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Chiefs win opener

Koper hat trick, penalty killers spark Spokane

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – If Spokane Chiefs fans worried it might take the veterans who missed training camp a while to readjust after returning from NHL camps, they needn’t have.

Levko Koper, fresh from the Atlanta Thrashers camp, had a hat trick, scoring the Chiefs’ first three goals, and two others made offensive contributions as Spokane opened the Western Hockey League season with a 6-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.

Tyler Johnson (Minnesota Wild) had a goal and two assists and Mitch Wahl (Calgary Flames) two assists as the Chiefs overcame penalty problems to beat the Cougars.

“I’m very happy with the win,” coach Hardy Sauter said. “I thought our penalty kill did an outstanding job. Our returning players did a great job leading by example in showing our young guys what it takes to win.

“It was a very good effort.”

Prince George had eight power plays in the second and third periods, including three with a 5-on-3 advantage, but except for an Alex Rodgers power-play goal midway in the third the Chiefs’ penalty killers did their job.

David Conrad also had a goal and two assists and Blake Gal collected the Chiefs’ final goal.