From Tri-City Americans
Kennewick, WA- Tri-City was pushed to the brink of a 3-0 deficit. But the Americans stared that fate down and would not be denied a win tonight.
Tri-City scored three goals in the second period to tie the game, and Parker Bowles netted the game winning goal 10:46 into overtime to lift the Tri-City Americans (1-2-0, 2 pts) past the Spokane Chiefs (2-0-1, 4 pts) 5-4 in overtime in front of an electric 3,112 at the Toyota Center in Game 3 of the 2013 WHL First Round Playoff Series.
Spokane still leads the series 2-1, but the Americans guaranteed themselves a Game 5 Saturday night in Kennewick.
Tri-City gained the momentum by outshooting Spokane 8-5 in the first half of the first period. It was Spokane that got on the board first shorthanded. Luke Lee-Knight misplayed the puck outside of his crease and Mike Aviani capitalized on the mistake, taking the puck and squeezing the puck through the left pad and post for a 1-0 lead. The Americans came back and tied the game three and a half minutes later during 4-on-4 play. Parker Bowles picked up a loose puck on the left faceoff circle, skated toward the net and flipped the puck over the glove of Eric Williams to tie the game. The Chiefs were able to retake the lead midway through the period on the power play, as Mitch Holmberg fired a one-timer from the right faceoff circle to take a 2-1 lead. Spokane took a 3-1 lead towards the end of the period as Blake Gal scored the Chiefs second shorthanded goal of the period, putting back a rebound to give the Chiefs a two goal advantage heading into the second period.
The Chiefs added another early in the second as Liam Stewart fired a wrist shot from the slot to take a three goal lead. The tide of the game shifted toward the Americans as they gained momentum back in their favor midway through the period as a loose puck found its way to Marcus Messier in front of the net, putting it home to cut the lead to 4-2. The Toyota Center started rocking with eight minutes remaining as Spokane Captain Brenden Kichton turned the puck over to Jesse Mychan in the Chiefs zone, dropping it off for Americans Captain Justin Feser, firing a wrist shot into the goal to make it 4-3 Chiefs. The Americans continued the momentum late in the period on the power play as Drydn Dow fired a slap shot from the right point into the goal to tie the game at four heading into the third period.
Both teams pressed to get a game winning goal in the third period, with the Chiefs outshooting the Americans 12-5 but each team had a couple of solid scoring chances. Neither team could net a winner though, sending the game into overtime.
The overtime period was tense, with the suspense mounting in anticipation of the winning goal. Williams made a great save on Brian Williams to keep the game tied and Alessio Bertaggia hit the post and was denied on a breakaway by Lee-Knight. Coming out of the media timeout, the Americans got the puck to the front of the Chiefs' net and in a crazy scramble, Bowles slapped the puck past the goal line and sent the Americans onto the ice in celebration.
Tri-City was 1-of-6 on the power play but gave up two shorthanded goals while the Chiefs were 1-of-5 on the man advantage.
The game was a high-scoring affair with 17 players recording points, including nine Americans with a point. Bowles, Dow and Connor Rankin had multi-point games.
Lee-Knight made 34 saves in the win while Williams made 38 saves in the loss.
These two teams will have a day off before they face each other in Game 4 of their 2013 WHL First Round Playoff Series on Thursday, March 28 in the Toyota Center.