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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Undefeated Chiefs set for home opener

Before the Western Hockey League season began, Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur mentioned how the team's difficult early-season schedule would allow the players to bond. The Chiefs are playing eight of their first 10 games on the road, but three of those road games are already in the books as big wins for Spokane. The Chiefs will play their home opener Saturday against the Tri-City Americans, giving Spokane fans the first look at a high-powered offense that has scored six goals each game. Read story

There was a theory before the season began that the Chiefs, having lost a big chunk of offensive punch, would have to rely on their defense.


"We were concerned about whether we would score and who would do the scoring but, you know what, the team play and the hard work and the structure of our game is what led us to a lot of goals,"coach Don Nachbaur said.


The defense has done its job, Mike Aviani said.


"We have great ‘D’ who move the puck really well, and that obviously helps us forwards break out of the end really quick and get going and counter the other direction," he said.


The Chiefs' power play (7 for 14) leads the Western Hockey League.


"We’re not going to pat ourselves on the back, because a lot of it has to do with luck, but we’re creating our own luck," Nachbaur said.


Aviani said he was pleasantly surprised by the Victoria fans' appreciative response after his career-best four-goal game on Wednesday.


"It was really something to remember for me," Aviani said. "It was just a lot of fun all-around. It was just kind of bouncing my way. Just going to the net like Don instills in our team. Drive to the net hard, stick on the ice, just simple fundamentals."

Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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