Kennewick, WA– The Spokane Chiefs (1-0-0-0, 2 pts) sprinted ahead of the Tri-City Americans (0-1-0-0, 0 pts) with four straight goals on Saturday night, spoiling the Americans’ home opener for the second consecutive season as part of a 6-2 victory at the Toyota Center.
The Americans went on a power play with a chance to take the early lead, but forward Beau McCue couldn’t quite corral a loose puck in front of the net that would have given Tri-City first blood. Less than a minute after the Chiefs returned to full strength, Connor Chartier put the Chiefs ahead 1-0.
Mitch Holmberg scored his first of two goals in the first period, a minute 27 later, to give the Chiefs the 2-0 lead. Holmberg would also net Spokane’s third goal as the Chiefs began to distance themselves from the Americans midway through the opening frame.
At 11:19 of the first period, Liam Stewart made it 4-0 in what seemed to be the early dagger for the Chiefs, but McCue gave the Americans life late in the period, scoring on the power play at 16:45 to make it 4-1.
Kennewick native, Taylor Vickerman, put the Americans right back in the game, scoring his first goal in an Americans uniform at the 13:27 mark, pulling Tri-City within two goals. Michael Aviani put an end to the Americans rally, scoring a power play goal at 18:01. Holmberg completed his hat trick in the dying seconds of the period to give Spokane a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.
With the game out of reach late in the game, the bad blood between the teams showed itself, with 34 of the game’s 48 penalty minutes coming in the third period.
Eric Comrie, despite giving up all six goals, made several big saves for the Americans, finishished with 31 saves on the night. Eric Williams made his first start of the season for the Chiefs, steering aside 22 shots.
The Americans will have the opportunity to return the favor next Saturday when it plays in Spokane’s home opener on September 28 .
Tri-City will be right back at it tomorrow night when it faces the Prince George Cougars (0-2-0-0) for a 5:05 p.m. faceoff at the Toyota Center. Both teams will be hungry for its first win, with Prince George losing to both Portland and Everett to start the season.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1- Mitch Holmberg (3g-1A-4PT)
2- Michael Aviani (1G-1A-2PT)
3- Taylor Vickerman (1G-0A-1PT)