Spokane Tops Tri-City, 4-2 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Spokane Tops Tri-City, 4-2

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SPOKANE, Wash. -- The talk had been buzzing throughout the holiday break, just how good were the Spokane Chiefs going to be without four of their best players? Well, it turns out, they are still pretty good.

Using four different skaters and a 26-save performance from rookie goaltender James Reid, the Chiefs (21-11-0-3, 45 pts) defeated the visiting Tri-City Americans (23-9-0-2, 48 pts) 4-2 in front of 8,631 fans at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Chiefs have now won five straight regular season match-ups against the Americans and hold a 3-2 advantage in the 12-game season series. The win also snapped Spokane's two-game losing skid, while Tri-City has now dropped two of their past three games. The win also pulled the Chiefs to within three points of the division-leading Americans.

It took most of the first period for both teams to shake off the holiday rust, as the two rivals skated to a scoreless tie after 20 minutes of play.

In the second, both teams began to find their pre-break stride, as the Chiefs were the first to light up the scoreboard. Just 2:34 into the period and while on the power play, defenseman Jared Cowen notched his sixth goal of the season against Tri-City starter, Drew Owsley.

Less than two minutes later, Adam Hughesman buried a Kruise Reddick rebound, knotting the game at 1. But, just 1:31 after Hughesman's goal, Spokane retook the lead when Ryan Letts knocked in an Anthony Bardaro shot, a lead the Chiefs would take into the second intermission.

In the third period, the Americans began to pressure, offensively, as they tried to even-up the contest. After a great flurry to start the period in which they outshot the Chiefs 8 to 0, Spokane got a great scoring opportunity at the 7:20 mark of the period; an opportunity they took full-advantage of.

On a two-on-one break, Seth Compton and Trevor Glass rushed into the Tri-City zone. After a cross-ice pass from Compton, Glass redirected the pass, top shelf, over Owsley's shoulder for a 3-1 lead. Then, nearly a minute and a half later, Justin McCrae jumped on a Tri-City turnover and tallied a wrist shot from the slot. The Americans opted to change goalies after the goal, giving rookie Brett Martyniuk his first-career WHL appearance.

One forty later and after a cross-ice pass from Johnny Lazo, Mitch McColm placed a shot just inside the near post, pulling the Americans to within two, at 4-2. But, the Americans could get no closer. Owsley and Martyniuk combined for 20 saves on 24 shots in the loss. Tri-City finished 0-for-4 on the power play, while Spokane was 1-for-3 on the man-advantage.

The Americans will get back on the bus and head west, where a match-up with the Portland Winter Hawks await them tomorrow, Sunday, December 28 in the Rose City. Game time is 5:00 p.m. The Winter Hawks are 2-0 against the Americans this season, one more than they had all of last season against their division rivals. Tri-City is 2-2 in their last four visits to Oregon.
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