CHIEFS DROP AMERICANS 5-2, WIN FIFTH STRAIGHT VS. RIVALPosted: Updated:
SPOKANE, WA - Thus far into the 2009-10 season, there are many positive things to point to for the Tri-City Americans as they chase their third straight division crown. However, something happened Saturday night that they'd like to just forget.
The Spokane Chiefs (40-21-3-1, 84 pts) got goals from five different skaters and James Reid stopped 31 shots in route to a 5-2 win over the visiting Tri-City Americans (43-18-1-2, 89 pts) in front of 10,529 fans at Veterans Memorial Arena. With the win, Spokane has now won five straight vs. Tri-City for the first time since the 1997-98 season. Meanwhile, the Americans fell to 1-3-1-0 this season at Veterans Memorial Arena, while their division lead shrank to two points over the Everett Silvertips, who downed Prince George 5-0 at home earlier in the evening.
The night started off well for Tri-City, as they got on the board first. At the 7:43 mark of the first period, Justin Feser fed Patrick Holland as part of a 3-on-2 breakaway. Holland buried the pass between the pads of James Reid to notch his 15th goal of the season.
But, as the period continued, the momentum shifted away from Tri-City to Spokane, as the Chiefs outshot the Americans 12 to 7 in the period. And, nearly eight minutes after Holland's goal, Spokane responded. While on the power play and from behind the net, Kyle Beach put a shot off the back of Drew Owsley's right leg and into the net, tying the game at 1. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the first period, Levko Koper fired a shot from the half wall that glanced off a Tri-City defender and past Owsley, putting the Chiefs on top for good.
Back on the power play at the 6:35 mark of the second period, Mitch Wahl let a shot go from the mid-point that got past Owsley and gave Spokane at 3-1 lead. But, with 2:25 left in the period and on their first power play of the game, Brett Plouffe let a blast go from the point. Reid made the initial save, but could not stop Neal Prokop's put back, as the Americans cut the lead down to one headed into the final period of play.
In the early goings of the third period, both teams had opportunities not go their way. For Tri-City, Holland rang a shot off the crossbar and then Brendan Shinnimin failed to connect on a backdoor pass. Meanwhile, Spokane had a goal waived off after the referee lost sight of the puck during a scramble in front of Owsley.
But the big moment came just past the midway point of the period when, while diving across the crease to make a save, Owsley collided with Blake Gal and was forced to leave the game. Coming in cold off the bench, Alexander Pechurskiy entered the game with 9:36 remaining in regulation. But, just over two minutes into his shift and on the first shot he faced, Pechurskiy got beat by Brady Brassart, who walked in all alone and beat him between the pads as he was sliding across the crease.
Over the final 3:05, Pechurskiy was pulled for the extra attacker twice in an effort to get Tri-City back into the game. But, with Pechurskiy pulled to try and offset another Spokane power play, Kenton Miller got past the Americans' defense and put back the empty net goal to cap the scoring in the contest.
Owsley, who did not return to the bench after the collision, took the loss behind 25 saves on 28 shots. Meanwhile, Pechurskiy stopped 1 of the 2 shots he faced in relief. Tri-City finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play, while Spokane was 3-for-7 on the man-advantage.