PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – In a penalty-filled affair, the Spokane Chiefs built a two-goal lead midway through the third period and held on to beat the Prince George Cougars 3-2 in Western Hockey League action at CN Centre.
The Chiefs maintained a six-point lead over Tri-City for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Prince George amassed 31 minutes in penalties, giving the Chiefs five power-play chances in the second period alone, though they failed to take advantage. Spokane had 17 penalty minutes.
Keanu Yamamoto started the scoring, notching his 19th of the season on a power play in the first period. The Chiefs (30-25-5-4) led 2-0 just 1:40 into the second on Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s 12th of the campaign.
Prince George (35-27-3-1) halved its deficit with a shorthanded goal by Jesse Gabrielle – his 40th of the season, good for second in the WHL – just more than 4 minutes later.
Curtis Miske made it a two-goal game again midway through the third, his 12th of the year.
The Cougars outshot Spokane 30-22 overall and 13-10 in the final frame. Tyson Verhelst faced a late barrage of shots – Jansen Harkins beat Verhelst for his 22nd goal of the season on a late power play – but held on for his 22nd win of the season, recording 28 saves.
The teams go back at it on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Prince George.