Chiefs vets stage clinic in scrimmage
For the rookies, the initial training camp experience – which is more like an early initiation into major junior hockey – is over.
And as camp typically goes, the veterans put on a show for the newcomers on Sunday afternoon.
“I think we wanted to get a feel for the game and let the young guys know what the league is about,” veteran forward Mitch Holmberg said following Team Red’s 5-1 victory over Team White in the Spokane Chiefs’ annual Red-White scrimmage, marking the end of training camp.
In front of 2,877 fans at the Arena, Holmberg scored a goal and recorded an assist for Team Red, and fellow veterans Mike Aviani and Collin Valcourt each added a goal and a pair of assists.
Rookie Dustin Gorgi also notched a goal and an assist for Team Red, and rookie defenseman Daniel Wedman scored, giving Team Red a 2-0 lead in the first period
Fifth-year veteran Blake Gal, one of four overage players competing for three roster spots, scored the lone goal for Team White midway through the third on an assist from fellow 20-year-old and second-year Chief Dylan Walchuk.
Sunday’s camp roster was trimmed from 63 to 46 players, including four goalies and 16 veterans from last year’s roster. Three returning players – goalie Mac Engel and forwards Marek Kalus and Liam Stewart – did not play. All three are allowing minor injuries to heal.
“I thought it was a good camp,” Aviani said. “Our team worked really hard out there and the young guys really impressed me.”
“We had that going throughout the week,” added Holmberg. “We had the veteran guys going hard and the young guys were definitley following suit. I think it was a good camp altogether. Everyone was up there skill-wise – no matter who they were playing against.”
Team Red goalie Trevor Martin, a ninth-round pick in the 2011 Western Hockey League bantam draft, stopped all 25 shots he faced in just under 30 minutes of ice time before Garret Hughson replaced him and made 14 saves.
Tyson Verhelst, Spokane’s third-round pick this summer, started in net for Team White and stopped 14 of 18 shots before veteran netminder Eric Williams replaced him and made 11 saves.
In the next three weeks, Spokane will play six preseason games, beginning with a pair this weekend in Everett. They will also play a preseason game at Eagles Ice-A-Rena prior to their Sept. 22 regular-season opener in Kennewick against U.S. Division-rival Tri-City.
Spokane’s home-opener is the following Saturday, Sept. 29, when the Chiefs host the Americans.