The Chiefs used a goal from Dylan Walchuk with 24-seconds remaining to notch a dramatic 3-2 victory over Prince George in front of 7,713 fans at the Spokane Arena. Rookie goaltender Garret Hughson stopped 14 of 16 shots for his first WHL win as Spokane improved to 6-0-0-0 on home ice and 8-3-0-0 overall.
Spokane skated out to an early 1-0 advantage at 8:54 as Mike Aviani flicked a rebound past former teammate Mac Engel on the power play with assists from Jason Fram and Tyler King.
Todd Fiddler went on a shorthanded breakaway after some sloppy puck handling from the Cougars, but his shot at 11:35 was turned away on a nice glove save from Engel.
The Chiefs second power play proved just as fruitful as their first with King rifling a shot over Engel’s left shoulder and into the back of the net off assists from Fiddler and Aviani. The Chiefs outshot the Cougars by a whopping 14 to 1 margin in the period.
The second period saw Spokane rack up five penalties as officials clamped down on what was quickly becoming a physical contest. Prince George got their first goal of the night at 14:37 on a 5-on-3 as Colin Jacob's shot deflected off Hughson and into the net.
The Cougars tied the game just over a minute later with Jari Erricson going top shelf, this time on a 5-on-4. After piling up 14 shots in the first the Chiefs managed just seven in a scoreless second period.
Neither team could find an offensive rhythm in the third, and as the clock wound down, it appeared the game was headed for overtime. That’s when Walchuk caught a center pass from Connor Chartier and beat Engel at 19:36 to keep Spokane’s perfect home record intact.
Spokane finished 2 of 5 on power plays and 4 of 6 on the penalty kill. Engel stopped 33 of 36 shots in his return to the Arena.
The Chiefs travel to Prince George for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by games at Everett on Friday and Tri-City on Saturday. Spokane returns home on Tuesday, October 30th for a 7:05 PM matchup with the Seattle Thunderbirds.