SPOKANE -- After being upended in Game 1 on home ice, the Spokane Chiefs redeemed themselves Sunday night in Game 2.
Mitch Holmberg scored two goals and Jared Cowen had four assists as the Chiefs evened their Western Conference semifinal series against the Tri-City Americans at one game apiece with a 6-3 victory before an announced crowd of 5,026 at Spokane Arena.
"They were better than us tonight," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "It's how you answer the call the next game is what's important at this point."
The series shifts to Toyota Center for Games 3, 4 and 5, starting Tuesday. Game 4 is Thursday, while Game 5 will be Sunday with a tentative 7:30 p.m. start.
The Chiefs are happy to head down Highway 395 tied at 1.
"You don't want to be down 0-2 going down there," Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said. "That would be a hard hill to climb."
The Chiefs led 2-1 after the first period but exploded for three scores in the second to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Matt Marantz gave the Chiefs a 3-1 lead, taking advantage of a Tri-City turnover at 8:48.
Levko Koper notched his second goal of the playoffs at 9:13 on the power play, picking up a rebound off a shot from the point by Brenden Kichton.
Spokane extended its lead to 5-1 at 14:52 as Steve Kuhn's shot from the slot deflected off a Tri-City player and into the net past Drew Owsley.
Owsley, who had given up just seven goals through the first five games of the playoffs, suffered his first loss of the postseason.
Owsley took a seat in the third, and rookie Eric Comrie, who signed Thursday with the Americans, played the third, finishing with 13 saves.
"It was a big surprise," Comrie said of his WHL debut. "I was nervous; I was playing off adrenaline. I've been practicing with the guys all week, so that helped. It was good experience."
Hiller liked what he saw from the up-and-coming goalie.
"I thought he played well beyond his year," Hiller said. "We got a glimpse of his capabilities."
Tyler Johnson finished the scoring for the Chiefs, netting a 5-on-3 power-play goal at 10:35 -- the only puck that got past Comrie.
The Americans got two goals in the third, one by Justin Feser at 3:30 and a power-play goal by Brendan Shinnimin with 17 seconds left in the game. For Feser, it was his team-leading fourth tally of the playoffs.
Spokane had a stick in every passing lane and kept the Americans from setting up even the most basic of offensive sets. Tri-City was limited to just eight shots on goal through two periods and 15 on the night.
The Chiefs struck first as Holmberg's sharp-angled shot along the right goal line ricocheted off Owsley and into the net at 5:52.
Jordan Messier evened things up at 15:16, taking a nice pass across the slot from Mason Wilgosh, pulling the puck around the top of the crease and beating Spokane goalie James Reid glove side.
"I've got my linemates (Kruise Reddick and Wilgosh) looking out for me," said Messier, who also had a goal in Game 1. "They're setting me up, and it's nice to see the pucks go in."
The Americans put up a good defensive stand with 3 minutes to play in the period as Sam Grist used his long reach to disrupt a Spokane 2-on-1. Thirty seconds later, Owsley made a couple of nice saves before Koper missed a wide-open net.
At 18:11, Tri-City defenseman Tyler Schmidt went to the penalty box for kneeing, and his blue-line partner, Zach Yuen, followed four seconds later with a high-stick infraction.
Working on a 5-on-3 power play, the Chiefs took a 2-1 lead at 19 minutes as Holmberg found daylight to the right of Owsley for his second goal of the game.
"That first one was a tricky one," said Holmberg, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1. "It was a lucky bounce that got through. It's good to get some chances on net and getting a couple to go in."
Spokane had struggled with its power play over the first six games of the playoffs, going 3-for-23. But Sunday night, the Chiefs were 3-for-5, with two of the goals coming on a 5-on-3 man advantage
"We didn't click on all cylinders against Chilliwack," Nachbaur said. "We had good chances. We just failed to put it in the back of the net."
Notes: Tri-City played the last 13 minutes of the game without Schmidt, who was issued a major and a game misconduct for clipping. ... Owsley played in his 25th playoff game, passing Carey Price and Brian Boucher, who each appeared in 24. Chet Pickard has the franchise record at 28.
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; email@example.com