Forwards Ty Cheveldayoff and Kooper Gizkowski each counted a goal and two assists to lead the Spokane Chiefs (1-0-0-0) to a 7-5 win over the Victoria Royals (0-1-0-0) in the first game of the 2022-2023 season at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday.
Chiefs forward Chase Bertholet also played a big role in the victory, recording two points on a goal and an assist and was one of four Spokane players to record multi-point nights.
It wasn’t the start to the season envisioned by Royals General Manager and Head Coach Dan Price. However, he remained impressed by the effort shown by his team in the loss:
“I think the guys were a little nervous, a little tentative,” said Price postgame. “We tried to keep them relaxed during the day, but there’s just so much build up to this game. But once we started pushing, once we started really skating and pressuring and moving the puck I believe we played really well…Towards the end we really started tilting the ice in our favour.”
Forwards Reggie Newman and Marcus Almquist were the top performers for the Royals, each scoring twice in the loss, while teammates Carter Dereniwsky (one goal, one assist), Wyatt Wilson (two assists) and Teague Patton (two assists) each registered multi-point nights.
Newman – who had the honour of scoring the first goal of the season for Victoria – thanked his teammates for creating opportunities for him to succeed:
“We have a lot of good passers out there,” said Newman. “So, I just have to get to the net and they’ll find me…I love playing with [Anthony] Wilson, he’s a hard worker, finds the right areas and [has] great shot. He’s just an all-around great player.”
Victoria starting goaltender Tyler Palmer made 22 of 28 saves in the defeat, while Spokane rookie goaltender Cooper Michaluk impressed by saving 28 of 33 shots faced on the night.
The Royals season would get off to a less-than-ideal start after Spokane took a 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal by forward Kooper Gizkowski (1) at 4:41 of the first.
However, Victoria would not be held off the board for long as forward Reggie Newman (1) registered the team’s first goal of the season at the 9:43 mark to tie it at 1-1.
Momentum would shift back in the Chiefs direction for the remainder of the frame, striking at 10:07 on a goal by Ty Cheveldayoff (1) to make it 2-1, then at 16:13 on a goal by defenceman Raegan Wiles (1) to open up a 3-1 advantage heading into the second.
The Chiefs would continue to pad their lead in the second, with forward Chase Bertholet (1) scoring just 57 seconds into the frame to make it 4-1.
The Royals would get one back on forward Carter Dereniwsky’s first of the season on the powerplay at the 8:05 mark, assisted by forward Teague Patton and defenceman Wyatt Wilson.
Spokane would then go back up by three at the 11:49 mark on a goal by defenceman Mac Gross (1) before taking a commanding 6-2 lead after a goal by Tomasso De Luca (1) at 16:25, where it would stand heading into the third.
The Royals would show some life in the third, cutting the Chiefs lead to 6-3 on Reggie Newman’s second of the night at 7:34, with Teague Patton and Carter Dereniwsky counting the assists.
Victoria would then pull within two on forward Marcus Almquist’s first goal of the night, assisted by forward Riley Gannon and defenceman Kalem Parker at the 13:04 mark.
Spokane would soon add an empty netter by Max Gross (2) to go back up by three at 18:04 of the frame to all but secure the victory.
The Royals would add one more by Marcus Almquist (2) on the powerplay at 19:05 to bring the score to 7-5, where it would stand at the final horn.
Victoria will now look to go for the series split against Spokane tomorrow night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:05 pm on Saturday, Sept. 24.