March 15, 2011 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Spokane Chiefs
Maintaining their flair for the dramatic, the Spokane Chiefs will be taking the U.S. Division race down to the final week of the regular season for the third time in four years. Their shootout win over the Kootenay Ice on Saturday night helped Spokane equal their season long winning streak at seven games.
Four games, two at home and two on the road, is all that remain for Spokane including a potential Division deciding game on Sunday night in Portland. Spokane trails the Winterhawks, who also have four games left, by a point.
The Chiefs will host the Chilliwack Bruins on Wednesday night and Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday before travelling to Tri-City and Portland on Saturday and Sunday.
After 68 games the only thing that has been decided for Spokane is that they will finish in either first or third place in the Conference.
Not one playoff match-up has been set in the Western Conference as four teams will go into the week battling for the last two playoff spots. There are six teams that Spokane could potentially play in the first round.
Kelowna will finish second in the conference by virtue of their 85 points and B.C. Division title. The Western Conference, made up of the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, reserve the top two spots in the playoffs for division leaders.
NEWS AND NOTES
MILESTONES...With their 4-3 shootout victory over the Kootenay Ice on Saturday night the Chiefs reached the 45 win plateau for the fourth straight year and for the eighth time in franchise history. Spokane's 96 points are the fifth most in franchise history.
TWENTY SOMETHING...Three more Chiefs joined the 20-goal club over the weekend with Anthony Bardaro, Blake Gal and Dominik Uher all reaching the mark. It gives the Spokane seven with 20 goals with two others, Jared Cowen and Matt Marantz, with 18. The franchise record for most players with 20 goals in a single season is eight set in 1995-96.
CHIEFS ADD CHARTIER...The Chiefs have added 16-year-old forward Connor Chartier to their roster. The Calgary native was Spokane's second round pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. In 34 games with the UFA Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League he recorded 18 goals and 38 points. He added another 11 points in eight playoff games.
BRING YOUR GREEN HAT...The Spokane Chiefs have won seven in a row, tied for their longest of the season, and have won 13 of their last 15 games.
JOHNNY B GOOD...Tyler Johnson's 51 goals are tied with Travis Green for the ninth most in franchise history and his 60 assists are the 12th most in a single season. He is also tied with Maxim Bets for seventh most points in a single season in Spokane history. Johnson signed a three-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. He has six goals and 13 points in his last six games. Johnson became the first Chief since the 1993-94 season to record 100 points in a season. He is second in the league with 111 points, which includes his league leading 51 goals. The 20-year-old had a career high 17 game point scoring streak snapped on February 4th at Tri-City. Johnson had 15 goals and 18 assists in the streak. He was named the WHL Player of the Week on January 24th (two goals and eight assists in four games) and the December Player of the Month (11 goals and 22 points in 11 games). Johnson is now eighth all-time in franchise history in goals scored with 126 and scoring with 278 points. Johnson has points in 55 of 67 games and multiple points in 36 of them. Johnson won a gold medal last year with the United States at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
IN YOUR KICHTON...Brenden Kichton has 10 goals and 13 assists in his last 14 games. His 78 points are the second most all-time by a Chiefs' defenseman and his 23 goals are third all-time. He is the first Chief defenseman since '93-'94 and just the fourth in franchise history to score 20 goals in a single season. Kichton is second in the league in scoring amongst defensemen. He also leads the league with a +56. Kichton has scored two goals in a game six times this season, the last time on February 19th at Tri-City. Kichton attended the Detroit Red Wings' Prospect's Camp. In 70 games last year he had 4-15-19 and was +14.
CAPTAIN COWEN...Chiefs' Captain Jared Cowen has two goals and six points in his last six games. Cowen was +6 in a 7-2 win over Everett on February 16th. Cowen has set career highs with 18 goals, 29 assists and 47 points in 54 games this season. In his four year career, Cowen has played 236 games, scored 37 goals and 118 points and is a cumulative +112, including +42 this year. He became just the third defenseman in franchise history to record three goals in a game when he had a hat-trick against Kamloops in a 10-1 win on November 24th. Cowen became the second Chief to win two medals at the World Junior Hockey Championships when Canada won their second straight silver medal. Bryan McCabe won two gold medals in the early '90's. In seven games at the tournament, Cowen was +4 with one goal. Ottawa made Cowen their first round pick, 10th overall, in 2009. Cowen is a former first overall selection in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft.
D-FENCE...In 65 games Spokane has allowed just 2.69 goals per game, the lowest average in the Western Conference and second best in the WHL.
ON THE OFFENSIVE...The Chiefs are the second highest scoring team in the WHL averaging 4.31 goals per game. They have scored five or more goals 26 times this year and have hit double digits four times, including January 15th's 11-2 win over Kootenay in the Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic at Avista Stadium.
