PORTLAND – The Spokane Chiefs had the Portland Winterhawks on the ropes for three-fourths of Friday’s Western Hockey League game at the Rose Garden.
The rest of the matchup between the top two teams in the U.S. Division showed why the Winterhawks had won their previous dozen games.
Portland (36-5-1-0, 73 points) unleashed four goals during a 10-minute span of the third period to turn back the Chiefs 5-2 for its 13th consecutive victory. Portland is 3-0 this season against Spokane, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Brendan Leipsic’s power-play goal with 4:54 left snapped a 2-all tie, and Presten Kopeck and Troy Rutkowski added goals during the next 1:39 to sink the Chiefs (27-14-1-0, 55 points).
Spokane’s backup goaltender, Garret Hughson, stopped 27 of 28 Winterhawks shots through two periods. Hughson finished with 36 saves.
The Chiefs trailed 1-0 after Nicolas Petan’s 28th goal of the season at 14:59 of the first period.
Spokane’s Brenden Kichton got the equalizer during the final minute of the first period, a 5-on-3 power-play goal assisted by Todd Fiddler and Adam Helewka.
Fiddler scored his team-high 28th goal for a 2-1 lead at 5:14 of the second period. Fiddler rebounded Dylan Walchuk’s shot from the right side and shot over goalie Mac Carruth’s shoulder.
Portland’s tying goal, with 13:16 left, came on Chase De Leo’s shot that deflected off the leg of the Chiefs’ Cole Wedman.
Defenseman Stewart Coyle, acquired Wednesday from the Vancouver Giants, made his Chiefs debut.
Kootenay (17-24-1-0), which has won seven straight games, visits Spokane tonight. The teams have split two games this season.
Notes: The Chiefs announced that defenseman Tanner Mort will be shut down indefinitely. Mort suffered an upper-body injury on Oct. 12 in Kamloops. Mort has played 135 career games in Spokane. … New Chiefs player Alessio Bertaggia, acquired in a trade with Brandon on Thursday, will join the team Wednesday in Kelowna.
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