EVERETT – The last time he was on the ice, Mac Engel was run off it.
Friday night, the Spokane Chiefs’ goaltender couldn’t be budged.
Engel, chased amid Portland’s five-goal, first-period barrage on Wednesday night in the Spokane Arena, turned aside all 23 shots he saw to backstop the Chiefs to a 2-0 Western Hockey League victory before 6,112 in Comcast Arena.
Engel’s second shutout in 17 days – both against Everett – enabled Spokane to remain a point ahead of Tri-City in second place in the U.S. Division.
The Americans, who visit Spokane tonight, shut out Portland 5-0 to allow the Chiefs (72 points) to close within five points of the first-place Winterhawks (77).
“It was a real nice way to rebound from the last game,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “We got a good, solid defensive effort. It was a good win for our team going into the game with Tri-City.”
Spokane, which has the top-rated power play in the WHL, needed just 5 seconds into its first of four man-advantage situations to collect the winner.
Dominik Uher deflected a Jared Cowen shot from the point past Silvertips goalie Kent Simpson 15:20 into the first period.
That was the only scoring until inside the last 70 seconds as Simpson and Engel stood their ground.
Less than 10 seconds after the Silvertips pulled Simpson for an extra attacker, Levko Koper lifted a pass out of the Spokane zone that Mitch Holmberg ran down and shot it into the empty net for his fourth goal in three games.