A strong second period was not quite enough for the Spokane Chiefs as they fell to the Victoria Royals, 5-4 on Tuesday night in Victoria. Defenseman Noah King earned a career-high three points in the defeat. The two teams will be back at it Wednesday night for a rematch on the island.
The Chiefs started slow, showing their travel legs in a the first period as Victoria controlled play, leading in shots on goal 13-7. Carson Miller potted his fourth of the season just nine seconds into a Royals power play and former Saskatoon Blade Gary Haden capitalized on a Spokane turnover to score his 13th of the year 1:05 later to make it 2-0 headed into the first intermission.
Spokane responded in the second, dictating play while directing 21 shots toward Victoria netminder Brock Gould to get back in the game.
Leif Mattson, acquired by the Chiefs in a trade with Kelowna earlier this month, scored his first as a Chiefs on a wraparound effort at 1:56 to make it a 2-1 game.
Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman, who was named WHL Player of the Week on Monday, continued his torrid month of December with his 21st of the season at 14:19. Eli Zummack forced a turnover in the Victoria zone with a great backcheck, leaving the puck for Beckman who powered it inside the top-right corner to make it 2-2.
Just 25 seconds later, Beckman struck again as a King shot was deflected in front and bounced to the Saskatoon native waiting in the right circle. He one-timed it home for his second of the night and ninth goal in five games to give Spokane their first lead of the evening.
Miller struck again on a power play early in the third period, finishing a nice behind-the-net feed from Gary Haden to make it 3-3.
The Royals built on that momentum with back-to-back goals later in the period as Keanu Derungs redirected one in tight to make it 4-3 at 12:04 followed by Brandon Cutler snapping one home at 12:33 to make it 5-3.
A late goal by King gave the big defenseman his third point but it was not enough as the Chiefs could not tie it up late.
Campbell Arnold got the start in goal for Spokane — his third in four nights — and turned away 30 of 35 shots faced. Brock Gould started for Victoria and made 31 saves, also on 35 shots.
The Chiefs were held without a power play for the second-straight game against Victoria. They were not awarded a man advantage in their 4-3 overtime win in Spokane on Nov. 30.
The loss is also the Chiefs’ first while scoring four or more goals. They are now 17-1 on the season when reaching that mark.
The Chiefs wrap up the first half of the regular season tomorrow night against the same Victoria Royals. Mike Boyle will have the radio call on 94.1 FM The Bear with the pre-game show at 6:30 and puck drop at 7:05 p.m.
Spokane next returns home on Saturday, December 28 to host Tri-City. It will be Coeur d’Alene Casino Family Feast Night with fans able to purchase a variety of discounted concessions throughout the game all along the main concourse.
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.