Two thorns in the side of Spokane Chiefs

There have been many positives to the Spokane Chiefs' 2013-14 Western Hockey League season, which is down to 19 games following Wednesday night's game at the Arena. The two big negatives have been Spokane's record against Portland (0-7) and Seattle, which is 6-0 against Spokane (with two overtime wins) after Wednesday's 4-0 shutout. The Chiefs are 0-11-2-0 combined against Portland and Seattle, and 31-6-1-2 against the rest of the league. Read story

Nobody is too surprised about the Chiefs' struggles with Portland. After all, Spokane lost its final four regular-season games against Portland last season before being swept 4-0 in the second round of the playoffs.

But Seattle's dominance is a bit of a shock, given Spokane's 7-2-0-0 record against the Thunderbirds last season.

"This year we’ve been physical on them," said Seattle right wing Justin Hickman, Wednesday's star with his first WHL hat trick. "We’ve kept it simple and really keyed on that (Mitch) Holmberg-(Mike) Aviani line that generates a lot of offense. We try to limit their chances and play a north-south game on them."

"That team (Seattle) played last night and came on a bus over here all day," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "They had every reason to be tired, not us."

Shots on goal were close (Seattle 33-29), but the Chiefs had few legitimate chances at scoring.

"We were never in control of the puck," Nachbaur said. ... "We may not have the most skilled team, but we’ve outworked a lot of teams for our victories this year and I don’t think we worked hard tonight at all."

Here are some positives about the Chiefs' season and their upcoming schedule:

Spokane is 5-1-0-1 against Tri-City this season. The Chiefs play the Americans on Saturday in Kennewick and Feb. 15 at home.

Spokane is 6-0-1-0 against Everett this season. The Chiefs play the Silvertips on Sunday in Everett and Feb. 16 at home.

Spokane is 2-0 against the WHL's top team, Kelowna, heading in to Wednesday's game against the Rockets at the Arena.

Spokane is 9-3-0-1 against the Eastern Conference this season. The Chiefs will play Prince Albert of the Eastern Conference on Feb. 19 and Kootenay of the Eastern Conference on Feb. 21 and 22.

Spokane is 11-2 against the B.C. Division. The Chiefs will meet Kamloops of the B.C. on Feb. 23.

Once the Kamloops game is over, Spokane will have nine games left in the regular season, including three against Tri-City and two against Western Conference ninth-place Prince George.

Best yet, the Chiefs are down to just two more games with Seattle and one with Portland.


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Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick is a page designer and copy editor for the Sports section.



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