SPOKANE — Dominic Zwerger scored the game winner with 14:12 left in the game to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 victory Saturday night over the Tri-City Americans before a crowd of 7,642 at Spokane Arena.
The win gave Spokane coach Don Nachbaur his 600th victory in the WHL, with stops in Seattle, Tri-City and Spokane. He is just the fourth coach to reach the milestone, joining Ken Hodge (742), Lorne Molleken (603) and Don Hay (611). Hay, coach of the Kamloops Blazers, is the only active coach ahead of Nachbaur.
It is the 10th consecutive season the Chiefs have opened at home against the Americans, with Spokane winning the past seven consecutive games.
The Chiefs (2-0-0) took a 2-0 lead on goals by Liam Stewart and Riley Whittingham, only to see the Americans score twice in the second to tie things up.
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Parker Bowles scored his second of the season at 13:37 for the Americans (2-2-0), followed by Jackson Playfair at 16:51.
Trailing by one late in the game, the Americans pulled goaltender Eric Comrie with just over minute to play for an extra attacker in addition to having a power play.
Justin Hamonic rang the puck off the cross bar with 50 seconds left on the clock, and Bowles’ shot in the final second went wide of the net.
Comrie turned aside 38 of 41 shots for Tri-City, while Garret Hughson had 20 saves for the Chiefs.
Lucas Nickles had two assists for the Americans, while Bowles and Brian Williams each had one.
The Americans, who started a string of seven consecutive road games Saturday, are off until Friday when they open the Eastern Conference road swing at the Brandon Wheat Kings (4-0-0).
The Americans return to Toyota Center on Oct. 17 against Everett.