SPOKANE — Goalie Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks didn’t give the Spokane Chiefs any hope.
Portland finished off Spokane on Wednesday with a 5-0 win at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena that sends the Winterhawks back to the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference finals.
Carruth posted his second shutout of the series, one of three franchise records he set as Portland swept the series in four games.
The Winterhawks advance to the WHL Western Conference finals for the third season in a row. Their opponents will be the Kamloops Blazers, who won in overtime Wednesday to complete a sweep of Kelowna.
The first two games of that series will be April 19 and April 20 at Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, giving both teams eight days off to prepare.
At Spokane on Wednesday, five different players scored for Portland. The Winterhawks led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.
Carruth stopped all 30 shots he saw, blanking the Chiefs for the second time in the last three games.
Chase De Leo opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 10:53 into the contest. Just over two minutes later, Taylor Peters scored a shorthanded breakaway goal off a setup by Seth Jones.
Ty Rattie scored his 11th goal of these playoffs as Portland made it 3-0 with his power-play tally 1:42 into the second period. With 41 career WHL playoff goals, Rattie is now tied for second in league history.
Spokane created several good chances early in the third period, but Carruth made big saves to keep the Chiefs off the scoreboard. Then Joey Baker and Taylor Leier pounced on rebounds off the pads of Spokane goalie Kyle Williams for goals that extended the lead to 5-0.
But this series was about defense. Portland outscored Spokane 18-3 in the series, and the Chiefs did not score a goal with both teams skating five on five.