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Chiefs earn home-ice edge for playoffs

The Spokane Chiefs took care of business Friday night, avoiding the need to win on the road Saturday and Sunday during the final two games of the Western Hockey League's regular season. Spokane's 6-0 win over visiting Tri-City clinched the No. 4 seed for the playoffs, and home-ice advantage over the Americans when postseason begins next week. Read story See picture story

Coach Nachbaur said the revamped playoff format (2-3-2), necessary because the Arena isn't available the last week of March, shouldn't cause much of an adjustment.

"In order to win series, you have to win on the road anyway," he said. "We knew that from Day One."

Proft played down his offensive outburst of the last two weeks.

"I think everyone sees the playoffs coming and it's time to bear down and play our best hockey of the year," he said.

Nachbaur said the Americans were missing key players because of injury, specifically defenseman Mitch Topping and center Brian Williams.

"That won't be the lineup we'll see on Friday night, I'm sure," he said.

In their previous game against Prince George, Spokane burst to a 4-0 lead after two periods and had to withstand the Cougars' torrid third period, which featured four goals in less than 8 minutes. This time, Spokane outshot Tri-City 12-5 in the final period.

"The lesson that we learned in the last game was a good one for us," Nachbaur said. "You can't take your foot off the gas. Tonight we upped the tempo. Our third period was way better than our first period."

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Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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