SPOKANE -- A night after shutting out U.S. Division-leading Portland, the Tri-City Americans faltered against rival Spokane as the Chiefs skated to a 7-2 victory on Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 10,475 at Spokane Arena.
"We all right. We played hard," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "The score wasn't indicative of the play. Their power play (4 of 7) was better than ours (0 of 6). That was the difference in the game."
The loss dropped the Americans (34-15-2-1, 71 points) three points behind the Chiefs (34-15-4-2, 74 points) in the division standings.
While the loss hurt, the loss of starting goaltender Drew Owsley early in the second period stung a whole lot more.
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With just 1:30 gone in the second, Tri-City defenseman Paul Sohor knocked Spokane's Kenton Miller into Owsley, who was down making a play on the puck. Preliminary reports are a left knee injury.
Chris Driedger will get the start today at Chilliwack.
"He is banged up," Hiller said of Owsley. "We will know more next week. Chris hasn't played a lot, but when he has, he has played well. We expect him to embrace this."
Patrick Holland scored the first goal of the game for Tri-City, only to see Spokane answer with goals by Mitch Holmberg, Dominik Uher and Brady Brassart for a 3-1 lead at the end of the first.
David Conrad scored a second-period goal for the Americans, but the Chiefs continued to have success on the power play and pulled away.
Tyler Johnson had two goals for Spokane, while Brenden Kichton had a goal and two assists and Levko Koper four assists.