Another Spokane Chiefs season ended Thursday night as the Victoria Royals wrapped up a 4-0 sweep of the Western Hockey League first-round series with a 4-2 win at the Arena. Read story
The Chiefs didn't go out with a whimper, setting aside Wednesday's poor performance in Game 3 to give the Royals all they could handle. Spokane recorded the first eight shots on goal of the game and was never outshot (the second period was 7-all) in any period.
"They have some high-end players and they’re a big, physical team and in the process maybe wore us down a little bit," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "But I’m proud of my guys. We had a heck of a season."
Spokane won three of four games from the Royals during the regular season, but Victoria came into the series with confidence.
"We can play with who we need to play with in the league and I think we had a good mindset coming into this series," said Royals defenseman Jordan Fransoo, who had one goal and one assist in the decider. "I think we executed our game plan well."
The Royals consistently responded in the series whenever the Chiefs had a positive moment. Thursday's example came when Ben Walker scored 20 seconds after Spokane had tied the game at 1 late in the first period.
"We score a goal, then let the guard down and they come right back," Nachbaur said.
Fransoo gave the Chiefs credit for forcing overtime in Games 1 and 2 in Victoria by scoring both times in the third period. He said the Royals normally put teams away this season when they held a third-period lead.
Fransoo was also surprised by the sweep.
"I definitely didn’t predict that," he said. "I had confidence in our team, but I thought it would take us a couple of more games, for sure."
"You never want to be out in the first round and you never want to go through losing four straight, but I thought the guys were competitive tonight and they gave it their all," Nachbaur said.
"It’s a tough way to go," said right wing Mitch Holmberg, who played his last game with Spokane. … "It’s a memory that I’m never going to lose. These were special years in Spokane and I’m never going to forget them and I didn’t want them to end."