ALL ENGELS...Mac Engel has won his last seven starts. He was named the WHL's Goaltender of the Month for February as he posted a 9-2-0-0 record with two shut-outs, a 1.83 GAA and .930 save percentage. In his last 10 starts he is 9-1-0-0 with a 1.40 GAA, a .945 save percentage and two shutouts. He is now second in the WHL with 2.39 goals-against average.
REID'S RECORD...James Reid is first all-time in franchise history with 83 career wins. He surpassed Dustin Tokarski's mark of 77 on January 18th in Chilliwack. Reid is fourth in the WHL in goals against average at 2.55. He has four shutouts this season, including back-to-back shutouts on December 18th and 28th. He became just the fourth goaltender in franchise history to accomplish that feat. His 13 career shutouts are also second all-time. Reid had an eight game winning streak snapped on December 15th in overtime against Seattle. In 2009-10, Reid led the WHL with 38 wins, was fourth in goals against average at 2.41 and third with a .920 save percentage. Reid was named the WHL Player of the Month for November, 2009.
KUHN IT UP...Steve Kuhn has seven goals and 14 points in his last 20 games. Kuhn recorded his first career hat-trick on January 29th at home against the Tri-City Americans. He has 10 goals and 22 points in his last 28. Kuhn has played in 212 consecutive games in his three year career. The 19-year-old has scored nine goals each of the past two years.
KOPER'S CORNER...Levko Koper has one goal and nine points in his last seven games. Koper recorded his second hat trick of the year in a 7-2 win at Everett on February 16th. Koper now has a career high 32 goals. The 20-year-old had four assists on February 12th in a 7-2 win over the Tri-City Americans. He had a seven game point streak snapped on January 28th. In the stretch, Koper had seven goals and 11 points. The 20-year-old has appeared in 326 career games, third all-time in franchise history. Koper played in his 300th career game on January 15th outdoors at Spokane's Avista Stadium. He now has scored 97 career goals, 18th in Chiefs history, and 225 career points, 15th. He recorded a career high six points, two goals and four assists, in an 11-1 win over Regina on October 30th. He was a seventh round selection of Atlanta in 2009. He also was named Team WHL's Player of the Game in the Subway Super Series with a goal in a 2-1 win over Russia on November 25th, 2009.
KILLER DUDE...Spokane has the number one penalty killing unit in the WHL with a kill of 87.2%. In their last 15 games the Chiefs are 51-58 on the penalty kill 140-158 (88.6%) on the penalty kill in the last 25 games.
GOOD TO BE UHER...Dominik Uher has four goals and six assists in his last seven games. Uher had a 10 game point scoring streak snapped on January 26th with six goals and 17 points. Uher has scored 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points in his next 52 games. Uher recorded his first career hat trick in a 10-5 win over Kamloops on December 11th.
MARANTZ MENTIONS...Matt Marantz had a career high four points, one goal and three assists, on January 15th in an 11-2 win over Kootenay. The second year forward has three goals and seven assists in his last 11 games. He also has 17 goals and 39 points this season in 64 games. In 40 games last year he had two goals and five points.
SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS...The Chiefs recorded a season high 64 shots on December 11th, a 10-5 win over Kamloops. The Chiefs have had more than 50 shots on goal seven times, including back to back games in February; 58 on February 13th at Seattle and 53 on February 16th in Kelowna. Their last 50 shot effort came on March 8th in a 4-2 win over Everett. On average, Spokane has outshot the opponent 38.8-26.3. Both numbers lead the league in average per game.
KOSMO...Darren Kramer's 297 penalty minutes lead the WHL. Kramer scored a goal and had five penalty minutes in his first career game in a Chiefs sweater on October 6th in a 4-3 shootout win over Kamloops.
