The replay on the jumbo screen showed Drayson Bowman flashing a huge grin in teammate Ondrej Roman’s direction.
Bowman’s not one to typically wear his heart on his sleeve, but after the clutch goal he scored Tuesday night, he just couldn’t help himself.
The Spokane forward scored the winning goal from inside the right circle 6 minutes, 29 seconds into the third period and the Chiefs came up with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in front of 4,343 fans at the Arena to bring the best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series to 2-1 after dropping the first two games in Vancouver.
“It was just a great pass (from Roman),” Bowman said. “I said this before – I had the easy job on that one.”
The play began with a pass from Brady Calla on the right board inside the Chiefs’ offensive zone. Calla dished the puck to Roman in the slot and Roman dropped the pass back to Bowman, who one-timed a shot and scored his seventh goal of the playoffs.
“It’s obviously a really good play – (for Bowman) to score that goal,” Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter said. “All night long we made some real nice plays to either let guys loose, or give them chances on net. The guys just did a real good job of seeing the openings, finding spots and ultimately executing plays.”
Bowman also finished with two assists later in the third period, first when the Chiefs added insurance to their lead with a Justin McCrae goal and again on an empty-net goal by Mike Reddington in the final 20 seconds of the game.
Levko Koper’s power-play goal 8:20 into the first period put Spokane on the board first.
Skating with the man advantage after Vancouver’s Brendan Gallagher was called for slashing, Spokane worked its way into the offensive zone with Trevor Glass at the point.
Tyler Johnson took a shot from the left side of the net that was blocked by Giants goalie Tyson Sexsmith and the puck popped out to Glass in the left circle. Glass one-timed a shot that rebounded to the right of the net, where Koper finally got the puck past Sexsmith for his third goal of the playoffs.
It didn’t take long for the Giants to even the score.
After Ryan Letts took an elbowing penalty, Vancouver scored a power-play goal when Jonathon Blum’s shot from the right point ricocheted off McCrae’s stick and past Spokane goalie Dustin Tokarski at 10:04.
The Giants took a 2-1 lead three minutes later when they capitalized on Stefan Ulmer’s turnover in the offensive zone. Craig Cunningham got possession of the puck and carried it to the other end of the ice and passed to Lance Bouma, who redirected the pass and scored his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Jared Spurgeon forced a 2-2 tie late in the second period when a Wahl shot ricocheted off his leg and past Sexsmith.
“I think obviously we’re glad to get that first win of the series,” Sauter said. “But it’s just that – the first win.
“We’ve got to rest up and come back (today) and do the same thing.”
Chiefs 5, Giants 2
First Period—1, Spokane, Koper 3 (Glass, Johnson), 8:20 (pp). 2, Vancouver, Blum 5 (, Pierro-Zabotel), 10:04 (pp). 3, Vancouver, Bouma 5 (Cunningham), 13:08. Second Period—4, Spokane, Spurgeon 2 (Wahl), 15:17. Third Period—5, Spokane, Bowman 7 (Calla, Roman), 6:29. 6, Spokane, McCrae 3 (Bowman), 16:00. 7, Spokane, Glass 1 (Bowman), 19:40 (en).
Power-play Opp.—Vancouver 1 of 4; Spokane 1 of 3. Saves—Vancouver, Sexsmith 8-10-5—23. Spokane, Tokarski 8-6-2—16. A—4,343.