The Spokane Chiefs capped off their 2018 regular season with their biggest comeback win of the season as they overcame a 4-1 third period deficit to defeat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday night in Portland. It was the Chiefs’ third-straight win over the Winterhawks.
Riley McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the year from Jake McGrew at 9:46 of the first period to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead after one. Chiefs goalie Donovan Buskey turned away 15 Portland shots in the first to keep the Hawks off the board.
Portland would storm back in the second, scoring three goals to take a 3-1 lead heading into the third. Portland’s Ryan Hughes would score just over two minutes into the third period to put the Winterhawks up 4-1 as it appeared Portland would hand the Chiefs their third loss in the Rose City in four tries this season.
Spokane started their comeback on a power play goal from McGrew at 11:43 of the third as the Chiefs cut the deficit to 4-2. Milos Fafrak would then make it 4-3 with his ninth of the season just 37 seconds later. The Chiefs then got another power play chance in the final minute and converted as Nolan Reid scored with just 21 seconds remaining to tie the game at 4-4 and send the contest to overtime.
Spokane outshot Portland 4-2 in the extra time but failed to score. Buskey preserved the tie with a stop on a Cody Glass breakaway midway through.
The Chiefs had gone 0-3 in shootouts this season, while Portland was 1-4. Both teams failed to score in the first three rounds. Buskey stopped Hughes in round four before McKay scored his second of the night on Portland goalie Shane Farkas to give Spokane the come-from-behind win.
The Chiefs finished the regular season 41-25-3-3, good for 88 points and third place in the U.S. Division. Spokane will open the playoffs against Portland Saturday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Mike Boyle will have the call on 1510 KGA starting with the pre-game show at 5:30 p.m.