SPOKANE -- Dominik Uher had his struggles against Tri-City goaltender Ty Rimmer on Friday night, getting turned away twice in the last 5 minutes of regulation.
Uher's fortunes turned in overtime as his backhanded shot found daylight between Rimmer and the left post at 6:28 to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Americans at Spokane Arena and tie their Western Conference semifinal series at 2 games apiece.
"I think I was lucky," Uher said. "Rimmer is a great goalie. It's hard to get a goal on him. It's overtime and everyone is nervous. Every lucky shot can go in. I just threw it on the net. Had I aimed it, he probably would have made a glove save on it. It's a big game for us. I don't think Tri lost three games in a row during the regular season. If we wouldn't have won, it would be pretty hard to come back. But now it's tied and we are going to Tri-City and we are going to do our best."
The best-of-7 series continues today with Game 5 at Toyota Center, while Game 6 will be Monday at Spokane Arena.
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"I thought we played better than we did Wednesday," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "It was close. We missed our fair share chances, but it goes both ways. We have to put this behind us. I liked how we played, I just wish we would have won."
The Chiefs, who hadn't won since the series opener -- also 3-2 in overtime -- got 33 saves from Eric Williams and avoided going down 3-1 to the Americans.
"I've got to be honest, I think I was holding breath as much as any fan," Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. "Every time they touch the puck and come at you, they have dynamic players. You don't want to go down 3-1 to the team that just won the conference. They are an explosive team. It would have been demoralizing to go down 3-1. No use talking about going down 3-1, it's 2-2 now."
Tied at 2 after two periods, neither team could get the puck past Rimmer or Williams, but not for lack of trying.
The Chiefs had a chance to take the lead with 1:52 left in regulation as Dylan Walchuk had a breakaway with nothing between him and Rimmer but the puck. But Walchuk rang the puck off the corner of the cross bar, and the game continued.
Rimmer, who suffered just his second playoff loss, finished with 34 saves.
Trailing 2-0 going into the second period, the Americans came out with renewed energy.
Defenseman Derek Ryckman pulled Tri-City within 2-1 just 3 minutes into the period cleaning up a rebound off a shot by Adam Hughesman for his first goal of the playoffs.
"He came off the backside. We saw that earlier from him, but we haven't seen that in a while," Hiller said of Ryckman's goal. "It was a really good read by him."
After going 1-for-17 on the man advantage in the series, Tri-City made good on its 18th power play as Adam Hughesman redirected a shot by Patrick Holland from the point past Williams at 12:32 to tie the score at 2.
The Chiefs came ready to play in the first, taking a 2-0 lead by the end of the period.
Collin Valcourt scored his first goal of the playoffs just 3:42 into the game, picking off a pass by Tri-City defenseman Sam Grist and beating Rimmer up high.
Working on its second power play, Spokane took a 2-0 lead as Mitch Holmberg beat Rimmer from the left faceoff circle at 11:14 with his ninth goal of the postseason.
The Americans finished the period on the power play -- 1:17 of that time was with a 5-on-3 advantage -- but came up empty as Williams preserved the Chiefs' lead.
"I thought we competed a lot harder and we were better in a lot of areas," Nachbaur said. "We are starting to figure some things out. We're as good as a lot of teams in this league and we are on a mission to try and prove that. They are a great team, we have to give them credit. They are dangerous every time they touch the puck. I know a lot of those kids in that room. This series is not over. Just because we won tonight won't make it any easier tomorrow."
Tri-City's Brendan Shinnimin, who was in the midst of a 30-game point streak -- 23 in the regular season and seven in the playoffs -- was held scoreless for the first time since Jan. 29.