SPOKANE, Wash. — Entering week 3 of the regular season, the Chiefs found themselves with just 3 points after 5 games and in 5th place in the league's U.S. Division.
Spokane was only 2 points out of first though, so it wasn't like the team was hopelessly out of the division chase just out of the starting gate. The club has had the opportunity to really work on its game as well, as Spokane had just one game this week with a road tilt set at Tri-City on Friday. The last time Spokane headed down Highway 395, the Chiefs had picked up its lone win of the season with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Americans the previous Saturday.
It turned out to be the only win in the team's three games in three nights weekend and it also avenged an opening night loss to Tri-City. The Americans had been idle since that Saturday night home loss to the Chiefs, so Friday's match up in Kennewick would see two teams desperate to get in the win column.
Spokane would go with goalie Mason Beaupit, who had pitched two shutout periods in relief of starter Campbell Arnold in the 3-0 loss at Portland on Sunday. Beaupit would continue his shutout streak as he turned away 10 Tri City shots in a scoreless first period. The Chiefs would get their first power play chance at the end of the first on a slashing penalty from the Americans that would carry over to start the second. It took all of 53 seconds for Spokane to capitalize as Bear Hughes tipped in a Raegan Wiles shot from the point to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. It was Hughes 3rd goal in the last 2 games in Tri Cities and tied him for the team lead in goals. Beaupit kept the Americans off the board with 5 more saves in the middle 20 minutes as Spokane took a 1-0 lead to the third.
Luke Toporowski went on a breakaway midway through the third but would be denied by Tri City goalie Talyn Boyko. Toporowski went and got the rebound though and fed a perfect pass to an open Jack Finley, who fired home his second of the year at 7:43 of the third to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead. Spokane then scored on its' first power play of the period when Mac Gross scored his 2nd of the season on a shot from the point at 13:11 to make it 3-0 Chiefs.
Spokane would suffer a huge loss though just over 4 minutes later, as Reed Jacobson suffered a broken right leg after becoming entangled with Tri City forward Drew Freer. His will be a huge loss as the team loses a top 6 forward who has been a key part to the success of Bear Hughes line in the early going of the season. Spokane will be hard pressed to fill Jacobson's place in the lineup going forward.
Spokane did get a 3-0 shutout victory at Tri City, as Mason Beaupit picked up his first WHL shutout with an 18 save performance. The Chiefs have now won 2 in a row at Tri and have won 2 of their last 3 games. The club will now finish off their 5 game road trip with a pair of games this next week. Spokane will make their first journey to Seattle on Tuesday at 7:05 pm and then finish off the trek with another trip to Tri City on Saturday at 6:05 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 on Tuesday and 5:30 pm Saturday. Let's see how Spokane reacts to the loss of Jacobson from the lineup and how they'll perform going forward. We'll see you on the radio!