SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Chiefs took advantage of strong performances from their special teams to claim a 1-0 series lead over the Portland Winterhawks in their best-of-seven first round playoff clash, winning 5-2 on Friday night at Spokane Arena.
Portland jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a power play goal by Jake Gricius, who redirected a shot off a Chiefs skater at 11:20 of the first period. The Winterhawks outshot the Chiefs 17-7 in the opening frame as Spokane found themselves shorthanded three times.
The 1-0 Winterhawks lead stook until 3:08 of the second, when Chiefs’ regular season goal-scoring leader Adam Beckman scored the first of what would prove to be three Chiefs power play goals in the period. Riley Woods put Spokane ahead 2-1 with a wrap-around score at 12:02, then Los Angeles Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan picked his first of the post-season — and 12th goal in his last 11 games — at 17:56 to make it 3-1 Chiefs.
Rookie forward Kaden Hanas made it 4-1 Chiefs at 3:34 with his first career WHL goal, finishing a check in the Portland end to force a turnover before sliding in a backhand rebound chance on the ensuing possession. The Chiefs effectively sealed the game under one minute later as Ethan McIndoe chipped the puck in after a perfect feed by Eli Zummack from behind the Portland net. WHL top scorer Joachim Blichfeld added a 5-on-3 power play goal at 19:03 but it was too little, too late as the Chiefs skated away with the 5-2 win.
Spokane’s Bailey Brkin saved 34 of 36 Winterhawks shots to earn first star honors while Portland’s Joel Hofer ended the night 17-of-22. The Chiefs went 3-for-5 on the power play while the Winterhawks were 2-for-8.
Game two of the series will take place in Spokane on Saturday night.
The Chiefs are back at it Saturday night inside Spokane Arena for game two of their opening round playoff series with the Portland Winterhawks.
Tickets for Saturday night are available online, via TicketsWest outlets and from the Chiefs’ Ticket Office at Spokane Arena, in-person or over the phone at 509-535-PUCK.