Nancy Anderson-Dolan drove 9 hours from Calgary, Alberta, to watch her son, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, play in the Chiefs’ most recent weekend homestand against Medicine Hat and Kamloops.
The drive usually takes 7 hours, according to Nancy, but the poor road conditions made it more difficult to get down to Spokane.
But her son made it well worth the trip.
Anderson-Dolan finished with a hat trick, all on power-play goals, to lift the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 win over Medicine Hat on Friday at the Arena and pick up a key two points in the standings.
“It’s always exciting (to see him do well),” Nancy said. “Especially against a tough team like this. It was great to see them pull it out.”
The Chiefs needed Anderson-Dolan’s offensive punch against the Tigers, who are second in the Eastern Conference with 73 points.
He scored his first goal 8 minutes, 57 seconds into the second period, as Riley Woods threaded a pass into the 18-year-old forward for a wide-open chance near the net. Anderson-Dolan tapped it in to tie the game at 2.
It didn’t take long for Anderson-Dolan to strike again. Presented with another power play with 8:37 to play in the first period, Anderson-Dolan tapped in a puck floating in the crease to put the Chiefs up 3-2.
After a slow first period, where James Hamblin and Matt Bradley scored to put Medicine Hat up 2-0 at the first intermission, the Chiefs offense awakened.
For Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur, there wasn’t much of a difference between the first and second periods from an energy standpoint.
“I think they caught some breaks. We had the same opportunities in the first period to score,” Nachbaur said. “We just told our guys to stick with it, and I think we did that.”
It was Hayden Ostir that ended up giving the Chiefs their initial spark, scoring his sixth goal of the year by corraling the goal after a faceoff, wrapping around the net and firing a wrist shot past Medicine Hat goaltender Michael Bullion, cutting the Tigers’ lead to one.
Medicine Hat eventually tied the game at 3 with 17:46 to play in regulation, as Tyler Preziuso made a move on Spokane goaltender Dawson Weatherill and put it through his legs and into the net.
That’s until Anderson-Dolan showed why he was the star of the night.
The second-year center sniped a shot over the glove of Bullion directly off the faceoff, completing the hat trick and handing the Chiefs back their one-goal lead.
Anderson-Dolan’s best attribute, his shot, was on full display on the go-ahead goal. Becoming a more well-rounded player has lent itself to more ice time and more success, according to Nachbaur.
“He’s got a natural shot and he can score,” Nachbaur said. “His game is rounding out. He’s getting better defensively. The thing for me, he’s a winner. He wants to win and competes hard and he had good results tonight.”
Anderson-Dolan is in his draft year, and is projected by most pundits to be selected anywhere from the late-first round to third-round in the upcoming NHL draft. While it’s an exciting time, he’s trying to not let it creep into his mindset on the ice.
“I’m not trying to focus on individual success. We’re still trying to battle for a playoff spot,” Anderson-Dolan said. “I’m just trying to do everything I can to help us win. Playoffs are the ultimate goal, personal success doesn’t really mean much.”
Anderson-Dolan has his eyes on a playoff spot now, but it doesn’t mean his future in hockey isn’t important to him. Nancy said the sport has been his passion “ever since he could stand up and carry a stick.”
And living out his dream in Spokane, coupled with the support he’s received, means the world to him.
“He loves the game, he truly loves the game,” Nancy said. “Everyone in Spokane has been amazing, from the people working at the rink to the billets, the fans. They’ve been great to him and he really appreciates it.”
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