Kennewick, WA- No matter the venue, Spokane has had Tri-City’s number so far this year.
The Chiefs scored two in the first and added another in the second, and then held off the Americans comeback attempt in the third period to lift the Spokane Chiefs (10-5-0-0, 20 pts) to a 3-2 win over the Tri-City Americans (9-5-1-1, 20 pts) in front of 4,798 at the Toyota Center.
Spokane had a chance early on a 3-on-1, but Eric Comrie made the save. The Americans got their first chance midway through the period on a 2-on-1, with Brian Williams passing it to Justin Feser, but Eric Williams denied him. Late in the period, the Chiefs looked to have almost scored, but a video review confirmed there was no goal. But on the next faceoff, Spokane scored as Jackson Playfair deflected a Tyler King slap shot from the point. The Chiefs capitalized on another chance three minutes later on a Malte Strömwall hooking penalty. Mike Aviani scored his eighth goal of the season on the power play to make it 2-0 after one period.
Midway through the second period, the Chiefs would add another goal. Todd Fiddler picked up a turnover in the Americans zone, and fired a big slap shot past Comrie to make it 3-0 with 11:49 left in the period. The Americans had some good chances on a power play, including a shot that nailed the left post from Parker Bowles, but the Americans couldn’t score, even while outshooting Spokane 12-8 in the period.
The Americans were down but not out as they tried to comeback in the third period. It started 4:53 into the third, as Marcus Messier put the puck into the net to cut the lead to 3-1. Tri-City applied a lot of pressure on Spokane late in the period and pulled Comrie with about two minutes left in the game. It paid off with a little over a minute remaining as Malte Strömwall slapped in a Connor Rankin pass to make it 3-2. Tri-City made a push but couldn’t come up with a goal in the final minute as Spokane held on for the victory.
This is the third straight loss for the Americans against Spokane this season and the fourth straight loss dating back to last season. Tri-City is 2-4-1-1 when their opponent scores first. Spokane moves into first place in the division with the win, while Tri-City is 3-5 against division opponents.
Comrie is 0-5 in his career against the Chiefs and made 17 saves in the loss. Williams is now 2-3 against the Americans and made 35 saves in the win.
Tri-City will play its third game in three nights when they travel to Oregon to take on the Portland Winterhawks (8-3-1-0, 17 pts) in Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Game time is at 5:00 p.m. Portland defeated Tri-City in the first meeting of the season 4-2 in Kennewick. The game will be the first game played on the refurbished ice rink at the coliseum. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 4:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online starting at 5:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Eric Williams, Spokane
2. Mike Aviani, Spokane
3. Marcus Messier, Tri-City