The Spokane Chiefs must have felt as if they were living a version of Bill Murray's famous film "Groundhog's Day" last week. Or maybe Groundhog's Week would fit better.
For the second consecutive week Spokane opened with an important win, this one against the U.S. Division leaders. But then after a long road trip - again - the Chiefs were flat, played poorly and walked away from the weekend with two losses.
Spokane's power play, a strength at the beginning of the season, was in total disarray over the weekend. It started Friday when Regina scored three (that's right, THREE) shorthanded goals in the second period alone. The short-handed markers were the difference in a 4-2 Pats win.
The trend continued Saturday as the Chiefs allowed multiple shorthanded goals again, this time in a dominating 6-0 defeat to Brandon.
It's only a month into the new season, but Don Nachbaur and new GM Scott Carter have to be a little worried about the current direction of the club. Spokane has lost five of its last six games and sits ahead of only Seattle in the Western Conference.
Here's a recap of the week......
Newcomer helps Chiefs get past ‘Tips
Newcomer Tanner Wishnowski assisted on both Spokane goals in his first game as a Chief in a 2-1 win over division-leading Everett.
Kailer Yamamoto kept up his torrid point streak with a goal and an assist. He now has 16 points in 11 games, which ties him for sixth in the league. Jaret Anderson-Dolan potted the winning goal at 16:18 of the first period. Spokane didn't need anything beyond that, as Dawson Weatherill stopped 26 of 27 shots and earned the game's second-star award.
Former Chief Dominic Zwerger assisted on Everett's lone goal.
After only recording 2 points in 10 games with Kelowna this year, Wishnowski displayed some ability and will be a welcomed addition. The Chiefs are badly in need of some secondary scoring and Wishnowski, while not a scoring monster, could provide some help and create some positive momentum.
Power play good, and very bad, in Friday loss
Spokane's power play has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing start to the season. But Friday in Regina saw something different from the extra-man unit.
After knotting the score at 1 with a power-play marker late in the first, the Chiefs were a mess with the extra man, allowing three shorthanded goals in the second period on the way to a 4-2 loss.
Austin Wagner potted the first two shorties for Regina, the second providing the winning margin. Jake Leschyshyn scored to make it 4-2 as Regina scored twice on the same Spokane advantage, an embarrassing mark for any power play unit.
Curtis Miske (4) scored for Spokane, and Ethan McIndoe got his first of the year in the third period.
Jayden Sittler got the call and had one of his better starts so far this year, stopping 29 shots.
Wheat King blow out Chiefs on Saturday
The Chiefs had to feel positive after a first period that saw them outshoot and out-chance the defending WHL Champions.
But then the second period started.
Brandon scored four times in the second and held on for the shutout in a 6-0 win over the Chiefs. Ty Lewis had a hat trick for Brandon, which displayed all the pieces you'd expect from the defending league champs.
Nothing went right for the Chiefs in this one. Now they'll get back up and prep for a Tuesday night matchup with Moose Jaw.
Chiefs get forward Wishnowski from Kelowna
Spokane upgraded its forward depth by adding 19-year-old forward Tanner Wishnowski from the Kelowna Rockets. The Chiefs traded the rights to 16-year-old forward Colum McGauley. Wishnowski had a goal and an assist in 10 games with Kelowna, but already matched that point total with two assists in his first game with Spokane on Tuesday.
Spokane (3-6-1-1) is beginning to fade back in the U.S. Division. It's only a month into the season, but the Chiefs have already fallen to 4th in the U.S. Division and 9th in the Western Conference. Everett (9-2-2-0) leads the division followed by Portland (8-5-0-0), Tri-City (7-5-1-0) and Seattle currently sits last (3-5-0-1) but has only played nine games.
The road trip concludes with four game this week. Spokane faces Moose Jaw (7-2-2-0) on Tuesday and Saskatoon (6-5-1-0) on Wednesday. After a day off the Chiefs face Prince Albert (4-7-1-0) on Friday and Swift Current (8-4-1-1) on Saturday before heading home.
Injuries (and suspensions)
Hayden Ostir (upper body, day-to-day) and Jake Toporowski (lower body, day-to-day) are the only names on the current injury report. Hudson Elynuik returned from a 3-game suspension for an illegal check the week prior.