Both Kelowna and Seattle lost Saturday night to fall from the ranks of the unbeatens. That means the only undefeated teams remaining in the Western Conference following the second weekend of the season are Spokane and Everett.
Of course, Everett has played just two games, the fewest of any team in the conference. Not only is that a miniscule sample size, those two victories came against the two teams that didn’t make the playoffs in the Western Conference last season. So despite the Tips holding a 12-4 goal differential, we can say we have a good gauge of how Everett’s season will go.
That changes in the upcoming week. For the first time the Tips have more than one game in a week as Everett has three. All three are at home, but they’re against formidable opposition:
– On Wednesday Everett faces Kelowna, the overwhelming favorite in the B.C. Division and a team that smashed the Tips on multiple occasions last season. The Rockets have one of the league’s best defenses, along with two quality goaltenders.
– The Tips entertain Tri-City on Friday. The Americans have won 40 games in a WHL-record seven straight seasons. But they’re off to a slow start, and if there’s a game this week that looks less formidable this is the one.
– Then on Saturday those Spokane Chiefs roll into town. I’m not sure anyone thought Spokane was going to be any good this season, but the Chiefs are making a mockery of those predictions. Overage forwards Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani have put up silly numbers in four games.
So while the Tips are off to a promising start, we should have a better idea of where they currently stand in the Western Conference by this point next weekend.