SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs seemed to do everything possible to make it easy for the struggling Prince George Cougars,
Rookie defenceman Linden Springer scored his first goal of the season as the Cougars beat Spokane 5-4 in Western Hockey League action Saturday night.
?Terribly disappointing,? Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. ?It?s pretty obvious what was wrong, we didn't skate. We're not good enough to stand around and watch. No quickness to our game whatsoever, shooting pucks, passing pucks.
?We played with no energy, no passion. That?s something our older guys got to address.?
The Cougars (8-17-0-2) struck first just 1:36 into the game when Charles Inglis wristed a high shot from the slot past Luke Lee-Knight. The problem was that the pass came directly from Chiefs defenceman Corbin Baldwin.
Springer's winner came when the Chiefs just let the puck lay in the crease for an eternity before Springer poked it past Mac Engel.
The goals in-between weren't much better.
?We?re not going to blame our goalie (Lee-Knight), we had giveaways that the poor kid had no chance on,? Nachbaur said. ?Just ridiculous. Our back-end guys are making it too complicated and in the process guys are losing their confidence.?
Now the Chiefs (11-7-1-2, 25) head out for their five-game swing through the Central Division, beginning Tuesday in Edmonton. They don???t return home until Dec. 16, after a sixth road game in Everett.
The scary part now is that the Chiefs are hauling a season-long goose egg on the bus, they???re 0-7 on the road.
???We???re a lunch-bucket crew and we have to approach it that way,??? Nachbaur said. ???We have to out work teams ??? we earned the loss tonight. We surely didn???t go out there and earn a victory. We didn???t deserve to win that hockey game.???
The Cougars stole a goal barely 90 seconds into the game when Inglis wristed in his ninth against Lee-Knight, who had no chance after the giveaway.
Spokane responded quickly when Marek Kalus tapped in the crossing pass from Carter Proft at 2:48 for his sixth and at 8:39 Baldwin???s shot from the right point deflected in off a Cougar for his second.
But just 11 seconds later Prince George tied on Greg Fraser???s eighth.
Prince George took a 4-3 lead into the third on goals by Troy Bourke, his seventh, and Campbell Elynuik, his fourth, in the second period.
Bourke closed in to clean up a rebound just 19 seconds into the second period after a miscommunication between Lee-Knight and a defenceman.
Blake Gal got that back at 2:51 with his fourth goal, going backhand while on a short-handed breakaway.
The Cougars regained the lead, and Lee-Knight was pulled in favour of Engel at 11:07 when Elynuik outworked a defenceman in the corner and just flipped the puck to the net, where it deflected off the goalie???s leg.
Just 10 seconds into the third period Dominik Uher tied it with his ninth on a power play.
It was a sweet win for Prince George goalie Drew Owsley, who was traded from Tri-City before the season.
???I still remember the Tri-City-Spokane rivalry,??? he said. ???This is probably one of the toughest buildings to get a win in so it???s good to come in here and get one.
???We've been having troubling scoring. It???s not because of a lack of work ethic, we just haven???t been getting any bounces. To have just 18 shots and get five goals, it???s nice to see a few of tose bounces go our way.???