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The Spokane Chiefs are hoping Monday isn’t that dreaded night that their Western Hockey League season comes to an abrupt end, and they know what they need to do to prevent that from happening.
After a loss in Game 3, the Spokane Chiefs need a win on Friday night at home to pull even with the Tri-City Americans in their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series in Western Hockey League playoff action.
Here's our game advance that is running in Friday's paper. Also, Mayor David Condon and Council President Ben Stuckart have dubbed Friday "Spokane Chiefs Hockey Day." You can read the full release here.
The Spokane Chiefs gone from having their backs against the wall, to charging forward and picking up momentum along the way - and now they're one win away from wrapping up their first-round Westen Hockey Leeague playoff series with Vancouver. We've got links and more information below.
Troy Rutkowski, Ty Rattie and Nino Niederreiter scored in the third period as the Portland Winterhawks ended the Spokane Chiefs season with a 6-3 win Molnday night at the Arena, taking the Western Conference best-of-7 finals in six games.
The Chiefs jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game but they couldn't hold off the Winterhawks, who face Kootenay in the Western Hockey League championship beginning this weekend in Portland.
Portland's Ryan Johansen, who scored in five of the six games, was MVP.
Long box below.
I slacked off Sunday, calling it a day after returning from Portland (well, I did mow the grass and attend to a few other chores). John Blanchette advanced tonight's Western Hockey League playoff Game 6 between Spokane and Portland with this column on Chiefs' captain Jared Cowen.
If the Chiefs win tonight to force a Game 7 in Portland on Tuesday it will make the fifth time in the past 6 series between these two teams Spokane won a Game 6 to force a Game 7.
Missed on deadline and travel out of Game 4: That was Levko Koper's 60th playoff game (he had a hat trick in that 8-3), a record for the Chiefs, surpassing Derek Schutz (1995-2000). Through 6 games, Koper has 293 games for Spokane, Schutz was in 411 … Matt Marantz's goal 10 seconds into the game was a Spokane record for fastest goal at the start of a game.
For updates on tonight's game, twitter.com/SRtrim
Sven Bartschi scored one goal and assisted on two others as the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs returned to form with their fourth one-goal game in the five games of their Western Hockey League playoff seriers.
The Winterhawks took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals with a 3-2 win. All three Portland wins have been by one goal.
Only Spokane's 8-3 rout on Friday in Game 4 wasn't close.
The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead 59 seconds in and that held up until Bartschi scored with 33 seconds left in the second. He assisted on two third-period goals but the Chiefs cut it back to one a minute after the Winterhawks final score. Tyler Johnson had Spokane's first goal, Mitch Holmberg had the second.
James Reid made 39 saves for the Chiefs, Mac Carruth had 40 for the Winterhawks. Ty Rattie scored the tie-breaking goal and Craig Cunningham had the game winner.
3 stars: 3, Mac Carruth. 2, Ty Rattie. 1, Sven Bartschi.
Long box below
The Western Hockey League Western Conference finals became a best of three, spread over four days, after the Spokane Chiefs hammered the Portland Winterhawks 8-3 Friday game to tie the best of 7 series 2-2.
Colin Mulvany also prouduced this slideshow, including the Chiefs celebrating their goal 10 seconds into the game.
Levko Koper scored a hat trick and Tyler Johnson and Collin Valcourt each had a goal and two assists.
Game 5 is tonight in Porltand with Game 6 in Spokane on Monday.
3 stars: 3, Darren Kramer. 2, Collin Valcourt. 1, Levko Koper.
Long box below.
Brendan Leipsic socred at7:44 of overtime to lift Portland to a 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena Wednesday night.
For the third straight game to open the WHL's Western Conference finals the Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks put on a tense show, with plenty of big saves, like James Reid stopping Ty Rattie in the first period (above).
Game 4 is here Friday with Game 5 back in Portland on Saturday.
Ryan Johansen forced the overtime by scoring with 2:14 left in regulation, his third straight game with a goal and ninth of the playoffs. Levko Koper's goal at 8:40 of the third period had put the Chiefs on top.
The Chiefs made it difficult by going 0-9 on the power play, while Portland was just 0-2.
