Sunday, April 17, 2011

WHL Playoffs: Portland Advances, Chiefs Take Lead

Two big games in the WHL playoffs tonight as one club faced elimination while two others went to overtime looking to take control of their series. Things didn't work out for Kelowna or Tri-City though as Portland dumped the Rockets 4-2 and move on to the Western Final. The Americans now travel to Spokane down 3-2 to the Chiefs with the last two games coming at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

Sven Bartschi had a big night for the Winterhawks as his 3-point performance paced Portland to victory. The Swiss forward was in on Portland's first three goals of the game which gave them a 3-0 led. Kelowna fought back and closed the gap to 3-2 but Joe Morrow's empty netter sealed the deal for the 'Hawks.

Kelowna fired 47 shots at Portland's net including 19 in the final frame but Mac Carruth was only beaten twice. Adam Brown, who has been solid for most of the year, was busy again tonight making 35 saves.

There were 4821 fans out to watch Game 6 at Prospera Place.

In Kennwick, WA, the Chiefs got out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Jared Cowen (OTT) and Matt Marantz and they held that lead going into period three. The Americans stormed out and scored their first of the game just a couple of minutes into that third period.

with Drew Owsley on the bench for the extra attacker, the Americans pressed the issue and Carter Ashton batted home a loose puck to send the game to extra time.

In the overtime session the Chiefs killed off a penalty thanks to a major save from James Reid, robbing Matt MacKenzie who had pinched in from the point and was poised to end the game. The play went back up the ice and as we've seen so often after a chance at the other end, Spokane's Blake Gal buried a one-timer past Owsley ending the game.

The Chiefs carry a 3-2 lead back to their barn for games 6 and 7 putting Tri-City n an enormous hole. Game 6 is set for Tuesday night with game 7 (if necessary) booked for Wednesday.

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