Don Nachbaur has his own way of pointing out that you reap what you sow.
“Since the (Christmas) break we have played two really good games and two mediocre games,” the Spokane Chiefs’ head coach said. “It comes down to consistency. The last two games we played, we didn’t compete hard enough to win – so in essence, we got exactly what we deserved.”
The Chiefs (17-13-2-3) are hoping to end their two-game slide and stay perfect against the Western Hockey League’s East Division when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors (24-11-4-1) tonight at the Arena.
The Chiefs have done well on home ice this season, and they’ve also fared well against East teams – but that doesn’t guarantee anything against a tough opponent tonight.
The Warriors lead the East Division standings and trail Edmonton by three points for the Eastern Conference lead.
“We have to be prepared for a really good team,” Nachbaur said. “They’re big, they’re quick, and they’re solid throughout their lineup.”
The Chiefs also have to be prepared for a grueling month. Not only do they play 15 games in the month of January – they also go head-to-head within the U.S. Division several times and have the opportunity to move up in the standings.
“If we are going to make a move we have to have a good showing this month,” Nachbaur said. “For us it comes down to showing up and competing. We are a younger team, so we rely on our older guys for leadership.
“We have to manufacture our goals the old-fashioned way – with hard work.”
Czech Republic places fifth
Spokane Chiefs forward Dominik Uher and the Czech Republic finished fifth at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships after a 5-2 win over Slovakia on Wednesday night in Calgary, Alberta.
Uher, who scored once and recorded an assist on Wednesday, finished the tournament with a goal and two assists in six games.
The Chiefs’ center, a fifth-round pick by Pittsburgh in last summer’s NHL Draft, missed Spokane’s last five games while playing in the tournament. In 26 games this season, Uher has 11 goals and 11 assists.
Nachbaur hopes the 19-year-old will be back and ready for tonight’s game, but wasn’t certain as of Thursday evening.
Memorial Cup memories
It comes as no surprise – following the success of Spokane’s 2008 Memorial Cup championship – that many of the former Chiefs are now playing professional hockey. Five of those players have made it to the NHL.
Defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk are playing full time with the Minnesota Wild, 2008 leading scorer Drayson Bowman is with the Carolina Hurricanes and Jared Cowen is finding success on the Ottawa Senators’ blue line.
Goalie Dustin Tokarski, who has been called up a few times to play with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Spokane native Tyler Johnson are teammates once again – this time in Norfolk (American Hockey League).
Also playing in the AHL are former captain Chris Bruton, forwards Judd Blackwater, Ondrej Roman and Mitch Wahl, and defenseman Jace Coyle.
Post Falls native Tanner Mort remains sidelined with an upper body injury. … Nachbaur, the reigning WHL Coach of the Year, is four wins shy of 500 career victories. … Marek Kalus has three goals and six points in his last five games.
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