PORTLAND – The Spokane Chiefs started where they left off in Portland.
Luke Toporowski scored his first career playoff goal in overtime and the Chiefs defeated the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 on Saturday night in a Western Hockey League playoff opener at Memorial Coliseum.
The win comes six days after the Chiefs rallied to defeat the Winterhawks in Portland to close the regular season.
A scoreless third period on Saturday was not without its dramatics as Spokane killed a power play in the final 1 minute, 36 seconds of regulation.
As Portland’s power play continued into overtime, the Winterhawks nearly ended the game. Spokane goalkeeper Bailey Brkin made a sprawling save to deny Portland’s Kieffer Bellows, who was 1-on-1 in front of the net.
Soon afterward, Toporowski gave the Chiefs their 1-0 series lead, scoring on a backhander 2:15 into the 20-minute extra period.
Brkin, who was 4-2 with a 2.59 goals-against average in the regular season, made 36 saves.
The Chiefs never trailed, but Portland answered each time the Chiefs scored in regulation. Nolan Reid, who had the winning shot in Sunday’s shootout, opened the scoring in the first period. After Portland had the equalizer early in the second period, Riley Woods quickly put the Chiefs ahead 2-1. After Portland tied it again, Hudson Elynuik put the Chiefs ahead 3-2 near the middle of the period. Portland’s Dennis Cholowski scored the final goal of regulation with 2:58 left in the second.
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