Spokane, WA- The Tri-City Americans (1-3-0-1 3pts) held the lead for almost two periods on Saturday night, but two goals by Mitch Holmberg in the final 20 minutes and 30 seconds of the game lifted the Spokane Chiefs (4-0-0-0 8 pts) past the Americans for the second straight weekend.
The game was the second meeting of the season between the division rivals, and the Americans were looking to return the favor after the Chiefs coasted to a 6-2 victory one week earlier at the Toyota Center.
The Americans got off to a fast start, opening the scoring at the 3:29 mark of the first period on Connor Rankin’s third power play goal in as many games. Rankin took the centering pass from Brian Williams and made no mistake, snapping it over a sprawling Eric Williams to give the Americans an early 1-0 lead.
Thanks to some stellar net minding and great defensive play, the Americans held onto this lead until late in the second period. The Chiefs finally beat Comrie with 30 seconds remaining in the second period when WHL goal scoring leader Mitch Holmberg slid the puck past the Tri-City goaltender in a scramble in front of the net.
The Chiefs came storming out of the gates in the third period registering three quality scoring chance in the first minute. After controlling the play for the first four minutes of the period, Holmberg snapped a shot off the post and in at 4:25 of the period for what would be the eventual game winning goal.
The Americans had its opportunities in the third period but only managed to get six shots through the Spokane defense in the final frame. The Chiefs would go on to outshoot Tri-City 16-6 in the third period. For the Game the Chiefs outshot the Americans 38-16.
Comrie was a difference maker for the Americans in the game, making a season high 36 saves Saturday keeping Tri-City in it until the very end. Williams did not have to make many saves but played another solid game for the Chiefs stearing aside 15 American shots.
Tri-City returns home for a brief one game home stand Tuesday against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Toyota Center. The Americans will be looking to get back on the winning after suffering back to back losses.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Mitch Holmberg- Spokane
2) Mike Aviani – Spokane
3) Eric Comrie- Tri-City