By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
The Tri-City Americans are not ones to chant Go Chiefs Go, but their neighbors to the north gave them a helping hand Friday night, so just this once, it would be OK.
The Americans dropped a 4-2 game to the Everett Silvertips before a crowd of 4,757 at Toyota Center. But with Spokane beating Prince George, Tri-City kept its four-point lead over the Cougars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Any combination of three points — Tri-City wins or Prince George losses — and the Americans would secure a playoff spot for the 11th year in a row. The Americans have five games remaining, while the Cougars have three.
The Americans (28-31-3-5, 64 points) got an infusion of energy Friday with the return of rugged forward Jessey Astles, who missed seven games because of a WHL suspension, but it wasn’t enough to rally past the Silvertips, who won the season series against Tri-City 6-2-0-0.
“I thought we had a lot of good efforts,” said Americans coach Jim Hiller. “We just needed a bounce at the end. Having Jessey back made a difference. This time of year we need those big, strong guys to make a difference.”
Everett (35-23-7-2, 79 points), which has points in its last eight games, trails fifth-place Spokane by one point in the standings.