It’s a best-of-3 now.
The Spokane Chiefs and Everett Silvertips meet tonight at 7:35 in Game 5 of their Western Hockey League opening-round playoff series at the Everett Events Center.
The teams are tied at 2 games apiece in the best-of-7 series, with each team winning its two home games. Game 6 will be Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Spokane Arena. Game 7, if necessary, would be Tuesday in Everett.
Each team will get a suspended player back for tonight’s game. Brandon Campos of Everett and Mitch Wahl of Spokane have each served their two-game suspensions for their fight after the final buzzer Saturday night at Everett. Spokane will still be missing Judd Blackwater, who returns Sunday.
Game 5 is often pivotal in a seven-game series in which the teams are tied at 2. Chiefs coach Bill Peters says tonight’s game is a big one.
“I expect probably the best game of the series,” Peters said. “There will be a day off for both teams to get rested and get regrouped a little bit. What both teams have done is look after home ice a little bit, but we know we have to win a game in their building to win the series.
“So, that’s our challenge. Our thought process is you might as well try to get it done and get it out of the way (today).”
The Chiefs said after Wednesday night’s 3-1 win at home that they are a confident team and don’t feel lucky to have tied the series against the top-ranked team in the WHL.
“We feel we’ve earned it,” said assistant captain Chris Bruton, who had the insurance goal in Game 2. Yet Spokane is guarding against overconfidence or getting comfortable.
“It’s good, but we can’t be too high,” said Chiefs captain Adam Hobson, who has a team-high three goals in four games. “We’ve got to keep that even keel and make sure that we finish them off.”
Hobson said the remaining three games can be seen as “must wins,” but he and his teammates are trying to not play with too much emotion.
“You can’t let all the hype get to you,” said Chiefs goalie Dustin Tokarski, who is allowing 2.45 goals per game with a save percentage of .909. “You’ve just got to play simple and smart and play it like a regular-season game and hope for the best.”
The Chiefs will walk into a loud arena tonight in Everett. The noise from the stands is only half the battle for each team, as the trash-talking has been prevalent.
“Guys are always chirpin’, beakin’, ” Tokarski said. “It’s just a battle 24/7 and you try and get your shots whenever you can. It’s just playoff hockey and anything goes.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.