SPOKANE, Wash. — The first month of the season for the Chiefs was dominated by the injury bug for Spokane as the team had lost 5 of its' top 9 forwards to long term injuries. With the team down much of their offensive fire power early on, the club has struggled out of the gates to a 3-7-2 start, leaving them tied for 4th in the U.S. division with rival Tri City. After failing to win any of their first 7 games at home, Spokane was hoping to get back in the win column as they were to head out on a 3 game road trip to Everett and Victoria. The meeting on Wednesday night in Everett was going to be the 4th straight between the two clubs, as the Silvertips had swept 3 in a row in Spokane. Two of those wins were by just one goal, both coming over the previous weekend with a 5-4 win Friday and a 2-1 victory Saturday. Everett had worked its way to a 13 point lead over the Chiefs in the division standings, so if Spokane was going to have any hopes of getting within striking distance of the Silvertips, they would need to find a way to win in Everett.
As the team was getting ready to load the bus game day morning on Wednesday, the news came down that no one in the organization wanted to hear. Two players on the team had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the club to postpone their game for that night in Everett. The Chiefs had done COVID tests on Monday in anticipation of crossing the Canadian border on Thursday for that weekend's back to back games in Victoria. Everyone in the travel party, including yours truly, needed to show a negative test 72 hours prior to the border crossing. Instead of getting another task off the check list in order to get into Canada, the Chiefs got the bad news they wouldn't be making a trip North over the weekend.
If there was good news for the team, they got a chance to heal up some of the injuries the team had incurred during their 4 game losing streak during their most recent home stand. While getting a chance to heal up though, the team had to shut down all activities. That meant no practices, scrimmages or workouts. So while it is good to get a little rest, losing the ability to work out and keep their hockey cardio is going to take a toll on the team going forward.
The Chiefs had their game with Everett rescheduled for Friday, March 11th, while the Victoria series has been tentatively set for this Tuesday and Wednesday. Spokane is awaiting the results of another round of COVID tests that were done on Friday. If all results come back negative, the team will leave Monday for Victoria. If not, Spokane's first trip back to Canada will have to wait another couple of weeks, COVID permitting, to travel to Kelowna Thanksgiving weekend. If the Chiefs do travel to Victoria, it will begin a busy 4 games in 5 nights stretch for the week.
Spokane would play Tuesday and Wednesday in Victoria, and travel back all day from Canada on Thursday. The Chiefs would then host 2nd place Seattle on Friday before heading back to the West side to visit Everett on Saturday. While Victoria has struggled to the worst record in the league, Spokane has gone winless against Everett and Seattle thus far. Having to play 4 games in 5 nights after being inactive for nearly 2 weeks is not exactly ideal either. However you stack it up, the Chiefs are going to have their work cut out for them. I'll have the call for all 4, or 2, depending on the test results, on 103.5 FM the Game and 1510 AM KGA, starting with the pre-games shows at 6:30 pm and the puck drops at 7:05 pm. Let's hope for good results, on and off the ice, and we hope to see you at the rink!