After going a year without playing together, the Spokane Chiefs opened their season in the most difficult manner possible, playing three games in three nights against three different opponents last weekend.
They lost all three and were outscored 10-6 on the road trip.
Yet just getting out on the ice and playing someone else was a helpful improvement of circumstance, forward Adam Beckman said.
“I think it’s definitely a starting point,” said Beckman, who has two of the Chiefs’ six goals this season. “Now we know where we are and what we gotta do to get better.”
The Chiefs will host the Seattle Thunderbirds at a fanless Spokane Arena at 5:10 p.m. Friday looking for their first win. They visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday.
Chiefs coach Adam Maglio said he liked the team’s energy in its season opener against Seattle, and he thought Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Everett was the team’s best of the three games.
“Everett capitalized on chances. We didn’t,” Maglio said. “Sunday’s game, we were tired.”
But they were also resilient, he said. Down 4-1, the Chiefs scored two goals in the final 7 minutes of their 4-3 loss to the Portland Winterhawks.
“We hung in there and we made it a hockey game,” Maglio said.
Maglio said Campbell Arnold will start in net on Friday.
Before starting two games last weekend, Arnold hadn’t played since a knee injury ended his 2019-20 season three months before the pandemic ended everyone else’s season, too.
“Being back in the building where I got hurt, those emotions came back,” Arnold said, referring to the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, where the Thunderbirds play home games. “But once I got into the game again, I was just filled with happiness.”
The Chiefs will still be without center Jack Finley, who has been out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. Maglio described his status as “day-to-day.”
Maglio said he expects the other 23 players on the roster will see the ice at least one of the next two games. The chance to be at home has been beneficial, Maglio said, especially because Chiefs players – nine of whom are rookies – settled into a routine in a more familiar place.
“I expect this weekend, just two games and a good week of practice, we’ll have good legs here,” Maglio said.
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