For those of you brave enough to venture out in this weather, I applaud you. For those of you who stayed home to watch on ROOT Sports, you may be smarter than the rest of us.
Me, I couldn’t get out of my driveway this morning to go to the gym. Once my son got a good path to the real world for me, my class was long over. But he’s a good kid and pizza was on me.
Now that we’re all here, the Spokane Chiefs are here tonight. According to Spokane radio man Mike Boyle, they left at 2 p.m. today. I talked to Spokane coach Don Nachbaur last night. He told me that Spokane had a foot of snow and the roads were dangerous. It took him quite a while to get home from the rink last night, and by the time he could call me back, I’d already filed my story. Glad to see they got here in one piece.
Tonight and tomorrow’s game against Kamloops are pivotal in the Western Conference standings. Spokane is too far back of the Americans to be a threat — at the moment — but they can throw a monkey wrench into their plans.
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Kamloops is up against Calvin Pickard and the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight. I’ll try and keep you posted on that game.
The Americans hold a one-point lead over the Blazers, so wins tonight and Saturday are key. If not, the Americans will head to the Central Division atop the U.S. Division, but not the Western Conference or the WHL.
Fun facts: When the Chiefs score 2 or fewer goals, they are 0-10-1-1. When they score three or more goals, they are 22-5-1-2.
Eric Comrie is in goal tonight for Tri-City, a statement that coach Jim Hiller is saving Ty Rimmer for Kamloops. Comrie has had an outstanding season, posting a 15-3-0-0 record. Connor Rankin is back in the lineup after being out since the Christmas break with an upper body injury. On the scratch list are Sam Grist, Lucas Nickles, Tyson Dallman and Lukas Walter.
Mac Engel is in goal for the Chiefs. Tanner Mort and Tyler King are on the scratch list, with either Liam Stewart or Carter Proft as the odd man out. I see both on the ice for warmups.
In the Chiefs Game Day section of my media guide, a mathematical genius wrote: "In his last five starts Mac Engel is 6-1-0-0." Wow! The new math is confusing.
The ROOT Sports TV guys are up here next to me again. Former Spokane Chief Kevin Sawyer (a frequent visitor to the penalty box in his day) and Ian Furness.
The crowd looks small, but I really can't fault people for staying safe and watching from home. I do see a few Spokane jerseys in the crowd. Maybe they had a rooter bus. I'm sure the announced attendance will be more than the butts in the seats.
Puck drops in 8.
After 1, the Americans lead 1-0 on a goal by Brian Williams. Comrie had two beautiful back-to-back saves on the Chiefs power play. The young man looks good.
The action has been fast and action packed. I'm sure there is more of that to come.
Congrats to my brother Eric and his wife Faith of Kodiak, Alaska, who welcomed baby No. 8 (this is not a typo) today — Jordan Reid. They now have three boys and five girls.
The teams just came back out. Tri-City captain Mason Wilgosh skated past the Spokane bench and Chiefs captain Darren Kramer leaned over and said something to Wilgosh. Wilgosh laughed as he skated away. I'm sure it wasn't about the weather.
Still 1-0 Tri-City here at the rink. A very aggressive game by both. Neither can convert on the power play and both goalies have played well.
Sorry folks, the last bit of this I posted Friday night decided it didn't need to post. Technology is great, but sometimes ...
To catch you up, Spokane scored three in the third for a 3-1 win to end the Americans' 13-game home win streak. You can't win them all.