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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Chiefs continue up-and-down ride

The streaky Spokane Chiefs are on the downside of their two-month ride. Read story

The first two months of the Western Hockey League season, the Spokane Chiefs tended to alternate wins and losses, never falling into big ruts or taking off on hot streaks. They reached mid-November with a record of 9-7-3-0.


In the two months since, Spokane has transformed into an up-and-down team, playing a Jekyll and Hyde game that makes them difficult to peg. The Chiefs had a five-game winning streak from Nov. 21-29, followed by a five-game losing streak from Nov. 30-Dec. 7. Five nights later, they began a seven-game winning streak that culminated on Dec. 31 with a 10-2 win at Tri-City that gave them a record of 21-12-3-0. The turning of the calendar has been cruel, as the Chiefs are 2-7-0-1 in 2015, including a five-game losing streak following Saturday's 2-0 loss against visiting Tri-City.


"The little bit of skid we have going here, it's not helpful that the schedule (four straight road games) was tough," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "But we have injuries that are taking a toll on us, to be sure, because we played five deep tonight (Saturday) the whole game."


The Chiefs have been outscored 13-1 in their last three games, including 9-0 by Tri-City. Before this slump, Spokane had scored three or more goals in five consecutive games.


"At the end of the day, we have to find ways," Nachbaur said. "We have to find ways to score, getting to the net, getting more pucks to the net. Little things, but we've paid the price for turnovers (lately) and it continues."


Saturday was a rare Chiefs-Americans encounter with just two penalties called in the game. When the teams met Jan. 17 in Kennewick, Spokane was whistled for 11 infractions and Tri-City seven.


"I thought more (penalties) could have been called (Saturday), but, hey, each team had a power play and we didn't get it done," Nachbaur said. "We had a great look at the back side and the goalie (Evan Sarthou) made a great save.


"When we needed to make a play, we didn't make a play. We didn't execute. In the third period we gave away a goal, a mistake, and hockey's full of mistakes. But they capitalized on their mistake."


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

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