A decent first and third-period were not enough for the Prince George Cougars to overcome a dominant second period by the Spokane Chiefs.
With the home side opening the scoring in the first period, the Cougars found themselves unable to keep up with the Chiefs in the middle period. The Chiefs piled on five goals, including three in the final 1:38 in the second period.
The first Chiefs goal and the eventual game-winner came off the stick of Filip Kral. With the teams playing four-on-four due to coincidental minors, the Chiefs broke into the Cougars’ end of the ice on a three-on-two. Adam Beckman was the puck carrier and he slipped at the blue line. He was still able to slide the puck to Jack Finley and his pass found Kral in front for an easy tip-in.
Chiefs rookie netminder Campbell Arnold had to be sharp in the period, and he was, stopping all 10 of the Cougars shots.
It was the second period that spelled doom for the road-weary Cougars, who had arrived at about 4 am from Kelowna. The team had played the Rockets on Friday and made the 375 km trek following the 6-2 loss.
Early in the period, the Cougars found themselves killing their third penalty of the night.
With all four penalty killers in front of their own net, Eli Zummack found a bouncing puck. He was all alone and beat Jacob Herman to make it 2-0 Chiefs.
Four and a half minutes later Kral scored again, this time on the rush. With Zummack leading the charge, a drop pass was made to the trailing Kral. Zummack created enough of a screen for Kral’s wrist shot to beat Herman. It was Kral’s sixth goal of the season.
Then the wheels fell off for the Cougars.
With time winding down in the period, the Chiefs scored three goals in quick succession.
First, it was Matt Leduc. He followed up a play that went deep into the Cougars zone. His second goal of the season made it 4-0.
37 seconds later Bear Hughes took a pass from Zummack and his sixth goal of the season gave the Chiefs a five-goal lead.
Finally, with just 2.3 seconds remaining on the second-period clock, Brandon Reller tipped home a Noah King point shot to make it 6-0.
Despite being outshot 12-6 in the final period, the Cougars did a much better job of keeping the Chiefs to the perimeter and not allowing them much space in their zone.
With 27 saves, Campbell Arnold recorded his first shutout in the WHL. He now owns a career 5-5-1-0 record.
Cats Meow… The three stars on the night were 1) Filip Kral 2) Eli Zummack 3) Campbell Arnold. The Chiefs power play was 1-for-3 the Cougars 0-for-2. The Chiefs win tied the season series at 2 wins each. The teams do not meet again this season. Only one player did not have a shot on net for the Chiefs, while Adam Beckman led all players with 6 shots. Spokane plays again tomorrow at home against the Everett Silvertips. Prince George plays next on Wednesday as they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.