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Toporowski, Atchison power Chiefs to weekend sweep over Tri-City

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Spokane, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs wrapped up a weekend sweep of the rival Tri-City Americans on Saturday night, winning 5-4. Veteran forwards Luke Toporowski and Erik Atchison led the way with two goals each.

After a scoreless first, Spokane struck early in the second to take a 1-0 lead as Chase Bertholet slipped in front of the net and scored unassisted. The goal marked the Manitoba native’s fourth in seven games, with nine points (4G-5A) over that span.

Tri-City responded under two minutes later with a power play goal from Parker Bell.

Toporowski picked up his first of the night at 18:51, capitalizing on a strange play when a Blake Swetlikoff shot rang off the crossbar and ricocheted to the right wing. Toporowski corralled the loose puck and fired it into the open net for his 14th of the year, sending the Chiefs into the second intermission up 2-1.

Atchison padded Spokane’s lead with a smooth backhand finish off a Toporowski feed, tucking the puck inside the left post while falling to the ice.

From there, it was a back-and-forth affair down the stretch. Ethan Ernst got one behind Spokane goalie Manny Panghli at 14:06 to make it one-goal game but Atchison responded with his second just 35 seconds later, tipping a Graham Sward point shot for what would prove to be the game-winning goal.

A late empty net goal by Tri-City wasn’t enough as Spokane hung on to jump the Americans in the standings. Spokane was outshot by Tri-City 38-25, with Panghli turning away 34 shots while Tri-City’s Nick Avakyan went 20-for-25. Both clubs went 1-for-3 on the power play.

The Chiefs are off until Friday, January 7 when they host Everett at Spokane Arena. 

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.

The Chiefs’ next home game is Friday, January 7 versus the Everett Silvertips. It’s Coeur d’Alene Casino BINGO Night! Fans can play along as we host the area’s largest game of BINGO in the stands, with a chance to win prizes throughout the night courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Casino. Tickets for all regular season games are available online at spokanechiefs.com/tickets.

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