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Koper’s hat trick leads Chiefs to victory

Spokane pulls within 4 points of U.S. Division lead

KELOWNA, B.C. – The Spokane Chiefs picked up in 2011 where they left off in 2010 – with a victory.

Levko Koper scored three goals and the Chiefs breezed to a 5-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets in Western Hockey League play on Saturday.

Spokane (22-10-3-2, 49 points) pulled within four points of idle Portland with its fourth straight victory. The Winterhawks lead the U.S. Division but have played three more games than the Chiefs. B.C. Division-leading Kelowna fell to 21-16-0-0.

Koper put the Chiefs on the scoreboard first, nailing a power-play goal with 11 minutes, 22 seconds gone in the first period. Tyler Johnson and Brenden Kichton assisted on Koper’s 16th score of the season.

Brady Brassart stretched Spokane’s advantage to 2-0 just 92 seconds later with his fifth goal of the season. Marek Kalus and Matt Marantz picked up assists on the goal.

Shan McColgan pulled the Rockets within a goal just 1:24 into the second period.

The Chiefs regained a two-goal lead on Darren Kramer’s goal at the 14:02 mark of the second. Mike Aviani and Anthony Bardaro notched assists.

Koper connected for his second goal of the night a mere 38 seconds into the third period and completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:37.