By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
When you play a team 12 times during the regular season, the only thing you don’t know about one another come playoff time is what color of tie the coaches are going to wear. The Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs begin their first-round series Friday at Spokane Arena, with Game 2 on Saturday, also in Spokane.
“I think we need to execute better than them and they need to execute better than us,” said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, of the key to the series. “It’s easier said than done. The team that can execute a little bit sharper is the team that is going to win.”
This is the seventh time the teams have met in the playoffs. Spokane leads the playoff series 4-2, including an epic series in 2008, where five of the seven game went single or double overtime.
It’s also the third time in three years, with the Americans winning 4-3 last year in the second round.
“It’s the old cliché, ‘It’s a new beginning for everyone,’ ” Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. “Everyone tries to be as healthy as possible while keeping emotions in check. We had a tough series with them last year. They have always been close games with no free-wheeling for either team.”
The Chiefs edged out the Americans for fourth place in the Western Conference, and will have home-ice advantage in the series.