September 6, 2023 – Western Hockey League (WHL) – Spokane Chiefs News Release
Spokane, Wash – Wednesday marked the first opportunity for the 2023-2024 Spokane Chiefs to hit the ice against a new opponent, following a week of training camp and practices. New U.S. Division foe Wenatchee Wild visited the Spokane Arena for the first time since their move from Winnipeg in a closed door preseason matchup. There were many familiar faces in the building with former Chiefs players Mason Beaupit and Graham Sward each a healthy scratch for Wenatchee. Former Wild players Jaren Brinson and Dawson Cowan started for the Chiefs while Chase Bertholet did not play in this one.
A physical first period saw penalties called against both teams, including a matching minor just eight seconds into the contest. Wenatchee capitalized on a Saige Weinstein penalty at the 6:11 mark with a goal scored by Oscar Lovsin. Easton Armstrong and former Chief Luka Shcherbyna provided the assists on the play. Wenatchee doubled their lead early in the second period with a goal from Gabe Ludwig, the second Wild power play goal of the game. Spokane would capture momentum late in the frame with a slick goal from 15-year-old Cohen Harris, the Chiefs 3rd Round WHL Draft Pick earlier this year. Rookies Chase Harrington and Owen Martin tallied the assists to get the scoring started for Spokane.
Goaltender Dawson Cowan came out of the game halfway through the period, allowing Carter Esler, Chiefs ’23 WHL 1st Round Pick to see the ice for the remainder of play. Wenatchee would score again to make it 3-1 before the Chiefs closed the gap with a goal from Coco Armstrong, the Chiefs 7th Round Pick in the 2021 WHL Draft who was just signed to the team today. Young players Hayden Paupanekis and Brody Gillespie were awarded the assists at 8:12 of the third.
Wenatchee would score again less than three minutes later and tack on an empty net goal with just seconds remaining to come away with a 5-2 victory in this preseason opener.
Despite the result, Chiefs defenceman Saige Weinstein is looking forward to the season heating up, “Happy to put on the sweater for the first game, but the work really starts now. The young guys played well in camp and this game, and we look forward to seeing how they develop and contribute to the team.”
Up next Spokane hits the road to play a pair of preseason games in Everett over the weekend, against Seattle and Portland. The Chiefs will next be in action at the Spokane Arena on September 14 against the Portland Winterhawks in the only home preseason action open to the public with a 6:05 p.m. puck drop.
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