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Chiefs scratch back for OT victory

Spokane Chiefs logo (The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Chiefs logo (The Spokesman-Review)

Tyler King had a few moments to savor his winning goal in overtime Wednesday night.

The fact that he didn’t actually score the winning goal didn’t bother him in the slightest.

The Spokane Chiefs rallied from a 4-2 third-period deficit to topple the Vancouver Giants 5-4 in overtime before a less-than-jazzed crowd at the Arena.

King’s slap shot 1 minute, 14 seconds into OT was originally considered the winner, but replays showed that the shot went off the skate of Carter Proft for his fourth goal of the season and first winner.

“They announced my name, but he’ll definitely get that,” King said of Proft. “(Keanu) Yamamoto made a nice play and I was able to get it to the net.”

The Chiefs improved to 16-7-0-1, 33 points, but it wasn’t one for the scrapbook.

Spokane was outshot 12-5 in the second period, when the Giants (10-11-4-1) scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. Along the way, the Chiefs gave up a shorthanded goal, a score 2 seconds after killing off a power play and a goal off a turnover right behind their net.

“I was standing behind the bench booing us too, just like the fans,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “We talk about earning the right to win and tonight we got lucky. We made a couple of plays when we had to, but for 60 minutes it wasn’t very nice to watch.”

Spokane woke up after Dalton Thrower’s unassisted power-play goal gave the Giants a 4-2 lead at 2:28 of the final period.

Mike Aviani fed Mitch Holmberg for a breakaway goal at 4:59 to cut the gap to 4-3, giving Holmberg a Western Hockey League-leading 26 goals and 57 points.

The equalizer came at 14:30 on defenseman Jeremy McIntosh’s unassisted goal, his second of the season.

“The puck came out in the slot and I was just telling myself to hit the net and give it a chance to go in,” McIntosh said. “It happened to find the back of the net.”

Holmberg had a shot hit the post with 21/2 minutes left, then the Chiefs went to their second consecutive OT game after opening the season with 22 straight regulation games.

“It’s your normal guy, Mitch, getting the momentum going and then we get some momentum from McIntosh’s goal to tie it, and (King) with a big play,” Nachbaur said.

Aviani also had his league-best 13th power-play goal – and 21st overall – during the opening minute. The Giants’ Tim Traber knocked down Proft and drew a roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct 4 seconds into the game.

Vancouver had won seven of its last 11 games. The Giants are 0-2 against Spokane this season.

Spokane is 7-3-0-1 at home. The Chiefs are three games into a stretch in which they play 10 of 13 games at the Arena.

Notes: Chiefs LW Dominic Zwerger of Austria is expected to miss four weeks with an upper-body injury. … Chiefs D Jason Fram (23 points) has surpassed his points total from last season, when he had 15.


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