Arrow-right Camera

Sports

Chiefs, Americans will go the distance Wednesday

By the end of tonight, Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur – one way or another – will be able to exhale, and it will finally become clearer how the West will be won.

The best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series between the Chiefs and rival Tri-City Americans – who have been treating Western Hockey League fans to a back-and-forth postseason battle the past two weeks – will wrap up tonight with Game 7 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

“I’ve been holding my breath this entire series,” Nachbaur said following Monday night’s Game 6, which the Chiefs won 4-3 in overtime after rookie Liam Stewart scored just less than 10 minutes into the extra period.

All of Spokane’s three wins in the current series with Tri-City have been overtime victories, while the Americans beat Spokane 2-1 twice and 5-3 – with an empty-net goal – on Saturday night in Kennewick, which gave the Ams a 3-2 series lead.

The winner between Tri-City and Spokane will meet either the Portland Winterhawks or Kamloops Blazers, who will also play a seventh game tonight – in Portland – after the Blazers capped an improbable comeback on Monday night and rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to tie the series 3-3.

The game between the Chiefs and Americans marks the 11th time the Chiefs have played a Game 7 in the postseason and the third time the Chiefs and Americans have taken a series the distance – both of which also concluded at the Toyota Center.

In 1995 the Americans won Game 7 in overtime, while Spokane defeated Tri-City 4-1 in 2008 in the Western Conference final. Nachbaur was the Ams’ bench boss in 2008 – the year the Chiefs went on to win the WHL and Memorial Cup championships following their victory over Nachbaur and the Americans.

Game 1:     Spokane 3, T-C 2 (OT)
Game 2:           Tri-City 2, Spokane 1
Game 3:        Tri-City 2, Spokane 1
Game 4:    Spokane 3, T-C 2 (OT)
Game 5:       Tri-City 5, Spokane 3
Game 6:    Spokane 4, T-C 3 (OT)
Series tied 3-3
Tonight:       Spokane at T-C, 7:05


Top stories in Sports

Former Gonzaga forward Zach Collins makes impact as Trail Blazers rookie

UPDATED: 8:35 p.m.

Zach Collins’ rookie year with the Portland Trail Blazers was more like two seasons in one. The former Gonzaga Bulldog barely saw the floor in the first two months of the season. He averaged 3.8 minutes per November game. Collins carved out a spot in the rotation in December and his playing time soared into the 14-18 minute range.