Tied or trailing most of the game, the Spokane Chiefs exploded for three goals in the final period to score a hard-fought 5-2 Western Hockey League victory over Prince George at the Arena on Friday night.
The most spectacular play came from the player leading the league in scoring, the Chiefs’ Mitch Holmberg, as he took a pass from Reid Gow and raced up the ice. Holmberg slid around the net and put the short-handed goal in the top shelf.
“They are a good team and they played hard tonight,” Holmberg said of the Cougars. “The turnovers cost us early. We need to get better with those.”
Holmberg finished with two goals – his 24th and 25th this season – and two assists, giving him 55 points.
“It’s nice to come home and get that win in our home arena,” he said. “It gives us the confidence boost we need to play another good team”
The Chiefs (15-7-0-0) are play host to the Regina Pats tonight at 7.
But the Chiefs struggled at first to find themselves against Prince George, which fell to 8-13-1-3.
The Chiefs had a good opportunity early as the puck came out in front of the Prince George goal, but the Chiefs’ Markson Bechtold couldn’t collect it in time.
The Cougars later surrounded the net only to have Chiefs goalie Eric Williams deflect four shots early in the first period.
Then with 12 minutes left, Prince George’s Todd Fiddler fed Zach Pochiro in front of Williams and Pochiro hammered home the puck for the first goal of the game.
That score lasted 6 minutes until the Chiefs’ Mike Aviani smacked it in with 6:01 left in the first.
After some unruly moments as referees kept players away from each other, hockey resumed and Fiddler – a former Chief – scored with 6:22 left in the second period.
That score didn’t last long as the Chiefs’ Tyler King slammed a shot off Prince George goalie Ty Edmonds that bounced off Holmberg’s shin pad and into the net.
“Those are the lucky ones you like to take,” Holmberg said with a smile.
The game was tied until the third period when the Chiefs got a long shot from Jason Fram that found the net.
“We try to spread it around,” Fram said. “When you’ve got a guy who leads the league in scoring, it’s nice. But we have to do our part as well.”
Holmberg added a goal in the period, and Liam Stewart scored an empty-netter for the Chiefs.