Spokane, WA- The Americans have some work to do after this weekend.
Riley Whittingham scored the first two goals of the game, pacing the Spokane Chiefs (32-21-2-0, 66 pts) to a 5-2 win over the Tri-City Americans (31-21-1-2, 65 pts) at the Veterans Memorial Arena.
The win moves Spokane past Tri-City into second place in the U.S. Division and into fifth place in the conference. Tri-City snaps a four game road win streak and a three game win streak against the Chiefs. Spokane leads the season series with the win 5-4.
Spokane came out hot in the first period, controlling puck possession for most of the period while outshooting Tri-City 13-9. The Chiefs got better opportunities, including three power play chances, one of which was a four minute double minor penalty in the beginning of the period. The Chiefs finally capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play as Brenden Kichton hit a shot off the back boards, which bounced to Whittingham, shooting it over the right shoulder of Luke Lee-Knight to make it 1-0 after one period.
It was all Spokane again in the second period, as the Chiefs outshot the Americans 15-7. Whittingham added another goal late in the second as he was able to slip it under the pads of Lee-Knight to make it 2-0. Tri-City had some opportunities to get on the board, but was held scoreless through two periods.
Connor Chartier helped Spokane increase the lead 25 seconds into the third period to make it 3-0. The Americans finally got on the board shorthanded three minutes into the period as Lucas Nickles scored on a breakaway, beating Eric Williams on the blocker side to make it 3-1. Spokane scored again midway through the period as Adam Helewka capitalized on a breakaway, ringing a shot off the post and into the net. Tri-City fought back to get into the game, as Brian Williams scored with less than three minutes remaining in the game. But it wasn’t meant to be, as Mike Aviani put it into an empty net to seal the win for Spokane.
Lee-Knight made 27 saves in the loss while Williams made 30 saves in the win.
Tri-City will travel home for one game to welcome the Calgary Hitmen (36-16-1-3, 76 pts) to the Toyota Center for the only meeting this season on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The Hitmen are second in the Central Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Americans lost the only meeting last season 4-1 in Calgary. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Toyota Center Box Office, any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Riley Whittingham, Spokane
2. Liam Stewart, Spokane
3. Eric Williams, Spokane