KELOWNA, B.C. – Kailer Yamamoto scored 1:01 into overtime to lift the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-4 win over the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night in Kelowna, B.C. It was Spokane’s third-straight overtime win over the Rockets this season as the two teams have gone to extra time in five of the last seven meetings over the last two years. The victory also keeps Spokane eight points back of Portland and Victoria for the final playoff spot in the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race.
Spokane took a 1-0 lead 8:47 into the game on Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s team leading 33rd goal of the season. The Chiefs would expand the advantage to 2-0 on an Ethan McIndoe rebound of a Jeff Faith shot at 12:24 of the period to take a two goal lead to the second period. Spokane would go up 3-0 on a Hudson Elynuik breakaway after a Dalton Hamaliuk stretch pass just 1:30 into the second. Kelowna would cut the deficit to 3-1 midway through the period on a Nick Merkley wrap-around goal. Merkley then fed Nolan Foote for a shot from the low slot at 17:12 as Spokane’s lead was cut to 3-2 after two periods.
Kelowna would tie the game at three just 3:55 into the third period on a Calvin Thurkauf goal, but the Chiefs would answer as Hayden Ostir scored his seventh of the season on a rebound of a Hamaliuk shot at 6:18 to re-take the lead at 4-3. Kelowna would pull back even as Thurkauf scored his second of the period on a 5-on-3 advantage with just over a minute left to tie the game at 4-4 and send the contest to overtime. In the OT, Elynuik fed Yamamoto cutting to the net and Yamamoto scored his 33rd of the season – his 6th game-winning goal – to seal the win. Those totals tie Anderson-Dolan for the team lead.
The Rockets out shot the Chiefs 49-21 in the contest, as Kelowna went 1-for-6 on the power play while the Chiefs were 0-for-1.
Spokane will now look to end their four-game road trip with their third win as they travel to Tri-City to face the Americans Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Watch live on SWX, available on Comcast channel 112 and over-the-air channel 6.2. Mike Boyle will have the radio call on 1510 KGA NW Sports Talk starting with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.
Spokane returns home on February 25 for Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade Breast Cancer Awareness Night & Helmet Giveaway at the Arena as they host the Tri-City Americans. The Chiefs will wear special pink-accented jerseys to be auctioned off for charity. Tickets for the 25th and all Chiefs home games are available in-person at the Chiefs’ Ticket Office, over-the-phone at 509-535-PUCK and online at ticketswest.com or spokanechiefs.com.