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Fiddler takes WHL lead as Chiefs prevail

PORTLAND – Todd Fiddler had his second career hat trick and Mike Aviani added two goals as the Spokane Chiefs picked up a 5-2 win over the Western Hockey League-leading Portland Winterhawks on Monday afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Fiddler now leads the WHL with 33 goals, two more than Portland’s Nicolas Petan and Swift Current’s Adam Lowry.

Spokane (29-16-2) won for the first time in four tries this season against the slumping Winterhawks, who have dropped a season-high three straight following a 14-game winning streak. It snapped a season-long three-game losing streak for the Chiefs.

Ty Rattie and Presten Kopeck scored for Portland (37-7-2), which leads the U.S. Division by 16 points over the Chiefs.

Rattie put Portland ahead just 3:12 into the game, but the Chiefs rallied with goals by Fiddler and Aviani to lead 2-1 after one period.

Fiddler’s short-handed goal put Spokane up 3-1 in the second period, but Kopeck answered with a short-handed goal of his own to bring the Winterhawks back within one after 40 minutes.

Aviani’s goal with 8:55 remaining in regulation gave the Chiefs breathing room again, and Fiddler sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Eric Williams made 33 saves in net for Spokane, while Portland’s Mac Carruth stopped 34 shots in just his third regulation loss in 24 decisions this season.

Blake Gal collected an assist in his 300th game as a Chief, setting up Fiddler’s empty-netter. Spokane was without its newest player, Alessio Bertaggia, who sat out with a shoulder injury suffered last weekend and likely will miss the other three games this week.