Kennewick, WA- After surrendering the first goal of the game, the Tri-City Americans (15-12-1-2, 33 pts.) held the high powered Spokane Chiefs (17-8-0-2, 36 pts.) offense at bay, prevailing 2-1 in a six-round shootout on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
In four meetings this season, the Chiefs and Americans had three out of four contests decided by just one goal. With the win, the Americans close out its November schedule with a 7-4-1-1 record.
Eric Comrie played another big game for Tri-City, making 26 saves during regulation and overtime, before stopping five of the Chiefs’ six shootout opportunities. The Americans net minder lowered his goals against to 2.47 in the winning effort.
The Chiefs opened the scoring at 7:41 of the first period, when Markson Bechtold won a puck battle deep in the Americans’ zone. The Spokane forward then made a centering pass to a wide open Riley Whittingham, who redirected it past Eric Comrie, giving Spokane a 1-0 lead.
After killing off two minor penalties earlier in the period, the Americans went on the man advantage after Reid Gow was called for slashing at 17:22. On the ensuing power play, Jessey Astles tied the game with his fifth goal of the season.
With two power plays in the middle frame, the Americans had multiple chances to score the go ahead goal. Spokane outshot Tri-City 9-6 in the second period, but solid goaltending on both ends of the ice kept the game knotted at one after 40 minutes of play.
Both teams had man advantage opportunities in the third period, but, neither power play unit managed to get anything going. Then, with 12 seconds left in regulation, Michael Aviani was whistled for high sticking, giving Tri-City another man advantage opportunity heading into the overtime period.
With 1:48 of a 4-on-3 power play, the Americans still could not break the 1-1 tie. Teams went back and forth for the remaining 3:12 of the extra frame, but both goaltenders stood their ground, sending the game to a shootout.
Spokane held the upper hand after the first round of the shootout with a Mitch Holmberg score and a Jessey Astles miss. But, Connor Rankin’s goal with the Americans’ second shot tied the shootout at one. The Chiefs had three opportunities to win the game, but Comrie kept the game going with three big saves.
Finally, in the sixth round, a Phil Tot goal gave the Americans its first lead of any kind. Needing a goal to extend the shootout, Connor Chartier was turned aside by Comrie to end the game.
The Tri-City Americans will be back in action on Tuesday night, when the Saskatoon Blades (10-6-1-2, 23 pts.) make its first and only trip to Kennewick this season. Puck drops from the Toyota Center at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer locations, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
2) Jessey Astles, Tri-City
3) Riley Whittingham, Spokane