The Spokane Chiefs began last week with an impressive, shut-down performance against the defending U.S. Division champions on their home ice.
But the tables turned, drastically, less than 24 hours later and by Sunday the Chiefs were looking back on a week wondering what could have been.
Spokane trekked over the mountains to play in Kent on Tuesday and earned a 3-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. From there the bus headed north 300 miles to Kamloops on Wednesday. The Chiefs looked like a team on short rest after a long trip, falling 6-1 to the Blazers.
Returning home and rejuvenated for the weekend, Spokane earned a single point against Everett and Portland. Both games Spokane held leads, including Saturday against Portland where the Winterhawks tied the game late in regulation.
The club must also deal with its first suspension of the season. Hudson Elynuik will have some free time this week after his charging major on Friday against the Silvertips.
Here's a recap of the week.......
Weatherill helps Chiefs steal one in Kent
Dawson Weatherill stole the show and made his bid to become Spokane's No. 1 goalie after stopping 44 shots in a 3-1 win over Seattle in Kent.
Weatherill was obviously ready to go from the drop of the puck. He stopped 13 shots in the first period as Seattle peppered the 17-year-old all night. Pavel Kousal opened the scoring in the second for Spokane, beating Rylan Toth off a feed from Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
Seattle tied the score when Scott Eansor potted his first of the season 10 minutes later. The teams went into the third period tied, but didn't stay that way for long. Kailer Yamamoto scored the winner 40 seconds into the third off an assist from his brother Keanu.
That proved to be enough for Weatherill, who saved his best effort for the third period. Seattle had 19 shots in the final frame but couldn't best Spokane's newest netminder.
Chiefs drubbed after long road trip
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours from winning in Kent and after a 300-mile bus trip, Spokane got off to a great start. Anderson-Dolan scored his third of the season just 2:20 into the first.
The rest of the night, however, was pretty forgettable for the Chiefs.
Kamloops scored three times in the final 6:14 of the first and poured in three more in the second period en route to a 6-1 win. Weatherill got a second consecutive start after Tuesday's first-star performance, and came back down to earth a bit. He allowed 5 goals on 18 shots and was pulled midway through the second.
Jayden Sittler allowed a quick goal but shut the door the rest of the way. The Chiefs looked all out of sorts after the early goal and showed signs of a team that played the night before, then traveled 300 miles for another. While a 6-1 defeat should never be acceptable in this league, it was somewhat understandable given the circumstances facing the Chiefs.
Everett nips Spokane in overtime
Kailer Yamamoto had another stellar performance, but Spokane let another point slip away late in a 4-3 overtime loss to Everett.
Yamamoto scored on the power play in the second and again in the third off a juicy rebound in front to give Spokane a 2-1 lead. But the difference in this one came with just under 7 minutes left. Spokane forward Hudson Elynuik was assessed a 5-minute charging major and given a game misconduct for an open-ice hit.
The Silvertips took advantage, scoring twice in 10 seconds to go from down 2-1 to leading 3-2 with only 6 minutes to play.
Looking as if the night was going to Everett, Markson Bechtold ripped a slap shot from near the faceoff dot to tie the score at 3 with just 1:08 to play. It was the first goal this season for Bechtold, who celebrated as if he'd scored in overtime of a game 7. No doubt he was excited to get his first of the season.
But in overtime Patrick Bajkov took a feed from former Chief Dominic Zwerger in front and beat Jayden Sittler for the ‘Tips victory.
Portland outlasts Spokane in shootout
Spokane wrapped up a busy week with the first meeting against division rival Portland. Koby Morrisseau scored his first career WHL goal, but Caleb Jones scored the lone shootout goal and Portland defeated the Chiefs 3-2.
Morrisseau's goal came after a nice play from Logan Foster got Morrisseau the puck in front of the net and he made no mistake. Portland tied the score five minutes into the second before both teams settled in.
Each team scored in a tightly contested third period, with Curtis Miske giving the Chiefs the lead at 7:25. Cody Glass scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season to tie it with less than four minutes left.
The shootout was dominated by each goalie until Jones beat Weatherill through the five-hole after a deke to seal the win.
Elynuik suspended for hit against Everett
The Chiefs learned on Saturday that Elynuik was immediately suspended for the hit in Friday's game. At the time of this publication the league had not determined the length of his suspension. But my guess is he will miss the first 1-2 games of the Eastern Conference road trip.
I wasn't sure I would need an ‘Injury' section to this blog before November, but here we are. The Chiefs are down a number of players already due to injury, including forward Jacob McGrew, who will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Jake Toporowski is still out another few weeks with a lower-body injury. The club welcomed back Bechtold, who was week-to-week.
Spokane hosts Everett (8-1-1-0) for the second time in five days on Tuesday before the annual Eastern Conference swing gets underway. The 6-game trip begins Friday in Regina (6-0-3-0) and moves to Brandon on Saturday (3-3-2-0). The Chiefs finish the trip with four more games next week.