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Mac Engel has proven to be more than a fill-in.
The Spokane Chiefs' backup goalie, pressed into service when James Reid was injured in January, has been named the Western Hockey League Goaltender of the Month for February.
Not a bad replacement when the team's all-time leader in wins isn't available.
The 17 year-old from Red Deer, Alberta, posted a 9-2 for the month with two of his three shutouts. His 1.83 goals against average lowered his season mark to 2.41, second in the league. He also stopped 93 percent of the shots he faced and seven of his nine wins came against U.S. Division rivals
In one of the most intense games of the season, the Spokane Chiefs got two goals from Dominik Uher, including an empty netter with 54 seconds to play, to pull out a 3-1 win over Tri-City before more than 10,000 fans at the Arena Saturday night.
It was a stellar defensive effort by the Chiefs, who out-shot the Americans 40-27. The only TC goal was a centering pass that went off a Spokane player, otherwise Mac Engle was stellar in net for the win, his third over the Americans eight days.
Engle earned the No. 1 star, with Uher No. 2 and Tri-City goalie Chris Driedger third. Long box below. Here is the game story.
Tyler Johnson reached a historic milestone and took over the Western Hockey League scoring lead, Anthony Bardaro had his first hat trick and Mac Engle his third shutout as the Spokane Chiefs coasted past Prince George 8-0 before 8,022 fans at the Arena Friday night.
Johnson's 100th point came on Brenden Kichton's goal at 8:11 of the second period. He added two more power play assists and had his league-best 46th goal.
Barardo had the first goal just 1:55 into the game and later added two power play makers as the league's best power play team went 4 of 7. Also, the league's best penalty killing unit killed off all six Cougar man advantages.
Steve Kuhn also scored for the Chiefs. Engle only had to make 16 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Long box below. Here is the story.
3-stars: D Tanner Mort, Johnson & Bardaro.
For two teams on opposite ends of the Western Conference standings, the Spokane Chiefs certainly have a difficult time with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Wednesday night at the Arena was no differernt. Even though the game started with the Chiefs 31 points ahead of the Thunderbirds, Seattle was the aggressor from the start and won 5-1.
It was the eight meeting of the season between the two teams with both teams winning four. Full box below.
The three stars: 3, Bardaro (Spokane's only goal), 2, Colin Jacobs, Seattle, 1, Calvin Pickard, 39 saves for Seattle.
The Spokane Chiefs come off a successful 10 days of road games in first place in the Western Division of the Western Hockey League. While they try to keep the momentum going at home, local product Tyler Johnson nears a milestone with a chance to win the scoring title. With just 8 home games left before the playoffs, time is running out to see the Central Valley graduate in this chase. The Chiefs play Seattle tonight, with Prince George coming in on Friday and Tri-City on Saturday, which is Pink night for breast cancer awareness. (Also, former Chief Jared Spurgeon scored his first NHL goal last night … considering he was playing in Spokane last year as an unsigned 20-year old, it's a great story.)
Crusing across the state on a beautiful Sunday with great tunes, idle minds wandered.
A few years back, as my assignments were changed, I was thinking it would be tough to duplicate my last four seasons of covering Eastern Washington.
First it was football, quarterbacked by Erik Meyer, whose great run ended with the Walt Payton Award in Cheney. Then it was Rodney Stuckey in basketball, whose talents got him selected 15th in the NBA draft despite a lack of team success (and some disfunction that made it easy to move on).
I thought I might not witness first-hand a run like that for a while and it wasn't until recently I realized that I already was in the midst of a similar but different situation and today I decided if I didn't tell you, you might miss it because it's almost over. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs won for the first time this season at Tri-City on Saturday. Their reward, another game at the Toyota Center on Monday. With two goals and an assist, Tyler Johnson is a point out of the Western Hockey League scoring lead and a hattrick of points from a century. That makes the three games that follow at home more interesting, the third coming Saturday night against the Americans. Levko Koper and Brenden Kichton also remain hot. Goalie James Reid should be about ready to play.
Wow. It's midnight 30 and I'm finally back to where my pillow is, where I left it 16-plus hours ago after just a 5 hour relationship.
That's what I wrote 20 minutes ago, before I lost my post. Now I have to start over. Read on, but I can't say its any better the second time around.
I'm sitting in the bowels of the Tacoma Dome with my head spinning. I've been pressed into emergency service at the State wrestling tournament, which under the best of circumstances could be described as Romper Room on steroids - too much craziness going on.
I have no idea what's going on yet - I haven't even read the newspaper yet - and I'm sleep deprieved.
Anyway, I don't know what I'll be able to post or tweet as I get up to speed. Also, women's basketball and hockey are going to be delayed or, sadly, completely neglected. No time to link, but I've dropped in the story from the Chiefs big road win at Kelowna last night.
I'll do my best to keep up and keep you informed.
The Spokane Chiefs crushed Everett Wednesday night with a dominating performance, highlighted by Levko Koper's second hat trick of the season. Suprisingly, linemate Tyler Johnson only picked up one assist to drop to second to fall to second in the Western Hockey League scoring race. Jared Cowen was an amazing plus-6 in the 7-2 romp. The Chiefs have three more road games, keep an ear to the radio for the return of goalie James Reid, who was dressed as the backup, but it's obvious that Mac Engel is coming around as a solid backup with his 11 straight starts.
For a great review of former Chief Jared Spurgeon, a rookie with the Minnesota Wild, read on.
The Spokane Chiefs have upgraded goalie James Reid’s status to day-to-day and returned backup goalie Adam Iwan to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Reid, Spokane’s all-time leader in wins with 79, has missed the last 10 games after being injured Jan. 23 in Portland. Mac Engel has taken over as starter.
