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Mike Boyle's Chiefs Blog: Another big weekend ahead

by Mike Boyle


Posted on December 10, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 10 at 7:02 PM

The boys continued their consistent play last week as they won key divisional games with Seattle and Portland, then blanked Prince George at home Tuesday night. The team is now in the thick of the U.S. Division race as they trail first place Tri-City by just two points and second place Portland by one.

The Chiefs began the week with a hard fought 4-2 win over Seattle at the Spokane Arena Friday night. Jared Spurgeon scored a great pass from Mitch Wahl in the slot midway through the first period to make it 1-0 Spokane. Seattle would score on a power play goal late in the first to tie the game at one.

After a scoreless second period. the Chiefs jumped back on top with a Kyle Beach power play goal 47 seconds into the third period to make it 2-1. Seattle would answer just a few minutes later to re tie the game at two. Spokane would get the ultimate game winner when Steve Kuhn drove the puck off the end wall and found Dominick Uher in the left circle. Dom's first WHL goal with just under four minutes to go made it 3-2. Beach would tack on an empty netter and Spokane had their 3rd straight win over Seattle this year with a 4-2 victory.

Two nights later, the boys went to Portland for a key division game with the Winterhawks. Wahl's power play goal late in the first period from the point would give Spokane a 1-0 lead after one. Chris Francis would tie the game at one early in the second period for Portland, and the teams headed to the third all even.

The third period was the wildest the team has played this year. Wahl's second power play goal from the point early in the third put Spokane up 2-1. Francis would even the game just 30 seconds later after the Chiefs Steve Kuhn was blatantly tripped by Portland's Luke Walker. The missed penalty resulted in Walker finding Francis net front for a backhander and a 2-2 game. Spokane would answer two and a half minutes later as Blake Gal would find Kenton Miller in the left circle. Miller's shot inside the near post put the Chiefs back up 3-2 midway through the third. Portland would come back with back to back goals from Francis and Brad Ross less than a minute apart to take their first lead at 4-3 with less than seven minutes left.

Spokane would equalize with less than five minutes remaining, as Uher would poke the puck free in the slot, Spurgeon would push the puck to Mitch Holmberg by the left post, and Holmberg would put it home to knot the game at 4. Neither team scored the rest of regulation and in overtime to force the team's first entry into a shootout this year.

Portland had won 3 shootouts and had been 5-0 in overtime, while the Chiefs were 0-2 in OT. After both teams first shooters were denied by nice saves by the goaltenders, Francis would score again to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Wahl would answer in the 2nd round to tie it at one. Chiefs goalie James Reid then denied Portland's Nino Ninoreitter in round three, opening the door for Spokane's Kyle Beach. Beach put the win away with a snap shot through the pads of Portland goalie Ian Curtis and the Chiefs had their second straight win in Portland.

The team then carried that momentum back home to face Prince George. Spurgeon would score just 1:52 into the game to make it 1-0 Chiefs. Jared Cowen then made a play of the week effort to give Spokane a 2-0 lead. Cowen taking the puck at center ice, headed down the left wing and put a backhander in late in the first to make it 2-0 after one. After a scoreless second, Tyler Johnson would cap the scoring after Blake Gal drove the puck net front and Johnson put home the rebound midway through the third.

Michael Tadjdeh picked up his first shutout as a Chief with 26 saves in net and Spokane secured their fifth straight home win. The team is now right back in the thick of the division race as they travel to Chilliwack Friday then return home Saturday for the annual Teddy Bear Toss night at the Arena against Swift Current.

With just over a week left before the holiday break, the team hopes to finish strong over the final five games before taking off for a week for Christmas. Both games this weekend will be on 1510 KGA, beginning with the pregame shows at 6:30 and puck drop at 7pm.

It will be a challenging weekend for the boys, so let's hope they keep up their hard work and come away with four points. We'll see you at the rink!