Slow Start Stifles Spokane at Seattle

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Kent, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs had a slow start and couldn’t recover in their first game back from the mid-season holiday break on Friday, losing 9-5 at Seattle.

The Thunderbirds got on the board early as Henrik Rybinski scored twice in the first 1:17 to make it 2-0. Spokane netminder Campbell Arnold left the game after the second goal, requiring assistance off the ice with an apparent injury, to be replaced by affiliated player Brett Balas.

Seattle added on with goals by Andrej Kukuca (6:43), Conner Roulette on the power play (8:23) and Keltie Jeri-Leon (17:59) to take a commanding 5-0 lead into the first intermission.

Spokane found the net in the second as Luke Toporowski ripped one home for his eighth of the season at 6:02. Rookie Bear Hughes picked up his 12th of the year — good for second among WHL rookies — at 14:13 to make it 5-2 Seattle.

The scoring kept coming as the two teams exchanged four goals over the final 3:24 of play to reach a 7-4 Seattle lead heading into the second intermission.

Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman extended his goal streak to seven games with a third period tally, but two more Seattle goals snubbed any thought of a comeback. 

Balas, in relief of Arnold, made 31 saves on 38 shots faced in 58:43 of play. Seattle’s Blake Lyda earned the win with 31 saves as Seattle outshot the Chiefs 42-36. Spokane finished 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Spokane leads the season series, 4-1.

The Chiefs open their second half home schedule Saturday, December 28 as they host the rival Tri-City Americans. It will be Coeur d’Alene Casino Family Feast Night at Spokane Arena! Fans can purchase a variety of discounted concessions throughout the game.

Tickets for all Chiefs home games are available online or via the Chiefs’ Ticket Office, in-person at Spokane Arena or over the phone at 509-535-PUCK.

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