(Everett, WA) The Spokane Chiefs are the road warriors in the 2019 WHL playoffs. A season ago, it was the Everett Silvertips who found a way to ground out victories while playing away from the friendly confines of Angels of the Winds Arena. This time around, it is in the Chiefs who have rolled out to a 5-0 record away from home in the post-season. They got to that mark on Sunday evening in Everett thanks to a 3-1 road win.
Spokane now boasts a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference semi-final as the series heads back to Spokane for three in-a-row – if needed.
Unlike in Game 1, it was Everett that got out to a 1-0 lead, but the Chiefs stormed back. Thanks to a highlight-reel rush by Jake McGrew and a nifty power-play goal by Eli Zummack, they got back ahead and won Game 2 by a 3-1 score.
“I thought we played a pretty honest hockey game. That’s the way it goes this time of year. That’s a good hockey team and it was a 1-0 game. I’m proud of our effort,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams told everettsilvertips.com.
Just after a power play ended in the first period, Everett got their first lead of the series.
Everett defenseman Wyatte Wylie powered a high shot from the blue line by Spokane goalie Bailey Brkin for his first of the playoffs.
Exactly two minutes later, an NHL-drafted and signed forward made sure that Everett did not carry a lead into the first intermission.
Jake McGrew, while his linemates changed, went 1-on-2 against the Everett defense. Sahvan Khaira went for the check at the Everett blue line and missed, leaving McGrew 1-on-1 with Ian Walker. The San Jose Sharks signed forward then made a quick cut leaving the Walker sprawling and then flicked a backhand shot by Everett goalie Dustin Wolf.
Everett, who led in shots 11-6 after 20 minutes had one defensive breakdown cost them a one-goal lead.
Everett then played with fire in the second, handing Spokane their only two power plays of the game.
The Chiefs could not connect on their first, but made no mistake on their second.
Ty Smith set up the play and Jaret Anderson-Dolan drew the defense, before finding Eli Zummack on the left wing. The diminutive forward waited out Wolf before filing his third of the playoffs by the Everett goalie.
Everett had 14 shots in the third, with some of them coming on a third period power play with Ty Smith in the box, but Spokane goalie Bailey Brkin was up the challenge.
He turned away all 14 shots in the final frame and 30-of-31 overall.
Spokane iced the game with a long empty-net goal by Luc Smith.
“I think we need to get some rest and try to get some bodies back. We were short tonight in the game quite a bit and you could definitely see their depth down the line being able to run all 12 forwards there pretty well. But we did a lot of good things tonight,” Williams said.
Despite being out shot 31-17, Spokane made the most out of the chances they had.
“I think we got to our pucks hard and we got them out and we got into their zone and got shots on net. It was a close gam both ways. I think we were pretty happy with it but bounces were not going out way so we will come out next game,” Wylie said.
Because of arena availability issues, Everett now faces the tough task of winning at least two-of-three in Spokane to get the series back to Everett. They will need to start getting some offense from their top-six forwards to do so.
Through the first two games, Everett has just four goals, with only two coming 5-on-5. Both of those are from 16-year-old Jackson Berezowski. The likes of Connor Dewar and Bryce Kindopp have often faced the top defensive pairing of Ty Smith and Noah King, much to their dismay.
Everett split Kindopp and Dewar up but could still not find a way to get those two creating the high-quality chances that they are usually able to manufacture.
Switching to Spokane, where the Chiefs have last change, makes the task of getting them free of Spokane’s best d-men even tougher.
Game 3 goes on Wednesday.
-Spokane was 1-for-2 on the power play and is now a WHL-best 8-of-14. They are 2-for-3 in the series.
-Everett went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
-Dewar went 15-for-25 at the faceoff dot, while Max Patterson was 13-for-21 and Reece Vitelli was 6-of-10.
-For Spokane, Riley Woods was 5-of-17, Luc Smith went 8-for-16 and Anderson-Dolan was 4-of-13.
-Everett was led in shots by Martin Fasko-Rudas with five. For Spokane, it was Anderson-Dolan with four leading the way.
-Everett scratched forward Dawson Butt after he played some of Game 1.