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Chiefs fall apart in loss to Americans

After an emotional win Friday night over Seattle, the Spokane Chiefs came out hot on Saturday but the Tri-City Americans kept answering and then ran away for a 7-3 win.

Ethan McIndoe got a rebound off of a Jaret Anderson-Dolan shot and McIndoe scored to tie the game at 3-3 early in the second period. But the Americans (22-25-2-0 46 points) hung four goals on the Chiefs in the final 36 minutes to earn the win.

“Our execution and our passing was poor,” Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. “They out-competed us and outworked us. They deserved to win.”

The Americans scratched first when Juuso Valimaki shot at Chiefs’ goalie Tyson Verhelst. The puck rebounded off of Verhelst and Tri-City’s Mackenze Stewart was there to knock it home to make it 1-0 with 12:25 remaining in the first period.

Then three minutes later, Spokane’s Kailer Yamamoto fired a shot at Tri-City goalie Evan Sarthou that rebounded to Hudson Elynuik, who smashed it into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

Then with only 2:05 left in the period, Austyn Playfair fired a pretty pass to an open Vladislav Lukin, who shot it past Verhelst to give Tri-City a 2-1 lead.

The highlight of the night for Spokane, which needed more, came early in the second period. During a Tri-City power play, Spokane’s Preston Kopeck got his stick on the puck for a steal and Dominic Zwerger raced the other way.

Zwerger made a great fake, got Sarthou to bite and scored the short-handed goal to tie the game at 2-2.

“We fought our way back to tie it up,” Zwerger said. “But they answered right away. We’ve got to be better there.”

After Spokane (23-19-3-2 51 points) tied it, Tri-City’s Beau McCue found Morgan Geekie who scored 28 seconds after Zwerger to regain the lead at 3-2.

About 90 seconds later, McIndoe got his goal to tie it at 3-3.

“I thought after that we would have carried on through like (Friday) night,” McIndoe said. “But we weren’t able to do it.”

The Americans got goals from Parker Bowles, Jordan Topping and an empty netter by Tyler Sandhu. To add salt into the wound, Lukin got the puck off of a faceoff and smashed it past Verhelst to make the score 7-3 with 25 seconds remaining.

The Chiefs failed to score on five power plays and actually had better offensive looks when they played shorthanded.

“I thought we had some momentum after” Zwerger’s goal, Nachbaur said. “We had opportunities with the power plays and we went flat.”

In the end, the Chiefs just didn’t win enough battles, he said.

“The hockey gods are fair,” Nachbaur said. “If you play the right way, you get results. They did, we didn’t.”

Zwerger said Nachbaur talked to the team about coming out for the third period just like it did on Friday when it scored four goals to beat Seattle 5-4.

“But then we got scored on right away,” Zwerger said.

The Americans added three more goals to run away with the game.

“We never gave up,” Zwerger said. “But we just didn’t get the bounces.”


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