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Chiefs give up late lead, lose 3-2 to Portland in a shootout

The Spokane Chiefs gave up a 2-1 lead with three minutes to play, survived overtime and then lost 3-2 to the Portland Winterhawks Saturday night in a shootout.

The Chiefs easily played well enough to win, but they could not finish for as second-straight night. The Chiefs fell apart Friday night in the last six minutes before losing 4-3 in overtime to the Everett Silvertips.

“We deserved better,” Coach Don Nachbaur said. “Two nights in a row it could have worked out better for us. But I liked out effort. We are staring to find our game a little bit, which is good to see.”

The Chiefs (2-4-0-2, 6 points) matched the Winterhawks (6-3-2-0, 16 points) play for play early. Then with 2:16 left in the period, Logan Foster got a steal on the Portland side of the ice. He found an open Koby Morrisseau, who slammed the puck past Winterhawks’ goalie Cole Kehler for Morrisseau’s first WHL goal.

“It was very thrilling,” said Morrisseau about scoring his first goal for the Chiefs. “It felt amazing.”

The Chiefs’ lead didn’t last long. About five-and-a-half minutes into the second period, Portland’s Ryan Hughes got the puck in front of the Spokane net and expertly lifted it over Spokane goalie Dawson Weatherill to tie the game.

A few minutes later, the Chiefs had a disaster of a power play in which Spokane spent more time chasing the puck and defending against short-handed goals than putting together any kind of cohesive threat.

“Our power plays weren’t very good,” Nachbaur said. “We tossed a lot of errant passes.”

Then near the end of the period, Kailer Yamamoto got a steal directly in front of the Winterhawks’ net, but he couldn’t get the shot to go.

The game stayed tied until seven-and-a-half minutes into the third period when Yamamoto lured the Portland goalie and fired a pass to a wide-open Curtis Miske, who scored to make it 2-1.

“Kailer found me in the slot and sent me a really nice pass,” Miske said. “It’s nice to get a wide-open net.”

The Chiefs then dodged several bullets and tried to keep the puck away from the Winterhawks. But Cody Glass had a shot rebound to him and he quickly fired it past Weatherill to tie the game with 3:05 to play.

After both teams missed several opportunities to score in overtime, the Chiefs missed three shootout attempts. The game ended when Portland’s Caleb Jones got his shot past Weatherill to end it at 3-2.

“It’s obviously a little frustrating,” Miske said. “I think we deserved a better result. Those are points we can’t afford to give up, especially in those division games. We’ve got to find ways to close those games out.”

The Chiefs next play at home Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against Tri-City.

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