Nachbaur Makes History as Chiefs Top Thunderbirds - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Nachbaur Makes History as Chiefs Top Thunderbirds

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Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur earned his franchise-best 224th win behind the bench on Friday. Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur earned his franchise-best 224th win behind the bench on Friday.

by Chiefs Media Relations

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs woke from a two-period slumber to score four goals in the third period, earning Head Coach Don Nachbaur his franchise-best 224th win behind the bench. Nachbaur passed former Chiefs boss and current Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock on the all-time wins list.

"I don't like to pat myself on the back," Nachbaur said after the game. "I thought the guys played well down the stretch. As coaches, we set a game plan and it's on the players to execute. All the credit should go to them."

That credit could go to any number of Chiefs on Friday night. The Thunderbirds opened the scoring with goals from Mathew Barzal in the first and Scott Eansor (shorthanded) early in the second to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Spokane forward Markson Bechtold fired in his 11th goal of the season to keep his team close in the second period, beating Seattle goaltender Landon Bow to make it 2-1 heading into the second intermission.

In the final 20 minutes, the Chiefs buzzed around the ice, scoring four goals to the T-Birds' two. Spokane-native forward Keanu Yamamoto, after creating the chance for Bechtold's goal earlier, had two more assists, first on defenseman Dalton Hamaliuk's second career goal at the 1:41 mark and then on Presten Kopeck's 8th of the year at 8:42. Kopeck's goal extended his goal streak to three games.

Danish forward Nik Andersen scored his first goal since early December, sniping home a rebound opportunity from the left wing created off a Curtis Miske shot.

After Seattle's Keegan Kolesar tied the game at 3-3, the Chiefs' Dominic Zwerger capitalized on a rebound opportunity of his own, finally pushing the puck over the goal line after a wild scrum in front of the visitor's net.

Forward Ryan Gropp scored with the goalie pulled at the 18:36 mark to put some fright in the Chiefs, but the home team held on for their 23rd win of the season.

The Chiefs finished 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. Tyson Verhelst started in goal for Spokane and stopped 23 of 27 shots, while Bow finished with 20 saves on 25 shots faced.

The win puts the Chiefs within one point of both the 1st Wild Card playoff position in the Western Conference (Kamloops) as well as the 3rd Place in the U.S. Division (Portland). They currently hold a seven-point lead on Vancouver for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

Spokane retired former great and long-time NHL standout Ray Whitney's number 14 in a pre-game ceremony.

Spokane remains at home tomorrow night to face the Tri-City Americans on Washington Army National Guard Buck Night & CheerStix Giveaway at Spokane Arena. The team will wear special military-themed jerseys as part of Military Appreciation Night. 

Tomorrow night's game will be broadcast live on SWX in both the Spokane and Tri-Cities areas.

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