Ty Smith is projected to be a first-round draft pick in the summer’s NHL Draft. On Friday night, he showed why.
The 17-year-old defenseman scored two goals and had five assists in the Spokane Chiefs’ dominating 9-2 win over the Prince George Cougars. The seven points were the most for a Chiefs defenseman in a game since Mike Berger and Keith Van Rooyan did it a month apart in 1986.
“I had a couple fortunate bounces,” Smith said. “Some good plays by my buddies helping me out. I guess when we win like that, it’s fun for everybody and I was fortunate to get those points.”
The Chiefs got goals from eight players and goaltender Dawson Weatherill made 32 saves in the win. Seven players had multiple points.
The game featured one of the league’s top offensive teams and one of its worst defensive teams. The Chiefs are fourth in the league in scoring, and Prince George had allowed the third-most goals coming into the game.
The final score might not show it, but the Chiefs came out a little flat to begin the game. Their first first shot on net came 5 minutes, 44 seconds into the first period. The Cougars had five shots to that point, but only mustered one more the rest of the period.
“I thought in the first period Dawson made a few saves early and once we started shooting the puck and creating some O-zone (time), good things started happening,” Chiefs coach Dan Lambert said.
Kailer Yamamoto started the scoring at 6:42 when he put Spokane’s second shot on net past Prince George goaltender Tavin Grant. Yamamoto finished with a goal and an assist.
Just 59 seconds later, Milos Fafrak picked up a loose puck at the top of the circle and scored his seventh of the season to give Spokane a 2-0 lead. Fafrak added an assist for a two-point night.
Ty Smith got his first goal of the night 12 seconds into the second period. His second goal came at 4:02 of the second when he walked in from the point to float a shot past Grant.
Luke Toporowski scored his ninth of the season at 8:23 of the second. Defenseman Dalton Hamliuk found himself at the side of the net and he stuffed the puck past Grant for his third of the season at 19:13 of the second.
Prince George’s Brogan O’Brien ruined Weatherill’s shutout in the third period. The Chiefs left O’Brien all alone in front of Weatherill and O’Brien went top shelf to get the Cougars on the board.
Aaron Boyd’s goal with 2 seconds left was the only other goal Weatherill allowed. Despite the final score, Weatherill faced 34 shots and came up big all night. He stopped Vladislav Mikhalchuk on a breakaway early in the third period.
“There’s no doubt that once we had a big lead, we got loose defensively and Dawson was there for us,” Lambert said.
The Chiefs got third-period goals from Carter Chorney, Ethan McIndoe and Jeff Faith to pad their lead. McIndoe finished with a goal and two assists.
The dominant lead allowed Spokane to roll all four lines. They rested their top line of McIndoe, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Yamamoto, giving their depth some ice time. Resting the top lines and giving depth players more ice time is an advantage, as the Chiefs are in the midst of three games in three nights.
“It’s really helpful,” Smith said. “Having Kootenay here tomorrow, we should be fresh still. Then Everett on Sunday is obviously a huge game in the division. Tonight really helps level out that stretch.”
The Chiefs return to the Arena Saturday against the Kootenay Ice.
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