Kelowna, B.C. — The Spokane Chiefs walked away with a point in the standings but fell in overtime to the 2020 Memorial Cup host Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night, 4-3. The Chiefs head home for their home opener next weekend with a 1-0-1-0 record.
It was the Rockets who found the scoreboard first as 2018-19 team-leading scorer Kyle Topping roofed a perfect shot under the crossbar on the power play at 6:39 of the first period. Leif Mattson earned the primary assist with a nice one-touch pass from the goal line to find Topping in front of the net.
San Jose Sharks prospect Jake McGrew, who scored twice in the Chiefs’ season opener at Kamloops on Friday, hit the twine for the third time to tie the game at 1-1 in the second. McGrew took the puck through neutral ice before hitting linemate Adam Beckman for a quick give-and-go, netting a nifty backhand finish in tight at 7:38.
Spokane took the lead with 3:29 left in the second as veteran forward Michael King chimed in with his first of the season, following his own rebound to beat Rockets netminder Roman Basran and make it 2-1.
Kelowna picked up their second power play goal of the evening at 8:37 of the third to tie it up at 2-2. Former Seattle Thunderbird Dillon Hamaliuk – younger brother of former Chiefs defenseman Dalton Hamaliuk – split the Spokane defense to score on a rebound for his first as Rocket.
The Chiefs regained the lead at 3-2 on a power play of their own as Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Filip Kral fired a perfect shot from the point inside the top-right corner to make it 3-2. Beckman and McGrew earned assists on the play.
The Kelowna power play struck once more with 1:28 left in regulation to tie it up at three apiece. Kaedan Korczak wristed a shot from the left point that appeared to be deflected in front by Mattson to beat goalie Campbell Arnold inside the right post. Korczak was given credit for the tally which forced the first overtime for either club this season.
After a back-and-forth overtime period, the Rockets managed to sneak the puck past Arnold on a deflected second chance with under a second remaining. Hamaliuk found the puck for his second to give Spokane their first loss.
Kelowna outshot Spokane 34-28 on the night. The Chiefs finished 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-4 on the penalty kill. The loss pushes Spokane’s record to 1-0-1-0 on the year.
The Chiefs will return home to host the Tri-City Americans for their home opener on Saturday, September 28 at Spokane Arena.
The Chiefs open their home schedule with Bud Light Opening Night & Pre-Game Party on Saturday, Sept. 28 versus the Tri-City Americans! The party starts outside the main entrance to Spokane Arena at 4 p.m. with music, food and drinks. Arrive early to see the team “walk the red carpet” and sign autographs to kick off the season.
Tickets for Bud Light Opening Night and all Chiefs home games are available online at spokanechiefs.com and via the Chiefs’ Ticket Office, over the phone at 509-535-PUCK or in-person at Spokane Arena.