SPOKANE, Wash. — With an opportunity to take a 3 point lead in the U.S. Division with a home win over Everett, the Chiefs lost a golden opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the division as they lost a 3-2 third period lead in a 4-3 loss to the Silvertips. To make matters even worse, the team lost leading goal scorer Jake McGrew to a long term injury and starting goalie Lukas Parik to a leg injury. The Chiefs recalled goalie Mason Beaupit to back up Campbell Arnold in goal as Spokane wrapped up their home stand with back to back games with two teams from the B.C. Division in Prince George and Victoria. First up were the PG Cougars, who had won one of their first 6 games and sat in 5th in their division with 3 points. Spokane had owned the season series between the two clubs the last two years, winning all 8 meetings.
Friday's game would see the Chiefs get off to a sluggish start as they were out shot 13-10 in the first period and saw the Cougars score with just over 2 minutes left in the period to take a 1-0 lead after one. Spokane started far better in the second as Eli Zummack found an open Bobby Russell on the left wing and he fired home his first goal of the year just 1:28 into the frame to tie the game at one. The celebration was short lived though as a turnover led to a 3 on 1 rush for PG and they scored just over 2 minutes later to take back the lead at 2-1. Another turnover late in the second led to another Cougar goal at 17:23 to give Prince George a 3-1 advantage after two. Spokane out shot PG 17-9 in the second, yet found themselves down 2 goals heading into the third.
The third period would see the Chiefs dominate possession in the stanza as they out chanced Prince George 18-2, but Cougar goalie Taylor Gauthier turned back every shot on his way to a 44 save performance as PG ended their 2 season drought against Spokane with a 3-1 victory. It was the Cougars first win in Spokane since March of 2017, a year when the Chiefs missed the playoffs. The loss also dropped Spokane's home record to 1-3 as the Chiefs got ready to host Victoria on Saturday. The Royals had suffered a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss at Tri City the night before and were hoping to bounce back against a Spokane team that had gone 3-1 vs. Victoria the season before; including a perfect 2-0 in Spokane, outscoring the Royals 14-4.
After starting the first period slowly the night before, the Chiefs changed that on Saturday as they out shot Victoria 10-3 in the opening 20 minutes and scored the opening goal as Filip Kral scored midway through the stanza to give Spokane a 1-0 lead after one. Victoria would draw even midway through the second as former Chief Sean Gulka scored his first of the year to make it 1-1. The game would be decided in the final 3 minutes of the period. Brandon Reller scored his second of the season on a rebound at 17:10 to give Spokane a 2-1 advantage. The Chiefs Adam Beckman made it 3-1 with just 57 seconds left and then Reed Jacobson scored his first WHL goal 26 seconds later to cap a 3 goal outburst to give Spokane a 4-1 lead heading into the third.
The Chiefs kept it up in the third as Cordel Larson snapped home his first goal of the season a mere 40 seconds into the period to put Spokane in control at 5-1. Four goals in just 2:50, just 30 seconds off the franchise record set in 1994, gave Spokane a comfortable margin to work with and the Chiefs would seal the win when Bobby Russell scored his second goal in as many nights midway through the period to wrap up a 6-1 victory. Spokane held the Royals to a season low 13 shots as they out shot Victoria 36-13 as the Chiefs picked up their 4th straight win over the Royals. It was quite the turnaround from the disappointing effort the night before against Prince George.
Spokane will now get a chance to make amends for that loss as they head to Prince George for back to back games this upcoming weekend. The Chiefs will take on the Cougars Friday and Saturday nights at 7 pm. I'll have the call on 103,5 FM the Game and 1510 AM KGA starting with the pre-game shows at 6:30 pm. Spokane started the week just one point out of first behind Portland, Tri City and Everett, and two wins would definitely keep them towards the top of the division. We'll see if Spokane bounces back against the Cougars and we'll see you on the radio!