The Portland Winterhawks advanced to the Western Hockey League Western Conference final by blanking the Spokane Chiefs 5-0 on Wednesday night for a 4-0 sweep of their semifinal series. Portland outscored Spokane 16-1 in the series after the teams were tied at 2 during the second period of Game 1. Read story See picture story
Nachbaur kept waiting for his offensive leaders to break through, but it never happened.
“We had too many guys that in layman's terms didn't show up,” he said.
Kichton reflected on the end of his long tenure with the Chiefs.
“It's been a good career for me and I was fortunate enough to be with some great players and have some great coaches,” he said. “That's what's really going to stick with me.”
Nachbaur saluted his departing Chiefs, Kichton, Gal and Walchuk.
“There's no question in junior hockey, your overages, they're your leaders,” he said. “They're your guys who are your go-to guys every night. In the playoffs, Blake was the guy who scored a lot for us. We needed him to do that, use his size. 'Wally' and obviously 'Kich” are unheralded guys. They were the guys who stirred the drink all year for us and they were the go-to guys. Without them, we don't win 44 games this year. Kich had an all-star year this year. They were three quality guys and it's always tough to say goodbye to those guys.”
Nachbaur didn't want his players to judge the season by the sweep.
“We can't disregard the fact that we had 44 wins this year and had more wins than we did last year. It's steps and hopefully our younger kids come back bigger and stronger next year and wiser to the game because there was a lot they had to take in this year. It's a lot different than where they came from. It's a tough league.”