Kennewick, WA- For the second straight game, the Chiefs and Americans couldn’t settle things in regulation.
Tonight was a different outcome then Tuesday, as Blake Gal scored the game winner 5:10 into the overtime period to give the Spokane Chiefs (3-1) a 4-3 overtime win against the Tri-City Americans (1-3) in Game 4 of their 2013 First Round Playoff Series in front of 3,384 at the Toyota Center.
The Chiefs have the Americans on the ropes with a 3-1 series advantage. In the past 29 playoff games between the two teams, this was the 16th time the game has gone to overtime.
The game started out slow, with both teams trying to find their rhythm. Tri-City got on the board first as Jesse Mychan gathered a Brenden Kichton turnover, sent a pass toward the middle of the zone that was gathered by Justin Feser, firing a laser past the glove of Eric Williams for a 1-0 lead. Spokane tied the game later in the period as Adam Helewka fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle over the shoulder of Luke Lee-Knight to even the score. The Chiefs took the lead late in the first as Todd Fiddler followed up a Dylan Walchuk breakaway that was stopped, but Fiddler put the rebound into the goal to make it 2-1. The Chiefs outshot the Americans 14-8 in the period.
Tri-City looked to tie the game in the second period while the Chiefs looked to pad their lead, but neither scenario happened as both teams failed to score in the period. Spokane outshot Tri-City 12-11 in the period with both teams getting quality chances, but the red light never came on in the second as the Chiefs carried a one goal lead into the third.
Spokane took a two goal lead 6:35 into the third as Brenden Kichton skated to the net and slipped the puck past Lee-Knight for a 3-1 lead.
The Americans regrouped and answered. Mitch Topping fired a slap shot from the point, bouncing it off a Spokane defender and into the net on the power play to cut the lead to one. Tri-City kept the momentum going with less than three minutes left in the game as Malte Strömwall fed a pass to Drydn Dow at the back door, firing the puck into the goal for his third goal of the series to tie the game. The rest of the period was scoreless, sending the game to overtime for a second straight game.
Overtime came to a screeching halt early as Luke Lee-Knight went down with an injury and had to be replaced by Troy Tombley. The game came to an end as Gal beat Trombley glove side to send the Chiefs onto the ice in celebration.
Strömwall had two assists while Feser had a goal and an assist for the Americans. Fiddler, Helewka and Alessio Bertaggia recorded multi-point games for the Chiefs. Gal scored his third game winning goal of the month against the Americans, netting an overtime winner in the regular season finale and scored the winning goal in Game 2 of the series in Spokane.
Tri-City was 1-of-4 on the power play tonight while the Chiefs had no power play opportunities.
Lee-Knight made 41 saves while Trombley made 2 saves in the loss. Williams stopped 29 shots in the win.
These two teams will meet one more time in the Toyota Center on Saturday, March 30 for Game 5 of the 2013 First Round Playoff Series. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Toyota Center Box Office, at any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Blake Gal, Spokane
2. Todd Fiddler, Spokane
3. Justin Feser, Tri-City