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WHL: Chiefs play spoilers to Americans' home opener

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The Canadian Press
9/23/2012 9:42:46 AM
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Home openers are usually a guaranteed victory for the Tri-City Americans, but the Spokane Chiefs played spoilers this year.

Mitch Holmberg scored once and setup two more as Spokane defeated host Tri-City 5-2 on Saturday in Western Hockey League action.

"Coming into this building you always know it will be hard," Holmberg said. "We were lucky."

The Americans had won 11 consecutive home openers, including six over the Chiefs. They last lost a home opener in 2000 -- an 8-0 loss to Spokane.

Liam Stewart and Carter Proft each had a goal and an assist for the Chiefs (1-0-0) and Mike Aviani added a single goal.

Malte Stromwall and Parker Bowles scored for the Americans (0-1-0).

Mac Engel turned away 29 shots for the win while at the other end of the ice Eric Comrie allowed four goals on 34 shots against in a losing effort.

Spokane went 1 for 6 on the power play while Tri-City failed to score on three chances with the man advantage.

Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Calgary 5, Kootenay 1; Brandon 7, Regina 4; Swift Current 7, Moose Jaw 1; Prince Albert 5, Saskatoon 2; Medicine Hat 5, Lethbridge 1; Prince George 6, Everett 0; Kamloops 3, Kelowna 2; Portland 6, Seattle 2 and Victoria 3, Vancouver 2.

At Kennewick, Wash., after a scoreless first period the Chiefs came to life in the second, scoring four unanswered goals.

Fiddler opened the scoring at 9:26, Stewart scored at 17:38, Aviani followed at 18:34 and Holmberg finished off the four-goal period at 19:27.

Trailing 4-0 in the middle of the third, the Americans finally got on the board at 11:53 as rookie Bowles scored his first WHL goal.

Stromwall would cut Spokane's lead in half with a goal at 17:48.

Tri-City pulled Comrie for an extra attacker, but a turnover by the Americans behind the net allowed Proft an easy goal.

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Hitmen 5 Ice 1

At Calgary, Zane Jones scored twice and Darian Henry chipped in a goal and two assists as the Hitmen (2-0-0) defeated Kootenay (0-2-0).

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Wheat Kings 7 Pats 4

At Regina, six Brandon players recorded a multi-point game, including Tyrel Seamen who scored twice, as the Wheat Kings (2-0-0) beat the Pats (0-2-0) for the second straight night.

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Broncos 7 Warriors 1

At Swift Current, Sask., Adam Lowry scored three times and Eetu Laurikainen made 26 saves as the Broncos (1-0-1) crushed Moose Jaw (1-1-0).

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Raiders 5 Blades 2

At Saskatoon, Sask., Logan McVeigh scored two of Prince Albert's (1-0-1) four power-play goals en route to defeating the Blades (1-1-0).

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Tigers 5 Hurricanes 1

At Medicine Hat, Sask., Dylan Busenius scored once and setup two more while Dawson MacAuley made 23 saves as the Tigers (1-1-0) downed Lethrbidge (1-1-0).

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Cougars 6 Silvertips 0

At Everett, Wash., Brett Zarowny stopped all 25 shots he faced and Colin Jacobs had two goals and three assists as Prince George (1-0-0) blanked the Silvertips (0-1-0).

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Blazers 3 Rockets 2

At Kelowna, B.C., Matt Needham scored the winning goal with only 33 seconds remaining in the third period as Kamloops (2-0-0) slipped past the Rockets (0-1-1).

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Winterhawks 6 Thunderbirds 2

At Kent, Wash., Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and setup one more, and Nicolas Petan had a goal and three assists as Portland (1-1-0) defeated Seattle (1-1-0).

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Royals 3 Giants 2

At Victoria, Alex Gogolev's second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Royals (2-0-0) downed Vancouver (0-2-0) for the second time in as many nights.

Spokane Chiefs (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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