If you enjoy the Spokane Chiefs-Seattle Thunderbirds rivalry, the next 6 days are for you. This is the first of 3 matchups in the next 6 days between these two teams. Tonight, the TBirds are in Spokane for this first time this season. This is the last of the US Division teams that Seattle hasn’t played yet. Both teams come into tonight having lost their last game and giving up 6 goals while doing so. Will that make this game high scoring? Here are some game day news and notes for tonight.
Seattle Thunderbirds (2-3-0-0) @ Spokane Chiefs (2-1-1-0)
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
Radio: The Fan 1090AM (Seattle) 1510AM KGA CBS Sports Radio (Spokane)
Last Saturday night, Seattle hosted their recent playoff rival, the #4 ranked Kelowna Rockets. The TBirds got out to their first strong start of the season, scoring 2 goals on their first 5 shots. However, Kelowna came right back and scored 3 goals on their first 5 shots and carried that quick scoring ability on to a 6-4 win. It was a very back and forth affair with Seattle scoring 2, Kelowna scoring 3, Seattle scoring 2 and Kelowna scoring the final 3. G Danny Mumaugh (0-1-0-0) got his first start of the season and made 27 saves in the loss. The Thunderbirds goal scorers were D Ethan Bear (PP), F Alexander True (PP), F Mathew Barzal and F Calvin Spencer.
Seattle had come into the game as the #1 penalty kill in the WHL at 94.1%. By the end of the night, the Rockets had scored 3 PP goals and now the Tbirds are 9th in the league on the PK at 83.3%.
This is the first of 10 meetings between these teams this season.
No itches, just scratches
The Chiefs have a fairly long list of injuries according this weeks WHL report: D Colton Bobyk and F’s Jacob Cardiff, Hudson Elyniuk, Adam Helewka and Mitch Lipon are all week-to-week or worse. F Blair Oneschuk is listed as day-to-day.
The TBirds list is the same as last week: F Justin Hickman is day-to-day. D Shea Theodore is injured and is rehabbing and working out with the Anaheim Ducks.
Seattle also made a roster move this week, releasing D Kevin Wolf. He has joined the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles for the rest of this season. With Theodore’s absence/injury and the departure of Wolf, that leaves the Thunderbirds with 6 healthy defensemen currently on the roster.
Keep your Windex, we want streaks
Currently, there are 5 TBirds on 2-game scoring streaks: F Mathew Barzal (1G, 4A), D Ethan Bear (1G, 2A), F Ryan Gropp (1G, 1A), D Jared Hauf (2A), and F Keegan Kolesar (1G, 2A)
Seattle has won their last 5 games in Spokane, dating back to the 2012-13 season.
F Ryan Gropp has a 7-game scoring streak vs the Chiefs. In those 7 games, Gropp has 5G and 5A, including the only goal in a 1-0 OTW in Spokane on 1/14/14.
G Taran Kozun has a personal shutout streak in Spokane vs the Chiefs of 124:16. Seattle as the visiting team has shutout Spokane for the last 127:07.
Kozun has started the last 4 games vs Spokane for the TBirds. In those 4 games, he has given up 5 goals and saved 129 of 134 shots. Kozun shutout Spokane in his first 3 games against them as a Thunderbird goalie.
F Mathew Barzal has a 3-game point streak vs Spokane including a goal in each of the last two games.
This is the third season in a row that Spokane and Seattle have played 3 games in 7 days. In the two previous occurrences, Spokane won the first 3 and Seattle won the last 3.
F Mathew Barzal 7
F Ryan Gropp 3
F Mathew Barzal 6
D Sahvan Khaira +2
F Keegan Kolesar 18
Around the division
Tri-City had 3 games in Saskatchewan since the last post. They were shutout by Moose Jaw 5-0 last Saturday, they beat Prince Albert 4-1 on Tuesday and defeated Saskatoon 5-3 last night.
Last Saturday in Everett, Portland earned their first victory of the season, winning 3-2 in overtime over the Silvertips. The Winterhawks moved on to Victoria Monday night and suffered a 6-4 loss on the island.
Finally, last Saturday, Spokane hosted Prince George and lost 6-2.
Tonight, all US Division teams are in action. Tri-City continues their road trip and they are in Regina to take on the Pats, while Portland is in Everett again for the their 4th matchup this season already.
Tomorrow, back in the Rose City for the third time this season: Thunderbirds @ Winterhawks at 700pm at the Moda Center. The next Tbirds home game is Tuesday, October 14th against Spokane. That is the first 2-for-Tuesday of the season, meaning drink and food specials for $2 and 2-for-1 ticket prices.