What else would you expect during a playoff series between the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs.
Mitch Holmberg scored on a 3-on-1 from the left wing at 1:06 of overtime to lead the Chiefs to a 3-2 victory over the Americans before a crowd of 4,351 on Friday in the opening game of their Western Conference semifinals series at Toyota Center.
"I was just hoping to get a shot to the net and get a rebound," said Holmberg, who scored his seventh goal of the playoffs. "It's a battle every time we play. We know at the start it will be a battle for 60 or 80 minutes. We play the full game. They are going to come out twice as hard (today). They have a couple of guys who are deadly."
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Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is today at Toyota Center. The series shifts to Spokane for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Of the last 19 playoff games between the teams, 12 have gone to overtime or beyond, including the last four.
"It's no surprise," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said of the extra session. "I thought the goalies were the stars of the game on both sides. There were more scoring chances than anticipated. We had some missed opportunities; things don't always go your way. We will be back tomorrow to do it again."
Eric Williams finished with 30 saves to lead the Chiefs to their fifth consecutive playoff win.
"We have to win one in this building to win the series," Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. "We leveled the playing field. I thought we were solid in a lot of areas, liked the penalty kill. We had a lot of practice tonight."
Tied at 1 going into the third period, the Chiefs took their first lead of the game at 2:39 as Darren Kramer got his own rebound and beat Tri-City goalie Ty Rimmer to put Spokane out front 2-1.
The Americans evened the score at 14:34 with a goal by Mason Wilgosh.
Brendan Shinnimin won a face-off against Spokane's Steven Kuhn, and with the puck behind Kuhn, Wilgosh skated into the circle and sent the puck toward the net. The puck ricocheted off Chiefs' defenseman Davis Vandane's stick, went under Williams' right arm and into the net.
"I was just trying to throw it on net, which isn't a bad choice," said Wilgosh, who notched his fourth goal of the playoffs. "It hit a stick and changed direction. It doesn't have to be pretty. I'll take it."
Rimmer was outstanding in the second, stopping 13 of 14 shots, including an acrobatic stop on Kramer just 20 seconds into the action, and spectacular back-to-back stops at 10:12.
The one puck that eluded Rimmer came off the stick of Mike Aviani at 16:22.
With the puck behind the net, Kramer pulled it out of the fray and sent to Aviani, who was able to beat Rimmer at the left post to tie the score at 1.
Rimmer finished with 35 saves in his first loss of the postseason.
"We expected them to come out hard," Rimmer said. "We need to work on some things defensively. We'll make those adjustments. It's a seven-game series. We are going to learn from this and come out better tomorrow."
With 2 1/2 minutes left in the second period, Shinnimin knocked the puck away from the Chiefs on the penalty kill and went up ice toward the net.
Kuhn cross-checked Shinnimin into Williams and into the net. The official ruling was that Kuhn had pulled even with Shinnimin when contact occurred, therefore no penalty was called.
In an up-tempo first period, the Americans took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal by Shinnimin.
Working on their second power play of the period, Justin Feser shot the puck from the right point, and Shinnimin redirected the puck over Williams' right shoulder for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
The Chiefs kept Rimmer busy, outshooting the Americans 10-7.
Spokane looked to tie the game at 8:18 on a shot by Todd Fiddler, but Rimmer was interfered with before the puck crossed the goal line and did not have a fair opportunity to play the puck.
Americans D Sam Grist was hit by Kramer at 9:45 near the team benches and did not return. Hiller said Grist should be back in the lineup for Game 2.