by Brad Wall
KENNEWICK, Wash. – The Americans scored two late goals to defeat the Chiefs 3-2, putting an end to an exciting series and advancing them to the Western Conference Finals.
Spokane got the scoring going late in the first period when Dominik Uher tapped in a shot by Blake Gal, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead with 1:12 to go in the opening period. Dylan Walchuk also assisted on the play.
Despite being behind after a period of play, Tri-City dominated in puck control, taking 14 shots compared to the Chiefs four.
The Americans answered back just over five minutes into the second when Brian Williams scored a goal assisted by Brendan Shinnimin and Derek Ryckman.
The puck dominance by the Am's continued as they took 15 shots in the second while the Chiefs had five.
5:47 into the third, Mitch Holmberg continued his excellent postseason tapping a goal in on a pretty pass by Mike Aviani. Holmberg's 11th goal of the postseason gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
The Americans once again answered back when Adam Hughesman and Connor Rankin assisted on a Malte Stromwall goal at the 14:38 mark. Tri-City would then take their first lead of the game about a minute later as Shinnimin put the puck in the net on a goal assisted by Williams and Sam Grist.
The Chiefs pulled Goalie Eric Williams with about a minute and a half remaining, but were unable to salvage a tying goal with an extra man on the ice.
The outnumbering in shooting continued for Tri-City, outshooting Spokane 19 to 10 in the third, totaling 48 for the Americans and 19 for the Chiefs.
In comparison to Am's Goalie Ty Rimmer, Williams for Spokane had a very busy night with 45 saves on 48 shots. Rimmer didn't see nearly as much action as he had 17 saves on 19 shots.
Tri-City will face the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Conference Finals. Game One of the series will be on Friday in Kennewick at 7:05 p.m.