After starting the year with 3 home defeats in a row, the team recovered with 2 out of 3 away wins.
SPOKANE, Washington –
The first three weeks of the season for the Chiefs have been a bit of a roller coaster ride so far. After starting the year with 3 home defeats in a row, the team had recovered with 2 out of 3 away wins, most recently a shutout game in Tri City that put Spokane in third place in the US division. After their first shutout of the year in Tri City last Friday, Spokane now had the chance to secure a victorious road trip on their 5-game road swing if they clinched their first win against league rivals Seattle on Tuesday night. The Thunderbirds lost Spokane 5-3 at the Spokane Arena on October 8, giving the Chiefs their third consecutive defeat at the start of the season. The club now had an opportunity to avenge that loss when they drove over Snoqualmie Pass for the first time this year to face the Thunderbirds in Kent.
Spokane returned in goal to goalkeeper Mason Beaupit when he completed his first career shutout in a victory at Tri City last Friday night. Unfortunately for Beaupit and the Chiefs, all hopes for a second shutout in a row in Seattle were quickly dashed. The T-Birds only scored 3:13 in the game after a rebound to take a 1-0 lead. Seattle would make the 2-0 after a penalty in the middle of the game period and bring the 2-goal lead into the second round. Things didn’t improve in the second as Seattle would score on a shot from the red line in the middle of the ice in the center of the frame as the shot somehow escaped Beaupit’s glove to give the Thunderbirds a 3-0 lead To provide. Spokane was quick to respond, however, as Grady Lane scored his first career goal just 32 seconds later to put the Chiefs 3-1 on the board.
Seattle came back with a power play goal in the first minute of the third minute to improve by 3 to 4-1. The Thunderbirds would help Spokane get back into the game with revenue ahead of their own network, which Erik Atchison scored 2:42 from third with his second goal of the year to put the Chiefs within 4-2. Seattle would impose a 5-minute major penalty for attacking less than 5 minutes later and Spokane would score Blake Swetlikoff’s first goal of the season on that power play to reduce Seattle’s lead to 4-3 midway through third game.
The Chiefs had just under 3 minutes of power play to level the game, but they didn’t take the opportunity. Spokane would then have to kill 2 Seattle power plays and would do so successfully. Seattle would put the game down, however, after a turnover from the Chiefs to Spokane’s Blue Line resulted in an outlier goal, less than 2.5 minutes to go. Spokane would drop their second in a row 5-3 to Seattle as the Thunderbirds were 2 points ahead of Spokane in the overall standings. The Chiefs then set out to end the five game road trip with a win as they attempted their third straight win at Tri City to start the season. Spokane had started the road trip with a 5-1 win at Kennewick and then won Game 3 by knocking out the Americans 3-0. These were the only wins for the team earlier in the year, so the Chiefs hoped their third straight trip on Highway 395 would be just as beneficial.
The team made headlines last week when goalkeeper Campbell Arnold was backing up for a draft pick in 3rd old Manny Panghli in 2023. Arnold was unlucky in Spokane from circumstances that he could not control. In 2019-20 he served as a backup for Lukas Parik. While Parik was World Junior, Arnold tore his cruciate ligament in his right knee to take him off for the second half of the season. Covid would cancel the end of the ’20 campaign and then postpone the start of the ’21 season. Arnold was number 1 in the season shortened to 21 games but was never able to establish himself at number 1 as Beaupit made great strides in his game during the campaign. That season, Arnold had gone up and down while Beaupit had established himself as a constant and also scored the team’s only shutout of the year. Arnold will now be driving closer to home and vying for the # 1 job at Victoria, and I’m sure he looks forward to facing his old teammates when the Chiefs come to Victoria on the second weekend of November.
Mason Beaupit made his first start as the number 1 goalkeeper in the final game of a 5-game road trip for the Chiefs when their club made a third road trip to the Tri Cities. Things didn’t start well for Beaupit or the Chiefs when Tri took a quick 1-0 lead just over 3 minutes into the game. Spokane would come back and level things out when top scorer Luke Toporowski scored to make it 1-1 late in the first goal. Tri City responded right back with a rebound goal less than 2 minutes later to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period. The Chiefs were shot in frame at 16-15 while killing 3 American power plays.
Spokane appeared to have tied the game on a tip from Michael Cicek early in the second round, but after a lengthy review, the goal was not recognized. The delay seemed to fuel the Chiefs, however, as less than a minute after the review, Mac Gross scored his third goal of the year to top the game by two points. Just 21 seconds later, Grady Lane scored his second goal in as many games to give Spokane a 3-2 lead. The Chiefs then got a 5v3 power play after minor penalties against Tri City, the second of which came far from play in a hit against Bear Hughes. Hughes was checked into the wall in front of the Tri City Bank and had to leave the game. It was the third game in a row that the team had lost a striker to an illegal hit. Spokane took advantage of the 5v3 when Cordel Larson scored his first goal of the year to turn it into a 4-2 game. Ty Cheveldayoff then fired a shot home from the left circle as Jake Gudelj and Brayden Crampton earned their first career points for the assists when Spokane led 5-2. Cicek then officially received recognition for his first career goal at 16:22 to crown a second third with five goals as Spokane put a 6-2 lead in the third period. The Chiefs shot Tri City 23-5 in the mid-twenties in what was probably their best ice hockey period this season.
Luke Toporowski then crowned a three-point night with his second goal of the game late in the third to put Spokane 7-2 ahead. Tri City would top the goal with a power play goal in the final 5 seconds, but the Chiefs secured their third straight win at Kennewick with a 7-3 win. Spokane moved up to third place in the division with Portland’s win and is now 5 points behind first Everett and second Seattle, 3 points behind in the US Leading Silvertips and Runner-Up Thunderbirds in the next two weeks. The home stand begins with Seattle at Spokane Arena on Friday and then with Everett in town on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. I’ll have the call on 103.5 FM the Game and 1510 AM KGA starting with the pre-game shows at 6:30 p.m. Let’s hope Hughes’ injury isn’t too severe as his loss would mean the team will drop 3 forwards in the near future and the Chiefs need as many on hand as they can if they hope to get ground against Everett and Seattle to win. Have a good healing and we hope to see you on the ice rink! The Chiefs end the 5 game road trip with a win.