Portland took a 2-0 lead in the second period and held off a late charge from Spokane as the Winterhawks defeated the Chiefs 3-1 in front of 3,708 fans at the Spokane Arena Tuesday night. Eric Williams stopped 33 shots and Blake Gal scored his sixth goal of the playoffs as Portland took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The two teams matched each other shot for shot in a highly competitive and physical first period. Spokane had a prime opportunity to seize the lead at the 9:30 mark but Mitch Holmberg's shot sailed wide of an open net. Williams sprawling save of a shot from Ty Rattie at 11:04 kept the scoreless tie intact.
Portland notched the game's first goal with just 47-seconds remaining in the period as Rattie turned a Chiefs' turnover into a top shelf score and a 1-0 lead for the Winterhawks. Portland outshot Spokane 13-12 for the period.
The Winterhawks defense proved to be a tall order for Spokane in the second period as they held the Chiefs to just five total shots. Portland's offense was just as efficient, stretching its lead to 2-0 at 8:01 as Nic Petan got free in front of the net and beat Williams with a backhand.
Spokane struck for a crucial power play goal at 16:24 with Gal firing a shot past Mac Carruth on assists from Reid Gow and Mitch Holmberg to cut Portland's lead to 2-1. Williams turned away 11 shots in the period to keep Spokane within striking distance.
The Chiefs valiantly tried to mount a comeback in the game's final period but couldn't beat Carruth a second time. Spokane and Portland each tallied 10 shots in the third, with Taylor Leier scoring an empty net goal at 19:45 to cap the scoring.
Williams finished 33 of 35 on save opportunities while Carruth was 25 of 26. Spokane went 1 for 4 on the power play and 3 of 3 on the penalty kill.
The Chiefs are home again tomorrow at 7:05 PM for Game 4 of the WHL Western Conference Semifinals against the Portland Winterhawks.