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Americans dump Chiefs in opener

A couple of first period goals where James Reid couldn't control the puck and his defense wasn't there to bail him out cost the Spokane Chiefs in their West Hockey League playoff game with the Tri-City Americans.

Kruise Reddick and Brendan Shinniman took advantage and then Jordan Messier added a goal midway through the third period to give the Americans a 3-1 win in the best-of-7 opener at the Arena. Game 2 is tonight in the Arena.

The Chiefs out-shot the Americans but struggled to get the puck past Drew Owsley, who ddin't have to make a lot of specular plays. Steve Kuhn had the Spokane goal late in the first period.

Though Reid gave up those early goals he also stopped a third period penalty shot by Carter Ashton.

Three stars: 3, Reddick; 2, Kuhn; 1, Owsley.

Long box below.

Americans-Chiefs ready to go

For those of you not streaking into the Arena for Game One of the Western Hockey League second-round playoff series, there were advances today for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans. Hope the series is as good as the participants are expecting.

Americans-Chiefs showdown getting closer

The second round of the WHL playoffs got underway on Thursday with Kelowna surprising Western Conference top seed Portland, 5-1 - in Portland.

The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans jump into action on Saturday at the Arena. As the game  nears, we took a quick look back at their classic 2008 series, which still has a few participants preparing for the next champion.

Meanwhile, down in Tri-City, Annie Fowler visited with Americans' goalie Drew Owsley, who seems to step up in the playoffs. The Americans also signed their first-round Bantam pick.

Chiefs, Tri series getting close

A little bit of Spokane Chiefs news as the second-round playoff series with Western Hockey League rival Tri-City nears.

First, I draw your attention to this artcile on former Chief Kurt Sauer that we ran in the newspaper on Thursday. It's quite a sad tale.

The best-of-7 playoff series begins Satuday at the Arena, with game 2 on Sunday (1 hr. early faceoff, 6 p.m.). Games 3-4-5 are next week in Tri on Tuesday, Thursday and, if necessary, Sunday again. Games 1 & 4 are on SWX.

Saturday's game is Buck Night for dogs and cola. Fans will be given a white towel and are encouraged to wear white both nights for a White Out.

Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald had a chat with a star from both teams who played youth hockey together.

Former Chief gets lucky

Before I start this Spokane Chiefs post, I want to pass this along … former Chiefs goalie Dustin Tokarski, (pictured above) playing for Tampa Bay's AHL team in Norfolk, Va., was taken out of a game Saturday after getting cut in the neck with a skate. It required 30 stitches and Tokarski and a teammate posted the pix on Twitter. (While on the Bolt Prospects page, check down the right side to see where Tyler Johnson is among the Lightning prospects before he plays a professional game.)

The Chiefs play Tri-City in a rare 2-3-2 series. The usual scheduling is because both buildings are full next weekend. The Chiefs lost this Friday to Elton John. The teams stretched the 3 out in Tri just for pacing (and I think they want me to drive a lot) because next weekend there is an Amway Convention in the Arena and a two-day youth wrestling tournament in the Toyota Center.

So, since the first game isn't until Saturday, our stories won't begin until later in the week, giving me an opportunity to catch up on my other duties.



Saturday, April 9th

at Spokane



Sunday, April 10th

at Spokane



Tuesday, April 12th

at Tri-City



Thursday, April 14th

at Tri-City



Sunday, April 17th

at Tri-City



Tuesday, April 19th

at Spokane



Wednesday, April 20th

at Spokane


Chiefs take 3-1 series lead

The Spokane Chiefs, without their leading scorer, jumped to a 3-0 lead after one period and held on for a 4-2 win over the chilliwack Bruins Thursday night, to open a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series. Game 5 is at the Arena Saturday night.

Stars: 3, Robin Soudek, Chil; 2, Corbin Baldwin, Spo; 1, Mike Aviani, Spo. Lonx box below.

Bruins shock Chiefs in OT

Kevin Sundher scored the last two goals of the game, the second 3:20 into overtime, to rally the Chilliwack Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday night at the Arena.

The Bruins shocked the 4,737 fans by rallying from a 3-0 deficit entering the third period. Lucas Gore made 54 saves for Chilliwack.

The Western Hockey League playoff series is now 2-1 for Spokane with Game 4 tonight and Game 5 Saturday at the Arena.

