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Tri-City erupts in third to overcome Spokane

Spokane Chiefs
Spokane Chiefs

KENNEWICK – Forty minutes do not a hockey game make. The Spokane Chiefs found that out the hard way on Monday night.

After scrapping their way to a 3-2 lead through two periods, the Chiefs had multiple breakdowns in the third period and Tri-City rattled off four straight goals – two of them just 14 seconds apart – and skated to a 6-3 win before 6,098 at the Toyota Center in the 23rd annual New Year’s Eve meeting between the U.S. Division rivals.

It’s just the second time in 19 games that the Chiefs have lost after leading after two periods. The other was here on Nov. 23 when Tri-City rallied from a 3-2 deficit to win 5-4 in overtime.

Brenden Kichton had a goal 5:43 into the first period, his 10th of the season, and assisted on Mitch Holmberg’s 24th with 53 seconds left in a second period the Chiefs dominated.

Blake Gal scored his fifth goal of the season midway through the second to draw Spokane into a 2-2 tie. The Chiefs outshot the Americans 17-6 in the period and 28-18 through 40 minutes.

Tri-City reversed the trend in the final 20 minutes, outshooting Spokane 15-5, scoring four times on goaltender Eric Williams.

Parker Bowles, who scored on the power play in the first period, drew the Ams even 2:06 into the third. Tri-City broke the tie 51/2 minutes later as Drydn Dow and Connor Rankin scored 14 seconds apart. Beau McCue’s capped it 41/2 minutes later.