Spokane overcame a four goal deficit in the third period and won in a shootout as they defeated Seattle 7-6 in front of 5,626 fans at the Spokane Arena Friday night. Brenden Kichton scored the game-winner and Mitch Holmberg recorded his second hat trick of the season as the Chiefs improved to 13-2-0-0 at home and 23-8-1-0 overall.
A fast paced first period saw Spokane outshoot Seattle 15-9 but struggle to stay out of the penalty box. The Chiefs grabbed an early 1-0 lead at 3:35 as Dylan Walchuk beat Thunderbirds goalie Brandon Glover with assists from Holmberg and Marek Kalus.
Seattle used a 5-on-3 advantage to tie the game at 11:39 with Connor Sanvido sending a shot past Eric Williams from the right circle. The Thunderbirds stayed on the power play and scored again at 12:17 on a goal from Luke Lockhart.
The T-Birds wasted no time padding their lead in the second as Lockhart scored his second of the night, this time a short-handed, just 49-seconds into the period.
Spokane's Riley Whittingham cut into that lead at the 1:57 mark, finding the back of the net off a textbook cross-ice pass from Kalus for his second goal of the season. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Whittingham's score proved to their last of the second as Seattle controlled the remainder of the period.
The relentless Thunderbirds used goals from Roberts Lipsbergs at 11:16 and Justin Hickman at 12:24 to take a 5-2 advantage into the game's final stanza.
Seattle scored again early in the third as Connor Honey rebounded a shot in front of the crease at 1:27 and flicked it past new Chiefs' goalie Eric Hughson, who replaced Williams to start the period, for a 6-2 advantage.
That's when Holmberg took over. The Chiefs winger cut the deficit to 6-3 with a power play goal at 8:09 on assists from Kichton and Reid Gow. Holmberg struck again at the 14:31 mark, rocketing a wrist shot past Glover with assists from Kichton and Gow.
The red-hot Holmberg completed his hat trick at 17:09, beating Glover for the third time in less than 10 minutes with assists from Gow and Kalus. Mike Aviani capped off the incredible comeback with a goal at 19:04 on assists from Kichton and Holmberg that tied the game 6-6.
Despite a number of good opportunities neither team scored in overtime, sending the game into a shootout. After both teams scored on their first and missed on their second opportunities, Kichton light the lamp and Hughson stopped an attempt from Lipsbergs to preserve the improbable win.
Hughson finished 5 of 6 on save opportunities while Williams was 8 of 13. Spokane went 1 for 6 on the power play and 3 of 5 on the penalty kill.
The Chiefs host the Tri-City Americans Saturday night at the Spokane Arena for Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by the Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund.