The Spokesman-Review

Rayman’s first goal helps Chiefs stop bleeding, beat Prince George

Jeff Rayman picked the ideal time to record his first goal in the Western Hockey League.

The 17-year-old defenseman scored with 10 minutes, 45 seconds left on Saturday to give the Spokane Chiefs some cushion during a 6-3 win over the Prince George Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night.

The Chiefs built a 4-0 lead during the first 14:08 of the contest and were protecting a 4-3 lead when Rayman provided much-needed breathing room.

“I walked the line and just tried to get the puck on net,” said Rayman, wearing the team’s yellow “Hardest-Working Player” hat after the game. “I looked up and it was headed for the top part. Dominic Zwerger had a great screen out front and he helped a lot on that goal.”

“We needed that, but we do it to ourselves,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “We struggle with how to play the right way and commit too many mistakes, too many pucks going off us and handing it to the other team. But just like the other night, when the game is on the line the guys came up with the plays.”

The game had the feel of a 2012-13 Chiefs contest, with Mitch Holmberg, Mike Aviani and Todd Fiddler filling up the scoresheet.

But Fiddler, Spokane’s top goal scorer last year, now plays for Prince George (12-18-2-3) after beginning the season in Moose Jaw. Fiddler, who had two assists and a goal as the Cougars fought back from the 4-0 deficit, has recorded 13 goals and 13 assists in his 16 games with Prince George.

“It’s not the uniform I want to see (Fiddler) in, but it’s fun playing … him, and there’s a lot of history with all of us,” Holmberg said.

Holmberg finished with two goals and two assists to match the game he had against the Cougars during a 5-2 win on Nov. 15. Holmberg, who has 12 multiple-goal games, leads the WHL with 74 points, 37 goals and eight winning goals.

He was credited with his eighth winner as his unassisted score on a rebound at 4:35 of the first period caused a record 6,767 teddy bears to cascade down on the ice.

Once the bears were transported off the ice about 15 minutes later, the Chiefs went to work again. Adam Helewka’s 15th goal, on a power play at 10:21, was assisted by Holmberg and Aviani – one of four assists on the night for Aviani. Jeremy McIntosh followed 2:07 later for his fourth goal of the season and second in two games. Aviani’s 25th goal, for a 4-0 lead, came 1:40 later and was his league-best 15th power-play goal of the season.

Then, the Chiefs fell into the style that produced a recent streak of eight losses in 12 games. Spokane went more than 35 minutes before Rayman’s score.

“We could have put our foot on the jugular vein of the snake, but we let them get back into the game,” Nachbaur said.

Rayman said he’d never come close to scoring before.

“This game was probably the most shots I’d ever had in a game,” he said. “I was firing from all angles and one decided to go in for me.”



Click here to comment on this story »



Blogs


Complete interview with Gabe Marks

Our most recent story about prolific Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks tells the story of a particularly insightful interview we had last spring. That story, "Gabe Marks is a ...


Weekend Wild Card — 7.23-24. 16

I'm facing another weekend of fence-building with my neighbor. Once we get the back fence built, I have one last honey-do item on the agenda and then it's kick back ...


You have 50 choices

S-R intern Tyson Bird brought cookies to work on his last day with us. It has been a pleasure to have him here. I first printed a column submission from ...



Saving for the future

sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.




Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile