KELOWNA, B.C. – Hudson Elynuik scored the game-winning goal with just 1:14 left in the game to lift the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night in Kelowna, B.C. The win was the Chiefs’ fifth in a row, their longest winning streak of the season.
Elynuik finished the game with a his second career hat trick and four points overall, beginning with his 25th goal of the season at 7:17 of the first as he took a drop pass from Eli Zummack on the right wing and snapped the puck past Rockets netminder James Porter to make it 1-0.
After nearly 19 minutes of back-and-forth scoreless action in the second period, Kelowna drew even in the final minute as the Rockets scored a power play goal to make it a 1-1 game after two.
The Chiefs re-took the lead on Ty Smith’s 14th of the season from Toporowski and Elynuik at 5:01 of the third period to give Spokane a 2-1 advantage, but Kelowna tied the score once again on Kole Lind’s goal sharp angle goal at 13:41 of the frame as it appeared the two teams were heading to overtime.
Spokane avoided going to overtime for the second-straight game as Elynuik scored off a rebound created by Jake McGrew to secure his team-leading 7th game-winning goal this season. Elynuik would cap the scoring and secure the hat trick off a Kailer Yamamoto pass to score into Kelowna’s empty net in the final 16 seconds to finish off the Chiefs’ 4-2 win.
Spokane outshot Kelowna 12-7 in the decisive three-goal third as Spokane finished with a split in the four-game season series with the Rockets. The victory kept the Chiefs within two points of second place Portland in the U.S. Division and widened Spokane’s lead over fourth place Tri-City to eight points with eight games left in the regular season.
The Chiefs are 3-0 on their six-game road trip and 16-2-2 over their last 20 games as they head to Victoria for back-to back contests on Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Mike Boyle will have the call Tuesday from Victoria on 94.1 FM the Bear starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.
The Chiefs’ next home game is Saturday, March 10 against the Vancouver Giants! It’s Coca-Cola Kailer Yamamoto Bobblehead Giveaway Night with the first 2,000 fans through the gates receiving a Kailer Yamamoto bobblehead! Tickets are available in-person at the Chiefs’ Ticket Office during regular business hours, over-the-phone at 509-535-PUCK and online here.