(Spokane, WA) The Spokane Chiefs were not about to waste their extra shot on home ice to close out the Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. Due to Cirque de Soliel occupying the Angel of the Winds Arena, the Chiefs hosted games three, four and five. After taking the first three games, they had two chances at home to end Everett’s season and go to their first Western Conference final since 2011.
Saturday, Chiefs goalie Bailey Brkin put together perhaps his best game in the playoffs so far, standing up to 35 Everett shots and only allowing one goal. Spokane scored twice on the power play and defeated Everett in Game 5 by a 2-1 score.
Ty Smith led the charge for Spokane with assists on both power-play goals.
The one goal Brkin did allow by him came just 1:32 into the game.
Robbie Holmes started the scoring with his third goal in three games on Brkin. He went high blocker on the rush and Brkin, who had already gone down, was not able to get anything on it to steer it from hitting the back of the net.
The goal was one that Brkin will not want to see the video of that is for sure. However, after that goal though, he settled down and looked like a goalie possessed.
In the last two periods of the game, Brkin faced 29 shots and he turned them all away. With his team pinned deep multiple times and chances coming everywhere from a desperate Everett team, Brkin scrambled and found a way to get in front of the puck.
During one such scramble he scooped up the puck with his blocker hand as his stick had long since fallen away from him during a previous save. However he needed to make the stop, he did it.
Everett kept the pressure up after the Holmes goal in the first, but the Chiefs gathered themselves and a big hit turned the momentum. Not in the way you might think though.
Spokane defenseman Matt Leduc, playing more minutes due to Filip Kral getting suspended for the game, delivered a big hit on Everett’s Connor Dewar.
Dewar’s teammate, Riley Sutter came over and started a fight with Leduc after the hit. Sutter got an extra two minutes, giving Spokane a first period power play. That is a dangerous thing to do.
On the ensuing power play, Nolan Reid powered a shot by Dustin Wolf from the point, tying the game at one.
Everett, who gave up five power plays to the Chiefs, did not learn from the previous mistake and the Chiefs got back out on their potent man advantage.
Ethan McIndoe drew the penalty with a slick move to get around Sahvan Khaira. The defenseman slashed him and Spokane had their third chance in the game.
On the power play, Ty Smith drew the attention of all the Everett penalty killers and Wolf before putting the puck right on the stick of Riley Woods. The overage sniper had an empty net to shoot at and gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
Spokane is now 12-for-25 on the power play in the playoffs and 6-of-14 in this series. They had six of their 15 goals in the five games of the series come on the man advantage.
Everett responded in the second and third with long stretches of possession in the Chiefs zone. Unfortunately for them, Brkin was there for each shot. He had to scramble for some, but the end result of no pucks getting by him is all that mattered.
Spokane now moves on to take on the Vancouver Giants in the Western Conference final. Game 1 goes in Langley, B.C. on Friday night.
Since 1985, this is the ninth time the Chiefs will be playing for a chance to make the WHL final.
They are 4-4 in their previous eight trips. The last time in 2011, Tyler Johnson and the Chiefs fell to the Portland Winterhawks in six games.
-This was the last game in the WHL for Everett Silvertips 20 year olds Zack Andrusiak, Khaira and Artyom Minulin. Longtime Silvertips Dewar and Sutter are also likely not back they have signed with the NHL teams that drafted them and are eligible to play in the AHL as 20 year olds.
-Everett dominated at the faceoff dot, winning 41-of-67. Sutter was an astounding 20-of-22 and Reece Vitelli went 5-for-14.
-For Spokane, Woods was 11-for-20 and Jack Finley went 6-of-19.
-Holmes, Dewar, Wyatte Wylie and Gianni Fairbrother each had four shots for Everett, while Woods led Spokane with five.