The Spokane Chiefs played dead-even with the Portland Winterhawks for 35 minutes during Friday night's opener of the Western Hockey League Western Conference semifinals in the Rose City. The game slipped away from the Chiefs in the final 25 minutes, done in by too many penalties, weariness from killing off power plays and Ty Rattie's natural hat trick in the third period. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series starts in 20 minutes at the Rose Garden. A split would energize the Chiefs headed in to home games Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.