by Brad Wall
SPOKANE, Wash. – In a must-win situation the Chiefs did just that, defeating the Tri-City Americans 4-3 in overtime to force an all-or-nothing game seven.
The Americans were the first to get on the board when Patrick Holland hit a shot that deflected off goalie Eric Williams and was rebounded and put in the net by Derek Ryckman 2:56 into the game.
The Chiefs not only answered back, they also took the lead scoring two goals in less than a minute. The first came during a power play at the 5:35 mark by Dominik Uher with a quick release shot from a pass by Blake Gal. Mitch Holmberg then took advantage of a two on one matchup and scored 53 seconds later on an assist by Mike Aviani giving the Chiefs a 2-1 lead. The goal was Holmberg's tenth of the postseason.
Tri-City took 11 shots in the first period to Spokane's eight.
The Americans tied the game back up in the second short-handed when Justin Feser rebounded a shot by Mason Wilgosh and scored at the 8:47 mark.
Spokane would once again not let that tie last long as Tanner Mort got a pass from Dylan Walchuk and hit a slap shot that Steven Kuhn tipped in for a power play goal 33 seconds later at the 9:20 mark.
Late into the second, the Am's knotted up the score as Holland sped up the ice and slipped past defender Reid Gow for a breakaway goal with 1:29 remaining in the period.
The third period turned into a defensive battle, as neither team was able to score the go-ahead goal, sending the game into overtime.
Liam Stewart hit a shot assisted by Connor Chartier and Tyler King 9:33 into the overtime period to claim the victory for the Chiefs and tie the series at 3 games a piece.
Spokane goalie Eric Williams had 27 saves on 30 shots for the Chiefs. Opposite Williams was Ty Rimmer who had 20 saves on 24 shots.
The series goes back to Kennewick for the series deciding game seven where the puck will drop Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The winner will play in the Western Conference Finals.