An eighth of a second. That's all that kept Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series between Tri-City and Spokane from going to overtime.
Ty Rimmer made 23 saves and Justin Feser scored the game winner at 4:01 of the third period as the Americans held off the Chiefs 2-1 on Saturday night before a crowd of 4,368 at Toyota Center to even the series at one game apiece.
"We are happy with the split with where we started today," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "I thought we had a real strangle hold on the game all night long, then we made a mistake with the penalty, and gave them a chance to get back in it. It made it exciting for everyone."
Game 3 of the best-of-7 series is Wednesday in Spokane.
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"It's huge to get that win at home, especially being tied going back into their building," Feser said. "We'd rather have that than going into their rink down two. This gives us momentum going to their rink. If we had lost, we be down on ourselves."
The Americans held a 2-0 lead after Feser's goal, but Spokane wasn't going to give up without a fight.
The Chiefs scored on a 6-4 power play with 1:25 left in regulation as Mitch Holmberg's shot from the right circle found the net for his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Spokane pulled goalie Eric Williams with 1:05 remaining for an extra attacker, and Corbin Baldwin's shot from the point found the net as the horn sounded, but video replayed showed the puck did not cross the goal line in time to tie the game.
"The whole building thought it went in. That's why it went deafly silent," Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. "I know they looked at it upstairs, but I looked at the clock when Baldy got the puck and there was time. The puck was in the back of the net and the horn went off.
"We are fortunate the score was where it was. They played real well and we needed to play better. We had a better game last night than we did tonight. We accomplished something coming in here. It's tied 1-1 going home. It's all good."
Rimmer, who picked up his fifth win of the playoffs, wasn't sure if the goal was good or not.
"I was a little unsure," Rimmer said. "I thought I heard the buzzer before the puck got behind me. Thankfully we have that technology to make the right call."
In a fast-paced first period, the Americans put the puck past Williams at 13:21 to take a 1-0 lead.
Baldwin tried to clear the puck out of the Chiefs' zone, but Tri-City's Mason Wilgosh held the puck in at the right point and sent it to Brendan Shinnimin in the face-off circle.
Shinnimin passed the puck around Spokane defenseman Davis Vandane in the slot to Adam Hughesman, who beat Williams glove side for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
"I wanted to play better tonight, that was the most important part," Hiller said. "I though we played a really good hockey game and we won, that's what it's all about."
The Chiefs had their chances with three power plays, but the Americans' penalty kill team shut down Spokane, allowing just two shots on goal.
"Our defensemen were making smart plays in the neutral zone," Rimmer said. "It was a great game by Zach Yuen and Sam Grist. That was great to see."
A scoreless second period brought the Americans two power plays, but the Spokane penalty kill, backed by Williams, kept the puck out of the net. Williams, who suffered his first loss of the playoffs, had 31 saves.
"Both (goalies) have played tremendous," Nachbaur said. "And both teams have a chance to win because of that."
Shinnimin extended his point streak to 29 games and is just the third Americans player to surpass 50 career playoff points. Shinnimin (52) joins Kruise Reddick (57) and Daymond Langkow (59) on that list.