The tenor of a hockey game can change at any moment, thanks to the randomness of the sport. For the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans, it was a disallowed goal in the third period.
Spokane’s Riley McKay seemed to have scored to give the Chiefs a commanding 3-0 lead over their U.S. Division rivals. But after review, the officials ruled the puck had been played by an illegal hand pass prior to the goal being scored.
From there, the Americans scored five unanswered goals to win 5-2 in front of 7,411 at the Spokane Arena.
The Americans’ five third-period goals came on 13 shots on net.
“Ultimately, we just literally stopped playing (after the disallowed goal),” head coach Dan Lambert said. “We stood around and watched. We watched a team that knows how to win give a push. We didn’t have an answer.”
Morgan Geekie started the onslaught when he took a pass from Jordan Topping and found himself all alone in front of Chiefs goaltender Dawson Weatherill. Conner Bouchard then tied the game after putting a rebound past Weatherill.
Geekie gave the Americans the lead 89 seconds later with his second goal of the night. The Chiefs immediately called timeout to regroup.
“(Lambert) just told us to get back to what we were doing the first 40 minutes,” Jaret Anderson-Dolan said. “He just said to stick together and two shots can be the difference.”
Instead of the Chiefs getting two goals, it was the Americans’ Michael Rasmussen and Sasha Mutala cashing in, rounding out the scoring for Tri-City.
Weatherill was pulled after the fifth goal.
Lambert and Anderson-Dolan both lamented the Chiefs inability to remain aggressive in the third period, something they excelled at in the game’s first 40 minutes.
“Once it all happened, it got real quiet on the bench and we started losing our energy,” Anderson-Dolan said. “It’s a frustrating loss, but we’re going to learn from that.”
Anderson-Dolan got the Chiefs on the board 1 minute, 14 seconds into the game. He took a feed from Ty Smith on the power play and put it past Americans goalie Beck Warm.
The Anderson-Dolan, Eli Zummack and Jake McGrew line continued its impressive play in the first and second periods. But like all of the Chiefs lines, the trio lost a step in the third.
“We have three good players on that line, but we can’t have out three best players be minus three and four in the third period and expect to win a hockey game,” Lambert said.
Import Filip Kral – new to the team this week – scored his first career goal in the first period with an assist from Ethan McIndoe.
Kral gives the Chiefs some solid play from the back end.
“Filip’s been here for a total of about 72 hours and he’s done a real nice job of calming things down for us (on defense),” Lambert said. “He’s a good first-pass defenseman and he understands the game and makes plays. He’s a welcome addition.”
The Chiefs cashed in on one of three power-play opportunities, while Tri-City was scoreless in four.
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