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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Americans sneak away with win

Hockey games are three periods and Spokane Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter saw three different games Saturday night - which ended with a disappointing 4-3 loss to the Tri-City Americans.

"It was a tale of three games," he said. "The first portion we had to kill a whole bunch of penalties and they definitely had momentum. I thought probably 18 minutes of the second period and maybe even the first five to seven minutes of the third we did a good job of digging ourselves back out of the whole. Their their penalty kill did a great job, they got a power play goal, then the next one off the foot."

As he said, "It's too bad but at the same time, lots to learn from."

Keep reading for the unedited game story for Sunday's paper. The Chiefs return to action Wednesday when Brandon comes to town.

Special teams weren’t, which is why the Spokane Chiefs suffered a heart-breaking 4-3 loss to their Western Hockey League rival Tri-City Americans Saturday night at the Arena.

The Chiefs had a man advantage seven times and seven times they came up empty while the Americans cashed in on two of their seven power play opportunities.

“We played a good, probably, 30, 40 minutes of the game,” Spokane forward Tyler Johnson said. “You just can’t win a game like that. Way too many penalties; discipline wasn’t there for us. I don’t know too many teams that can win a game short-handed.”

They tried.

After falling behind 2-0 early in the second period, Johnson’s penalty shot early in the third period gave the Chiefs a 3-2 lead. Johnson drew the penalty as he broke in on Drew Owsley while the Americans were on the power play.

That brought the crowd of 8,735 to life but didn’t fluster Tri-City.

The Americans got a power play goal from Brooks Macek at 13:55 and less than a minute later Spencer Asuchak lucked into a goal as the puck went off his skate into the net.

The win came despite five third-period penalties, including three in less than a minute shortly after Johnson’s goal.

“That was entertaining,” TC coach Jim Hiller said. “They should have charged double for that one.“What do I think of (the third period) right now or what did I think of it 10 minutes in? I wasn’t enjoying it very much. That’s junior hockey, there’s probably not a more entertaining brand of hockey played than junior hockey.”

Hiller could afford a cavalier attitude since his team has now won 10 straight since losing here last month

.“You’re always happy when you’re on the power play, you’re always disappointed when you’re on the penalty kill,” he said. “Referees have a tough job.”

And Spokane (5-4-1) wasn’t pointing fingers.

“A lot of (power play problems were) us early and then as the game went on I thought when we did get shots through it seemed to hit their goalie,” Chiefs coach Hardy Sauter said. “And they blocked a ton of shots. Whether they meant to or not, they got in the way of a lot of shots.”

Despite all the blocks by the Ams (11-2-0) the Chiefs had a 32-22 shot advantage, 27-13 after the first period, plus all those third-period power plays.

“I think we have to be smarter, get those pucks through, get them on net,” Johnson said. “Too many times we were looking for that pretty goal. Sometimes it’s the garbage goals that are going to matter.”

And Sauter saw some good things.

“I liked our penalty killing,” he said. “It sounds crazy, they scored two goals, but for the most part we did a lot of good things. I liked we came back after getting down 2-0 and even get the lead. But I didn’t like our five-on-three power play, and obviously don’t like them being able to come back in the third period.

“It’s too bad but at the same time, lots to learn from.”

The Chiefs escaped the first period trailing just 1-0 despite being a man short for seven minutes, including a 5-minute stint after T.C. Cratsenberg received a major and game misconduct for wailing on Tyler Schmidt, who didn’t fight back.However, a charging penalty on Steve Kuhn as the buzzer sounded led to a power play goal 1:55 into the second period, putting the Chiefs down 2-0.

A wrap-around goal by Kenton Miller, his shot deflected in off goalie Drew Owsley, at 5:07 cut the deficit in half. Then in the waning minutes Mike Marantz got his stick on a rebound of a Tanner Mort shot from the right point and the puck dribbled in.

Spokane returns to action on Wednesday when Brandon visits.

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