We also have a Colin Mulvany slideshow from the game - the picture above is when Tyler Stahl sent Tyler Johnson to the ice late in the second period. Stahl received a game misconduct, Johnson sat out the third period and is questionable for tonight's game.

3 stars: 3, Anthony Bardaro, Spokane; 2, Lucas Gore, Chilliwack; 1, Kevin Sundher.

Long box below.

Chiefs vs. Chilliwack

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Kevin Sundher scored the last two goals of the game, the second 3:20 into overtime, to rally the Chilliwack Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Spokane Arena on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.

Kichton, Chiefs return to action

Brenden Kichton, the subject of a story in the Wednesday morning paper, and the Spokane Chiefs return to action tonight for Game 3 of their Western Hockey League playoff series with Chilliwack.

Spokane swept the first two games in Chilliwack. Game Four is Thursday. A sweep would be good for the Chiefs because it certainly looks like rivals Portland and Tri-City are headed for sweeps, as is Kelowna. The Chiefs would play the Americans, and hold home-ice advantage, for a series that starts April 8 (pending Arena dates and I don't know the Shock schedule).

But first things first. In other news, Seattle fired its coach.

Chiefs up 2-0 after shutout

The Spokane Chiefs defeat Chilliwack 5-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Thursday at the Arena. Eric Walsh's story for the Chilliwack Progress is below.

Kramer gives Chiefs 1-0 lead

Darren Kramer scored two goals, including the game winner 10 minutes into overtime, as the Spokane Chiefs won their opening game of the Western Hockey League playoffs, 3-2 over the Chilliwack Bruins. The Chiefs stay in Chilliwack for Game 2 in the best-of-7 series tonight before returning to the Arena for the next three games, starting Wednesday. Below is the Chilliwack Prospect story.

Chiefs favored in playoffs; fighting & concussions in the news

The Spokane Chiefs have every reason to be favored when their Western Hockey League playoff series opens in Chilliwack tonight. (Update 11:34).

There is an open debate, read on.

Chiefs dominate conference awards

The Spokane Chiefs dominated the Western Conference awards the Western Hockey League announced on Wednesday. Read on.

Chiefs No. 3 seed, opponent unknown

The Spokane Chiefs' 6-4 loss at Tri-City on Saturday night answered a few questions and left a few hanging.

The Chiefs are the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference when the Western Hockey League playoffs start in a few days. Who they'll play will be determined do as they're slotted against the only spot still undecided.

On an individual level, Spokane's Tyler Johnson has wrapped up the goal scoring title but with a final game in Portland tonight will have a shot at the overall scoring championship.

Read on.

Chiefs reach century mark

The fourth line picked up a pair of early goals and backup goalie Mac Engel made that stand up with 23 saves as the Spokane Chiefs ran their winning streak to nine games with a 5-0 decision over Seattle Friday night in the final home game of the Western Hockey League regular season.

It gave the Chiefs 100 points for the fourth time in franchise history and kept them one point behind Portland in the battled for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. If the Chiefs win at Tri-City tonight they'll play at Portland on Sunday for the top spot.

Goals by Collin Valcourt and Darren Kramer was enough with Engel notching his fourth shutout.

Stars: 3, Valcourt; 2, Engel; 1, Kramer .

Long box below.

Chiefs present end-season awards

The Spokane Chiefs presented their end of season awards Friday night before their final Western Hockey League regular-season home game.

Scholastic Award, presented by academic advisor Joe Everson, Brady Brassart.  Presented by Booster Club, $30,000 from 50-50 raffles this year, for Chiefs' scholarship fund. Humanitarian Award, Tyler Johnson for third straight year. Gift for Captain Jared Cowen as second Chief to win multiple medals at World Junior Tournament. Most Sportsmanlike Award, for second straight year, Tyler Johnson. Rookie of the Year, Darren Kramer.

John Hitman Hearn, defenseman of the Year, Brenden Kichton

Player of the Year: Tyler Johnson. Cool gift with puck from 50th goal and 100th point.

Player's Player, Darren Kramer, on the players vote.

Even more shots for the Spokane Chiefs

Hey hockey fans - and fight fans. You know the Spokane Chiefs put 78 shots on goal last night - not counting the two that won the shootout. But you better check out these shots that are on the scoresheeting under penalties.

Second straight shootout win for Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs put up a season-high shots and had very little to show for it.

In  fact, even with a franchise record 78 shots the Chiefs got just one goal in regulation. And that came on the 60th shot, by Matt Marantz, his 19th, midway through the third period.

