KENNEWICK -- Earn it.
That's what the Spokane Chiefs have on the back of their playoff T-shirts -- and above the door to the visitor's dressing room at Toyota Center.
Tuesday night, the Chiefs went out and earned a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans, getting goals from four different players to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series before a crowd of 3,667.
"We got outplayed for the second consecutive game," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team lost for the first time on home ice in the playoffs. "They scored early, which was what we did in Spokane that first game. It sat us on our heels and we never recovered. I was surprised, I thought we would push back."
The best-of-7 series continues Thursday at Toyota Center. Spokane has won the last two games.
"I'm not sure we carried the play, but we played a style that was good for us and we had some good results," Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. "We had to get back in this series and that was a good way to do it. We played a solid game without the puck. It was a good effort by our guys."
After a three-goal explosion in the second period, the Chiefs managed just one on 13 shots in the third, getting a late goal by Darren Kramer at 17:14.
Spokane outshot Tri-City 41-21, but missed a couple of open nets and clanked pucks off the pipe when Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley wasn't turning them away.
"We misfired on a couple of them, Owsley was good on quite a few of those, but that's playoffs," Nachbaur said. "In regular season I'd be mad, but it's intense out there. When you're intense, sometimes you lose your hands."
Spokane turned a 1-0 lead at the end of the first into a 3-0 lead by the middle of the second period.
Working on the back end of an extended power play, Blake Gal turned a rebound into his fifth goal of the playoffs for a 2-0 lead at 8:50.
Less than three minutes later, Kenton Miller was a recipient of a juicy rebound of a shot by Levko Koper, and found an open net behind Drew Owsley at the right post to put the Chiefs out front 3-0.
The Americans finally got on the board at 12:08 as Neal Prokop's blast from the right circle handcuffed James Reid. It was Prokop's second goal of the playoffs.
"We've got to fire the puck on net, hope for a few goals and hope for a momentum shift," Prokop said. "Give credit to them, it was hard to make plays out there. We were down 2-1 to Vancouver last year. You just have to do the little things."
The Chiefs wasted no time in finding the back of the net as Dominik Uher's shot from the left circle zipped past Owsley glove just 1:37 into the game.
"We worked hard," Uher said. "Tri-City is unbelievable at home. We had make sure we didn't make any mistakes."
The Americans played without veteran defenseman Tyler Schmidt, who was suspended by the WHL for one game for a clipping major and a game misconduct in Game 2.
Tri-City's power play suffered without its point man, going 0-for-5 on the night with just two shots on goal.
"There is no way to gauge that but it had an impact, that's for sure," Hiller said.
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org