The Chiefs had their most successful week of the season thus far on the ice in the win/loss column last week as they took out Chilliwack, Seattle and Vancouver to run their winning streak to four straight. Spokane is now tied for third with the Everett Silvertips in the U.S. Division as they take on the Tips in the first of three games at the Spokane Arena on Tuesday night.
Spokane began the week with a 5-1 win over the Chilliwack Bruins on Wednesday night as Kyle Beach continued his red hot goal scoring. Beach scored the first two goals of the night for the Chiefs as they overcame an early Bruin goal to take a 2-1 lead. Tyler Johnson's goal in the last minute of the second period would extend Spokane's lead to 3-1 after two.
In the third, Johnson fed Levko Koper with a beautiful pass from behind the net to a cutting Koper in the slot to make it 4-1 Spokane. Mitch Wahl would then cap the scoring with a great drive to the net and pushed the puck through the pads of goalie Lucas Gore to up the score to 5-1 Chiefs. Johnson and Koper each had a goal and 2 assists to lead the Chiefs attack. Spokane put up 40 shots on the Bruins to move a game over .500.
The Chiefs then went on the road and struggled for two periods before scoring a 3-1 win over Seattle on Friday. The first 40 minutes were a bit lethargic for Spokane offensively, as the team managed just 12 shots. Fortunately for the Chiefs, Kyle Beach kept up his goal scoring, as his 14th of the season, and 9th in his last 6 games, tied the score at one in the last two minutes of the period. It was a hugggeee boost for Spokane, as they gained a tie despite not playing particularly well.
The third period was a different story. The Chiefs put up 18 of their 30 shots for the game in the third, and broke through midway through the period as Mitch Wahl found a wide open Blake Gal in the slot to put Spokane 2-1. Wahl would add an empty netter with 1:07 left to seal the win, as James Reid held an opponent to just one goal for the second straight game with 28 saves.
Spokane would put their three game winning streak on the line the next night at home as they took on the B.C. Division leading Vancouver Giants. It was the first time the two teams met since last year's seven game playoff series loss for the Chiefs in the Western Conference semifinals. It was a game expected to be a great defensive contest, and it certainly lived up to that. The Chiefs played their best team defensive game of the season and James Reid's 24 saves led the Chiefs to a 2-1 win over the Giants to run Spokane's win streak to four in a row.
Levko Koper scored on a breakaway in the last minute of the first period to give the Chiefs an important 1-0 lead after one. Spokane would build on the lead as Wahl notched a goal in his third straight game with a shot from the right wing to make it 2-0 Chiefs. Vancouver would score on a 5-on-3 power play goal, a gift really, as the high stick penalty called on Tyler Johnson forcing the two man advantage was awful at best. Spokane would hold the Giants to just four shots in the third period, including killing off a flurry of Giant opportunities in the last minute while Vancouver had the extra skater on while their goalie went to the bench.
It was a great win for the boys, as they now know that if they play with a committed effort defensively for 60 minutes, they can beat any team in the league. It's one thing to say it...another to do it though. Spokane will get a chance to take over third place by their lonesome as they host Everett Tuesday night at 7pm at the Arena.
Spokane will then host Kamloops on Saturday at 7pm and welcome the defending league champion Kelowna Rockets Sunday at 6pm. The weekend series should see the season debuts of defenseman Jared Spurgeon and forward Ryan Letts. It will be a real boost to have those two 20-year-olds on the ice from a leadership standpoint. Spokane will get another good set of tests this week to see how they stand in the league. It should be fun to watch.
I'll have the call on 1510 KGA beginning at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Saturday, and at 5:30pm on Sunday. We'll see you at the rink!