The Tyler Alos who hits the ice tonight will be different from the one who skated here with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Oct. 10.
“When we were over there at the beginning of the season it was pretty early, I didn’t have quite as much experience,” the Spokane native said. “It was a little more nerve-wracking for the first time back.”
The 16-year-old rookie is a center for the T-Birds – who play the Spokane Chiefs three times in the next two weeks, including twice at the Arena – instead of a Shadle Park Highlander.
“I’m not nervous. I look at it as another game,” Alos said this week. “It’s fun to play in front of friends and family. It pumps you up a little more.”
So far Alos, who is 5-foot-11, 164 pounds, has only missed three games, two when he – and many teammates – were battling swine flu on their eastern swing. He has two goals and three assists, the first coming on a power play at Tri-City.
“(Brenden) Silvester passed me the puck in front and I put it five-hole,” Alos said. “It was a weight off my shoulders. It showed next game, I was so relaxed.”
Alos is no longer on the power play, but he got a lot out of the experience.
“That was incredible,” he said. “You get to play with guys drafted by the NHL. They have so much poise. You learn what you can do and what you can’t do. It’s amazing what those guys can do. It will be good experience in the future.”
He is trying to milk every experience.
“It’s going real good,” he said. “I’m learning a lot every day on the ice. The transition to this league is a lot easier when you have veteran leadership like we do. I’m trying to put into play what the coaches preach and it’s paying off with playing time.”
Adjusting to the size of WHL players was tough, but not as much as getting used to the speed of the game.
“You get the puck on your stick. You don’t hold onto it, you move it right away,” he said. “It’s fast-paced. … There’s a lot of hard work, a lot of off-ice work you do. If you give it your best every day it pays off.”
He is enjoying the big-city life and classes at Kent-Meridian High School, which is just a few blocks from the arena.
“It’s different,” he said. “There’s a lot more culture than in Spokane. The teachers are great working with us. It was a pretty easy transition.”
On the back of James Reid, the first goalie to be the WHL Player of the Month since February 2006, the Chiefs lead the league with a 2.31 goals-against average. Reid allowed 12 goals in his last 13 games for a league-leading 2.03 goals-against average. … Spokane allowed the first goal 10 times in its first 13 games, just five in the last 13. The Chiefs are 11-1 when they score first. … The Chiefs’ top scorers make an interesting lot. Tyler Johnson (15 goals, nine assists, 24 points) is the hottest with a five-game goal-scoring streak, which followed a six-game drought. Mitch Wahl (9-21-30) also had a five-game streak after going 10 with a goal. … Kyle Beach (19-9-28), the team leader, had 12 goals in nine games but has just one in the last seven. Levko Koper (11-13-24) has one goal in the last nine games opening with seven goals in the first six games. … The Thunderbirds return home for a Saturday game with Everett and are offering four free tickets to all police officers. The Lakewood Police Independent Guild will be accepting monetary donations, which will go to the children of the four officers killed last weekend. … Former Spokane forward Cam Severson has returned to play in Romania, where he had 24 goals and 17 assists in 29 games for Steaua last season. He started this season with the Mississippi Riverkings in the Central Hockey League and had eight goals and 13 points in 18 games.