But the shootout was another matter as Tyler Johnson and Blake Gal scored and James Reid made two saves to produce a 2-1 win over Chilliwack before 4, 819 at the Arena. It was a disappointing end for Bruins goalie Lucas Gore, who was otherwise sensational with 77 saves.

The Chilliwack goal came with 3 seconds left in the second, when Ryan Howse cleaned up a juicy rebound, giving him 51 and tying Tyler Johnson for the league lead.

The win kept the Chiefs in the hunt for the U.S. Division championship and the top seed in the Western Division of the Western Hockey League playoffs. They're one points behind Portland with three games to go, the last one in Portland.

3 stars: 1, Gore, 2, Steve Kuhn (assist on tying goal), 3, Marantz.

Long box below

Koper, Reid give Chiefs win in SO

Levko Koper's shootout goal and a save by James Reid gave the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 win over the Kootenay Ice on Saturday.

A late goal by Brayden McNabb, set up by Cody Eakin's work in the corner, lift the Kootenay Ice into overtime against the Spokane Chiefs before 8,800 fans at the Arena Saturday night.

In the shoout, the first four Chiefs missed until Koper beat Nathan Lieuwen with a backhander. Then Reid stopped McNabb, the Ice fifth shooter.

3 stars: 3, Reid, 2, Kichton 1, Eakin

Long box below.

Johnson reaches 50 goals, Chiefs roll

A couple of milestones and a thrashing of the Tri-City Americans, it doesn't get much better than that for the Spokane Chiefs … and we have pictures.

With Tyler Johnson and Blake Gal (10, above in Colin Mulvany photo) scoring a pair of goals, the Chiefs pounded Tri-City 5-1 before a crowd of more than 9,000 at the Arena Friday night.

Johnson picked up his league-leading 50th goal, while Gal and Anthony Bardaro both reached 20.

Better yet, the Chiefs are now 10 points ahead of the Americans with five games to play in the Western Hockey League season. That means no looking over their shoulder down the stretch to worry about beind the fourth seed in the Western Division but they can concentrate on Portland, one point ahead for the top seed.

Before the Spokane Chiefs honored the 3 20-year olds,  Johnson (check out this internet story), Levko Koper and James Reid. Also, former Chief and Spokane native Derek Ryan was league MVP for University of Alberta.

Long box below, 3 stars: 3, Gal, 2, Baldwin (3 assists), 1 Johnson.

Chiefs defeat Everett 4-2

The Spokane Chiefs used a dominating first period - a 22-5 shot advantage, goals by Brenden Kichton, Steve Kuhn and Anthony Bardaro - to jump start a 4-2 win over the Everett Silvertips at the Arena Tuesday night.

It was the first of a five-game homestand, the final one of the Western Hockey League season. The win moved the Chiefs one point behind Portland in the battle for the top seed in the Western Division. The Chiefs would win the division if they win their final six games since the season ends with the teams matching up in Portland.

The Silvertips got a second period goal on the only power play of the night in the second period and pulled within one with 5 minutes to goal but Bardaro's second goal saved the game.

3 stars: 3, Everett G Luke Siemens; 2, Kuhn; 1, Bardaro.

Long box below

Johnson officially signs with Tampa Bay

The only Tuesday night home game of the season awaits the Spokane Chiefs, which probably means there will be a sparse crowd on hand to give Tyler Johnson a hand for his big news, signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the weekend.

Everett will be without goalie Kent Simpson tonight because of a sprained ankle. Simpson had turned into the Silvertips ironman recently.

By the way, next year's Subway Series against the Russians will be played in Regina and Moose Jaw. The games are in the middle of November.

Johnson commits to Tampa Bay Lightning

Although it won't become official until all the paper work is signed - Spokane's Spokane Chief Tyler Johnson is about to sign a professional contract. Johnson has accepted an offer from Tampa Bay. He'll sign on Sunday when the Chiefs get back from their trek to Prince George. Spokane won 5-4 on Friday night with Johnson notching his league-leading 47th goal. The teams meet again tonight.

Chiefs Engel WHL goalie of the month

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

Chiefs beat Tri-City again

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.

Johnson gets 100, Bardaro hatter as Chiefs roll PG 8-0

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.

Seattle thumps Chiefs

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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.

Lot on line for Johnson, Chiefs

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.)

Johnson & Vandersloot worth a ticket before it’s too late

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.

Key win for Chiefs at Tri-City

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.