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Chiefs begin season with strong effort

True, true, true: It's just one game. But would you rather begin your season with a 6-2 win or a 6-2 loss? The Spokane Chiefs did the former, not the latter, as their 2013-14 Western Hockey League season began in grand style Saturday night in Kennewick. Read story

Here are a few comments overheard from Tri-City Americans fans during Saturday's 6-2 Chiefs win:

"Well, we're going to be really good in two years."

"We better not play like that many more times this season."

"It's just one game out of 72."

It's probably not wise to read too much out of season openers, but before the season began the Chiefs wondered if they would struggle on offense.

Here's what they got on Saturday: Mitch Holmberg, three goals, one assist; Connor Chartier, Liam Stewart and Mike Aviani, one goal and one assist apiece; Adam Helewka and Jason Fram, two assists apiece; and Colton Bobyk, Adam Hascic and Reid Gow, one assist apiece.

So veterans carried the load and some rookies (Hascic and Bobyk) followed their leads. Rookie right wing Jacob Cardiff was also in the starting lineup.

"I think a lot of the kids were unaccustomed to the environment, the big crowd," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "They were tentative, but our vets really settled them down."

They needed to be calm with a large crowd (5,255) of Americans fans who have no affection for Chiefs players. "It’s such a battle between the two teams," Holmberg said. "I don’t think it gets old, it just gets to the point where you start to know each other better. And that’s a good thing and a bad thing."

The effort came against a solid goalie in Tri-City's Eric Comrie, who is coming back from an injury. Speaking of goalies, Nachbaur credited Spokane's Eric Williams with nice saves and said the defense protected him well.

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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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