Sometimes, things just don’t go your way.
And sometimes, things don’t go your way over and over and at the worst possible moment.
The Chiefs learned that lesson in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Tuesday at the Arena. Orrin Centazzo had a hat trick for Kamloops, and Zane Franklin added a goal and three assists. Adam Beckman and Ty Smith each had a goal and an assist for Spokane.
“I thought we were really flat, and I don’t know why,” Chiefs head coach Manny Viveiros said. “At the start of the game we were right there, but a couple goals kind of deflated us. We just couldn’t get back. We were just too far behind.”
Those two goals were the result of weird plays involving Spokane goaltender Lukas Parik.
First, Daylan Kuefler capitalized on a bizarre sequence that saw Parik try to swat away a puck dumped into the Spokane zone. Parik missed, and the puck found Kuefler’s stick. Parik, in his haste to recover, ended up on his belly with his back to Kuefler, who wristed an easy one into an empty net at 18:27 of the first.
Just 30 seconds later, Parik got a little casual with the puck behind his net. The puck got pushed off his stick and came to Centazzo, who took his turn at an open net and connected.
Suddenly, the Chiefs were in a 2-0 hole.
Rayce Ramsay stopped 28 shots sent his way for Kamloops. Parik struggled in net for Spokane and was pulled in the second period after surrendering three goals on 18 shots faced.
Parik allowed the third goal 2:43 into the second period when Centazzo skated through the Spokane defense and scored on the power play. James Porter Jr. took over in net from there.
Porter made a nice save soon after joining the game but let a wobbler past him at 3:36. Logan Stankoven was on the goal line to poke the puck home.
The Chiefs finally got on the board at 12:30 of the second when Michael King took a nice pass from Smith and sniped one past Ramsay. Smith got Spokane within two when he scored with 44 seconds left in the middle frame.
The Chiefs had a fighter’s chance heading into the third period, but Kamloops scored 45 seconds in when Centazzo completed his hat trick.
The Chiefs had a golden opportunity when they got a 37-second 5-on-3 power play 6 minutes into the third. The Chiefs couldn’t capitalize while up two skaters and then during the ensuring 5-on-4, they allowed Franklin to score shorthanded on a 2-on-1.
“It’s tough. You want to score on 5-on-4 and especially 5-on-3, so it’s a bit deflating,” Smith said.
Beckman scored his 31st of the season at 9:39 to get within three goals, but that’s all Spokane got.
The Chiefs did have other opportunities to score. Eli Zummack had a partial breakaway in the first period, but Ramsay turned him aside. Ramsay was appearing in only his 10th career game.
“I feel like we had chances. We had lots of looks, but their goalie played great,” Smith said. “He’s pretty raw and I know he’s a young guy, but he played well tonight and made some big saves. It’s tough to play against, but we had some chances.”
Zummack went pointless, ending his 17-game point streak. Beckman extended his streak to 14 games.
Franklin’s four-point performance lifts him into the top spot of the league’s scoring leaders, shared with Beckman at 66 points apiece.
Kamloops leads the B.C. Division and came into the game with the league’s top penalty kill. Spokane went scoreless in four power-play opportunities. The Blazers also outshot the Chiefs 37-31 and had a 30-15 lead in shots on net after two periods.
Kamloops protects the puck well and doesn’t give its opponents much room to work.
“I don’t care how long we could have played tonight,” Viveiros said. “We could have played another 2 hours and we weren’t going to win tonight. It was just one of those games that we weren’t good enough.”
Viveiros said there are lessons from this game, but the team has to move on as well. The Chiefs welcome the Western Conference-leading Portland Winterhawks to the Arena on Friday night.
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