Coming off their worst game of the season, the Chiefs got a full week to ponder what had happened against Portland and hopefully improve their performance against another U.S. Division rival in Seattle. Spokane made their way across Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday to take on a Thunderbirds team that had knocked off Medicine Hat at home the evening before. The Chiefs had dropped their previous meeting in Seattle 6-4, but had won the last two in a row over the T-Birds in Spokane, so the team was hoping to make it 3 straight and extend their lead over Seattle for third place in the division.
The biggest key for Spokane to bounce back was to get off to a good start and keep Seattle in check in the first period. Offensively, the Chiefs were below average, not generating a lot of opportunities in the early going. Fortunately for Spokane, goalie Eric Williams came with his 'A' game on this night, as he turned away all 18 Seattle shots in the first, and the Chiefs killed off 2 Seattle power plays to keep the game scoreless after one. The Thunderbirds had come in as the top rated power play in the league and for the Chiefs to keep the T-Bird power play in check was huge early on.
Spokane would shut down two more Seattle power plays in the second period, as Williams would turn away 10 more Thunderbirds shots to keep Seattle off the board. The Chiefs would break through against Seattle goalie Brandon Glover just 1:30 into the second when Todd Fiddler would steal the puck and wrist in his 13th goal of the year to give Spokane a 1-0 lead after two. The lead would hold until late in the third, when Fiddler would flick in the puck one handed on a rebound of his own shot at 14:32 of the third to give the Chiefs a huge insurance goal and a 2-0 lead.
Fiddler's second goal of the night would be even more magnified when Seattle's Roberts Lipsbergs scored less than 2 minutes later to cut the Chiefs lead in half at 2-1. The Thunderbirds would pull Glover from net with less than a minute and a half left to try to get the equalizer, but Fiddler would get the puck in his own zone and lift the puck about 190 feet the other way and into the net to cap a 3-1 Chiefs win. It was Fiddler's first hat trick of his career and helped Williams to his 12th win, as the Chiefs netminder turned away 34 Seattle shots.
It wasn't the prettiest win, but good teams find a way to win games they necessarily shouldn't win. Bad teams will find ways to lose games they should win, so it was good for Spokane to be on the other side of the equation. Now the question is, will the team build on that performance with 3 games within the division this week, or will they take a step back like they did against Portland after a big win over Kamloops? Consistency has been a hugeee problem for this team the past couple of seasons, so it will be curious to see which way the team goes this week.
Spokane will host Everett for the third time in November when the Silvertips come to town on Wednesday night at 7:05pm. The Chiefs will then take Thanksgiving off before facing the arch rival Tri City Americans in a home and home series on Friday and Saturday. Spokane will travel to Tri on Friday night, while the Ams come to Spokane on Saturday. All three games will begin at 7:05pm, and I'll have the pre-game shows starting up at 6:30 pm. Wednesday and Saturday's games will be on 1510 KGA, while Friday's will be on 790 KJRB due to the Gonzaga game on 1510 that night. The holidays are here, and I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving and we hope to see you at the rink this week!