Head coach Hardy Sauter wasn’t the only one pleased with the way the Spokane Chiefs Red-White scrimmage played out Sunday afternoon at the Arena.
Veteran players, goalie James Reid, forward Mitch Wahl and forward Tyler Johnson liked what they as training camp ended. Now they’re eager for the games to begin.
“It was a good scrimmage today,” said Wah. “With all the new guys trying to get a spot on this team, play preseason games, it was a good effort by everybody. Good intensity, upbeat, all together it was a good game.”
Wahl combined to Levko Koper for three goals and three assists.
“We have some good chemistry,” said Wahl, who had two goals and an assist. “I think I’m
relied on to get a good pace to the game, show the
young guys how it’s played here, how we do it in
“Everyone was working hard, it was a good scrimmage. Guys were crashing the net, it got a little physical, competitive, it’s always good to see that.”
“Putting them together wasn’t fair,” Reid said with a laugh after allowing Koper’s goal and the opener by European rookie Dominik Uher in his one period. “It was good to play against them.”
“They seemed to have pretty good chemistry,” Sauter said. “They’ve been on the same team now for a couple of years, they’re both very good players. That’s aline combination we’ll definitely explore.”
While Wahl has put on a few pounds of muscle, Reid dropped a few pounds over the summer as he comes in as The Guy.
“It feels great,” Reid said. “I know I’ll have to stay very consistent so I can keep playing all the games. That’s my goal this year. It’s been a whole different experience trying to be the lead guy. It’s been a little bit more pressure, not a whole lot. I’ve been trying to stay calm and just play my game.
It will be a new experience with all the young guys looking up to me now. It should be an exciting year.”
Sauter has confidence in Reid, who has been penciled in as The Guy since last season ended.
“We knew that a long time ago,” the second-year coach said. “Quite honestly James has done a lot of work all summer to come in physically fit, ready to play. We feel very confident in our goaltender play.”
Reid liked what he saw play out in front of him.
”There’s a lot of good speed out there,” Reid said. “I was just trying to stay big out there, make all the right saves, talk to my D and play the puck when I have to.”
The young guys also impressed Johnson.
“It was a pretty fast and intense game,” he said. “Everyone worked hard and the rookies showed up and maybe out-played some of the vets. They’re going to be pushing for spots. Everyone’s capable of playing in theleague that played today. It looks good for our future. Tensions flared a little bit when you play everybody every day, everybody’s pretty competitive so you’re going to have that. It happened a little bit today. Everybody’s tired and when you’re tired you get more mad.”
Johnson made it clear there was room for improvement during the five exhibition games that will determine the roster in the new two weeks.
“We just have to get quicker and smarter,” he said “There were some times we made too many fancy plays when you just need to make the simple play. Sime plays win games in this league. That’s what we have to work on. I think we have a bright future ahead of us. The young guys coming in are going to be good for us, I can tell.”