KENNEWICK -- Home sweet home.
Justin Feser and Adam Hughesman each had a goal and two assists Saturday night to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs at Toyota Center in the Western Hockey League opener for both teams.
The Americans have won their last 11 home openers, dating back to 2001.
Of those wins, six have come against Spokane.
"We have a lot of new players -- the first game for real with the crowd we have is a good way to jump in the deep end," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "I don't think it was our best game, but when you beat a good team you are happy. There is still room for improvement."
Spokane coach Don Nachbaur agreed.
"We had our moments, but we have to get better," Nachbaur said. "We haven't really practiced and had quality time together. We're young and a lot of things out there weren't real crisp. There's still lots to learn."
Ty Rimmer, making his Americans debut in front of a crowd of 5,599, knew for a couple of days that he would start in goal, which helped calm his nerves a bit.
"Jim gave me the heads up in practice his week, which helped," said Rimmer, who finished with 28 saves. "After this, I'll be able to calm down a bit, for sure. To have a crowd like this that supports us and is into the game, we appreciate that."
The Americans led 2-1 after the second period with a pair of power-play goals, and stretched their lead to 3-1 at 10:13 of the third with a power-play goal by Connor Rankin.
Tri-City finished the game 3-for-6 on the man advantage.
Hughesman closed things out with an empty-net goal with 1:18 left in the game.
"We had a lot of new faces in the room and a packed building, and it took us a bit to get our legs under us," Hughesman said. "Everyone played well and contributed. I think a guy like (Lukas) Walter, stepping up with a big hit and a fight helped turn it around for us."
The Chiefs got on the board first, taking advantage of their third power play of the first period.
Anthony Bardaro took a pass from Brenden Kichton and weaved his way down the ice, going around Rankin at center ice and Tri-City defenseman Mitch Topping at the circle to the right of Rimmer.
Bardaro cut to the net and slid the puck under Rimmer at 14:33.
The Americans had two power plays and nine shots on goal in the first, but came away empty against Mac Engel.
Holding on to a 1-0 lead, the Chiefs were controlling the tempo in the early going of the second period until Bardaro went to the penalty box for tripping.
Feser tied the score at 1 just 16 seconds into the power play, blasting the puck from the high slot.
Less than a minute later, the Chiefs' Dominik Uher sent Mason Wilgosh into the boards head first.
Uher received a 5-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct, lighting a fire under the Americans.
Working on the power play, Tri-City soon found itself with a 5-on-3 man advantage as Spokane's Corbin Baldwin got caught slashing Rimmer.
Eleven seconds later, Czech defender Michal Plutnar gave Tri-City a 2-1 lead, slipping in the slot and taking a pass out of the right corner from Patrick Holland and slipping the puck into the net for his first WHL goal.
Tri-City looked to pad its lead at 15:28 as Holland was awarded a penalty shot, but he never got the puck to the net.
"I thought we got better as the game went along," Feser said. "Everyone did their part and we were good on the PK. We had good communication on the power play and it showed in the results."
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; email@example.com