Game one of the U.S. Division Semifinal series was largely decided on the power play as the Spokane Chiefs claimed the opening victory of the WHL Playoffs with a 5-2 home win.
Portland came out with an impressive first period start, out-shooting Spokane 17-9 in the opening 20 minutes and potting a power play goal of its own. Jake Gricius tipped in the first goal of the series and his third overall in his WHL Playoff career.
After taking a 1-0 deficit at the end of 20 minutes, the Chiefs went on to score five unanswered goals, including three on the power play, to leap out to a 5-1 lead. Five different players found the back of the net for Spokane.
Portland only allowed two third period shots, but ultimately, the score proved too hard to come back from. Joachim Blichfeld netted his first of the 2019 playoffs on the man advantage with under a minute to play to end Spokane’s goal streak.
The two teams take to the ice Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. for game two of the series before heading to Portland for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday night.
- Josh Paterson collected two power play assists in game one, giving him three goals and seven assists in his last seven games. Friday night was Paterson’s first career WHL postseason game.
- Jared Freadrich joined Paterson with a pair of assists in the loss. When you include the regular season stats, Freadrich now has 50 points on the year as a defenseman.
- Gricius and Blichfeld remain tied for the team lead with 17 power play goals.
- Last season, the Winterhawks dropped game one of the series against Spokane and came back to win three straight games to take the series lead.
THE BOX SCORE (Click the hyperlink to find all the scoring details)
SHOTS ON GOAL:
POR: Joel Hofer with 17 saves.
SPO: Bailey Brkin with 34 saves.