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Spokane Chiefs storm back from early deficit, beat Victoria 4-3 in overtime

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 30, 2019

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

One night after Spokane blew a two-goal lead in the third period and ultimately lost in overtime, the Chiefs took their turn playing the role of spoiler.

Spokane scored twice in the third period and again 2 minutes into overtime to dispatch the Victoria Royals 4-3 Saturday in front of 6,803 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena.

Filip Kral scored the winner thanks to a fortunate bounce to give Spokane a much-needed win. Kral was backhanding a pass to a teammate in front of the net when the puck deflected off a Victoria defenseman’s stick and past Royals goaltender Brock Gould.

Gould stopped 30 of the 34 shots Spokane put his way and gave up two big ones in the third period. Campbell Arnold got the start for Spokane and turned aside 19 of 22 shots.

The win was a satisfying one, considering how Friday went.

“We never backed down and the kids still worked hard,” Spokane coach Manny Viveiros said. “We’ve done it a couple times this year and it’s a great morale booster for us going forward. We’re pretty happy that there’s no quit in our team.”

The Chiefs put 17 shots on net in the third period after getting just 15 pucks to Gould in the first and second periods combined.

The Chiefs fell into a hole early, allowing two first-period goals. The Chiefs got away from their system and allowed Victoria to take advantage.

“We came out really flat, and I don’t know why,” Viveiros said. “We were maybe a little tentative and gun shy after (Friday’s) loss.”

Jacob Herauf stuffed one past Arnold after banging away at the right post at 12:08 of the first.

Gary Haden camped out in front of the Chiefs net and took advantage of a puck bounce off the back boards to the front of the net to make it 2-0 at 14:14.

The Chiefs had more energy and possession time in the second period and came through when Bear Hughes redirected a Luke Toporowski pass in front of the net at 15:32. Hughes has 10 goals as a rookie.

The Hughes goal could have given the Chiefs some jump, and it briefly looked like it did. But 59 seconds later, Tarun Fizer put one past Arnold on the rush to quickly take back the two-goal lead.

“We knew the kids were playing well, so we said, ‘Keep going, you’re playing well,’ ” Viveiros said. “We had a little bit of a talk after the second period, and the kids were saying to themselves, ‘We’re going to win this game.’ ”

It was a different Chiefs squad in the third period, but the shift started in the second.

“I think we had a really good second, kind of took it to them then,” defenseman Ty Smith said. “Our first was not good enough, but our second was good and then the third we stuck with it and kept grinding. It started to pay off.”

Erik Atchison scored his fifth of the season and second in as many games at 9:35 to get the Chiefs within one. Adam Beckman scored from the slot at 12:52 to tie the game, setting up Kral’s overtime heroics.

Atchison recently came back from an upper-body injury. In addition to his goal, he had a huge blocked shot late in the third to preserve the tie.

“That blocked shot for me is as important as scoring a goal,” Viveiros said. “It’s something I’d like to see us do more. It’s not fun, it hurts, but it certainly helps our team and brings our morale up. You never now, if that shot goes through, you don’t know what happens.”

For the second night in a row, the Chiefs had zero power-play opportunities. They killed the only two penalties they took.

“It’s a little tough. You always want power plays because that’s where lots of goals generally happen,” Smith said. “It’s unfortunate, but if the refs aren’t calling anything then that’s how it goes sometimes. Scoring those goals 5-on-5 tonight is huge for our group.”

Spokane is back at the Arena on Tuesday to welcome the Seattle Thunderbirds.

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