Spokane scored first with Jared Cowen squeezing a shot past Mac Carruth at 15:07 of the first period but that only lasted 66 seconds before a defensive miscue gave Taylor Peters a breakaway for a short-handed goal.
3 stars: 3, Taylor Peters. 2, Jared Cowen. 1, Brendan Leipsac
The Portland Winterhawks are confident and the Spokane Chiefs know they'll have to bear down for Game 3 of the best-of-7 series. The game is Wednesday night at the Arena. After splitting two games in Portland, the teams will play here again Friday and hustle off to Portland for Game 5 on Saturday. Should the series go the distance, the last four games will be played in five days, with travel after each game.
The Spokane Chiefs had a delayed trip home on Monday after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Portland Winterhawks (Oregonian story) Sunday night. The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 Wednesday in the Arena. There is also a story from The Portland Tribune.
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals is tonight, with Kootenay, at home, leading Medicine Hat 2-0.
As expected the Portland Winterhawks had a lot of jump in the second game of their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series Sunday night after losing the opener of the Western Conference championship 2-1 to the Spokane Chiefs on Friday.
The Hawks took the lead for the first time in the series with a Ryan Johansen power play goal at 7:38 of the second period and that stood up for a 2-1 victory in a game where Spokane had precious few chances.
Game 3 is in Spokane on Wednesday with Game 4 at the Arena on Friday, before the teams return to the Rose Garden next Saturday for Game 5.
3 stars: 3, James Reid, 2, Craig Cunningham, 1 Mac Carruth
Long box below.
Before Easter brunch and a wet slog to the Rose Garden, which might need some beams re-enforced after Trail Blazer fans raised the roof during the NBA comeback yesterday, a short hockey offering.
The Spokane Chiefs expect the Winterhawks to come out flying tonight in Game 2 of the WHL's Western Conference championship after the visitors won the first game 2-1 on Friday. Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune has a lot from the Hawks, who lost the opener last series at home then won three straight, including two in Kelowna.
Marek Kalus (12), who played one game in the first round of the playoffs, and Brady Brassart (15, celebrating above), who hadn't played since the first game of the last series, combined for a goal on their first shift, 2:11 into the game, that kick-started the Spokane Chiefs to a 2-1 win over Portland in the first game of the best of 7 series at the Rose Garden Friday night.
Levko Koper scored a lovely power play goal at 4:25 of the second period - all five Chiefs touched the puck in the 8 seconds after the faceoff - but otherwise it was a dominating defense and James Reid being spectacular in goal.
With that 2-0 lead entering the third period, the Chiefs refused to let up, out-shooting the Winterhawks 17-10 to make it 43-28 for the game. But Portland didn't fold, but they also didn't solve Reid, who made 27 saves. The Winterhakws got on board when they pulled goalie Mac Carruth, Ryan Johansen scoring with 24 seconds left.
Game 2 is here Sunday night.
3 stars: 1, James Reid, 2, Mac Carruth, 3, Jared Cowen
Long box below
The Spokane Chiefs will open the Western Conference finals at Portland Friday night without leading scorer Tyler Johnson as he serves a one-game suspension, the Western Hockey League announced Wednesday afternoon.
Johnson was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a knee-on-knee hit with Brendan Shinniman of Tri-Cities on Tuesday night. The Americans, leading 1-0 at that point, scored on the power play and took a 3-0 lead into the third period.
The Chiefs rallied for four straight goals and eventually won the game 5-4 in overtime to win the best-of-7 series 4-2. Here is our story, the story from The Tri-City Herald and columnist John Blanchette's take.
"That’s as good of victory as I’ve been involved in in junior hockey," said Spokane coach Don Nachbaur, a former WHL player, who is coaching is in his 13th season coaching in the league. "Being three goals down and coming back against a good team like that is a testament to their character."
The Chiefs won the last two games of their first-round series with Chilliwack without Johnson, who had 115 points and led the league with 53 goals, when he was injured in Game 3.
Meanwhile, the WHL made it official, Chilliwack is relocating to Victoria.
