The Spokane Chiefs will open the Western Conference finals at Portland Friday night without leading scorer Tyler Johnson as he serves a one-game suspension, the Western Hockey League announced Wednesday afternoon.
Johnson was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a knee-on-knee hit with Brendan Shinniman of Tri-Cities on Tuesday night. The Americans, leading 1-0 at that point, scored on the power play and took a 3-0 lead into the third period.
The Chiefs rallied for four straight goals and eventually won the game 5-4 in overtime to win the best-of-7 series 4-2. Here is our story, the story from The Tri-City Herald and columnist John Blanchette's take.
"That’s as good of victory as I’ve been involved in in junior hockey," said Spokane coach Don Nachbaur, a former WHL player, who is coaching is in his 13th season coaching in the league. "Being three goals down and coming back against a good team like that is a testament to their character."
The Chiefs won the last two games of their first-round series with Chilliwack without Johnson, who had 115 points and led the league with 53 goals, when he was injured in Game 3.
Meanwhile, the WHL made it official, Chilliwack is relocating to Victoria.