Kamloops, B.C. — The Spokane Chiefs opened their 2019-20 regular season on a positive note, winning 4-3 in Kamloops on Friday night behind two goals from San Jose Sharks prospect Jake McGrew. The win marked the first for new head coach Manny Viveiros as well as rookie goaltender Lukas Parik.
It was the Blazers who scored first as rookie forward and Kamloops product Logan Stankoven ripped his first career regular season goal past Czech netminder Lukas Parik – making his first start as a Chief – at 19:18 of the first period.
The lead was short-lived as the Chiefs responded just 15 seconds later – at 19:33 – when McGrew chipped the team’s first goal of the 2019-20 campaign into the back of the net. A stretch pass found Eli Zummack posted along the left side, from which he deflected the puck to a speeding Adam Beckman, who found McGrew streaking down the right wing for the tying score.
The Chiefs took their first lead of the season early in the second period as Connor Gabruch squeezed through a rebound at 2:30, with assists to Bobby Russell and Cordel Larson. Kamloops responded in kind as Sean Strange fired one past Parik from the left wing at 13:20.
Spokane regained the lead with 1:04 left in the middle frame as Bettendorf, Iowa native Luke Toporowski flew down the left wing and went to his backhand to flip a beauty past Blazer netminder Dylan Garand. Larson and Russell each picked up their second assists of the night on the play.
The back-and-forth affair continued midway through the third veteran forward Connor Zary scored for Kamloops, deflecting the puck up and over Parik’s shoulder off a perfect centering feed from Kyrell Sopotyk.
The Chiefs got the last laugh as McGrew once again spoiled the Blazer momentum, this time scoring just 17 seconds after the home team’s goal to regain the lead a 4-3. A late power play chance for Kamloops proved tenuous but Spokane held on for their first win of the season.
Spokane outshot Kamloops 37-34 on the night. The Chiefs went 0-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Chiefs will round out their two-game opening road trip in Kelowna on Saturday night. Mike Boyle will have the radio call on 103.5 FM The Game.
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.