PORTLAND – Halfway through the first period Saturday, it looked as if the Spokane Chiefs’ fortunes against the Portland Winterhawks this season would continue down a gloomy path.
Instead, the Chiefs scored four unanswered goals to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat Portland 6-3 in Western Hockey League play at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Spokane had been 0-5 against the Winterhawks this season, never scoring more than two goals. The Chiefs’ scoring output on Saturday matched their combined total from the other five games.
The Chiefs (18-12-1-2, 39 points) pulled within four points of first-place Portland (21-10-0-1) in the U.S. Division. Everett (42 points) and Tri-City (39) are also in the competitive chase.
Spokane improved to 17-1-1 when scoring three or more goals.
The Winterhawks took a 2-0 lead in the first period on shorthanded goals by Alex Overhardt and Skyler McKenzie.
Cedric Chenier’s rebound goal at 10 minutes, 20 seconds of the first – his second of the season and for his career – started the Chiefs’ comeback.
Spokane seized the lead for good with Riley Woods’ power-play goal at 17:19 of the first, a little more than 1 1/2 minutes after Eli Zummack’s power-play goal.
Zummack and Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored twice for the Chiefs. Donovan Buskey had a career-high 37 saves for his seventh win of the season.