Chiefs jump out to early lead, but can’t hang on

Chiefs jump out to early lead, but can’t hang on

The Spokane Chiefs hung tough with the CHL’s third-ranked Brandon Wheat Kings at the Spokane Arena on Wednesday night, earning a point but losing in a shootout, 4-3. Spokane goaltender Tyson Verhelst shined with 34 saves on the night.

Brandon struck first as 2014-15 WHL Rookie of the Year Nolan Patrick snuck one by Verhelst from a sharp angle on the right wing. The goal, scored at the 6:37 mark of the first period, was assisted by Braylon Shmyr and Colton Waltz.

The Chiefs pushed back as forward Markson Bechtold extended his point streak to four games with an assist on Kailer Yamamoto’s second goal of the season. Bechtold forced a turnover with a strong forecheck in the left corner then kicked the puck to Curtis Miske, who centered for the Yamamoto finish.

The second period started with back-and-forth action between the two clubs before Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his fourth goal of the night on a power play at the 11:57 mark. The rookie center flew down the left wing after a stretch pass from Kailer Yamamoto and beat Papirny to the far post to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.

Spokane added to their lead late in the second as Riley Whittingham patiently finished a cross-crease feed from Keanu Yamamoto to score his second goal of the season. Bechtold also earned an assist on the play.

New Jersey Devils first round pick John Quenneville responded swiftly for the Wheat Kings as he found himself alone just inside the left circle and beat Verhelst just 46 seconds later. The goal, Quenneville’s sixth of the season, cut the Spokane lead to 3-2.

After an extended second intermission due to a problem with the ice resurfacer, it was a back-and-forth affair in the third period, with both teams exchanging chances. The only goal came midway through the period as Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Provorov beat Verhelst low on a screened shot from the point.

Verhelst’s continued strong play and the right post behind Papirny, which denied a potential game-winner from Bechtold, forced overtime where both teams were scoreless. In the shootout, Brandon’s Rihards Bukarts beat Verhelst with a left-to-right move to give the Wheat Kings the victory. Bukarts was the only shooter to score.

Verhelst earned first star honors with 34 saves, many of them through traffic, on 37 shots faced. Papirny stopped 21 of 24 shots.

The Wheat Kings were 0-for-4 on the power play while the Chiefs scored on their only opportunity.

The loss was Spokane’s sixth-straight, but they earned a point for the first time since Oct. 10 at Everett. Next up are back-to-back games against the Victoria Royals on Friday and Saturday at the Arena.