Chiefs fall 7-2 to conference-leading Thunderbirds

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Spokane, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs couldn’t keep up with the conference-leading Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night, losing at home 7-2.

The Thunderbirds struck first with back-to-back goals in the opening period — first from Kyle Crnkovic and then from Jared Davidson to go up 2-0.

The Chiefs went on a power play later in the period and Chase Bertholet slid a cross-ice pass to Berkly Catton at the left circle, who fed it to Raegan Wiles at the blue line. Wiles pushed it back to Bertholet who fired a one-timer to the back of the net to get Spokane on the board at 15:19.

But Seattle was quick to respond, as Gracyn Sawchyn padded their lead to 3-1 at 16:20 to cap the first period scoring.

The Thunderbirds again opened the scoring in the middle frame as Nolan Allan notched his seventh of the year at 7:26 to put Seattle up 4-1.

With just under five minutes left in the period, defenseman Saige Weinstein beat a Thunderbird to the puck along the boards and got it to a waiting Catton, who connected with Bertholet in the slot. Bertholet chipped in a backhanded snipe top shelf to put the Chiefs within two — his 22nd goal of the season.

But that’s as close as the Chiefs would get, as the Thunderbirds went on to score three unanswered goals throughout the rest of the game: Davidson at 15:59 in the second, Lucas Ciona just six seconds into the third and Ashton McNelly at 2:26 — his first of the season.

Spokane went 1-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. They were outshot 36-27. Cooper Michaluk played all 60 minutes in net, turning away 29 shots.

Up next, the Chiefs hit the road to play the rival Tri-City Americans Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and the Portland Winterhawks Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

The Chiefs’ next home game is Friday, February 3 versus the Swift Current Broncos. It’s an Avista “Way to Save” poster series giveaway! Tickets for February 3 and all regular season games are available online at

The Spokane Chiefs are a member of the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League, the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players. Since 1985 the Chiefs have been a pillar in the Spokane community, offering family-friendly entertainment and a winning tradition, which includes: two Memorial Cup Championships in 1991 & 2008, two WHL Championships in 1991 & 2008 and four Western Conference Championships in 1991, 1996, 2000 & 2008. Over 60 alumni have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.

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