Spokane scored four goals in the third period to turn a close game into a rout as the Chiefs dropped the Ice 6-3 in front of 9,056 fans at the Spokane Arena Saturday night. Blake Gal, Brenden Kichton and Alessio Bertaggia each tallied three points as the Chiefs improved to 23-10-1-0 at home and 42-25-2-0 overall.
The Chiefs took advantage of an early power play to get on the board at 6:38 as Jason Fram slipped a shot past Mackenzie Skapski with assists from Tyler King and Bertaggia.
Spokane held their 1-0 lead throughout the remainder of the period thanks to a sensational effort from Eric Williams. The Chiefs' netminder turned away 17 shots in the first including a number of highlight reel saves.
Kootenay knotted up the game 1-1 at the 7:14 mark of the second as Brock Montgomery scored on a wide open net after Williams got tangled up with an Ice player and was held out of the crease.
Spokane reclaimed the lead at 12:53 with Kichton emerging from a mass of humanity in front of the net with his 22nd goal of the season on an assist from Connor Chartier. The Chiefs outshot the Ice 14-4 in the second.
A fast and furious third period got started with a goal from Kootenay's Jaedon Descheneau at the 2:26 mark that tied the game at two. Mitch Holmberg put the Chiefs ahead 3-2 at 4:59 as he used a great deke to create space from his defender before firing a shot over the shoulder of Skapski with assists from Gal and Reid Gow. Gal followed with a goal of his own at 7:17 to stretch Spokane’s advantage to 4-2 on assists from Holmberg and Kichton.
The assist on Gal’s goal was the 195th for Kichton as a member of the Chiefs, moving him ahead of Pat Falloon into sole possession of second place all-time in franchise history.
The Ice refused to go quietly though as Descheneau scored again at 9:50 to pull Kootenay within a single score. It took Spokane all of 35-seconds to reopen a two goal lead with Gal notching his second of the night on assists from Bertaggia and Kichton. Bertaggia capped the scoring with an empty net goal, his seventh point in two nights, at 18:31 with an assist from Kichton.
Williams finished 27 of 30 on save opportunities while Skapski was 35 of 40. Spokane went 1 for 3 on the power play and 1 of 2 on the penalty kill.
Tonight’s three stars: Blake Gal (1st), Brenden Kichton (2nd), and Mitch Holmberg (3rd).
The victory guaranteed a first round playoff series between the Chiefs and Tri-City Americans with home ice to be determined over the season’s remaining games.