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The Spokane Chiefs are about an hour from dropping the puck in their Western Hockey League regular season opener at Tri-City, and below we've got all kinds of pregame material for you to read before you watch the game on SWX at 7:05 - including a lot of extra material from my sit down with coach Don Nachbaur yesterday at the Arena.
The Spokane Chiefs are hoping Monday isn’t that dreaded night that their Western Hockey League season comes to an abrupt end, and they know what they need to do to prevent that from happening.
After a loss in Game 3, the Spokane Chiefs need a win on Friday night at home to pull even with the Tri-City Americans in their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series in Western Hockey League playoff action.
Here's our game advance that is running in Friday's paper. Also, Mayor David Condon and Council President Ben Stuckart have dubbed Friday "Spokane Chiefs Hockey Day." You can read the full release here.
After losing 3-2 on Saturday night to the U.S. Division-rival Americans in Tri-City, the Spokane Chiefs have now lost four-straight games - their longest losing streak of the season.
Not ideal timing with the Western Hockey League regular season winding down.
The Chiefs had a chance to lock up a playoff spot tonight. All they needed to do was score a point against the Ams. If that didn't happen, Everett had to lose to Vancouver AND Prince George and Victoria couldn't go into overtime. Well, the Chiefs didn't earn a point, and Everett beat Vancouver in a shootout - so while they are getting close, the Chiefs don't yet have a spot in the playoffs.
The season-high four-game skid began with a home game against Tri-City, and continued with a disappointing missed opportunity against the Vancouver Giants on Thursday. On Friday night, the Chiefs fell at Kootenay.
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.
Before a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Spokane Arena on Monday put out the Spokane Chiefs' fire, they ingnited the ice last Saturday to defeat the top team in the Western Hockey League - the Tri-City Americans. New Chiefs' forward Dylan Walchuk - who I profiled in a feature that ran in Thurday's section - had the game-winning goal in the 5-3 win.
The Chiefs and Americans meet again for the seventh time of the season tonight (Tri-City leads the series 4-2) at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, so unfortuntately for Chiefs fans there won't be any home-ice action tonight. However, you can catch the live broadcast of the 7 p.m. game on Root Sports or listen to Mike Boyle's call on 1510 KGA.
After watching the Spokane Chiefs grind out a gutsy win Saturday night against the Tri-City Americans, I woke up this morning for my usual Sunday morning read of the Sports section. When I get to my story, I can't help but focus on anything I've missed.
In case you missed it, here's Saturday's game story from the 5-3 win over the Canadian Hockey League's top-ranked team and Spokane's biggest rival.
Below you'll find extras from the game and other Chiefs notes leading into tomorrow's 2 p.m. game against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Arena. This will be the first time Spokane has hosted Seattle this season and the second time the U.S. Division teams have played each other. Spokane beat the Thunderbirds in Seattle on Jan. 7.
This post is few days late and about 100 dollars short (anyone else ever have that feeling once in awhile?). I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I spent my first week back at The Spokesman-Review chiseling off the rust. I've been away from the sportswriting game for almost three years. That's a long time to be away from something you love, but really I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity to be back. I won't make any cliche innuendos about riding the bench, etc. The first week is over - and I'm as ready as ever.
Keep reading for information about the Spokane Chiefs' 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips last night and a little stroll down Memorial Cup memory lane.
Another quick hockey update.
The Spokane Chiefs dropped a 3-1 decision at Tri-City on Saturday. The Tri-City Herald had this report. They have a week to prepare to face the Americans at the Arena on Saturday. The loss ended their seven-game winning streak but they'll take an eight-game home winning streak into the rematch. Unfortunately I'll miss that game because I'll be covering state cross country in Pasco (too bad the games weren't reversed, then I would be down there.)
The Chiefs could be without Blake Gal, who could be facing a suspension after getting a boarding major and game misconduct late in the first period after he scored the tying goal. On television it looked like the hit wasn't as bad as it appeared and the TC player made a mistake the way he went into the corner. A game misconduct should be enough of a penalty but the league isn't working that way these days. As they attempt to clean up danagerous hits, they put all the responsiblity on the offending player and none in trying to educate players that taking a hit and protecting yourself is part of the deal.
Tanner MacMaster, the Chiefs first-round pick in the Bantam Draft, scored the first goal and added two assists as Alberta cruised to the gold medal in the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup. MacMaster finished the tournament with 2 goals and 5 assists to tie for second in scoring.
Western Hockey League referees didn't get their man but league officials did when Marcus Messier of Tri-City was suspended for four games on Tuesday.
The infraction was a double-minor checking-from-behind penalty that injured Spokane's Liam Stewart in the Chiefs' 7-2 romp in their home opener on Satuday night.
Keep reading for thoughts on the matter.
Anthony Bardaro scored three goals, Steven Kuhn had a pair and the Spokane Chiefs went 4-12 on the power play to roll over rival Tri-City 7-2 in
Here is our story.
Long box below.
The Spokane Chiefs open the Western Hockey League season tonight at Tri-City. We visited with Don Nachbaur and Tim Speltz about the expectations. From the Americans side, The Tri-City Herald had a story with a couple of veterans and bios on the team.
Will head out shortly for the game. I'll be blogging and tweeting (srtrim@twitter) from the Toyota Center.
The Spokane Chiefs used their defensive strength to strengthen their goaltender competition today, trading Tyler Vanscourt , 19, to Prince Albert for Luke Lee-Knight, 18, and a fifth-round pick in next summer's bantam draft.
Lee-Knight joins second-year goalie Mac Engel and rookie Zach Rakochy, also both 18, while 19-year old Jacob Edwards was released.
General manager Tim Speltz said in a release that it strengthens the draft as well as the goaltending but in appearing in 3 games, Engel has a 1.89 GAA while Rakochy is 1.54. So how this plays out remains to be seen.
