Posted on April 14, 2013 at 3:00 AM
Sunday, Apr 14 at 10:57 PM
With 2 straight losses in Portland behind them, the Chiefs returned home hoping to get 2 wins and get back into their Western Conference semi-final series with the Winterhawks. After being outscored 10-2 in the two games in the Rose City, including a shutout in game two, Spokane was hoping to get the offense going. More importantly, the Chiefs were looking to take their first lead of the series, as they had trailed since late in the second period of game one.
Game 3 would see the Chiefs with a golden chance to take the lead as Mitch Holmberg had an open net on the left wing, but skyed the shot over the net and game remained scoreless. Just when it looked like the two teams would head to the intermission scoreless, a turnover at the Portland blue line led to a Winterhawks rush that Ty Rattie would convert with just 47 seconds left in the period to give Portland a 1-0 lead. The Winterhawks would extend the lead to 2-0 on a Nick Petan backhand at 8:01 of the second period. The Chiefs would finally breakthrough on the scoreboard when Blake Gal tipped a Reid Gow shot on the power play at 16:24 of the period to cut the lead to 2-1. Little did we know it would be the last time the Chiefs would score this season. Portland would score on an empty net goal with just 15 seconds left to cap a 3-1 win and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
With just 3 goals in 3 games, the Chiefs knew scoring goals would have to the priority with their backs against the wall in game 4. Unfortunately, Portland would score first for the 4th straight game on a Chase DeLeo shot at 10:53 to take a 1-0 lead. Spokane then had a chance to tie the game on the power play, but a turnover led to a Taylor Peters breakaway up ice and his backhander put home a shorthanded goal at 13:05 to make it 2-0 Portland after one. The Chiefs didn't help their cause when they took back to back minor penalties at the end of the first to give the Hawks a 2 man advantage to start the second.
Spokane would turn away the 5 on 3 Portland power play, but Ty Rattie would score his league leading 11th goal of the playoffs on the 5 on 4 at 1:42 to put the Hawks up 3-0 and put the Chiefs behind a major 8 ball. Spokane would outshoot the Winterhawks 12-9 in the third, but rebound goals from Joey Baker and Taylor Leier would seal the Chiefs fate as Portland shut out Spokane for the second time in the series 5-0 to sweep the Chiefs in 4 straight. It was the third time in 4 years the Chiefs had been knocked out of the playoffs by Portland, and was the first time the Chiefs had been swept in the playoffs since Everett did it in 2004. Spokane and Portland met 13 times, with Spokane winning just 2 and the Hawks won the last 8 in a row, outscoring Spokane 39-7 in that span, including 18-3 in the playoff sweep. Safe to say, the better team won.
Game 4 would mark the last game for 20 year olds Dylan Walchuk, Blake Gal and leading scorer Brenden Kichton, as well as 19 year old import Alessio Bertaggia. Spokane will also have to make some decisions on the 19 year olds who will return, as the Chiefs can only keep 3 of them next season. Goaltender Eric Williams, who played well in the playoffs, leading goal scorer Todd Fiddler, second leading scorer Mitch Holmberg, and 4th leading scorer Mike Aviani; not to mention injured defenseman Tanner Mort, who could return from his season long injury for his 20 year old season. Spokane could potentially lose as many as 5 of their top 8 leading scorers, so the team will have to have a number of their returning youngsters step up next season.
The Chiefs will welcome back forwards Adam Helewka, Liam Stewart, Connor Chartier, Carter Proft, Riley Whittingham, Jackson Playfair, Mikulus Rimmel, and late season call ups Jacob Cardiff and Markson Bechtold. This group will called upon to step up in the scoring department for the Chiefs. Defensively, Spokane will have Reid Gow, Tyler King, Cole Wedman, Jason Fram, Jeremy McIntosh, Stewart Coyle and Adam Power returning. Goalie Garret Hughson will be back as well, either as a back up to Williams or as the main guy if the team parts ways with Williams. It will be interesting to see how the roster will shape up when the season starts next September. In the meantime, it's the off season, and we hope to see you at the rink next year!