Mitch Holmberg became just the 5th player in Spokane Chiefs history to score 60 goals in a season as his hat trick led the Chiefs to an 8-0 shutout win over the Prince George Cougars Saturday night in Prince George, B.C. Holmberg also notched an assist on the night, giving him a league high 113 points, as the Chiefs swept the 4 game season series from the Cougars.
Holmberg now has 145 career goals, tying him with Jason Podollan for second place in Chiefs history, just one goal behind Pat Falloon. Holmberg joins Falloon, Terry Perkins, Ray Whitney and Valeri Bure as the only Chiefs to score 60 goals in a season. Holmberg is also the first player in the WHL to score 60 in a year since the 2000-2001 season. His 113 points ties Whitney for the 7th most in a season and is the most since Tyler Johnson scored 115 in the 2010-11 campaign. Holmberg now also has 291 points all time, tying him with Greg Leeb for 5th in Chiefs history.
The 20 year old would start the scoring with a power play goal from Mike Aviani and Adam Helewka at 8:58 of the first period to give Spokane a 1-0 lead. Marcus Messier would then score the Chiefs second straight power play goal from Holmberg and Reid Gow at 16:57 to make it 2-0 Spokane after one. The Chiefs outshot Prince George 12-5 in the first going a perfect 2-2 on the power play.
Holmberg would notch his second of the night just 1:59 into the second period from Aviani and Keanu Yamamoto to give Spokane a 3-0 advantage. Riley Whittingham would score his 13th of the year from Hudson Elyniuk at the 4 minute mark to put the Chiefs up 4-0. Jason Fram would follow at 6:10 with his 6th of the season from Carter Proft to give Spokane a 5-0 lead after two. Goalie Eric Williams turned aside 14 Cougars shots in the second, as the Chiefs killed off two PG power plays.
Holmberg would get in the history books with his 60th just 1:19 into the third from Aviani and Yamamoto to give the Chiefs a 6-0 lead. It's Holmberg's 6th hat trick of the year, tying the franchise record set by Ray Whitney in 1990-91. Holmberg leads the WHL with 21 power play goals and 10 game winning goals. He has 20 multi-goal games this season and the Chiefs are 29-4-1 when he has scored a goal. Spokane would build on the lead when Aviani scored his 35th goal of the year on the power play from Elyniuk and Yamamoto, who scored his career high 3rd assist at 11:30 of the third. It was Aviani's 19th power play goal, second to Holmberg in the WHL. Markson Bechtold would cap the scoring with a play of the week candidate goal at 12:30 as Spokane notched their biggest win of the season.
The 8 goals were the most scored by the Chiefs this year, passing the 7 achieved in 3 previous games. Williams picked up his 4th shutout of the season with 28 saves as Spokane moved within 2 points of Seattle for 4th place in the Western Conference. The Chiefs will finish off their 4 game road trip against the Thunderbirds Tuesday night in Kent, WA. Mike Boyle will have the call on either 1510 KGA or 790 KJRB depending on whether Gonzaga makes the WCC tournament championship game Tuesday. If the Zags do, the game is on 790. If they don't, the game is on 1510. The pre-game show will start at 6:30pm and the puck drop at 7:05pm.