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Johnson scores winner as Spokane beats Vancouver 3-2 in WHL playoff game

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER - Tyler Johnson's third-period goal gave the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in WHL playoff action Wednesday night.

Spokane now has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal. Ondrej Roman and David Rutherford also scored for the Chiefs. Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Mike Piluso replied for the Giants before a disappointed crowd of 7,115 at the Pacific Coliseum.

Vancouver outshot Spokane 25-24 in the evenly played contest. All goals came at even strength as Spokane was blanked on four power plays and the Giants had three man-advantage opportunities.

Johnson broke a 2-2 tie at 5:48 of the third period. He poked the puck into the net after Stefan Ulmer's slapshot trickled through Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith's legs as he flopped onto his knees.

After a scoreless first period, the teams produced four goals in the second.

Roman opened the scoring 1:36 into the middle frame as he took a pass from Rutherford and beat Sexsmith with a low shot to the stick side. But Pierro-Zabotel created a 1-1 deadlock 1:14 later as he put in a pass from Spencer Machachek.

Rutherford gave Spokane a 2-1 lead at 12:42 as he deflected Roman's shot over Sexsmith after the winger had intercepted R.J. LaRochelle's attempt to clear the puck around the boards.

Piluso forged a 2-2 tie about five minutes later as he put in Michal Repik's rebound while Spokane defenceman Jarod Spurgeon shoved Vancouver winger Mario Bliznak into the net and sent goaltender Dustin Tokarski over backwards.

Game 4 will be held here Friday night.

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