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Eli Zummack goals help Spokane Chiefs topple Portland in overtime

UPDATED: Wed., April 14, 2021

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Chiefs have been resilient all season long, and it’s starting to pay off.

The Chiefs erased a two-goal deficit for the second straight night and Eli Zummack was again the hero, this time in overtime, as Spokane downed the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 Wednesday night in Portland.

Zummack tied the game with 31 seconds left in regulation and scored the winner during the 3-on-3 overtime period to give Spokane its second win in as many nights.

Zummack has points in six consecutive games and goals in three straight. His heroics Wednesday came less than 24 hours after being the hero in a win at Everett.

“He’s leading the team right now and putting the team on his back,” Spokane coach Adam Maglio said by phone. “His game the last two games has certainly elevated. He’s competing extremely hard.

“He’s like a man possessed right now.”

For the second night in a row, the Chiefs found themselves down 2-0 after the first period – a period in which Portland dominated possession and outshot Spokane 17-5.

Simon Knak put Portland on the board just 51 seconds into the game with a rocket past Spokane goaltender Mason Beaupit. Kyle Chyzowski made it 2-0 at 15:01 when he got one through Beaupit’s five hole.

Blake Swetlikoff scored his third of the season at 6:17 of the second period to get Spokane on the board. The Chiefs were again heavily outshot in the second period – this time 19-9 – but still trailed by just a goal.

Adam Beckman scored his ninth goal of the season and seventh in his past six games to tie the game at 5:35 of the third. Beckman’s goal came with the teams playing 4-on-4.

But Portland took back momentum halfway through the third period when Tyson Kozak scored on a 2-on-1, helping Portland regain the lead.

Then, Zummack took over. The Chiefs went to the power play with 1:05 remaining after Portland’s Robbie Fromm-Delorme took a hooking penalty. Beaupit came to the bench, giving Spokane six skaters and a two-man advantage.

Zummack used his patented toe drag to create space and rifled the tying goal past Portland goaltender Dante Giannuzzi.

The teams traded possession in the overtime before Zummack’s winner at 3:27 of the extra frame.

“Down again in the first, but (it’s) a never-say-die attitude with this group,” Maglio said. “You find a way in games like this in a tough back-to-back with not a lot of turnaround.”

Beaupit got the start in net for the second consecutive night. Maglio said that was based on his performance in Everett Tuesday. Portland peppered Beaupit with 51 shots and Beaupit was up to the task.

He came up with some key third-period saves for the second consecutive night, including a dazzling stop on a Portland 3-on-1 chance late in the third.

“He kept us in it tonight and he was great last night,” Maglio said of his goaltender. “As a group, winning gives you confidence or belief. The guys feel pretty good about these two days here.”

Spokane had 27 shots on goal .

The Chiefs play at Tri-City on Saturday.

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