The Chiefs play Tri-City tonight at Eagles in the sixth of their seven preseason games. The Chiefs are 4-0-0-1, the Americans are 3-2-0-0, which includes a 3-2 shootout win over Spokane in TC last Saturday.
After one of their most amazing comebacks in memory, Levko Koper (25 above, celebrating in the Colin Mulvany photo) gave the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 series clinching win over the Tri-City Americans 6:39 into overtime Tuesday night, bringing a crowd of 6,083 to their feet in the Arena.
The Chiefs head to Portland for the Western Conference Finals beginning Friday.
Fighting to stay alive, the Americans showed much more life than the Chiefs, building a 3-0 lead after two periods but Spokane came back with three goals in the first 3:13 of the third period to tie the game.
3 stars: Patrick Holland, TC; 2, Kenton Miller. 1, Koper
Long box below
Blake Gal stepped out of the penalty box and into Spokane Chiefs' lore, scoring 4:57 into overtime to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 win and 3-2 series lead over the Tri-City Americans Sunday night.
Game 6 is in Spokane Tuesday night with Game 7, if necessary, on Wednesday.
Seconds after a James Reid glove save saved the Chiefs, the Chiefs broke out and Dominik Uher found Gal down the left wall, where he snapped off a shot that gave them command of the series.
3 stars: 3, Patrick Holland, tC; 2, Jared Cowen, Spo, 1, James Reid, Spo.
Long box below.
Desperation seems to be the buzz word for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans as they head into Game 5 tonight tied 2-2 in their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series. A come-from-behind win in double overtime gave the Americans renewed confidence. For long-time Chiefs fans, the name Terry Ryan may be haunting.
Tyler Schmidt's shot from the point 2:32 into the second overtime made it through a crowd in front of the Spokane goal and gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 win over the Chiefs Thursday night in Tri-City.
The Ams evened the best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series with the Spokane Chiefs 2-2 by overcoming a 2-0 deficit with a three-goal second period before 3,888 fans at the Toyota Center.
Game 5 is back here on Sunday with Game 6 in Spokane on Tuesday.
Spokane goalie James Reid prolonged the game with 1:24 left in the first overtime when he stopped Brendan Shinniman on a penalty shot.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Steve Kuhn's power play goal late in the first period and Tyler Johnson's short-handed goal early in the second. Three straight goals in the second period and goalie Drew Owsley rescued the Americans.
Patrick Holland scored on the same power play Johnson scored on, then Kruise Reddick and Braden Shinniman connected to put the Ams up 3-2. They out-shot the Chiefs 15-9 in the second period, ending a nine-period stretch of failing to reach double figures.
With the way Owsley played it looked like that may hold up until Johnson scored a power play goal with 7:43 left in regulation.
3 stars: 3, Drew Owsley. 2, Tyler Johnson. 1, Tyler Schmidt.
Long box below. Here is the story.
The Spokane Chiefs put the clamps on the Tri-City Americans, regaining the home-ice advantage in the best of-7 Western Hockey League series with a 4-1 win at the Toyota Center in Kennewick Tuesday game.
The Chiefs, leading the series 2-1, stay here for a game Thursday night with Game 5 back here on Sunday.
Dominik Uher gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead about 90 seconds in, snapping a high, hard wrist shot past Drew Owsley. A couple of rebound goals a few minutes apart midway through the second period made it 3-0. Blake Gal got the first one on a power play, off a Corbin Baldwin shot from the point. Kento Miller got the second, banging in a rebound off a Levko Koper shot set up by Anthony Bardaro.
The Americans had a flurry after that but only Neal Prokop's slap shot from the left circle got past James Reid.
The Chiefs had too many great chances to count in out-shooting the Americans 41-21 before Darren Kramer iced it with less than 3 minutes remaining.
The three-stars. 3, Prokop; 2, Jared Cown. 1, Gal
Short box below. Here is the story.
With the Spokane Chiefs gone for a week - if not for the season - with soft-pedaled today's Western Hockey League playoff game at Tri-City. The Chiefs, tied with the Americans 1-1 in their best-of-7 second-round series, play in Tri Thursday and Sunday as well. They have to win one to regain home ice, but they need more since the Ams proved in Game One they can win in Spokane. Game 6, if necessary, is at the Arena next Tuesday.
As the host newspaper, the Tri-City Herald had a bigger advance … and note that TC defenseman Tyler Schmidt was suspended for tonight's game because of a game misconduct last game … and the Chiefs were fined $250 because the player Schmidt hit, Darren Kramer, went to the TC lockerroom, opened the door and confronted Schmidt. … Don't know the exact details of that but there was a WHL official at the game, so it apparently wasn't as serious as the Americans made it out to be after the game, but wasn't a nothing incident as the Chiefs hinted.
One more thing … Chilliwack. The Bruins is movin' … and it hasn't been a pretty process. You've got to question the league and the owners in this situation.
UPDATE: Monday morning, computer issues kept us from linking Sunday night.
The Spokane Chiefs rebounded from a disappointing opener, cashing in on three of five power plays, to whip the Tri-City Americans 6-2 Sunday night and even their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series 1-2.
The next three games are in Kennewick Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Spokane came out of the first period with a 2-1 lead on a pair of Mitch Holmberg goals. Then in the second it was Matt Marantz, Kevko Koper and Steve Kuhn.
The Americans pulled Drew Owsley and put in 15-year recent Bantam signee Eric Comrie for the third period. Justin Fester scored for the Americans but then Tyler Johnson got that back. Holmberg, Koper and Johnson had power play goals.
Three stars: 3, Tyler Johnson. 2, Jared Cowen. 1, Mitch Holmberg
Long box below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.