After one of their most amazing comebacks in memory, Levko Koper (25 above, celebrating in the Colin Mulvany photo) gave the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 series clinching win over the Tri-City Americans 6:39 into overtime Tuesday night, bringing a crowd of 6,083 to their feet in the Arena.
The Chiefs head to Portland for the Western Conference Finals beginning Friday.
Fighting to stay alive, the Americans showed much more life than the Chiefs, building a 3-0 lead after two periods but Spokane came back with three goals in the first 3:13 of the third period to tie the game.
3 stars: Patrick Holland, TC; 2, Kenton Miller. 1, Koper
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Blake Gal stepped out of the penalty box and into Spokane Chiefs' lore, scoring 4:57 into overtime to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 win and 3-2 series lead over the Tri-City Americans Sunday night.
Game 6 is in Spokane Tuesday night with Game 7, if necessary, on Wednesday.
Seconds after a James Reid glove save saved the Chiefs, the Chiefs broke out and Dominik Uher found Gal down the left wall, where he snapped off a shot that gave them command of the series.
3 stars: 3, Patrick Holland, tC; 2, Jared Cowen, Spo, 1, James Reid, Spo.
Long box below.
Desperation seems to be the buzz word for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans as they head into Game 5 tonight tied 2-2 in their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series. A come-from-behind win in double overtime gave the Americans renewed confidence. For long-time Chiefs fans, the name Terry Ryan may be haunting.
Tyler Schmidt's shot from the point 2:32 into the second overtime made it through a crowd in front of the Spokane goal and gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 win over the Chiefs Thursday night in Tri-City.
The Ams evened the best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series with the Spokane Chiefs 2-2 by overcoming a 2-0 deficit with a three-goal second period before 3,888 fans at the Toyota Center.
Game 5 is back here on Sunday with Game 6 in Spokane on Tuesday.
Spokane goalie James Reid prolonged the game with 1:24 left in the first overtime when he stopped Brendan Shinniman on a penalty shot.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Steve Kuhn's power play goal late in the first period and Tyler Johnson's short-handed goal early in the second. Three straight goals in the second period and goalie Drew Owsley rescued the Americans.
Patrick Holland scored on the same power play Johnson scored on, then Kruise Reddick and Braden Shinniman connected to put the Ams up 3-2. They out-shot the Chiefs 15-9 in the second period, ending a nine-period stretch of failing to reach double figures.
With the way Owsley played it looked like that may hold up until Johnson scored a power play goal with 7:43 left in regulation.
3 stars: 3, Drew Owsley. 2, Tyler Johnson. 1, Tyler Schmidt.
Long box below. Here is the story.
The Spokane Chiefs put the clamps on the Tri-City Americans, regaining the home-ice advantage in the best of-7 Western Hockey League series with a 4-1 win at the Toyota Center in Kennewick Tuesday game.
The Chiefs, leading the series 2-1, stay here for a game Thursday night with Game 5 back here on Sunday.
Dominik Uher gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead about 90 seconds in, snapping a high, hard wrist shot past Drew Owsley. A couple of rebound goals a few minutes apart midway through the second period made it 3-0. Blake Gal got the first one on a power play, off a Corbin Baldwin shot from the point. Kento Miller got the second, banging in a rebound off a Levko Koper shot set up by Anthony Bardaro.
The Americans had a flurry after that but only Neal Prokop's slap shot from the left circle got past James Reid.
The Chiefs had too many great chances to count in out-shooting the Americans 41-21 before Darren Kramer iced it with less than 3 minutes remaining.
The three-stars. 3, Prokop; 2, Jared Cown. 1, Gal
Short box below. Here is the story.
With the Spokane Chiefs gone for a week - if not for the season - with soft-pedaled today's Western Hockey League playoff game at Tri-City. The Chiefs, tied with the Americans 1-1 in their best-of-7 second-round series, play in Tri Thursday and Sunday as well. They have to win one to regain home ice, but they need more since the Ams proved in Game One they can win in Spokane. Game 6, if necessary, is at the Arena next Tuesday.
