VICTORIA, B.C. – Kailer Yamamoto’s 21st goal of the season ignited a four-goal third period and the Spokane Chiefs pulled away for a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night in Western Hockey League play.
With the score tied at 1, Yamamoto found the net on the power play – with assists from Jake McGrew and Ty Smith – at the 7-minute, 58-second mark of the final period. Eli Zummack followed with his 13th goal of the campaign 2:07 later to push the lead to 3-1. Luke Toporowski and Hudson Elynuik picked up assists on the score.
Tyler Soy’s goal – his 35th – pulled the Royals within 3-2 with 3:58 remaining.
Zummack and Elynuik added empty-net scores in the final 69 seconds to cap the scoring for Spokane. It was Elynuik’s 29th goal of the season and his fifth in the last three games.
Spokane, which fell to Victoria 7-3 on Tuesday night, improved to 39-22-3-2 (83 points) and remained in third place in the U.S. Division. Victoria, second in the B.C. Division, falls to 37-25-4-2 (80 points).
The Chiefs have six games left in the regular season. Spokane trails the second-place Portland Winterhawks by six points. Spokane and Portland appear headed for a showdown in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunderbirds trail first-place Everett by four points.
Yamamoto has helped guide the Chiefs to a 17-3-2 record in their last 22 games. Yamamoto, who spent some time with the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League earlier this season, has tallied 61 points in 37 games.
Chiefs goaltender Dawson Weatherill stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced and picked up his 25th victory against 11 losses this season.
Spokane took two more shots on goal than the Royals and both teams were 1 for 4 with a man advantage.
The Chiefs are 4-1 on their six-game road trip. Spokane travels to Seattle to take on the Thunderbirds on Friday. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m.
The Chiefs return home to take on the Vancouver Giants on Saturday.
Spokane entertains the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Tri-City Americans on its three-game homestand before heading out on the road for the final two regular-season games – against Tri-City and Portland.
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