The playoffs are upon us and now the Chiefs reallyyy begin their defense of their Memorial Cup championship. Spokane finished the season winning 4 of their last 5 games, so despite the illness and injury, the boys look ready to hit the postseason running.
The team started last week with an impressive 7-2 win over the Everett Silvertips. Former Tip Brady Calla put up 2 goals, while Drayson Bowman scored a goal and 3 assists. Mitch Wahl pitched in 3 assists and Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Roman had a goal and an assist apiece to help the Chiefs to their 7th win over Everett in 8 games this year.
The Chiefs then took out their arch rivals; the Tri-City Americans with a 5-2 win on Friday the 13th. Bowman led the way with 2 goals and 2 assists, while Wahl had 2 goals and Jared Spurgeon put up 2 assists. Spokane snapped a 2 all tie with a 3 goal second period and never looked back.
All the Chiefs needed to do was win their last two games, at Tri Saturday, and against Kelowna, the team they were battling for the third playoff seed, on Sunday. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond the teams' control took over during the boys win over Tri. A number of the boys had eaten some bad take out food at a team outing, and it took its' toll as 11 players came down with food poisoning. The bad batch of food forced the team to postpone its' games with the Ams and Rockets, as the Chiefs hosted Kelowna on Monday, then travelled to Kennewick on Tuesday.
As you would expect, after losing so much water weight and time off the ice, the team wasn't running on all cylinders against Kelowna and fell by a score of 1-0. The loss eliminated the Chiefs from getting the third seed in the Conference playoffs, and meant the Chiefs would face Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.
There was still the matter of ending the regular season though, and the boys finished strong with a 2-1 win in Kennewick over the arch rival Americans. Drayson Bowman notched the first goal of the game with his career high 47th of the year shorthanded in the second period and Mitch Wahl put home the game winner with just over 2 minutes left. James Reid was great in net, turning away 34 Ams shots to pick up his 12th win of the year. It was a real positive end to a tough week for the boys and should help them get ready for the Thunderbirds.
The Chiefs edged the T-Birds 5-4 in the season series, winning the final game of the year in Seattle 4-2. It will prove to be a very trying test for the Chiefs, but they know you have to beat the best to be the best. It will probably be the only series the team gets home ice advantage as the team will be looking at Vancouver, Kelowna or Tri down the road if they get by Seattle.
Game one and two are set for the Arena Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Games 3 and 4 are in Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday, also at 7pm. I'll have the call on 1510 KGA beginning at 6:30pm each night.