NHL...Jared Cowen (1st, Ottawa, 2009), Levko Koper (7th, Atlanta, 2009), Tyler Johnson (Free Agent, Tampa Bay, 2011)
INJURY REPORT... Mitch Holmberg (illness, week-to-week)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16TH
vs. CHILLIWACK BRUINS
RADIO- AM 1510 KGA
Spokane will host the Chilliwack Bruins for the second time this season in their fourth and final meeting of the year. The Chiefs are 2-1 on the season against the Bruins including a 5-3 win on January 28th in the Spokane Arena. Five different players scored goals as Spokane was 2-8 on the power play and outshot Chilliwack 43-23. Levko Koper scored two goals and Brenden Kichton had four assists in the Chiefs 6-1 win on January 18th. Chilliwack picked up a 2-1 win in the first meeting on October 5th. In their first three games the Chiefs are 5-18 (27.8%) on the power play and 12-14 (85.7%) on the penalty kill. On average the Chiefs are outshooting the Bruins 36.0-22.7.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18TH
vs. SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS
RADIO- AM 1510 KGA
The Chiefs play Seattle for their ninth and final match-up on the season. Spokane finished the season in Seattle with a 3-1-0-1 record and have a 1-1-1-0 record in the Arena. The Thunderbirds have accounted for Spokane's last two losses as Seattle has won the last two games, 3-1 on February 13th and 5-1 on February 23rd. Spokane put 58 shots on the board on the 13th and 40 on the 23rd. In their last win on February 5th, the Chiefs outshot Seattle 59-27, went 4-8 on the power play and 6-6 on the penalty kill in a 5-1 win. Mitch Holmberg had two goals and Tyler Johnson had a goal and two assists in the win. He had a hat trick on December 29th in an 8-2 win. The night before James Reid made 29 saves in a 2-0 win in Kent. Each team won on the road in games on December 14th and 15th with the Chiefs earning an 8-2 win on the 14th as eight different players scored. Seattle overcame a three goal deficit on the 15th to win 5-4 in overtime in Spokane. Seattle earned a 2-1 shootout win in their first meeting of the season on November 19th in Kent, WA. Spokane outshot the Thunderbirds 49-26. Johnson has seven goals and 12 points in eight games and Brenden Kichton has two goals, eight points and is +5. On average the Chiefs have outshot the Thunderbirds 46.4-27.4 and outscored them 3.75-2.50. Spokane is 8-37 (21.6%) on the power play and 32-35-25 (91.4%) on the penalty kill.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH
at TRI-CITY AMERICANS
RADIO- AM 1510 KGA
The Chiefs will travel to Tri-City for the 12th and final meeting of the year. The Chiefs have won the last five meetings after losing three in a row. Their win on March 11th locked up the season series between the two. The season started when the Americans defeated Spokane on September 25th 6-3. Mitch Holmberg scored an overtime winner for Spokane on October 2nd in the Chiefs home opener. The final was 6-5 as Holmberg and Blake Gal both had two goals. Spokane was 2-5 on the power play and 3-5 on the penalty kill. Spokane also earned a win on November 13th in the Arena with a 5-0 decision. James Reid stopped 20 shots and five different players scored goals. Tri-City scored four goals in the first period on November 20th on their way to an 8-3 win over the Chiefs. Steven Kuhn recorded a hat-trick on January 29th in a 5-4 loss to the Americans. Spokane was 3-5 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill. The Americans also earned a 5-2 win over Spokane on February 4th. Blake Gal and Jared Cowen, shorthanded, had the Spokane goals. Spokane earned a 7-2 win on February 12th as Brenden Kichton (one goal, three assists) and Levko Koper (four assists) each had four point nights. Spokane was 4-7 on the power play and 6-6 on the penalty kill. The Chiefs won a 6-2 decision on February 19th. Johnson and Kichton each had two goals and an assist. Five different players scored in a 5-1 win on February 21st. Spokane was 5-5 on the penalty kill. Dominik Uher had two goals and Johnson two assists in a 3-1 Spokane win on February 26th. Tri-City had just two penalty minutes, the Chiefs had six. Tyler Johnson and Blake Gal each had two goals in a 5-1 victory on March 11th. Johnson has 10 goals and 19 points in 10 games and Levko Koper has four goals and 14 assists in 11 games. Tyler Johnson has eight goals and eight assists. Spokane is 19-55 (34.5%) on the power play and 51-59 (86.4%) on the penalty kill. In its 22nd year of existence the Chiefs lead the series 139-118-1-5 with 13 ties.
SUNDAY, MARCH 20TH
at PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS
RADIO- AM 1510 KGA
Spokane will play the Winterhawks in the final game of the regular season, their ninth match-up of the year. The Chiefs are 4-3-1-0 versus Portland, Spokane, 2-3-0-0 at home and 2-0-1-0 on the road. Portland has won the last two games after Spokane picked up wins in four straight. The Winterhawks scored the most goals against Spokane this year in their last games, a 10-5 win on February 9th. Prior to that they won 6-5 in overtime on January 23rd. The Winterhawks scored with 36-seconds remaining in overtime. Brenden Kichton had two goals and Tyler Johnson, three assists for the Chiefs. Spokane won the previous four meetings, including a 4-3 win on January 12th in Portland. Dominik Uher and Tyler Johnson each had a goal and assist. The Chiefs also had a 9-3 win on December 8th. Brenden Kichton led eight different goal scorers as Spokane was 4-7 on the power play. Spokane also won a 4-3 decision on December 4th in the Arena. Spokane outshot the Hawks 49-29 as Steven Kuhn had two goals. Kichton had a pair of assists. The Chiefs scored three first period goals en route to a 3-1 win on November 21st in Portland. Blake Gal, Anthony Bardaro and Kenton Miller all had goals for the Chiefs. Gal and Bardaro scored seven seconds apart to tie a record for fastest goals in franchise history. Portland won the first two meetings this year by one goal, 3-2 on October 8th and 2-1 on the 9th. On average, the Chiefs are outshooting Portland 41.4-29.3. The Chiefs are 8-53 (15.1%) on the power play and 37-40 (92.5%) on the penalty kill with two shorthanded goals.