The Spokane Chiefs (5-4-1-0) split a two-game set up in Prince George last week. They outshot the Cougars 38-24 and 38-19 in the two games but ended up only heading home with two points.
Friday, October 18th: Prince George 2 Spokane 1
Taylor Gauthier was the number one star on the night yet again vs. Spokane as he stopped 37-of-38 including 29-of-30 over the last two periods.
17-year-old, Las Vegas native Erik Atchison notched his first goal this season after putting one in a season ago in 33 WHL games.
Campbell Arnold stopped 22-of-24 in the loss.
Spokane’s power play went 0-for-3.
Saturday, October 19th: Spokane 5 Prince George 2
After two straight one-goal games vs. Gauthier and the Cougars, the Chiefs broke through a bit on Saturday.
After Josh Maser started the scoring for P.G., Adam Beckman and Bear Hughes both found the net to give Spokane a 2-1 lead.
Brendan Boyle tied the game again in the third period, but Michael King (on the power play), Atchison, and Ty Smith put the game away.
King had two points, yet the win was a group effort with 13 players finding the score sheet.
Arnold got his third win this season with 17 saves on 19 shots. He has started in five straight games now for Spokane.
“Campbell has, since the first day of training camp, made a case to be a number one goalie also on our hockey team. Unfortunately, Lukas Parik is injured, but Campbell has stepped right in and has not seemed overwhelmed at all. He’s played very, very, very good for us,” Viveiros said.
Arnold, who played in just two career WHL games coming into this season, has a 2.44 GAA and .900 save percentage so far.
“We’re so fortunate and we’re lucky that we have a guy coming in who was looked upon to be the backup goalie and is playing like a number one, so that’s just going to help us in the future,” Viveiros continued.
Spokane was disciplined on the weekend as they gave P.G. only three power plays over the two games.
Spokane head coach Manny Viveiros is happy overall with his team’s start but feels there are definitely areas to improve.
“We knew PG. They work hard, and they create a lot of chances from being disciplined and playing really good defense. Their goaltender certainly played well — there’s no question about it. I was happy the way we played it, especially in the second game. But you know, for our club, we’ve been having some issues at the beginning of the year of not being consistent all the time where we’ve played well for 60 minutes and have done everything that we need to do to win hockey games. And the next game, it’s not that we’ve played bad, but we just haven’t been as disciplined in some areas and given up some goals against where, you know, we feel are preventable as a group. If we clean that up, it’s certainly going to help us in the future,” Viveiros said.
This coming week:
Wednesday, 10/23 vs Brandon (5-7-0-0)
Friday, 10/25 vs Portland (6-3-0-1)
Saturday, 10/26 vs Prince Albert (7-1-3-0)
“We played really well Saturday against Prince George and want to carry that over to the game Wednesday. We want to follow a good game with two or three or four other good games. If we don’t have such a great night, it’s not such a drop off,” Viveiros said about looking toward this coming week.
They will have seven straight at home starting on Wednesday.
-The injuries among the big names on the roster continue to mount as Jake McGrew is now listed as out indefinitely with lower and upper body injuries. Also, Luke Toporowski, who had an assist Friday, was held out Saturday with an upper body injury.
-Lukas Parik continues to be listed as out week-to-week.
-Parik’s continued absence sparked the Chiefs to add Brett Balas from the Prince Albert Raiders for a ninth-round WHL Bantam Draft pick in 2023. Balas was a third-round pick in 2016 by the Raiders and has played in three total games in the WHL.
“He is coming in and he has a little bit experience in the league. Not much at all, but you certainly need to have someone who can step in and play and he can do that. What I’ve seen, for a short period of time, is this kid is a decent goaltender. So that’s also positive, too,” Viveiros said of his team’s new goalie.
-With Balas added, the Chiefs sent 16-year-old goalie Mason Beaupit back to Valley West of the BCMML. Beaupit was signed during the Everett preseason tournament by Spokane.
-16-year-old defenseman Graham Sward was named to Team Canada White for the World U17 Hockey Challenge. His team starts pre-tournament play on Thursday, October 31st, vs. Russia in Swift Current. Their first game that counts is on November 1st vs. Team Canada Black in Medicine Hat. The tournament goes through November 9th.
Viveiros had all kinds of praise for the Abbotsford native.
“I’ve been nothing but impressed with this young man so far. The hardest position to play as a 16-year-old (in) this league is defenseman, and he’s handled stuff really, really well. He doesn’t play like a 16-year-old. He sees the ice very well and moves the puck really well. We are really excited for him.”
-Beckman and Smith were also named to Team WHL last week for the CIBC Canada Russia Series. We will have more on that later this week.