It wasn’t exactly the welcome back Campbell Arnold wanted.
The former Spokane Chiefs goaltender, now with the Victoria Royals, was lit up for four goals in the first period by his former team.
But trailing 4-1 after the opening frame, the Royals rallied to gain a point in 6-5 Western Hockey League overtime loss Tuesday night at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Arnold had been with the Chiefs since 2017 before he was traded to Victoria in October for a third round selection in the 2023 WHL prospects draft. Royals coach Dan Price stayed with Arnold all the way and the Nanaimo native made 33 saves in regulation time.
The Chiefs goalkeeper, six-foot-five 2022 NHL draft-ranked Mason Beaupit from Surrey, made 24 saves in regulation.
A short-handed goal by Victoria captain Tarun Fizer and 2022 NHL draft-rated forward Brayden Schuurman’s ninth goal of the season, on the power-play, closed the gap in the second period. Fizer tied it 4-4 in the third period on a short-handed breakaway just five seconds into on double-minor penalty to Gannon Laroque. Then an Evan Patrician penalty gave Spokane a two-man advantage, on which Jack Finley scored to take the 5-4 lead. But Fizer leveled again for Victoria with the hat-trick to send it to extra time. Blake Swetlikoff won it for Spokane at 2:35 of overtime.
Luke Shipley scored his first of the season for the Royals in the first period. Six-foot-two centre Bear Hughes, a fifth-round NHL draft pick of the Washington Capitals, led Spokane with a goal and two assists.
In an eventful night for the special teams, Spokane was 2-for-8 on the power play but allowed the two short-handed goals by Fizer. Victoria was 1-5 on the power play.
Victoria, which had won its last two games, now has points in five of its last six contests
It was the Royals’ first game in the U.S. since skating in Portland against the Winterhawks on March 8, 2020, and began a five-game road trip through the U.S. Division, continuing tonight in Tri-City, Friday in Seattle and Saturday in Portland.
Victoria’s games in Spokane and Tri-City are early-season crucial tests at the foot of the Western Conference table in that the Chiefs (5-10-3 for 13 points) and Americans (4-11-2 for 10 points) are among the teams the Royals (3-11-3 for 9 points) will need to target in order to slip into a playoff position.