SPOKANE -- Adam Hughesman had two goals and Brendan Shinnimin had a four-point night as the Tri-City Americans took care of business Friday with a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs before an announced crowd of 9,234 at Spokane Arena.
The Americans (48-17-1-2) remained atop the Western Conference with a two-point lead over B.C. Division champion Kamloops, and retained their one-point lead over Portland in the run for the U.S. Division title.
With Edmonton beating Red Deer 5-2, the Oil Kings are tied with the Americans with 99 points in the race for the Scotty Munro trophy for the best regular-season record.
"We never felt we were in control, especially in this building," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team is 8-3 against the Chiefs this season and 4-2 at Spokane Arena. "It was more scratching and clawing, and chipping pucks out. We've been playing more defensively this week than we ever have. Hughey was one of our best defensive forwards, and that's not his strength. I'm really proud of him. He did a tremendous job tonight."
The Americans picked up their 23rd road win of the season, tying a franchise mark set during the 2007-08 season.
"We have played a lot of road games since January (18) and have been banged up," Hiller said. "That says a lot."
Spokane (35-23-5-4) remained tied with Vancouver with 79 points after the Giants suffered a 6-3 loss to Kamloops. The Chiefs and Giants will face each other in the first round of the playoffs but still are fighting for home-ice advantage.
Tri-City held a 3-1 lead after two periods, but late in the third, Spokane pulled goalie Mac Engel for an extra attacker and Davis Vandane found the net with a shot from the right point at 18:56.
The Chiefs again pulled Engel with less than a minute to play, but the puck ended up in Spokane's net as Shinnimin sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 19:27.
Shinnimin, the league's leading scorer with 125 points, assisted on the Americans' first three goals in running his scoring streak to 19 games.
The Americans found the net first as Hughesman, picking up a rebound off a shot by Shinnimin, put the puck between Engel's pads at 4:38 of the first period on the power play.
Hughesman would score again with less than a second left in the first. The goal was reviewed, and stood, giving Hughesman his 43rd goal of the season.
Spokane would cut the deficit to 2-1 at 1:41 of the second as Dominik Uher picked up a rebound off a shot by Marek Kalus and beat Ty Rimmer for his 32nd goal. Rimmer finished with 35 saves for his 29th win.
The Americans' top-ranked penalty kill proved its worth midway through the second as Shinnimin knocked the puck free from a Spokane player and headed up ice with Justin Feser. Feser took the feed from Shinnimin and scored his career-high 37th goal -- and his sixth short-handed this season -- at 11:57. Feser has goals in three consecutive games.
Tri-City and Kamloops lead the WHL with 16 short-handed goals apiece.
Holland extended his point streak to 16 games, assisting on Shinnimin's empty-netter, giving him a league-high 80 assists. It's the most assists by a player in the WHL since Portland's Todd Robinson had 96 during the 1996-97 season.
"Playing with Shinny and Hughesman, they've found the back of the net quite a bit, and he's been a big part of that," Hiller said of Holland.
Recently signed Beau McCue will join the Americans on Sunday and will remain with the team the rest of the season.