Kennewick, WA- Every hockey season has its highs and lows, its inspirational moments and those once in a lifetime stories. But just like the end of every hockey season before, all good things must come to an end.
The Spokane Chiefs (4-1) took an early lead and held off a furious comeback attempt by the Tri-City Americans (1-4). In the end, it wasn’t enough as Spokane captain Brenden Kichton scored the game winning goal in the second period, helping the Chiefs earn a 3-1 win in Game 5 of the 2013 First Round Playoff Series.
Spokane wins the series 4-1 and will wait to see which team they will face in the second.
Tri-City failed to get out of the first round for the first time since 2007. Spokane has now won five of the seven post-season series between the two teams.
The game started out fast and physical as expected. Spokane outshot the Americans in the first period 9-8, with both teams having quality chances at the net. The Chiefs got on the board first 14:04 into the period as Brenden Kichton threw a puck to the front of the net that was deflected over Troy Trombley’s shoulder by Mike Aviani for a 1-0 lead after the first period.
Spokane kept the momentum going in the second period as a power play opened the door to take a two goal lead. Brenden Kichton fired a wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic and into the net. The Americans had one power play in the period and the Chiefs had three power play chances, with Spokane capitalizing on one of those chances. The Americans threw 17 shots at Eric Williams in the second, but the puck never got past the goal line as the Chiefs led by two heading into the third period.
Spokane controlled the beginning of the third period and looked to put the game away as Alessio Bertaggia was awarded a penalty shot, but his shot was denied by Trombley. The Americans gained the momentum back and got the crowd into it 10:38 into the period as Mitch Topping fed Malte Strömwall, firing a wrist shot past Williams to cut the lead to one.
The Chiefs dashed the hopes of an Americans comeback as Alessio Bertaggia skated the puck into the slot and put a shot through Trombley’s legs to increase the lead back to two with 4:51 remaining in the game. The Americans pulled Trombley for the extra attacker and had a couple of chances to score, with the puck dangling in front of the net and the Americans furiously swatting at the puck to try and score, but Williams held strong in the Spokane net to help the Chiefs earn a 3-1 win.
Kichton was the only player to record a multi-point game tonight with a goal and assist.
Spokane was 1-of-7 on the power play tonight while the Americans failed to convert any of their three power play chances.
Trombley made 31 saves in the loss while Eric Williams made 36 saves in the win.
The loss wraps up the careers of Drydn Dow, Jesse Mychan and Justin Feser as Tri-City Americans. Feser will go down as one of the greatest players to ever put on an Americans jersey. He finishes his career with 351 regular season games played, second on the Americans all-time games played list. That includes 321 consecutive games played, a WHL record. He tallied 155 goals, third on the Americans all-time goals list. He recorded 198 assists, which puts him at sixth on the Americans all-time assists list. Adding those two numbers together gives him 353 career points, fourth on the Americans all-time points list and is one of five Americans to achieve the 350 career points. Feser ends his playoff career with 63 games played, third on the Americans all-time list. He finishes with 50 career playoff points (fifth all-time), 18 playoff goals (third all-time) and 32 playoff assists (fourth all-time).
Dow finishes his four year career with 222 regular season games played, tying him with Aaron Boogaard for 26th on the Americans all-time games played list and is sixth all-time among defenseman. He had 13 goals, 50 assists, a +54 rating and 122 penalty minutes. Dow finishes his playoff career with 19 games over four seasons, scoring three goals and four assists and a +7 rating.
Mychan ends his regular season WHL career with 104 regular season games played, 29 goals, 32 assists and 237 penalty minutes. In 78 games for the Americans, he had 26 goals, 28 assists and 131 penalty minutes. He finishes his playoff career with eight games played in two seasons, tallying two goals and assists and 19 penalty minutes.
The Americans will now look forward to the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft on May 2. The team will return back to the Toyota Center to start the 2013-14 WHL season in the fall. For all the Bantam Draft and offseason updates on the Tri-City Americans, be sure to check www.amshockey.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Brenden Kichton, Spokane
2. Alessio Bertaggia, Spokane
3. Lucas Nickles, Tri-City