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I saw a couple tweets from Spokane Chiefs players yesterday afternoon as they were rolling into Prince George, British Columbia, after an 18-hour bus ride that covered nearly 700 miles. I got to thinking - I've never been to Prince George. I wish part of my job was traveling to cover the road games - no matter what the distance. But with papers the way they are now, here's the response I would get if I were to suggest such a thing: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Pause for effect. Followed by more laughter. A beat writer can dream.
I have been to some away games to watch Spokane (during the 2007-08 season I visited Lethbridge (twice), Calgary, Medicine Hat, Everett, Vancouver, Tri-City, and of course Kitchener, Ontario). But Prince George - I've never been there. Good thing there are google angels watching over me. There's more below.
SEATTLE - Spokane Chiefs goalie Mac Engel stopped 18 shots and the Chiefs ended a season-high four-game losing streak with their first shutout victory of the season – a 3-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League action Sunday.
Dominik Uher, Collin Valcourt and Liam Stewart all scored for the Chiefs (32-30-4-3, 71 points), who are fifth in the Western Conference standings behind Vancouver (35-22-1-3, 74 points). Stewart's line has been on a tear. The goal was the rookie's fourth in five games.
The Chiefs are Portland on Friday and return home to host Tri-City on Saturday. The Chiefs need to win the next three games against the Americans to go .500 against their U.S. Division rivals this season.
The Spokane Chiefs return home this weekend to play the Portland Winterhawks and Kootenay Ice on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. You can read a quick advance that is running in tomorrow's section here. Last Sunday's game between Spokane and Portland at the Arena resulted in a few, well, altercations. I would expect Friday's game to be very intense.
The Chiefs trail fourth-place Vancouver by one point in the Western Conference standings.
Not to be a tease, but I thought I'd let readers know that I'm working on a piece on Chiefs goalie Mac Engel that will run next week. When it's done, you all will be the first to know.
Beating the top team in the Western Hockey League on home ice is one thing. Doing it on the road is another.
Less than a week after beating the Tri-City Americans at the Arena, the Spokane Chiefs scored the encore they were looking for on Friday night as goalie Mac Engel made a season-high 37 saves and Colin Valcourt, Brenden Kichton and Dominik Uher made third-period goals to lead Spokane to a 3-1 victory at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
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.
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.
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.
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.