.
Portland iced the game with an empty-netter late to reach the final tally.
Parik ended the night 32-of-36 in net for the Chiefs while Hofer was 39-of-42. Spokane couldn’t convert on seven power play chances while Portland went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
The Chiefs get back on the ice on Saturday, January 18 versus the Regina Pats for General Store Family Feast Night and Jersey Rally Towel Giveaway. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a rally towel modeled after the military-themed jerseys the Chiefs will be wearing in the night’s game. Additionally, discounted concessions will be available all throughout the game at various concessions stands located on the main concourse.
Gates will open early at 4:30 p.m. as the Fairchild Falcons and Spokane Firefighters will compete in their annual game at the Spokane Arena at 5 p.m. All fans with a ticket to the Chiefs game will be permitted early access.
Tickets for Saturday night and all Chiefs home games are available online at spokanechiefs.com and via the Chiefs’ Ticket Office, over the phone at 509-535-PUCK and in-person at Spokane Arena.