Americans Fall Short Against Chiefs in Season Opener

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Spokane, WA- The Tri-City Americans (0-1-0-0, 0 pts) fought hard to spoil opening night for the Spokane Chiefs (1-0-0-0, 2 pts), but three third period goals and a hat trick from Jaret Anderson-Dolan allowed the Chiefs to earn a 6-4 win at Spokane Arena on Saturday night.

The Chiefs opened the scoring 1:14 in to the game, as Hudson Elynuik tapped in a loose puck in front of the net for a 1-0 lead. Midway through the first, Tri-City evened the game at one. Dylan Coghlan fired a shot from the point, which was deflected into the net by Taylor Vickerman. The Americans took the lead 14:33 into the first. Juuso Valimaki fired a shot from the point, which was stopped, but the rebound came to Jordan Topping in front of net, banging it home for a 2-1 lead after the first period.

Early in the second, the Chiefs tied the game on the power play. Jaret Anderson-Dolan fired a wrist shot through traffic that found the twine. Eight minutes into the second, Tri-City retook the lead. The Americans skated into the Spokane zone with a 2-on-1, as Jordan Topping passed across to Tyler Sandhu, one-timing a shot into the goal for the 3-2 advantage. Less than three minutes later, the Americans increased the lead to two, as Sandhu exited the penalty box and joined the attack. Michael Rasmussen fired a pass from the point, which was redirected into the net by Sandhu for his second tally of the game. Spokane was able to cut the lead to 4-3, as Jason Fram was able to pick up a loose puck in front of the net and score, giving the Americans a one goal cushion going into the third.

Less than two minutes into the third, the Chiefs knotted the game at four. A shot from the point didn’t get through, but bounced to Anderson-Dolan, firing it into the open net space to tie the game. Tri-City had some momentum after killing off a five minute major penalty from Dylan Coghlan, which included a 5-on-3 power play for two minutes. But Spokane took the lead following the end of the power play, as Anderson-Dolan completed the hat trick, putting the Chiefs on top 5-4 with just more than five minutes left in the third. Two minutes later, Kailer Yamamoto was able to flip the puck past Evan Sarthou, adding insurance and making it 6-4 Chiefs. The Americans tried to get back into the game, but weren’t able to get anything going as Spokane earned the win.

The Americans were unsuccessful with seven power play chances and recorded 33 penalty minutes. The Chiefs converted 1-of-6 power play opportunities and spent 22 minutes in the penalty box.

Evan Sarthou stopped 32 shots in the loss. Garret Hughson made 10 saves in the start for Spokane, and Tyson Verhelst came on in the second period and made nine saves in the win.

The Americans will have a week off before Tri-Cities Rotary Opening Night against the Chiefs at the Toyota Center on Saturday, Oct. 3. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. 

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