Mitch Holmberg scored two goals and Eric Williams had 32 saves as the Spokane Chiefs knocked off the Tri City Americans 4-2 Tuesday night in Kennewick in the 24th annual New Year's Eve game between the two teams. The win moved Spokane to 48 points on the season and within 1 point of third place Seattle and 2 back of second place Everett in the U.S. Division.
Holmberg started the scoring with a power play goal from Mike Aviani and Jason Fram on the Chiefs first power play at 12:02 of the first period. Riley Whittingham would follow with the Chiefs second straight power play tally just 57 seconds later to give Spokane a 2-0 lead. Spokane would have the chance to go up three on their 3rd consecutive power play of the period, but Tri City's Lucas Nickles scored shorthanded at 14:03 to cut the lead to 2-1 after one. Each team put up 15 shots in the period as Spokane went 2-4 on the power play while Tri City was 0-1.
Neither team scored in the second as the Chiefs outshot the Americans 15-8 in the period. Spokane would turn away 2 Tri City power plays in the stanza while going 0-1 themselves. Holmberg would give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead on an Adam Helewka feed at 6:44 of third, scoring his league leading 39th goal of the year. The 39 goals matches Holmberg's season total from last year, and was his 8th game winning goal of the season, tops in the WHL. Brian Williams would score at 14:18 of the third to draw the Ams within 3-2, but Colton Bobyk's empty net goal from Liam Stewart in the final seconds would wrap up the 4-2 win for Spokane.
The Chiefs outshot Tri City 40-34 in the game, securing their 4th win in 5 meetings with Tri City this season. It was Holmberg's 3rd multi-goal game in the 5 matchups with the Ams as he now has 8 goals and 10 points against Tri City. Spokane will now return home to open a 3 game homestand Friday night when they host the Victoria Royals at the Spokane Arena. Mike Boyle will have the call on 1510 KGA beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30pm and the puck drop at 7:05pm.