Spokane powers past Winterhawks
The Spokane Chiefs gained momentum from their power play and rolled to a 5-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Friday in the opening game of the 2019 Western Hockey League playoffs.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is 7 p.m. Saturday at Spokane before the series shifts to Portland for 7 p.m. games Tuesday and Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
Jake Gricius gave Portland a 1-0 lead after the first period, but Spokane scored three power-play goals in the second period and two even-strength goals early in the third period to build a four-goal lead.
Five different players scored for the Chiefs, who were 3 for 5 on the power play, one of those goals coming on a five-minute power play.
Joachim Blichfeld netted a late power-play goal for Portland, which was 2 for 8 on the power play.
"I really liked our power play," Winterhawks associate coach Kyle Gustafson said, pointing to puck movement and second-chance opportunities but noting Portland needed to convert on more than two of the eight power plays.
The Winterhawks outshot the Chiefs 36-22 but were undone by Spokane's power play, the most productive of the WHL regular season.
Joel Hofer got the start in goal for Portland and finished with 17 saves.
Winterhawks forward Cody Glass did not play. He continues to be listed as day-to-day.
Winterhawks defenseman John Ludvig returned from injury, but 17 seconds from the end of the first period was done for the night, getting penalized for a hit to the head of Spokane's Ethan McIndoe.
Ludvig did not appear to leave his skates, but caught McIndoe in the head while making a check in front of the Portland bench. He was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
The play will be reviewed by the league to determine if Ludvig should be suspended for any additional games. McIndoe was able to return after the first intermission.
The Winterhawks played a strong first period, outshooting Spokane 17-7 while going 1 for 3 on the power play. Gricius scored the only goal of the period by deflecting a Blichfeld shot past Spokane goalie Bailey Brkin 11:40 into the game.
A rebound goal for Adam Beckman tied it 3:08 into the second period. It was the only goal of the five-minute major penalty against Ludvig.
But a too-many-men penalty against Portland midway through the second period produced Spokane's go-ahead goal as Riley Woods spun free in front of the net and beat Hofer.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored through traffic on another Spokane power play to make it 3-1 Chiefs after two periods. Gustafson noted that Spokane, like Portland, has elite, NHL-level players on its power-play unit.
"Something you take away from this game is the life the power play gave them," Gustafson said, adding that the Hawks were good five-on-five and finished with almost 40 shots on goal.
The outcome was still very much in doubt heading to the third period, which started with Portland on a power play.
But Spokane goals from Kaden Hanas, his first WHL goal, and McIndoe 49 seconds apart early in the period ended any hope of a Winterhawks rally.
Those goals were the only two shots on goal of the third period for Spokane.
Kaden Hanas is the cousin of Portland forward Cross Hanas.
Spokane was without 19-year-old San Jose Sharks prospect Jake McGrew.
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