SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Chiefs dominated from start to finish and pulled away with a three-goal third period in front of over 9,500 fans at Spokane Arena on Saturday night, defeating the visiting Kootenay ICE, 5-2. Goaltender Dawson Weatherill turned aside 23 shots to earn his eighth win of the season.
The Chiefs broke onto the scoreboard first with rookie forward Eli Zummack’s fourth goal of the season at the 12:48 mark of the opening frame, with assists to Rykr Cole and team captain Tyson Helgesen.
Despite outshooting Kootenay 20-4 in the first period, the Chiefs went into the first intermission up only 1-0. Kailer Yamamoto fixed that with his team-leading 29th goal of the season, capping off a creative back-and-forth passing play to beat starting goaltender Jakob Walter to the right side.
Kootenay cut the Spokane lead in half early in the third period, at the 1:04 mark, with a perfect shot from second-year center Noah Philp to beat Weatherill to the far corner, with assists to Austin Wellsby and Colton Kroeker.
The game remained close until the 9:59 mark of the third, when rookie defenseman Ty Smith forced in his third goal of the season after a scrum in front of the Kootenay net. Keanu Yamamoto earned his 27th assist of the season – and 15th on the power play – with the initial shot attempt to create the rebound opportunity.
From there, Spokane poured it on. Czech rookie Ondrej Najman provided insurance with his fourth of the season, firing a sharp angle shot from the left corner that surprised Walter, bouncing off the netminder’s stick and in.
Helgesen capped the Chiefs’ scoring after Hudson Elynuik found him with a pass from behind the net, firing a rocket from the left circle past Walter at the 16:27 mark.
Kootenay earned their second goal late, with only 38 seconds remaining, as Kaeden Taphorn scored off a Michael King assist.
Spokane outshot Kootenay 50-25 overall. They finished 2-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
NOTES: The win secured the season series against Kootenay, as the Chiefs moved to 3-0-0-1 against the Central Division foe. Spokane wore special military appreciation jerseys for the game, which were auctioned off on the main concourse during the game.
The Chiefs hit the road on Sunday for a matinee 4:05 p.m. game against the Everett Silvertips. Mike Boyle will have the radio call on 1510 KGA NW Sports Talk with the pre-game show starting at 3:30 p.m.
Spokane next returns home on Tuesday, January 24 to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rescheduled game to make up for the canceled January 18 game. It will be TicketsWest Player Magnet Giveaway Night & Pre-Game Happy Hour.