RECAP: Americans (6) – Spokane (3)
Kennewick, WA – Led by two-goal performances by Jackson Smith and Nick Anisimovicz, the Tri-City Americans doubled up the Spokane Chiefs 6-3 on home ice Saturday night.
A scoreless first period saw plenty of great chances for both sides, but Kyle Kelsey and Dawson Cowan stood tall in their respective nets through 20 minutes. Shots read 20-9 in favor of the Americans after one.
Tri-City then opened the scoring in the first minute of the second period. Cowan came out of his net to try and stop a dump in, but mishandled the puck. It slid out toward the side of the net where Anisimovicz shovelled it past Cowan before he could scramble back into position. The goal came just 26 seconds into the period and was Anisimovicz’s fifth of the year.
Just 26 seconds later Jake Sloan added to the lead. A goal-mouth scramble saw the puck slide along the top of the crease to Sloan who tapped it past an outstretched Cowan for his 16th of the season, giving the Americans a 2-0 lead just 52 seconds into the middle frame.
The score remained 2-0 until the Chiefs were given a penalty shot. Chase Bertholet was slashed on a shorthanded breakaway and scored on the ensuing penalty shot, cutting the Americans lead in half.
Undeterred, Tri-City restored their two-goal lead less than a minute later. Anisimovicz found a loose puck in the Spokane crease after a shot from the left-wing wall hit the post and tapped in his second of the game to make it 3-1 with 5:34 remaining in the second period.
The Americans carried that lead into the second intermission while also leading 38-18 on the shot clock.
Like Tri-City in the second period, the Chiefs scored in the opening minute of the third to get back within one. Will McIsaac pinched in from the blue line and took a pass in the slot to cut the score to 3-2 only 24 seconds into the final period.
Once again the Americans answered the Spokane goal quickly. A strong forecheck led to Drew Freer finding the puck below the Spokane goal line before working up top for Smith. He took a few strides in before letting go a shot through traffic, beating Cowan under the glove to put Tri-City up 4-2.
Just over a minute later, Smith then added a power-play goal in highlight-reel fashion. Starting from his own zone, Smith pushed a Spokane player off the puck before darting up the ice. Once gaining the Spokane line on left wing, Smith stepped around the last defender back before lifting a shot over the glove of Cowan for his first career two-goal game. The goal gave the Americans a 5-2 lead 3:43 into the third.
Spokane cut into the lead again as the game entered the final minute with Tri-City holding a 5-3 lead. Cowan went to the bench for the extra attacker and Parker Bell found the empty Spokane net from his own zone, sealing the 6-3 win in front of over 5,600 fans.
The Americans now hit the road for a 5:00 game against the Portland Winterhawks Sunday night.