After starting with 16 premier plays, the field has been narrowed to just one winner in the Chiefs’ 2018-19 Play of the Year contest. Matt Leduc’s “The Hit” earned 68.4% of the votes in the final match-up against Connor Gabruch’s “One-Man Show” to take the crown.
The big play happened on April 13, as the Chiefs hosted the Everett Silvertips for Game 5 of their second round playoff series.
Down 1-0 after an early Robbie Holmes goal for Everett, the Chiefs needed a spark and Leduc delivered. Silvertips star forward and Minnesota Wild prospect Connor Dewar received a pass from Gage Goncalves near the Everett goal. The puck bounced just slightly as Dewar settled it on his backhand and that extra moment of hesitation allowed Leduc to pinch down. Without charging or leaving his feet, Leduc laid a thunderous check just as Dewar turned up ice, bringing the Spokane Arena crowd to their feet and flipping momentum in the game.
The aftermath of “The Hit” resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty issued to Everett forward Riley Sutter. Overage defenseman Nolan Reid scored on the ensuing power play and Spokane never looked back, winning 2-1 to clinch the series and advance to the Western Conference Championship for the first time since 2011.
“The Hit” tore through the 16-play bracket, earning 70.7 per cent of the total votes in its four head-to-head match-ups while discarding Adam Beckman’s “St. Patty Hatty”, Riley Woods’ “Score Like Orr” and Jake McGrew’s “He Did What?” before the finals.
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