PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Tyson Verhelst stopped 41 shots for his first career shutout and the Spokane Chiefs reached the holiday break with a four-game winning streak after dispatching Prince George 5-0 on Wednesday at the CN Centre.
The 17-year-old Verhelst improved to 6-4 as the Chiefs defeated the Cougars (17-18-0-0) for the third times in five days to cap their Western Hockey League season series with a 3-1 advantage.
Spokane (18-12-3-0, 39 points) moved within two points of idle Portland for second place in the U.S. Division. Everett leads the division with 44 points.
The Chiefs will take a nine-day break and return to the Arena on Dec. 27 to play the Tri-City Americans.
Verhelst, who had lost his three previous games, was especially tough in the second period, stopping 20 shots to protect a 3-0 lead.
He faced five Cougars power-play opportunities, including two in the final 10 minutes, 18 seconds, to record the Chiefs’ first shutout of the season.
Another young Chiefs player, Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto, sparked the offense with two assists and his ninth goal of the season.
Spokane chased starting goalie Ty Edmonds from the game after scoring three times in the final 7:43 of the first period.
Mitch Lipon, who hadn’t scored since the season opener, broke the shutout at 12:17 of the first, assisted by Hudson Elynuik and Tyson Helgesen.
Markson Bechtold followed with Spokane’s first shorthanded goal of the season, scoring at 17:16 as a Cougars defender was hauling him down.
Less than 2 minutes later, Dominic Zwerger scored his seventh goal of the season on a 4-on-4 play right after PG hit the post with two shots.
Calder Brooks, with his 13th goal, and Yamamoto, on a power play, completing the scoring in the third period.
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