Kamloops’ Late Goal Knots Game With Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs’ games at Riverside Coliseum appear destined to last too long.

Shawn McNeil’s goal with less than 4 minutes left in regulation Wednesday allowed the Kamloops Blazers to tie the visiting Chiefs 2-2 in the Western Hockey League.

Despite its Western Division-leading record of 12-5-2, Spokane is 0-1-2 in Kamloops. All three games have gone into OT.

The Chiefs, with 26 points, lead the division by three points over Prince George (11-11-1), which also skated to a tie Wednesday. Idle Portland (11-6-0) fell into third place.

Kamloops is buried in sixth place in the seven-team division, but the Blazers found a way to tie Spokane and hold tough during OT.

The game looked like a potential high-scoring affair when Spokane’s Joe Cardarelli notched a power-play goal at 2:57. Kamloops was penalized early for having too many men on the ice. When the Chiefs had the edge John Cirjak sent a pass in the slot to Cardarelli, who scored his sixth goal.

The quick start didn’t set the tone, as the teams skated for nearly 45 minutes before the next goal. At 6:44 of the third period, with Spokane short-handed, Gennady Razin flipped a wrist shot for his first WHL goal.

Spokane needed a little more than 2 minutes to retake the lead. Marian Cisar scored his 11th goal of the season, redirecting Hugh Hamilton’s slap shot from the left point.

McNeil’s ninth goal of the year came after Darcy Smith’s shot from the right point came back to Alan Maness, who fed McNeil for a shove-in.

Spokane’s next game is Friday at the Arena against Seattle.

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