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Toporowski’s Two Goals Lead Chiefs to 5-4 Win

Larry Brunt

Kelowna, B.C. — Luke Toporowski led the way for the Spokane Chiefs with two goals and an assist as they defeated the hosting Kelowna Rockets, 5-4 on Wednesday night.

After an early goal from Kelowna’s Lassi Thomson, Toporowski picked up his first of the night to tie it up at 1-1 just past the five-minute mark of the first period. The Bettendorf, Iowa native tapped in a rebound created on his own shot from the right side for his 14th of the season.

Toporowski struck again later in the period, this time on a power play, as he deflected a Jake McGrew centering feed inside the left post to give Spokane a 2-1 lead. The score marked Toporowski’s first career two-goal game.

Kelowna tied it at 2-2 before Connor Gabruch found the net for the first time in his WHL career, sliding in a rebound at 4:15 of the middle frame to make it 3-2. The goal gives Gabruch points in two-straight as he picked up his first career assist on Jan. 30 versus Portland.

Spokane extended the lead to 4-2 at 12:55 of the second period as Los Angeles Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan let a one-timer fly from the left circle to score his sixth of the season and 99th career goal.

After another Kelowna goal, this time on an unlucky deflection off a Spokane defender, San Jose Sharks prospect Jake McGrew earned a deflection goal of his own, tipping a Matt Leduc point shot to regain the two-goal advantage at 5-3.

Kelowna’s Nolan Foote made things interesting with a shorthanded goal at 7:14 of the third but the Chiefs were able to lock it down late and earn the victory in regulation.  

Reece Klassen started in goal for Spokane, stopping 29 of 33 shots faced while Roman Basran started for Kelowna, allowing four goals on 20 shots faced. Basran was relieved by Bonners Ferry, Idaho native James Porter, who turned away 11 of 12 shots.

Toporowski finished with two goals and an assist for three points; his first WHL three-point game.

The Chiefs finished 1-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.

The Chiefs return to Spokane Arena on Friday, February 8 to host the Victoria Royals on Washington’s Lottery Night. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive roll-a-banners courtesy of Washington’s Lottery. Then, the Chiefs will host the Kootenay ICE on Saturday, Feb. 9 for Centennial Hotel Buck Night, with $1 hot dogs and Coca-Cola products all night long.

Tickets for all Chiefs home games are available online, over the phone at 509-535-PUCK and in-person at the Chiefs’ Ticket Office.

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