Mason Wilgosh was sitting on the doorstep for a tip-in with 37 seconds left to give the Tri-City Americans a wild 5-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs before a sell-out crowd of 10,474 fans at the Arena Saturday night.
It's the first of five straight weekend games for these rivals who are hot on the heels of Portland in the tight U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League. The Americans moved to within three points of second-place Spokane and have played 3 fewer games.
Stars 3 Wilgosh, 2 Hughesman, 1 Kuhn. Long box below. Here is the story.
It appeared the Americans had the game well in hand when Adam Hughesman scored at 7:03 and Connor Rankin connected with less than 5 minutes to go. But Tyler Johnson quickly got one back for the Chiefs with 4 minutes left and then Steve Kuhn scored on a power play goal, his third of the night with the man advantage, with just over a minute to go.
After a scoreless first period the Americans took a 2-0 lead early in the second on a pair of Spokane miscues. Brendan Shinnimin scored at 3:06 to run his point streak to 19 games, best in the league this season, then Patrick Holland converted a 2-on-1 from Justin Feser a little over three-minutes later. Kuhn got the Chiefs back into with a pair of power play goals, the first on a Kenton Miller pass at 7:35, the second in the final minute of the period when he redirected a Jared Cowen shot from the left point.
Americans 5, Chiefs 4
Spokane – Saturday
Penalties – Baldwin, Spo (holding) 20:00.
1, TC, Schinnimin 22 (Hughesman) 3:06.
2, TC, Holland 16 (Feser, Yuen) 6:20.
3, Spo, Kuhn 15 (Miller, Holmberg) 7:35, pp.
4, Spo, Kuhn 16 (Cowen, Miller) 19:20, pp
Penalties – MacKenzie, TC (checking from behind) 7:20; Valcourt, Spo (cross checking) 13:57; Ashton, TC (tripping) 19:15; Schmidt, TC (10-minute misconduct) 19:31.
5, TC, Hughesman 33 (Shinnimin, Dow) 7:03.
6, TC, Rankin 12 (Feser, Wilgosh) 15:43.
7, Spo, Johnson 38 (Cowen) 16:05.
8, Spo, Kuhn 17 (Vanscourt, Holmberg), 18:57.
9, TC, Wilgosh 11 (Holland, Feser) 19:23.
Penalties – J.Messier, TC (unsportsmanlike conduct, diving), Kuhn, Spo (holding) 3:49; Hughesman, TC (interference) 9:43; Ashton, TC (roughing) 11:25; Brassart, Spo (boarding) 13:41; MacKenzie, TC (hooking) 17:39; Kichton, Spo (delay of game) 19:43.
Shots on goal by
Goal (shots-saves) — Tri-City: Owsley (W, 28-12-1-1) 32-28. Spokane: Engle (L, 2-5-2-1) 21-26.
Power plays (goals-chances) — Tri-Cities 0-3; Spokane 3-5.
Referees — Brent Montision, Pat Smith. Linesmen — Ron Dietterle, Justin Hull.
Attendance – 10,474.
Scratches – Tri-City: Marcus Messier, Neal Prokop. Spokane: James Reid (hip, day-to-day), Cole Hamblin, Malek Kalus, Mike Aviani, Reid Gow.