The two players who figure to be the Spokane Chiefs’ offensive leaders for the 2015-16 season are in accordance about the two players who will likely help fill that role in the future.
Chiefs returning scoring leader Adam Helewka and Kailer Yamamoto, the high-scoring rookie from 2014-15, came away from this week’s Chiefs camp more than impressed with 16-year-old forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan and 15-year-old defenseman Ty Smith.
“I think Anderson-Dolan looks like all camp he stood out for me,” said Helewka, a 20-year-old forward, after his White Team picked apart the Red 8-1 during the annual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage Sunday at the Arena. “He looks unreal, just everything he did. And Ty Smith, the first overall draft pick, he can skate like no one else for how young he is.”
“I mean, Dolan just tore it up all camp,” said Yamamoto, who earned the Don Kiehl Memorial Award as the White’s player of the game after totaling two goals and one assist. “He was one of the best players, I thought, all camp. And Ty Smith, who was our first overall (draft pick), I thought he was an unbelievable player. I can’t wait to be playing with him next season.”
Anderson-Dolan, who had two assists for the White, appears to be a shoo-in to make the team. Smith, the top overall pick in last May’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, had an assist for the White but can’t make the full-time roster until he turns 16.
Head coach Don Nachbaur said young players took center stage during the lopsided Red-White Game.
“We were focused on our recruits and what they could do and I think the young group that we’ve assembled here is really one of the best young groups that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said the sixth-year Chiefs coach.
Other young players who picked up points for the White: Jake McGrew, 16, one goal and one assist; Carter Barley, 16, one goal; Michael Outzen, 16, one assist; Cedric Chenier, 15, one goal; and Noah Westgate, 15, one assist.
Helewka had one goal, one assist and two penalties as the Red showed its frustrations from the White’s five-goal second period.
“You get in the game mode and everything gets competitive,” Helewka said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. If things aren’t going your way, that’s just how you get a little chippy and get mad. I guess that’s what happens.”
“I think when the scoreboard’s lopsided like that, some frustrations enter into the picture and I think that happened in this game,” Nachbaur said. “But I liked the way guys showed that they’re competitive and you hate to see them roll over. But one team had some luck on its side and the other team had no luck.”
White starting goaltender Tyson Verhelst stopped 12 of 13 shots. Matthew Berlin replaced him halfway through the game and finished 9 for 9 in save chances.
Yamamoto’s older brother, Keanu, earned the Red’s Kiehl award for his goal with 2 seconds left in the first period that trimmed the White’s lead to 2-1.
The Chiefs’ seven-game preseason schedule starts Friday at 3 p.m. at the Everett tournament against Portland. The Chiefs are expected to trim their roster in preparation for preseason games.
Spokane’s lone home preseason game will be Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Arena against Tri-City.
The Chiefs’ regular-season opener is Sept. 26, also at the Arena against Tri-City.
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