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 Spokane Chiefs

Chiefs Cap Regular Season with 6-3 Win Over Rival Americans

March 24, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Spokane Chiefs News Release


Kennewick, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs wrapped up their 2023-24 regular season campaign with a strong 6-3 win over the rival Tri-City Americans on the road Saturday night.

It was 15-year-old Affiliated Player Mathis Preston who opened the scoring a little over halfway through the first period with his third Western Hockey League goal. Saturday marked Preston's fifth game in the league. Chase Bertholet and Layton Feist earned assists on the play.

Berkly Catton followed that up less than five minutes later after Conner Roulette got a puck away from a Tri-City skater in the Chiefs zone. He chased it down on the right boards, eventually getting it out to Shea Van Olm who centered it to Catton in the slot. The 17-year-old top NHL Draft pick fired home his 53rd goal of the season to put the Chiefs up two.

Another young star found the net next, but this time it was a Tri-City American. Cruz Pavao netted his fifth of the year on the power play at 16:18 in the first with help from Parker Bell and Jackson Smith to make it a 2-1 game.

But Spokane quickly tilted the ice back in their favor to end the period when Preston scored again at 18:51, pushing a rebound from a Ben Bonni shot over the line to make it 3-1 going into the first break.

Preston is the first 15-year-old Chief to have scored more than once.

The Chiefs kept that momentum going into the middle frame, when Van Olm slid a no-look feed from behind the net out to Roulette, who chipped it off of Tri-City netminder Kyle Kelsey's skate and over the line to stretch Spokane's lead to 4-1.

From there, it looked like the Americans would mount a comeback as they scored the only other goal of the second period at 11:35 (Anisimovicz from Smith) as well as the opening goal of the third period at 5:01 (Dragicevic from Sloan and Gavin) to make it 4-3.

But the Chiefs held strong, pushing it back to a two-goal lead at 8:16 when Van Olm scored his 24th of the season, marking his 100th career WHL point. Layton Feist and Berkly Catton earned assists on the play.

The 6-3 victory was secured when Catton rocketed a power play goal to the twine from the right circle at 12:14 (from Crampton and Roulette). Catton ends the regular season with 54 goals and 62 assists for 116 total points, while linemate Roulette finishes with 45 goals and 63 assists for 108 total points. The duo are the first Chiefs teammates to reach 100-plus points in a season since the 1993-94 campaign when Ryan Duthie (126), Maxim Bets (116) and Valeri Bure (102) all crossed the century mark.

Cooper Michaluk dazzled in net, turning aside all but three of Tri-City's 33 shots throughout the night. Spokane went 2-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.

The Chiefs will face the Prince George Cougars in the first round of the 2024 WHL Playoffs. That series is set to start in Prince George on Friday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Individual tickets for games three and four will go on sale on Tuesday, March 26th at 10:00 a.m. by calling (509) 535-PUCK, by visiting www.spokanechiefs.com or the Chiefs office on the southeast corner of the Spokane Arena. Ticket package holders can reserve their seats for the post-season by visiting www.spokanechiefs.com or calling the Chiefs office starting Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.


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Western Hockey League Stories from March 24, 2024


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