SPOKANE – Riley Whittingham scored his first game-winner of the season and Mitch Holmberg’s shorthanded goal late in the third period gave the Chiefs the cushion they needed as Spokane held on against the Kamloops Blazers, 6-3, on Friday night at the Spokane Arena.
Throughout the first two periods, the Chiefs and Blazers kept trading blows. When Spokane would score, Kamloops would follow with a quick goal to tie the game once again. Dominic Zwerger, Adam Helewka and Reid Gow all scored goals that would be answered leading to a 3-3 tie late in the 2nd Period. Whittingham’s game-winner came at the 16:58 mark, assisted by Mike Aviani and Zwerger. Gow’s goal was his first of the season despite being the team’s 3rd-leading scorer with 39 assists coming into the game.
The Chiefs entered the third period with that 4-3 lead, and at the 11:55 mark Cole Wedman was whistled for a tripping call that put the Blazers in position to make things interesting. Instead, Holmberg snuck in and deflected a neutral zone pass. He skated his way freely to the Blazers goaltender and potted his fifth shorthanded goal of the season, beating Bolton Pouliot high on his glove side and giving Spokane a 5-3 lead.
Earlier on Friday, the Chiefs made one final move at the trade deadline as they sent Jackson Playfair to Tri-City for forward Marcus Messier. Messier started the game but did not record a point in his Chiefs debut.
Goalie Garret Hughson stopped 22 of 25 shots, including all eight attempts thrown his way in the final frame. Both teams only had one opportunity on the power play, but neither took advantage.
The Chiefs will hit the road to face the Seattle Thunderbirds tomorrow night for a 7:05 puck drop. The game can be followed live on the radio on 1510 KGA with Mike Boyle on the call.
The Chiefs will next return to the Spokane Arena Tuesday, January 14th, as they play host to Seattle in what will be a pivotal match-up in the Western Division standings. The game will be a TicketsWest Player Magnet Giveaways as the first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a refrigerator magnet featuring one of their favorite players. Puck drops at 7:05 PM.