PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – At times, it must have seemed to Spokane goalie James Reid and his Prince George counterpart, Ty Rimmer, that they were in a shooting gallery – as the targets.
Four goals came in 5 minutes, 7 seconds in the second period; there were two-goal bursts of 24 and 16 seconds; and another pair of goals came 2:47 apart in the third.
But in the end, Reid held his ground, turning back 24 shots to earn his first win since Jan. 21 as the Chiefs escaped with a 5-4 Western Hockey League victory in the opener of a two-game series in CN Centre.
It left the Chiefs three points back of first-place Portland in the U.S. Division and eight ahead of third-place Tri-City, which also won.
It wasn’t any of the rapid-fire goals that proved the winner. That came on Jared Cowen’s second of the night – and 18th of the season – when he converted Dominik Uher’s third assist of the game 7:27 into the third period.
It capped a string of three Spokane goals over the second and third periods that broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Chiefs (41-17-4-2) a 5-2 lead.
But the Chiefs, who had killed off four Prince George power plays, saw the Cougars’ Troy Bourke score on a 4-on-3 power play at 14:04 of the third and Charles Inglis’ strike at 16:51 with a 5-on-3 advantage to make things interesting.
Reid, in just his second game since recovering from a serous injury, ran his record to 30-9-2-1.
Tyler Johnson scored his league-leading 47th goal for Spokane, 16 seconds after Levko Koper got his 32nd in the second.
Blake Gal scored his 19th for Spokane on the power play for the only scoring of the first period.