51 goals, 100 points adds up to major milestones for Holmberg
On one side Sunday was Mitch Holmberg and all of his big numbers.
On the other side were the Everett Silvertips and one big number.
Holmberg reached several important milestones, including his 50th goal and 100th point of the season, as the Spokane Chiefs held off Everett 5-3 at the Arena for their 18th consecutive home victory over the Silvertips.
Holmberg became the ninth Chiefs player to reach the 50-goal mark with a power-play score in the second period that gave him his Western Hockey League-best 10th winning goal of the season. He added an empty-netter in the final minute to give him 136 career goals, moving him past Valeri Bure for fifth on the club’s all-time list.
Holmberg also assisted on Marcus Messier’s third-period goal for a three-point night that made him the 16th Chiefs player to hit the century mark for points in a season. His seven-point weekend tied him atop the WHL with Portland’s Nicolas Petan.
“Obviously, 50 goals is pretty special to me, but that 100 points is also nice,” Holmberg said. “I don’t think I can say one is better than the other.”
“Mitch has worked so hard this season, he deserves it,” said Adam Helewka, who had three assists on the night, including on Holmberg’s winner. “He’s never given up. He’s had some rough times this season, but he’s kept with it and he’s deserved everything he has so far.”
Holmberg also played his 301st career game, tying Jevon Desautels for ninth place on the Chiefs’ all-time list.
“He’s had a hell of a year,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “Hitting the 50-goal mark is quite a milestone for a hockey player. Not many guys hit the century mark. I think the last guy who did it here is Tyler (Johnson, now with the Tampa Bay Lightning).”
The Silvertips outshot Spokane each period and finished with a 37-25 advantage. Despite their aggressiveness, they haven’t won at the Arena since the winter of 2010.
“We said in our locker room that there were a lot of games this year that we lost that we probably could have won, but maybe this was a reversal,” Nachbaur said. “We probably didn’t deserve to win, but we found a way to win.”
Chiefs goalie Eric Williams was named No. 1 star after making 34 saves to improve to 29-13-2-1. His counterpart, 15-year-old Carter Hart, was making his WHL debut.
“We tried to get as many pucks to the net as we can,” Helewka said. “It was his first start in the WHL, and he’s going to be nervous, so he’s going to be shaky.”
Mike Aviani added three points for the Chiefs, including his 32nd goal on a 2-on-1 breakaway with Helewka midway through the third for a 4-2 lead. It was Aviani’s first goal at home since Jan. 4, also against Everett.
Spokane (34-20-3-2, 73 points) is 7-1-1-0 against the Silvertips (28-23-7-1, 64) this season. The Chiefs moved within six points of Seattle for fourth place in the Western Conference while Everett, which has lost 10 of 13, dropped into seventh place behind Vancouver.
Paxton Malone and Justin Bonnano each scored two goals as the Spokane Braves defeated the Grand Forks Border Bruins 9-4 in a KIJHL game in Grand Forks, B.C.
Tyler Peltram, Adam Shaner, Dillon Bogart, Sean Collins and Tyler Wilkerson also scored for the Braves (22-25-0-4, 24 points).
The Braves scored three times in each period against the Border Bruins (16-29-2-2, 36 points).