VICTORIA, B.C. – The Spokane Chiefs put themselves in position Tuesday to extend their season-high winning streak to six.
But the final stretch of their game against the Victoria Royals took that hope away in emphatic fashion.
The Royals scored four times over the final 15 minutes, 38 seconds to defeat the Chiefs 7-3 in Western Hockey League play at Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.
Scott Walford recorded the winning goal at 4:46 of the third period, 24 seconds after Kailer Yamamoto’s 20th goal of the season for the Chiefs tied the game at 3. Walford has only two goals this season and the other came in the Royals’ previous game.
Matthew Phillips, Tanner Kaspick and Jeff de Witt added goals during the final 10 minutes for the Royals (37-24-4-2, 80 points), the second-place team in the B.C. Division.
Spokane had won eight of its last nine games. The Chiefs’ last loss came on Feb. 20.
The good news for the Chiefs (38-22-3-2, 81 points) is that their closest pursuer for third place in the U.S. Division, Tri-City, lost to Seattle to remain at 73 points. Second-place Portland, however, won to improve to 87 points.
It was a rough night for Chiefs goaltender Dawson Weatherill, who faced just 23 shots. Victoria goalie Griffen Outhouse turned away 28 of 31 shots.
Victoria took a 2-0 lead less than 7 minutes into the game. Spokane’s Hudson Elynuik scored at 11:48 of the second period for his fourth goal in two games.
The Chiefs fell behind 3-1 when Noah Gregor scored his 28th goal of the season with 3:52 left in the second period on a 4-on-4 play.
Right before the period ended, Yamamoto set up Jaret Anderson-Dolan for his team-high 36th goal.
Anderson-Dolan and Ethan McIndor assisted on Yamamoto’s tying goal early in the third period.
Six Victoria players posted multiple points.
The Chiefs have seven games left in the regular season, staring with Wednesday night’s rematch against the Royals.
Victoria is 2-1 against the Chiefs this season.
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