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Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur wasn't too thrilled with his team's performance level on Friday night, but his team did pick up two points in the standings with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Victoria Royals to remain ahead of Vancouver for fourth in the Western Conference standings.
When I asked Cole Wedman, who scored his first Western Hockey League goal in the game, what it's going to take for the Chiefs to beat the lower-end teams the same way they've been beating the high-end teams, he pointed out that the team - as a whole - needs to "manage the puck better and put the same effort in against those teams as (they) do against teams like Tri-City and Portland."
After watching the Spokane Chiefs grind out a gutsy win Saturday night against the Tri-City Americans, I woke up this morning for my usual Sunday morning read of the Sports section. When I get to my story, I can't help but focus on anything I've missed.
In case you missed it, here's Saturday's game story from the 5-3 win over the Canadian Hockey League's top-ranked team and Spokane's biggest rival.
Below you'll find extras from the game and other Chiefs notes leading into tomorrow's 2 p.m. game against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Arena. This will be the first time Spokane has hosted Seattle this season and the second time the U.S. Division teams have played each other. Spokane beat the Thunderbirds in Seattle on Jan. 7.
The Spokane Chiefs didn’t exactly erase all the bad taste from a pair of bad home losses but they took a step in the right direction.
Playing the lowly Everett Silvertips (5-21-1-5, 16 points), the Chiefs (15-9-3-2, 35) got a nifty goal from Steven Kuhn with 46 seconds in overtime to pull out a 3-2 win Wednesday night.
3 stars: 1, Kuhn. 2, Simpson. 3, Uher.
Long box below.
Bet you didn't know former Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Spurgeon is the leading scorer among blue-liners for the Minnesota Wild.
On the home front, Brenden Kichton is returned from the Team Canada camp but Dominik Uher will be headed to join the Czech Republic for the World Junior tournament. Also, Corbin Baldwin has lost the mullet.
Unconfirmed but the hot rumor around Spokane Chiefs hockey is that Tanner Mort, who has been scratched from the last five games, including tonight, has requested a trade. Other scratches are Tyler King and Carter Proft.
So Spokane Chiefs fans, would you like to work up a little outrage at the Western Hockey League?
Everett's Lucas Grayson, who received a 5-minute boarding major with 4 minutes left in the Spokane Chiefs' 8-1 pounding of the Silvertips, was given a four-game suspension today. (Took long enough, don't you think.)
Grayson road Dominik Uher into the boards as Uher was scoring the seventh goal. Uher was hurt, no question, and the way he was helped off the ice it appeared he had the famed lower body injury, no weight on his right leg. Turned out he has a famed upper body injury. He may have been out cold. Of course, we can't pin point that, that might mean a concussion and some neanderthal may try to hit him in the head when he comes back. Uher is listed as out for 2 weeks.
Does the crime fit the punishment?
Tell me. In the season opener at Tri-City, Uher gets a major and game misconduct for putting a guy into the wall. The American player barely misses a shift and Uher gets a three game suspension. When the Chiefs went back to Tri-City about 10 days ago, Blake Gal sent an American into the wall, and it looked rather innocent. That player didn't miss a shift, Gal got three games.
BTW, Friday's game in Portland, Gal's last game in street clothes, will be on KJRB, 790AM radio, instead of its usual spot.
The Spokane Chiefs scored early and often, rolling to a 6-1 win over the Victoria Royals in a Western Hockey League game Wednesday night, completing a perfect seven game homestand.
However, it was the first time since that first game the Chiefs scored first and didn’t have to come from behind in the second period or later, including three-straight third-period wins.
This time Mitch Holmberg, with his fourth goal, and Marek Kalus, his third, scored 34 seconds apart before the game was four minutes old. Later in the period Dominik Uher got his fifth and Connor Chartier his first 40 seconds apart to close out the first period to make it 4-1.
That all but assured the Chiefs of an 8-0 start at home this season, the second-best such streak in team history. Spokane started 10-0 at home a decade ago.
3 stars: 3, Brenden Kichton (2 assists). 2, Mike Aviani (2 assists). 1, Marek Kalus (2 goals)
Long box below
Spokane fell behind for the fifth straight game but this time it didn’t take a last minute rally for the Chiefs to run their winning streak to six. The Chiefs, after allowing Everett the first two goals, stormed back to defeat the Silvertips 3-2, for the seventh-straight home win to start the Western Hockey League season. Ten years ago Spokane won its first 10 games. For the second-straight game and third time in the last five, Dominik Uher scored the game winner. Steven Kuhn and rookie Liam Stewart also scored for the Chiefs.
Stars: 3, Lotz, 2, Stewart, 1, Kuhn
Long box below
For the third straight game the Spokane Chiefs entered the third period trailing and came up with a win. Friday night they scored three goals in the third period - the second straight game they've done that - to defeat the Saskatoon Blades 5-3.
Consider it a Czech-mate, with Czech Republic imports Marek Kalus and Dominik Uher providing the tying and winning goals.
Stars: 3, Connor Cox, Sas, 3 assists; 2, Mike Aviani, 2 assists; 1, Kalus.
Long box below.
For the second straight home game, the internet at the Arena kicked me off - and didn't let me back on - right at the end of a Spokane Chiefs victory. At least Saturday I got the blog done before I was stifled.
But, better late than never, Steven Kuhn set up Dominik Uher for an easy tap-in with 3:42 to play to give the Chiefs a 4-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a game they trailed 3-1 at the midway point.
3 stars: 3, Brandon's Stone, 2, Spokane's Kramer, 1, Uher.
Long box below
The Spokane Chiefs scored the last three goals to defeat the Kootenay Ice 5-2. Dominik Uher had two goals and an assist to earn first star, Tyler Johnson (above) had a goal and two assists for the second star and trade deadline pickup Cody Eakin, in his first game for the Ice, was third star. His goal in the first minute of the third period tied the game 2-2.
Spokane Chiefs, behind Dominik Uher’s hat trick and six points from acting captain Tyler Johnson, beat Kamloops 10-5. It’s the second straight trip to Spokane the Blazers give up 10. Uher and Johnson were the first two stars, Brady Gaudet, a 16-year old D-man for Kamloops, who had a hat trick in the second period, was the third star. Here is the game story, long box is below.