Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
October 6, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Spokane Chiefs walked into Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Tuesday night and skated to a 3-1 win over the Victoria Royals, putting an end to the Royals perfect 4-0 start that began the 2015-2016 Western Hockey League (WHL) season.
Royals forward Vladimir Bobylev (23) has his stick slashed by Spokane’s Nik Anderson (28) during the Chiefs 4-1 win Tuesday night in Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Leading the way for the Chiefs was goaltender Tyson Verhelst, who stood tall, stopping 33 of the 34 shots that the Royals fired at him. Verhelst also had some help from his goal posts, as the Royals found the iron no less than five times on the evening.
Spokane goaltender Tyson Verhelst was the first star Tuesday, stopping 33 of 34 Royals shots to earn a 3-1 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Chiefs would score twice in the second period, on goals from Hudson Elynuik and Dominic Zwerger, with Elynuik adding his second of the night into an empty net with 55 seconds left to play in the game.
The Royals Vladimir Bobylev (23) looks to avoid a poke check from the Chiefs’ Dominic Zwerger during Tuesday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Elynuik’s and the Chief’s first goal of the game, at 2:23 of the second, was gift wrapped by Royals goaltender Coleman Vollrath, who played the puck behind his net and rimmed it up along the boards, unfortunately though, to a wide open Kailer Yamamoto, the Chiefs assists leader, who then whipped it across to Elynuik for the easy tap in while Vollrath was still out of position behind the net.
Spokane’s Kolten Olynek (27) skates hard behind his own net under the forecheck pressure of the Royals Vladimir Bobylev (23) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals received their only marker of the game from Dante Hannoun, his second of the year, at the 17:05 mark of the second to tie the game 1-1 at the time. While on a powerplay Hannoun skated down the right wing and surprised Verhelst with a quick shot that beat the Chiefs netminder over the shoulder.
Victoria’s Tyler Soy (17) tries to avoid a check into the boards from Spokane defenceman Jason Fram (2) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Chiefs second and game-winning goal was a tough one for the Royals and the 3,000 or so fans in attendance to take, coming with just 1.3 seconds remaining in the second period. The Royals, who were pressuring, turned the puck over at the Spokane blue line and the Chiefs busted down ice, getting a shot away off the rush that bounced off a defender in front of the net and right on to the stick of Zwerger, who swept the puck past Vollrath just before the buzzer sounded.
Royals defenceman Joe Hicketts (2) wheels from behind his net with Spokane’s Nik Anderson (28) giving chase (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Royals gave it their all in the third period, outshooting the Chiefs 13-7 for the period and dominating play in the Spokane end late in the game, but could not get a puck to bounce their way and with the goalie pulled, Elynuik backhanded a shot into the open net to ice the Chiefs 3-1 win.
Royals goaltender Coleman Vollrath (35), defenceman Ralph Jarratt (4), forward Dante Hannoun (19) and Spokan’e Curtis Miske (18) all look for the rebound, as Chief’s centre Martin Bechtold (far right) sneaks in for a shot during the second period Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to Elynuik’s two goals, the Chief’s received two-point evenings from Zwerger, with a goal and an assist and Kailer Yamamoto with two assists. Markson Bechtold added another assist for the Chiefs, while Chaz Reddekopp had the assist on the Royals lone goal by Hannoun.
Spokane’s Hudson Elynuik (26) would have a pair of goals, including an empty-netter, to lead the Chiefs to a 3-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Royals goaltender Vollrath, making his fifth straight start, earns his first loss, giving up the two Spokane goals against him on 27 shots. Vollrath will need to wait until his next start to have a chance to take over the team lead in wins by a goaltender and remains tied with Patrik Polivka in wins as a Royal with 56.
Spokane’s Kailer Yamamato (17) skates away from the pressure of the Royals Ethan Price (8). Yamamoto would have a pair of assists in the Chiefs 2-1 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The loss drops the Royals record to 4-1-0-0 and into second place in the Western Conference thanks to the first place Kelowna Rockets 6-5 win over Medicine Hat on Tuesday. The Chiefs improve to 3-1-0-0 and jump into fourth place in the West, one point back of third place Vancouver.
Victoria’s Ethan Price (8) gets off a third period shot despite the pressure from Spokane’s Jeff Faith (4) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Chiefs and Royals are right back at it in game two of their set on Wednesday evening with a 7:05 pm start at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.