Meeting #1: 1986 Division Semi-Finals
-Portland beat Spokane, in a best of nine game series: 5-4. This was Spokane's first year as the Chiefs (they were previously the Kelowna Wings). The Ray Podloski and Glen Wesley led Hawks would go on to lose to Kamloops in the next round. An interesting note about this Spokane squad is that their top two scorers: Terry Perkins and Jeff Rolichek, were traded from Portland.
Meeting #2: 1987 Division Semi-Finals
-For the second straight season the Hawks dropped Spokane in a best of nine series. This time in a 5 game sweep. Dennis Holland led the Hawks all the way to the WHL finals, in this season, before they fell to Medicine Hat. Spokane leading scorer: Brent Gilchrist would go on to a 15 year NHL career with 5 different teams.
Meeting #3: 1992 First Round
-The series that everyone keeps re-hashing recently, with Kelowna coming back from 3 games down to win over Seattle this year. They did in 17 years to the date after Trent Whitfield and Spokane were able to, over a very young Portland squad. The majority of Portland's young players would go on to win the Memorial cup 2 years later.
Meeting #5: 1998 Western Conference Finals
-A truly epic series between two of the most talented squads in the CHL. Portland would win in seven games, after, with a one goal lead late in the game, Spokane could not find a loose puck in front of Brent Belecki. Portland would win it's second Cup in Spokane weeks later.
|Scramble in the 98 Series|
Meeting #6: 2001 Western Conference Finals
-Meeting again in the Western Conference Finals, the Hawks won this series 4 games to 1. Paul Gaustad led the Hawks in playoff scoring on their way to a 5 game defeat to Red Deer in the WHL finals. Before the series loss toPortland Spokane had advanced two straight rounds wiothout losing a game.
Meeting #7: 2003 First Round
-Another 7 game set between the franchises, this one going to Spokane. Portland would blow another big series lead, this one 3 game to 1. Spokane lost in a 4 game sweep in the next round to Kelowna.
Meeting #8: 2010 First Round
So 10 playoff meetings between the squads, in all levels of the Western Conference playoffs. Portland holds the lead with 6 series wins to 3 over Spokane. 5 of the series would go the maximum amount of games and 2 of the series would end in an overtime and series winner at the opponent's rink.
I think it's fair to say that Spok. and Port. have quite the history of entertaining playoff series and this one should be no different, despite Portland being heavily favored. Also, Portland has knows that no series lead is safe against a team that has come back from 3-0 and 3-1 deficits ot win 2 of the 3 series in their playoff histories.
All this having been said: these are both new teams and I will be going into a much deeper preview of the series tomorrow.