KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs became the first team from the Western Conference to wrap up their first round playoff series as Spokane used 36 saves from goaltender Eric Williams on their way to a 3-1 win over the Tri City Americans in game 5 of their first round playoff series. The Chiefs won the best of 7 set four games to one and advanced to the conference semi-finals for the third straight season. The series win also avenged a 7 game playoff loss to the Americans last season.
Spokane broke out on top 1-0 on Mike Aviani's third goal of the playoffs. Aviani tipped a Brenden Kichton pass net front at 14:04 of the first as Connor Chartier picked up the other assist. The Chiefs would up the lead on Kichton's second goal of the series as he scored on the power play from the point on helpers by Reid Gow and Mitch Holmberg at 7:50 of the second period to make it 2-0 Spokane heading into the third.
Tri City would cut the lead in half on a Malte Stromwall goal at 10:38 of the third period. Spokane would re-up the lead to two when Alessio Bertaggia scored his second of the post season from Todd Fiddler at 15:09 on a shot from the left wing. The Chiefs withstood Tri City having an extra skater on over the final 4:01 of the game as Williams turned away 36 of 37 shots, including 28 of 29 over the final two periods. Spokane went 1-7 on the power play after having just 8 power plays in the previous four games combined, while Tri City was 0-3 on the power play.
Spokane has now won 5 of 7 post season meetings with Tri City all time. The Chiefs will now await their second round opponent as the other 3 series in the West are still in progress. Tickets for the first two home games of Spokane's semi-final series will go on sale at the Chiefs box office Monday morning at 9am.