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Brkin Backstops Chiefs to Huge 5-2 Win at Portland

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PORTLAND, Ore. — The Spokane Chiefs never trailed on Friday night in Portland, powering their way to a dominant 5-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks. Spokane is now within five points of Portland for second place in the U.S. Division with eight games remaining in the regular season.

The Chiefs made it 1-0 on a power play early in the first as Luke Toporowski drove down the left wing before finding a streaking Jake McGrew to slide the puck in.

Toporowski got on the scoreboard by himself midway through the second to make it 2-0, forcing a turnover by Portland netminder Joel Hofer and capitalizing with a wrap-around goal.

Overage forward Riley Woods scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season with a perfect shot inside the top-left corner, ringing the iron to make it 3-0 headed into the second intermission.

Team co-captain Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored just 1:24 into the third to make it 4-0 – with defenseman Filip Kral picking up his third assist of the night – before Portand’s John Ludvig got the Winterhawks on the board with his fifth goal of the year at 2:25.

The Chiefs would not allow the comeback to come to fruition as Eli Zummack extended his team-leading point streak to 16 games with a power play goal midway through the final frame. It appeared that Zummack’s streak had ended on Wednesday at Prince George, but video review confirmed a scoring change to award him an assist and extend it into Friday’s contest.

WHL-leading scorer Joachim Blichfeld scored his 52nd of the season on a power play in the closing minutes to reach the final score. 

Bailey Brkin started in goal for the Chiefs and was outstanding, earning first star honors with a career-high 50 saves including 31 through the first 20 minutes to help Spokane jump out to an early lead. Hofer finished with 30 saves on 35 shots faced.

The Chiefs finished 2-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Spokane finishes the regular season series versus Portland with a 3-2-0-1 record.

The Chiefs continue their four-game road trip at Tri-City on Saturday night with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Mike Boyle will also have the radio call on 94.1 FM The Bear beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The team returns to Spokane Arena on Tuesday, March 5 to take on the Everett Silvertips for another TicketsWest Player Magnet Giveaway Night. The first 1000 fans through the gates and all full season ticket holders will receive a refrigerator magnet featuring a Chiefs player.

Tickets for March 5 and all Spokane Chiefs home games are available online at spokanechiefs.com, over the phone at 509-535-PUCK and in-person at the Chiefs’ Ticket Office at Spokane Arena.

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