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Williams helps Chiefs overcome Portland in shootout

Eric Williams made 41 saves, including eight in overtime, and stopped three shootout attempts Wednesday night as the Spokane Chiefs topped Portland 5-4 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Spokane also defeated Portland on Monday on the road. Read story

Once regulation was over, Williams made mental notes for overtime.

“Not to give up an early (goal),” he said. “Make them earn it. They had a couple of nice plays that they had scored on earlier and our (OT) defense did a good job of keeping them to the outside.”

Williams also had a shootout strategy.

“Just to challenge them,” he said. “We had some inside (information) on them and knew kind of what they were going to do.”

Helewka said he knew about his scoring drought, which stretched back to a Nov. 6 home game against Everett.

“It was more about the team winning tonight, but it was good to get the monkey off my back,” said Helewka, who had a two-goal game Oct. 19 at home against Seattle.

Nachbaur was pleased with the way the Chiefs responded to pressure in the overtime and getting the victory in the shootout, but he said Spokane will need more to beat Portland again on Friday.

“Hopefully on Friday we bring our 'A' game, because that was not our 'A' game tonight,” the coach said.

“There were way too many shots on goal, way too many chances. … We didn't bear down when we needed to bear down,” Nachbaur added.

Asked if Portland's OT power-play chance worried him, Nachbaur said: “I was way more concerned with our power play. … The other team was more desperate and they took it to us.”

Portland's record is 33-4-0-2 since Oct. 9.

The Winterhawks lead the season series 3-2 with four more to go.

Spokane improved to 16-6-1-0 at home, but the Chiefs were 13-2 at the Arena through Dec. 14.

Spokane has played five games during a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

The Chiefs hit the two-thirds mark of their 72-game season.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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