The Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks are set for a rematch of last year’s first round playoff matchup again this year in the opening round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs. In a reversal from last season, the Chiefs hold home-ice advantage for the series, as they finished as the #3 team in the Western Conference while Portland finished as the #4 team.
While there are plenty of players returning on both sides from last year’s opening round series, several of last season’s stars are no longer with their WHL club, including Kailer Yamamoto, Hudson Elynuik, Zach Fischer and Tyson Helgesen from Spokane and Kieffer Bellows, Henri Jokiharju, Dennis Cholowski and Skyler McKenzie for Portland. A combination of impressive newcomers and returning players who have made significant strides in the last year are sure to make for a hard-fought battle all series long.
Spokane held a slight advantage over Portland in the season series, going 3-2-0-1 (7 points) while Portland finished 3-3-0-0 (6 points). The Chiefs went 2-1-0-0 on their home ice and 1-1-0-1 in Portland with the two sides’ most recent matchup coming on March 1 in Portland, a game the Chiefs won 5-2.
Set career highs in goals (27), assists (34) and points (61) in 2018-19 season
Had four multi-goal performances this season
5 points (3G, 2A) in six games against Spokane this season
Head-to-Head Playoff History
Overall: Portland leads in all-time series wins (8-3) and total games (42-28)
First Round: Portland leads (4-3)
Most Recent: 2018 First Round (Portland won, 4-3)
The Chiefs and Winterhawks have a long-standing playoff rivalry as two of the most successful franchises in the Western Conference. Portland holds the edge in series wins and overall wins. Spokane made history in 1996, becoming the first WHL team to advance after a 3-0 series deficit, recovering to win in seven games. Portland has won the last four series dating back to 2010.