PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Defenseman Ty Smith kicked off his NHL draft year with a three-point night, helping Head Coach Dan Lambert earn his first win behind the Spokane bench, as the Chiefs earned a 4-2 win in Prince George on Friday night.
Taylor Ross had the honor of opening the Chiefs’ 2017-18 scoring with a breakaway goal at 7:30 of the first period. Smith found Ross up the middle with a stretch pass from the goal line and the Kronau, Sask. product finished the chance with a snap snot to the right side, beating Cougars starting goaltender Tavin Grant.
Spokane made it 2-0 later in the first with their first shorthanded goal of the season. Riley Woods snuck behind the Prince George defense for a breakaway and slipped the puck under Grant’s pads, with assists going to Hudson Elynuik and goaltender Dawson Weatherill.
Elynuik scored one of his own 8:45 into the second period, capping a beautiful passing play on the power play to make it 3-0. Smith dished a saucer pass to McKay on the left side, who then split the Cougars down the seam to find the waiting Elynuik on the backside for his first of the year.
Prince George got on the board with just under four minutes to go in the middle frame as forward Nikita Popugaev fired a one-timer past Dawson Weatherill to cut the Chiefs’ lead to two goals.
The Chiefs bounced back with 58 seconds left in the period as Smith lasered a one-timer in from the right circle, pushing the lead back to three at 4-1.
Prince George attempted a late comeback with a goal from Ethan O’Rourke at the 8:53 mark but Spokane slammed the door shut and closed it out to earn the win.
Spokane finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. Weatherill made 28 saves on 30 shots faced while Grant turned away 27-of-31 in the loss.
These two teams turn around for a quick rematch tomorrow night in Prince George. Mike Boyle will have the call on 1510 KGA for the 7 p.m. puck drop, with the radio show starting at 6:30.
Ticket packages for the Spokane Chiefs’ 2017-18 season are on sale now with great value options as low as $70! For more information or to purchase, visit the Chiefs’ Ticket Office at Spokane Arena, call 509-535-PUCK or click here.