Mitch Holmberg became the Chiefs’ all-time goal scorer, and Liam Stewart – in his first game since January 29th – scored the game-winning goal in the shootout, as Spokane beat rival Tri-City Americans 4-3 in front of a sold out crowd of 10,309 at the Spokane Arena on Friday night for the Coca-Cola Regular Season Finale.
Holmberg scored his record-breaking goal to push Spokane ahead 3-2 in the second period. Jason Fram held the puck at point, found Mike Aviani in the crease who then, with a fancy backhanded assist, found Holmberg on the left side for the score. Fram and Aviani now have 52 and 43 assists on the season, respectively.
Tri-City’s Parker Bowles tied the game up at 3-all with 31.7 seconds remaining in the final period. Aviani was whistled for holding with 2:08 left, and the Americans pulled goalie Evan Sarthou to hold a 6-on-4 advantage on the ice. After the 5-minute overtime period, the headed into a shootout.
Holmberg started off the shootout, using a quick score to push Spokane on top, 1-0, but Bowles evened it up once he stepped onto the ice. Neither Spokane nor Tri-City was able to score on their next two attempts, but Stewart fired a rocket by Sarthou in what turned out to be the game winner. Spokane netminder Eric Williams, who stopped 26 of 29 shots, denied Jessey Astles to cement the victory.
Spokane fell behind 2-0 early in the first period after two Astles scores, but goals from Spokane native Keanu Yamamoto and Connor Chartier brought the Chiefs and Americans to a 2-2 tie. Holmberg broke the tie with his 62nd goal of the season.
Only four penalties were called in the game, as the Chiefs scored on one of three power play opportunities. Tri-City scored on their only power play.
The Chiefs will head to Tri-City for part two of the quick home-and-home series tomorrow night, March 15th.