Spokane, WA- Spokane and Tri-City will meet in the first round of the playoffs, with tonight and tomorrow serving as a preview.
Tri-City hopes that tonight wasn’t a preview of next week’s first two games of the series. Carter Proft netted two goals, leading the Spokane Chiefs (43-25-2-0, 88 pts) to a 6-0 win over the visiting Tri-City Americans (40-26-1-3, 84 pts) in the Veterans Memorial Arena.
Spokane locks up the number four seed in the conference and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with the win. With the schedule mostly set, it means that if the series goes seven games, game 7 will be played in Spokane.
Tri-City has lost three straight while Spokane won its fourth straight. Spokane now leads the season series against Tri-City 6-5.
Both teams came out firing shots at the net, with the Americans having the first great chance. Parker Bowles skated into the zone on a breakaway but was denied by Eric Williams. Connor Rankin took a penalty midway through the period, which allowed a Justin Feser shorthanded breakaway that was again turned aside by Williams. Spokane skated back down the ice after the chance and Alessio Bertaggia fired a wrist shot past Troy Trombley glove side to make it 1-0 Spokane. Shots were even at eight in the first.
Spokane increased the lead to two early in the second. There was a loose puck in front of Trombley that was slapped top shelf by Carter Proft to make it 2-0. Proft scored again later in the period as he put home a rebound on the power play to increase the lead to three. Spokane barely outshot the Americans 8-7 in the second period but was able to find the back of the net twice in the period to carry a three goal lead into the third.
Tri-City fought to get back in the game, but couldn’t get anything going. Spokane put the game out of reach midway through the third as Mitch Holmberg flipped a backhand past Trombley to increase the lead to 4-0. The Chiefs poured salt in Tri-City’s wound by adding another goal by Tyler King on the power play to make it 5-0 and Jackson Playfair capped the scoring in the game by netting his second of the season with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
This is the fifth time this season the Americans have been shutout.
Spokane was great on the power play, converting three of seven chances while the Americans were 0-2 on the power play
Trombley made 22 saves in the loss while Williams stopped 20 shots in the shutout win, including three breakaway chances.
Tri-City will ride the bus back to Kennewick tonight and the Chiefs will drive down to the Toyota Center tomorrow to take on the Americans tomorrow night on the Fifth Annual Go Green for MDA Night. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Tri-City is 1-3 all-time on Go Green for MDA Night, losing last season’s game 3-2. The only win came two seasons ago 6-4. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. MeTV 42.2/Charter 280 will broadcast the game on television starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Toyota Center Box Office, any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Carter Proft, Spokane
2. Eric Williams, Spokane
3. Alessio Bertaggia, Spokane