Spokane Chiefs win playoff opener
CHILLIWACK, B.C. – This time, the Spokane Chiefs had Lucas Gore’s number. It was 63.
But it took the Chiefs 70 minutes to get their 63rd shot Friday night and pull out a 3-2 overtime win over Gore and the Chilliwack Bruins in the first game of their best-of-7 Western Hockey League first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Ten days after the Chilliwack goalie made 77 saves in a shootout loss in Spokane, Gore turned aside 60 of the Chiefs’ first 62 shots before Darren Kramer, set up in the high slot by Collin Valcourt, collected his second goal of the night to end the marathon 10 minutes into the first overtime.
It was the Chiefs’ sixth shot of the extra period while Chilliwack did not get off a shot in OT.
The Bruins put 24 shots on Spokane goalie James Reid. But except for a 37-second span midway through the second period, when Mike Forsyth and Jamie Crooks scored, Chilliwack couldn’t get another puck past Reid.
After a scoreless first period, Kramer gave Spokane the lead 7:11 into the second period when he converted a Brenden Kichton pass with 3 seconds left in the Chiefs’ first power play.
It didn’t last long. Just 2:17 later, first Forsyth then Crooks scored for a 2-1 Chilliwack lead.
The Chiefs kept firing, and Gore and his shot-blocking teammates kept frustrating them until league goal-scoring leader Tyler Johnson connected on Spokane’s ninth shot 3:45 into a 19-shot third period to draw Spokane even.
That’s how it stayed until Kramer ended it with his fourth goal in the last four games.