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Spokane Chiefs come close to first win in overtime loss at Tri-City

UPDATED: Sat., April 3, 2021

By Kevin Dudley For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Chiefs looked like they were on the right foot against the Tri-City Americans and possibly inching their way to their first win of the season.

They outshot the host Americans 13-7 in the third period and tied the game on a Cordel Larson goal. Momentum seemed to be on Spokane’s side.

But things changed quickly in the overtime period. Tri-City’s Luke Zazula scored just 18 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime to give the Americans a 3-2 win Saturday in Kennewick. The Chiefs remain winless on the season and just have two points in the standings – an overtime loss and a shootout loss.

Tri-City outshot Spokane 32-22, including 10-2 in the first period alone. The Chiefs had a tough time in the Tri-City zone and gave up a few odd-man chances in the defensive zone in the first period.

The Chiefs were a victim of another issue: their power play. The Chiefs gave up their fourth shorthanded goal of the season when Tri-City’s Samuel Huo scored 2:44 into the second period. If giving up a shorthanded goal wasn’t bad enough, Huo’s goal came on a 2-on-0.

But Spokane scored its lone power-play goal of the night at 5:06 in the second when Blake Swetlikoff swatted home a rebound off of a Matt Leduc shot from the point. The goal was Swetlikoff’s first of his Western Hockey League career.

The Americans broke the tie at 8:41 when Tyson Greenway scored on a breakaway.

The Chiefs were the stronger team in the third period and didn’t waste time tying the game. Larson’s game-tying goal came just 59 seconds into the third period. Larson took a feed from Raegan Wiles and sniped one past Tri-City goaltender Talyn Boyko from the faceoff circle. It was Larson’s first goal of the season.

The Chiefs had opportunities to take the lead in the third period, including two power-play chances, but couldn’t connect. The Chiefs were just 1 for 6 on the power play for the game.

Brandon Reller and Eli Zummack nearly gave Spokane the lead late in the third on a 2-on-1, but Boyko stood tall and helped Tri-City get to overtime. That’s when Zazula scored quickly to open the extra frame.

Boyko stopped 20 shots for Tri-City and Campbell Arnold sopped 29 for Spokane.

Arnold kept Spokane in the game with a number of key saves, including a stop on Connor Bouchard with 1:22 remaining in the game.

The Chiefs are back home Sunday to host the Seattle Thunderbirds.

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