SPOKANE -- Scoring is becoming contagious for the Tri-City Americans.
After scoring six goals the last two games, Brendan Shinnimin was held to just one against Spokane on Saturday. Instead, Patrick Holland and Justin Feser each scored twice to lead the Americans to a 7-3 victory over the Chiefs before a packed house of 10,367 at Spokane Arena.
"I thought we were pretty solid except the last 10 minutes of the first," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said in a phone interview. "The goal by Holland to make it 5-3, that was an important goal and well-executed."
Tri-City (43-15-1-2, 89 points), which has won five in a row, moved into a tie with Portland for first in the U.S. Division. Both teams trail Kamloops by one point in both the Western Conference standings and the race for the Scotty Munro trophy after the Blazers dropped a 5-3 game to Vancouver on Saturday.
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Spokane (32-22-4-3, 71 points), which has lost two in a row, is fifth in the Western Conference, five points behind Vancouver.
The Americans lead the 12-game series against Spokane 7-3-0-0. With two games left, Tri-City will win the series for the first time since 2007-08 (7-5-0-0).
Holland added two assists to his goals, giving him 92 points on the season. Paired with Shinnimin's league-leading 110 points, and Adam Hughesman's 96, the Americans have three players with 90 or more points for the first time since 1991-92 (Terry Degner, Brian Sakic and Vladimir Vujtek).
"Nobody can do it by themselves," Hiller said. "All three guys have been making plays and that helps score goals."
The Americans opened the game with a goal by Feser just 1:13 into the action, and Zach Yuen made it 2-0 at 9:56, banging in a rebound off a Hughesman shot that had hit the post.
The lead was short lived as the Chiefs scored twice on two shots in a span of 17 seconds.
After stopping Spokane's first 11 shots, Tri-City goalie Ty Rimmer was beaten by Dominik Uher at 16:36. Just seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Mitch Holmberg tied the game.
"They came hard, and scoring chance wise, they were good the first half of the game," Hiller said.
Tied at two, the Americans went to work in the second, getting goals from Holland at 11:11 and Feser at 14:32 to stretch the lead to 4-2 and chase Spokane starter Eric Williams from the net after scoring four goals on 19 shots.
Blake Gal trimmed the deficit to 4-3 midway through the third, but from there it was all Tri-City.
Holland scored his second at 14:11, and Hughesman scored his 37th of the season at 16:15 on the power play.
The Chiefs pulled goalie Mac Engel with 3:15 left in regulation, but Rimmer kept a tight lid on the goal. The only scoring came in the form of an empty-netter by Shinnimin with 13.1 seconds left in the game.
Shinnimin, who has goals in nine consecutive games, has 19 goals and 36 points during his current 12-game point streak.
Shinnimin also had three assists, while Jordan Messier had two assists and Rimmer finished with 36 saves to pick up his 25th win.
"We thought that was one of Jordan's best games of the year," Hiller said. "(The scoring) was spread out a little more than it has been the last couple of games."