The Spokane Chiefs have overcome nearly every challenge since Dec. 11, winning eight of their last nine games, including Friday night's 6-3 home victory over Kamloops. Now the Chiefs have back-to-back games against a team that has given them fits this season: the Seattle Thunderbirds. Read story
The Chiefs have defeated good teams -- Everett and Victoria -- and struggling teams -- Prince George and Kamloops -- during their hot streak. The next four days, with a road game at Seattle on Saturday and a home game against Seattle on Tuesday, will give them a chance at some retribution.
Friday's win brought a bit of revenge because Kamloops, despite its last-place standing in the Western Conference, defeated the Chiefs 5-4 when the teams met Oct. 30 in Kamloops.
But Seattle is 3-0 against Spokane this season, outscoring the Chiefs 16-6. Defeating the Thunderbirds would be good for the Chiefs' spirits.
"We played them really strong the one game over in Seattle, but we haven’t done so well here," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "But we’re pretty confident in our road game."
"They’re a big team, a grinding team like us," Chiefs right wing Riley Whittingham said. "I think we’ve been playing scared against them and we can’t do that."
Spokane improved to 9-2 against the B.C. Division with Friday's win. Still, the game was tied at 3 until late in the second period.
"We met a team that’s had a tough year," Nachbaur said. "They made some trades today and it was kind of an emotional day for them and we took them for granted. … We got good results, but we have to play a whole lot better tomorrow in Seattle."
Of note, new Chief Hudson Elynuik picked up his first point with an assist on Spokane's first goal. It was Elynuik's third game with the club.
Marcus Messier, obtained in a trade Friday with Tri-City for Jackson Playfair, made his Chiefs debut and started.
"I think Messier’s going to really help us," Nachbaur said. "Obviously, we lost some size and toughness with Jackson not being here, a great kid, but Messier’s going to help our penalty kill and our depth up front."