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Down to third-string goalie, Spokane Chiefs lose 9-5 in Seattle

From staff reports

KENT, Wash. – The Spokane Chiefs certainly tested their goaltending depth Friday night.

And it didn’t go well.

Keltie Jeri-Leon had two goals and three assists and Henrik Rybinski and Andrej Kukuka each scored twice as the Seattle Thunderbirds routed the Chiefs 9-5 in Western Hockey League play.

With starting goaltender Lukas Parik in the Czech Republic to play for the hosts at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Championship and backup Campbell Arnold suffering a lower-body injury after allowing two goals in the opening 1:17 Friday, the Chiefs were forced to turn to Brett Balas, who had played just 62 minutes in two previous appearances this season.

Balas allowed seven goals on 37 shots.

The Chiefs’ Adam Beckman, the league’s leading scorer, had a goal and an assist, to extend his goal-scoring streak to seven games, matching the league high. Jack Finley and Cordel Larson also had a goal and an assist, with Bear Hughes and Luke Toporowski also scoring.

The loss was Spokane’s first in five games against the Thunderbirds this season.

Seattle took a 5-0 lead in the first period and the Chiefs never got closer than three goals the rest of the way.

Defenseman Mac Gross, a third-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, made his Chiefs debut.

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