PORTLAND, Ore. – Nino Niederreiter’s goal with 36 seconds left in overtime, his second tally of the game, gave the Portland Winterhawks a 6-5 Western Hockey League victory over the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday.
The Chiefs (29-12-4-2, 64 points) would have tied the Winterhawks (32-14-0-3, 67 points) for first place in the U.S. Division with a regulation win.
Spokane got on the board first Sunday, with Brenden Kichton opening the scoring at 10:14 of the first period. Captain Jared Cowen’s 12th goal of the season at 14:51 gave the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.
Portland responded with four consecutive goals. Ryan Johansen and Niederreiter scored goals 1 minute, 4 seconds apart to tie the game at the end of the first period, and Sven Bartschi and Riley Boychuk scored 10 seconds apart in the second period to make it 4-2.
The Chiefs, however, would battle back to tie the game. Levko Koper scored at 17:42 of the second period to make the score 4-3 at the second intermission. Kichton scored his second of the night, and 12th of the season, 3:37 into the third period to make the score 4-all.
The teams traded goals the rest of the third period, with Johansen scoring his second of the night at 10:13 and Koper scoring his 25th of the season and second of the contest at 14:26 on the power play to close the regulation scoring. Koper had his second two-goal game this week, and he has six goals in the Chiefs’ past four games.
James Reid made 14 saves and allowed four goals before leaving with a left leg injury. He was replaced by Mac Engel, who finished with 17 saves and two goals allowed.
Tyler Johnson recorded three assists for the Chiefs, giving him 46 on the season. He leads the WHL with 82 points.
Spokane opens a three-game homestand Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Everett.