As the host newspaper, the Tri-City Herald had a bigger advance … and note that TC defenseman Tyler Schmidt was suspended for tonight's game because of a game misconduct last game … and the Chiefs were fined $250 because the player Schmidt hit, Darren Kramer, went to the TC lockerroom, opened the door and confronted Schmidt. … Don't know the exact details of that but there was a WHL official at the game, so it apparently wasn't as serious as the Americans made it out to be after the game, but wasn't a nothing incident as the Chiefs hinted.
One more thing … Chilliwack. The Bruins is movin' … and it hasn't been a pretty process. You've got to question the league and the owners in this situation.
UPDATE: Monday morning, computer issues kept us from linking Sunday night.
The Spokane Chiefs rebounded from a disappointing opener, cashing in on three of five power plays, to whip the Tri-City Americans 6-2 Sunday night and even their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series 1-2.
The next three games are in Kennewick Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Spokane came out of the first period with a 2-1 lead on a pair of Mitch Holmberg goals. Then in the second it was Matt Marantz, Kevko Koper and Steve Kuhn.
The Americans pulled Drew Owsley and put in 15-year recent Bantam signee Eric Comrie for the third period. Justin Fester scored for the Americans but then Tyler Johnson got that back. Holmberg, Koper and Johnson had power play goals.
Three stars: 3, Tyler Johnson. 2, Jared Cowen. 1, Mitch Holmberg
Long box below.
A couple of first period goals where James Reid couldn't control the puck and his defense wasn't there to bail him out cost the Spokane Chiefs in their West Hockey League playoff game with the Tri-City Americans.
Kruise Reddick and Brendan Shinniman took advantage and then Jordan Messier added a goal midway through the third period to give the Americans a 3-1 win in the best-of-7 opener at the Arena. Game 2 is tonight in the Arena.
The Chiefs out-shot the Americans but struggled to get the puck past Drew Owsley, who ddin't have to make a lot of specular plays. Steve Kuhn had the Spokane goal late in the first period.
Though Reid gave up those early goals he also stopped a third period penalty shot by Carter Ashton.
Three stars: 3, Reddick; 2, Kuhn; 1, Owsley.
Long box below.
For those of you not streaking into the Arena for Game One of the Western Hockey League second-round playoff series, there were advances today for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans. Hope the series is as good as the participants are expecting.
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans jump into action on Saturday at the Arena. As the game nears, we took a quick look back at their classic 2008 series, which still has a few participants preparing for the next champion.
A little bit of Spokane Chiefs news as the second-round playoff series with Western Hockey League rival Tri-City nears.
First, I draw your attention to this artcile on former Chief Kurt Sauer that we ran in the newspaper on Thursday. It's quite a sad tale.
The best-of-7 playoff series begins Satuday at the Arena, with game 2 on Sunday (1 hr. early faceoff, 6 p.m.). Games 3-4-5 are next week in Tri on Tuesday, Thursday and, if necessary, Sunday again. Games 1 & 4 are on SWX.
Saturday's game is Buck Night for dogs and cola. Fans will be given a white towel and are encouraged to wear white both nights for a White Out.
Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald had a chat with a star from both teams who played youth hockey together.
The Spokane Chiefs, without their leading scorer, jumped to a 3-0 lead after one period and held on for a 4-2 win over the chilliwack Bruins Thursday night, to open a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Western Hockey League playoff series. Game 5 is at the Arena Saturday night.
Stars: 3, Robin Soudek, Chil; 2, Corbin Baldwin, Spo; 1, Mike Aviani, Spo. Lonx box below.
Kevin Sundher scored the last two goals of the game, the second 3:20 into overtime, to rally the Chilliwack Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday night at the Arena.
The Bruins shocked the 4,737 fans by rallying from a 3-0 deficit entering the third period. Lucas Gore made 54 saves for Chilliwack.
The Western Hockey League playoff series is now 2-1 for Spokane with Game 4 tonight and Game 5 Saturday at the Arena.
We also have a Colin Mulvany slideshow from the game - the picture above is when Tyler Stahl sent Tyler Johnson to the ice late in the second period. Stahl received a game misconduct, Johnson sat out the third period and is questionable for tonight's game.
3 stars: 3, Anthony Bardaro, Spokane; 2, Lucas Gore, Chilliwack; 1, Kevin Sundher.
Long box below.
There is an open debate, read on.