You can never complain about an unbeaten week, and I'm not about to start after the Chiefs finished off a 4-0 week with a pair of dramatic overtime wins over Tri-City and Everett this past weekend. The wins pulled Spokane within two points of third place Everett and three points of second place Portland as the Chiefs enter the final month of the regular season.
The week began with an impressive 6-3 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday. The Chiefs power play, just like they did the previous week against Kamloops, put home 4 goals, three in the third period to secure the win. The victory also gave the Chiefs a 3-3 mark against the Eastern Division this season.
The Chiefs fell behind 2-0 just over halfway into the first period. It was disturbing to watch as Spokane was dominating the game offensively at the time. Spokane got a huge boost from Tyler Johnson late in the first though, as he took the puck in the neutral zone and burst in on goalie Jeff Bosch and snapped one home to make it a 2-1 game. The Chiefs then took advantage of the power play, as Levko Koper redirected a Mitch Wahl shot netfront with just 56 seconds left in the period to tie the game at two.
It turned out to be a huge goal as the Chiefs outshot Moose Jaw 14-6 in the period and now had some momentum to carry over into period two. The second period was scoreless as the Chiefs held Moose Jaw off the scoreboard while being outshot 10-6.
The third period started perfectly for Spokane as rookie Brady Brassart put one home from the left circle just 1:01 into the period to give Spokane a lead they would never lose at 3-2. The power play took over from there, as Kyle Beach, Wahl and Ryan Letts scored consecutive power play goals over six and a half minutes to put the game out of reach 6-2. Even a late third period goal by the Warriors couldn't spoil the Chiefs third straight home win. Wahl led the way with a goal and three assists, while Johnson had a goal and an assist and Jared Spurgeon chipped in two helpers.
The Chiefs then headed back on the road to face Everett for the final time on the West Side this season. Spokane was 0-4 going in and really wanted to snap the bugaboo of dropping both an overtime and shootout decision previously in Everett. In both of those games, the Chiefs had jumped out to 3-1 leads. On this night, the boys would do it again, getting out to a 3-1 lead after one.
Brassart got the scoring started on a great hustle play by Johnson just 2:03 into the game to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Everett would counter with a power play goal just four minutes later to even the game at one. Spokane would once again lean on the power play, as Jared Spurgeon and Johnson would score a minute and a half apart to give the Chiefs a two goal advantage. The power play was electric in the first, scoring 32 seconds in on the Spurgeon goal and just 14 seconds in on the Johnson tally.
Most teams would feel good up 3-1 after one on the road, but the Chiefs knew allll tooo wellll that the Silvertips were more than capable of coming back. Spokane looked to squelch that comeback feeling though, as Corey Baldwin scored his second goal of the year midway through the second period to give Spokane a 4-1 lead.
Everett though, came storming back. The Tips scored two goals in just under two minutes to draw within 4-3 and get their raucous home crowd back in the game. The Chiefs and goalie Michael Tadjdeh shut the door from there though, turning away all 13 Everett shots in the third period to preserve a 4-3 Chiefs win. It was a hugeee win for the boys, letting them know that yes, they couldddd win in Everett. That could be huge if the two teams end up meeting in the playoffs.
Spokane returned home on a high note, as they faced the division leading Tri-City Americans in front of a sell out crowd Saturday night. The Chiefs jumped out quickly, as Johnson snapped home a shot to the far post just 48 seconds in to give Spokane a 1-0 lead before most folks had settled into their seats. Tri would even things less than five minutes later, but Spokane would regain the lead as Kyle Beach threw one off goalie Alex Pechursky midway through the stanza to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead after one.
Tri would pull Pechursky at that point and backup Drew Owsley came in and played lights out for the Ams, single handedly keeping them in the game. Beach would solve him just 2:57 into the second period with a rocket from the left circle on the power play, to give Spokane a 3-1 lead. Tri would draw within 3-2 on a power play tally of their own to make it a one goal game after two.
In the third, the Chiefs held Tri at bay until the final three seconds, as Johnny Lazo got credit for a goal in a net front scramble that left many fans upset and the Chiefs frustrated. Spokane was upset that an icing was called on the team with 10.1 seconds to go, as Spokane felt a Tri defenseman had come up the wall with an attempt to play the puck, which would have negated the icing. The linesman missed the call, and Tri got a chance with an extra attacker on to get a offensive zone face-off. The Chiefs lost the draw as well, and once the puck got on net, a yard sale broke loose. Spokane goalie James Reid didn't think he had the puck and knocked the puck over the line with just over three seconds left to force overtime.
In overtime, the Chiefs Mitch Wahl was robbed on a greattt save by Owsley in the first minute of OT. Instead of pouting, the team seemed to rally, and finally put it away with 48 seconds left in OT, as Beach poked home a rebound of a Wahl shot to hand Spokane a much needed, and deserved, win. Beach ended up with the hat trick, while Johnson had a goal and an assist and Wahl added two helpers. It was disappointing to gain just one point on Tri, but the win was the third straight for Spokane over their bitter rivals, and gave the Chiefs their third win in a row for the week.
Next up were the Silvertips again in a Monday afternoon matchup at the Arena. Spokane fell behind early, as a Shane Harper near breakaway gave the Tips a 1-0 lead. The power play came through again in this game, as Johnson scored for the fourth straight game midway through the first to tie the game at one.
Everett would retake the lead on a power play goal in the second to lead 2-1 after two. That wasn't good news for the boys, as Spokane was 0-17 when trailing after two periods this year. The Chiefs looked to change that though, as Beach notched yet anotherrr power play goal, this one late in the third with less than six minutes remaining to tie the game at two. Wahl made a beautiful cross ice pass to an open Beach at the far post for the equalizer.
For the second game in a row, the team went to overtime, and for the second straight time, Beach would be the hero. The former Silvertip scored just 1:13 into OT, scooping the puck from Tips goalie Thomas Heemskerk and banking it off the Everett goalie for the game winner. Heemskerk felt he had the puck covered in his glove and was irate that Beach wasn't called for slashing. Spokane may have just got a break, but the Chiefs will take it...especially against Everett, who has beaten Spokane 5-of-8 times.
I posted my call of Kyle Beach's game winner on KREM.com for you to enjoy. I know I never get tired of listening to it. Click here to hear the call.
The win capped a perfect 4-0 week, including two over the Silvertips and brought the Chiefs in the thick of the U.S. Division race. There is still plenty of work to be done though, as Spokane heads out on a three game road trip.
The week begins Wednesday night in Kamloops, as the Chiefs face the Blazers for the final time. It will be interesting to see how the team rebounds from an 8-1 loss in Kamloops three weeks back. Then the boys head to Cranbook, B.C. to take on the Kootenay Ice. Spokane has dropped three 4-3 games to the Ice this year, including their last two meetings in late January. Then the Chiefs wrap up the trip with a trip to Tri City, where the Ams are alwaysss tough.
The Kamloops and Tri City games are at 7pm, while the Kootenay game Friday is at 6pm. The games from Kamloops and Kootenay will be on 1510AM KGA, while Saturday's in on 105.7FM the Peak, due to Gonzaga basketball. I'll be on the air 1/2 hour prior and certainly hope you'll tune in our favorite hockey team.
Here's to keeping the streak going, and we'll see you on the radio!