PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – How a team performs in the face of adversity during a playoff rush can make a difference in the final outcome.
If Friday night is any indication, the Spokane Chiefs just might earn the final berth to the postseason from the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division.
Down three goals after one period, the Chiefs responded with four unanswered goals in the second to earn a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars, ending a two-game losing streak.
With the win, Spokane (23-31-8-2) pulled even with the idle Tri-City Americans (23-31-7-3) for that final playoff berth. However, Spokane holds the tiebreaker over the Americans, having already clinched the season series against their interstate rivals with one matchup remaining. The first tiebreaker is total wins.
Coling Patterson scored two goals and assisted on a third during the first period, when the Cougars opened a 3-0 lead.
But Spokane answered right back when Chad Klassen, playing with a hip pointer, rebounded Jeff Lynch’s shot past PG goalie Scott Bowles 1:43 into the second period.
Two minutes later, Lynch would score unassisted on a slap shot from the right circle to bring Spokane within one goal.
Sean Zimmerman would knot the game at 3 with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle at 12:45. Soon after, Michael Grabner took a pass from Ned Lukacevic and put a back-hander past Bowles inside the right post with the game-winning goal at 15:33.
Neither team scored during the third period.
Spokane goaltender Jim Watt had 19 saves.
The teams face each other again tonight at the Prince George Multiplex before the Chiefs return home to face Everett on Wednesday.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.