Iwan appeared in one game, allowing six goals on 15 shots in a 10-5 loss to Portland last week.
The Chiefs are in Everett tonight, the second of five straight on the road.
As if we didn't know this already, but Spokane native and Spokane Chiefs star Tyler Johnson is Best of the West.
Johnson was voted Top Defenive Forward, Best Over-Age Player, Best Skater and Best Faceoff man in the Best of the West 2011 poll compiled by the Tri-City Herald and released Sunday morning.
A total of 43 representatives from the 12 Western Hockey League teams in the Western Conference voted in a variety of categories but could not vote for anyone in their own organization.
Besides Johnson, who is having a MVP season, a reason the Chiefs are in the chase with for the top seed in the fast-approaching playoffs are because captain Jared Cowen was voted Best Stay-at-Home Defenseman and Don Nachbuar Best Coach.
A number of Chiefs were high up in other categories, including goalie James Reid and defenseman Brenden Kichton, plus Johnson and Cowen, along with general manager Tim Speltz.
After giving up an easy early goal, the Chiefs took command with a pair of power play goals and then Tyler Johnson finished with off with a pair of late goals as Spokane dumped Tri-City 7-2 before a sold-out crowd of 10,475 at the Arena Saturday night.
Three stars, 3, Johnson, 2, goalie Mac Engel, 1, Koper.
A disaster of epic proportions for the Spokane Chiefs, starting with a dubious record of allowing five goals in 1:59. With those five goals league-leading
The only silver lining was Tyler Johnson getting a pair of goals early in the second period, giving him a league-leading 41 and tying him for the lead in the scoring race with 88 points. But shortly after that Ty Rattie turned another turnover into a breakaway goal.
Three stars: 3, Craig Cunningham. 2, Ryan Johansen. 1, Brad Ross.
Long box below and six-picture slide show here.
Darren Kramer, 22, is one of the most popular Spokane Chiefs. He is also their protector. There's also another side to the Western Hockey League leader in fights and penalty minutes.
The team has a big week with U.S. Division and Western Conference leading Portland coming in Wednesday and rival Tri-City, just a point behind the second-place Chiefs, here Saturday. On Friday the Chiefs are at Everett and beginning Sunday play five games in eight days on the road.
Last weekend they lost in Tri-City 5-2, with Tyler Johnson's point streak ending, before rebounding to win 5-1 at Seattle, with Johnson getting three points to sit one-point back in the league scoring race.
Good Monday morning Chiefs fans … recovered from that wild 5-4 loss to Tri-City Saturday night? (Above, in a Dan Pelle photo, Drew Owsley stops Anthony Bardaro's shot.)Those nail-biting, last second games are killer on deadline, especially Saturdays when deadlines are a little earlier. But we got the Chiefs, but missed the Americans, although the Tri-City Herald took a call from the coach for a story and my ol' compadre Rene Ferran has this from the Americans. As an added bonus, columnist John Blanchette took a look at what makes the Chiefs tick. The Chiefs finally get some rest and practice time. They don't play until Friday at Tri-City with a Saturday game in Seattle. Then the schedule gets ugly again for the stretch run.
Mason Wilgosh was sitting on the doorstep for a tip-in with 37 seconds left to give the Tri-City Americans a wild 5-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs before a sell-out crowd of 10,474 fans at the Arena Saturday night.
It's the first of five straight weekend games for these rivals who are hot on the heels of Portland in the tight U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League. The Americans moved to within three points of second-place Spokane and have played 3 fewer games.
Stars 3 Wilgosh, 2 Hughesman, 1 Kuhn. Long box below. Here is the story.
It wouldn't qualify as a good hockey game but the Spokane Chiefs didn't back down from the physical and chippy play Chilliwack Bruins, who were in their face all night.
But after battling even in a 2-2 first period with goals from Steve Kuhn and Brenden Kichton and holding steady to take a 4-3 lead after two on goals by Darren Kramer and Matt Marantz, the Chiefs took control in the third period for a 5-3 win, the last goal coming on on Tyler Johnson's career-high and league-leading 37th that tied him for the scoring lead in the Western Hockey League with 82 points.
Mac Engel made 20 saves for his second win in a row.
3 stars: 3, Marantz, 2, Krame 1, Kuhn. long box below
Patrick King of Toronoto City News checks in with the Spokane Chiefs, pointing out the last players for the 2008 Memorial Cup team, are nearing the end of their junior hockey careers. Meanwhile, as Annie Fowler of The Tri-City Herald points out, things are heating up in the U.S. Division of the Western Conference in the Western Hockey League. The Spokane Chiefs entertain Chilliwack tonight and Tri-City on Saturday. Here's a tidbit for you … the Chiefs and Americans play every weekend for five straight weeks, every two weeks in Spokane, next Friday and then two weeks later on a Saturday in Kennewick.
Update: Spokane Chiefs forward Tyler Johnson is on the WHL radio show.
The Spokane Chiefs got goals from Matt Marantz and Jared Cowen less than a minute apart early in the second period and Mac Engle made that stand up for his first Western Hockey League win. Levko Koper added an empty net goal to complete the 3-0 win over Everett. Tyler Johnson, who assisted Koper, ran his point streak to 15 games.
Stars, 3, Cowen, 2, Engle, 1, Marantz. Long box below, here is the story.
In photo above, Chiefs Steven Kuhn and Brady Brassart (right) battle Everett defenders Rasmus Rissanen (8) and Ryan Murray (27) along with goalie Kent Simpson.