Spokane thumps Winterhawks
The best power play in the Western Hockey League separated the Spokane Chiefs from the visiting Portland Winterhawks in the second period on Wednesday, launching the Chiefs to a 7-2 win at Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane.
It was the largest margin of defeat this season for Portland, which saw Spokane score six consecutive goals to pull away in a game that was tied 1-1 at its midpoint.
Portland is 30-14-3-2 and second in the U.S. Division with 65 points. Spokane is third in the division at 25-17-2-3 for 55 points.
Josh Paterson and Lane Gilliss scored the Winterhawks' goals.
Riley Woods had a goal and four assists for Spokane, and Luc Smith scored a pair of second-period goals.
The result ended a five-game losing skid for Spokane and woke up a Chiefs offense that had scored only three times in the previous four games.
Spokane was 3 for 6 on the power play and outshot Portland 47-21 in dictating play for long stretches of the game.
The Chiefs capitalized on both of their second-period power plays. Smith broke a 1-1 tie by scoring into an open net off a cross-crease pass from Woods at 11:33. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who had a goal and two assists, made it 3-1 with a shot from the right-wing face-off dot at 18:15 in the period.
Smith's second goal of the period came with 13 seconds left as he was open to back-hand home a big rebound on a play that started with a center-ice face-off.
Jake McGrew, Ethan McIndoe and Jack Finley scored third-period goals as the Chiefs pushed their lead to 7-1.
Gilliss got his 11th goal of the season from a rebound of a Michal Kvasnica shot with 1:38 remaining.
In the first period, Paterson scored his 18th goal of the season (and fourth in eight games with Portland) at 17:50 to answer an unassisted goal for Woods 5:03 into the game.
Joel Hofer took the loss in goal and paid for a couple of big rebounds, but he made 31 stops on 37 shots in 47:23 of game time. He made 15 saves in the first period to keep Portland in the game early. Shane Farkas played the final 12:37, stopping nine of 10 shots.
Portland returns home for games at 7 p.m. Friday against the Vancouver Giants and at 6 p.m. Saturday against Spokane.