By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
SPOKANE — The score was tied with less than 4 minutes to play. It looked to be another Tri-City-Spokane overtime thriller on the horizon until one loose puck changed the course of the game.
Blake Gal scored what would be the game winner with 3:29 remaining in regulation, and Mike Aviani added an insurance goal at 18:11 as the Chiefs beat the Americans 6-4 on Saturday night at Spokane Arena to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
“We found a way to win,” Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. “The first two periods, we felt comfortable with our game. We gave up what I thought were easy goals, but we could have easily had more goals at the other end. They hung in there — 4-4 doesn’t surprise me. They are a good team. Give them credit. They found a way to get back in the game, yet we found a way to win.”
Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, 5, will be played Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday at Toyota Center. If needed, Game 6 would be April 2 in Spokane.
If the series stretches to Game 7, Spokane would host the final game April 3.