One game weeks are a rarity in the Western Hockey League. Especiallyyy when you get into the next to last month of the season. The beginning of the season you'll see a one game week here and there, but not with 22 games remaining in the campaign. Yet as the month of February came around, the Chiefs had just one opponent to worry about this past week as they headed to Cranbrook, B.C. to face the Kootenay Ice. Spokane was coming off their toughest losses of the season, as they had dropped back to back overtime games at Tri City and Everett after having surrendered the tying goals in the final minute. The Chiefs not only lost out on the extra two points, earning 2 instead of 4, but had two of the teams they're chasing gain two points apiece. That's pretty tough to swallow, especially this late in the season. Spokane couldn't dwell on it though, as they hoped to get going again against an Ice team they had played them tough in their first 3 meetings. Each game was a one goal affair, as the Chiefs had won 2 of 3, with both wins in Cranbrook.
Friday's game would not start well, as a turnover led to Peyton Krebs skating past the Chiefs defense and snapping home the first goal of the game over the shoulder of goalie Dawson Weatherill on the near post. Just like that it was 1-0 Kootenay and the Chiefs could have had the game go south from there. Instead, Spokane would get back in the game off a 4 on 4 situation. Kailer Yamamoto led the rush up the right wing and hit a trailing Ty Smith, who fired home his 8th of the season at 3:14 to tie the game at one. It was a huge goal to lift the Chiefs back in the contest. Kootenay would re-take the lead on a shot from the point on the power play midway through the period though as the Ice took a 2-1 lead. Back would come the Chiefs later in the first, as they went on the power play for the only time in the opening frame. Spokane failed to score on the man advantage, but got the puck net front as the power play expired, and Jake McGrew muscled home the puck in the net at 14:30 to tie the game at two heading into the second.
The Chiefs went back on the power play midway through the second, and would take their first lead as Jaret Anderson-Dolan hit an open Yamamoto on the right wing, and he would score his 10th of the season at 11:55 to make it 3-2 Spokane. Kootenay would come back and re-tie the game on a goal after a scramble net front and the two teams headed into the third tied at 3. Spokane had out shot Kootenay 26-14 through two periods, and had controlled most of the second, yet found themselves in another tight one with the Ice. The Chiefs would get a power play early in the third, and Anderson-Dolan would take a Ty Smith pass and score his team leading 28th goal of the year at 3:55 to give the Chiefs a lead they'd never lose at 4-3. Spokane would shut down the Ice to just 3 shots in the third, and would wrap up the game when Yamamoto capped a 5 point night with an assist on Luke Toporowski's goal into an empty net with a little over a minute remaining to seal a 5-3 victory. Toporowski has now scored a goal in 4 of his last 6 games.
Yamamoto finished with a goal and 4 assists to set a career high in single game points and move into 5th place all time in Chiefs history with assists. Anderson-Dolan matched a career high 4 point night with a goal and 3 assists, and Smith had a goal and 2 helpers on the evening. Spokane held an opponent to a season low 17 shots as the Chiefs out shot the Ice 34-17, while going 2-5 on the power play. With the win, Spokane improved to 2-0-2 on the 7 game road trip and has now won 5 of their last 7, while earning points in all 7 contests. The Chiefs moved past idle Seattle into 4th place in the U.S. Division and remain 2 back of third place Tri City. Spokane will now continue their road trip Wednesday when they head to Kamloops to face a Blazer team trying to catch the Chiefs for the wild card in the Western Conference. The Chiefs will then finish out their road swing with games at Everett Friday and Tri City on Saturday, before the team heads home for the first time in 3 weeks with a Sunday game with Everett. I'll have the call on 1510 KGA on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with Saturday's game on 94.1 FM the Bear. Wednesday and Saturday's games will have the pre-game at 6:30 pm and the puck drops at 7:05 pm from Kamloops and Tri Cities. Friday's game from Everett will start at 7:35 pm with the pre-game at 7 pm, while Sunday's game from the Spokane Arena will have the pre-game at 4:30 pm and the puck drop at 5:05 pm. Lots going on with the Chiefs and a big week if the team hopes to move up the standings. We hope to see you at the rink!