KENNEWICK – The start of Saturday’s game at the Toyota Center was delayed 25 minutes because of a broken piece of glass behind the Spokane Chiefs’ net after warmups.
The Chiefs apparently didn’t get the word when the game finally started.
Evan Sarthou stopped 25 shots and the Tri-City Americans (22-21-0-2) unleashed five third-period goals to defeat Spokane 7-0, handing the Chiefs their first shutout of the Western Hockey League season.
Lucas Nickles had two goals and two assists, with all but one assist coming in the third period, and the Americans scored three power-play goals while taking advantage of 11 Chiefs penalties.
The last time the teams met, Dec. 31 in Kennewick, Spokane won 10-2 to cap a seven-game winning streak. Since then, the Chiefs (23-17-3-1, 50 points) have lost six of eight, including three times this week to U.S. Division rivals.
Spokane trails division-leading Everett by 10 points and second-place Portland by three. Fourth-place Seattle is one point behind Spokane.
Adam Helewka’s club-record streak of nine consecutive games with a goal ended. He’ll share the record with three other Chiefs.
Sarthou, the backup goalie, had his 16th consecutive start as the Ams await the return of injured No. 1 Eric Comrie.
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