Spokane took a commanding 2-0 series lead over Tri-City in thrilling fashion Saturday night as Blake Gal scored the game-winner with less than four minutes remaining in the third period. The Chiefs used Gal’s goal and a pair of assists from Mitch Holmberg to defeat the Americans 6-4 in front of 6,008 fans at the Spokane Arena.
Offense was the name of the game in the first period as the two teams combined for five goals - as many as the Chiefs and Ams totaled in the entire series opener. Tri-City's Drydn Dow opened the scoring with a goal at the 5:24 mark before Liam Stewart tied the game 1-1 at 6:59 with assists from Mike Aviani and Alessio Bertaggia.
The Chiefs took their first lead of the night just 33-seconds later as Tyler King beat Troy Trombley top shelf at 7:32 on assists from Adam Helewka and Carter Proft. Tri-City scored twice more on goals from Parker Bowles at 8:27 and Marcus Messier at 10:51 to take a 3-2 advantage after 20 minutes. Spokane outshot the Ams 15-4 in the period.
Gal notched his second goal in as many nights at the 4:11 mark of the second on an assist from Holmberg to tie the game 3-3. Spokane then grabbed a 4-3 lead at the 14:00 mark with Todd Fiddler corralling a stray pass and beating Trombley unassisted. The Chiefs defense kept the Americans off the board as they held Tri-City to just four shots for the second consecutive period.
Tri-City notched the equalizer at the 8:41 mark of the third on a power play goal from Jesse Mychan. The score would remain tied 4-4 until Gal found the back of the net with a superlative backhand at 16:31 on assists from Dylan Walchuk and Holmberg. Aviani capped the scoring and provided some insurance with an unassisted goal at the 18:11 mark.
Williams finished 15 of 19 on save opportunities while Trombley was 24 of 30 for Tri-City. Spokane went 0 of 1 on the power play and 4 for 5 on the penalty kill.