SPOKANE - The Chiefs scored twice in less than a minute early in the third period to break open a close game on their way to a 5-2 win over Kamloops Friday night in front of 5,242 fans at the Spokane Arena. Mitch Holmberg finished with a goal and assist after missing five games with an injury and Eric Williams stopped 32 shots as the Chiefs improved to 10-1-0-0 at home and 14-6-0-0 overall.
Kamloops skated out to an early 1-0 lead at 2:36 as Jordan DePape caught a pass deep in Spokane ice and beat Williams to the stick side. The Blazers had another prime scoring opportunity in the middle of the period but Williams came up with a save on a point blank shot from Jordan Thomson.
The Chiefs mounted their first real threat on the power play starting at 10:19 but a pair of well struck shots from Holmberg and Mike Aviani were turned away by Kamloops goalie Cole Cheveldave.
Spokane went on the penalty kill at the 17:05 mark and looked in danger of falling behind 2-0 before turning defense into offense in the blink of an eye. Aviani corralled an errant cross from the Blazers and flicked a quick pass to Brenden Kichton who sent the puck down the ice to Todd Fiddler. The Chiefs winger took it from there, going top shelf to tie the game 1-1 at 17:13 for his 12th of the year. Fiddler's goal was the last score of the first as both teams finished with eight shots in the period.
Kamloops lit the lamp even earlier in the second than they did in the first, with team-scoring leader JC Lipon finding the back of the net on the power play at 2:26. It didn't take Spokane long to hit the equalizer though, as just 19-seconds later Holmberg grabbed a loose puck in front of the net and scored with assists from Collin Valcourt and Dylan Walchuk.
The Chiefs looked to grab the lead on a power play that started at the 14:14 mark but Cheveldave was a brick wall against a pair of shots from Holmberg to keep the score 2-2 heading to the final period.
Spokane started the third on the power play but were turned away again by Cheveldave. After a great penalty kill from the Chiefs starting at 4:47 that kept the game tied, Spokane took the lead for good at the 7:30 mark as Riley Whittingham scored his first career WHL goal on a brilliant series of passes from Fiddler and Kichton.
It took less than a minute for the Chiefs to stretch their lead to two goals with Cole Wedman rifling a shot from the point past Cheveldave on an assist from Holmberg. Walchuk capped the scoring at 18:24 on his sixth goal of the season with assists from Connor Chartier and Fiddler.
Williams finished 32 for 34 on save opportunities while Cheveldave was 18 of 23. Spokane was 3 for 4 on the penalty kill and 0 for 4 on the power play. Holmberg finished as the first star in his return to the lineup, with Walchuk garnering second star honors and Williams third star honors.
The Chiefs wrap up their six game homestand tomorrow night with a 7:05 PM game against the Portland Winterhawks.