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Americans can't hold lead on the road, lose to rival Chiefs in opener

Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored a hat trick as Spokane rallied from a 4-2 deficit and beat Tri-City to open the 50th WHL season. Tyler Sandhu scored twice and Juuso Valimaki added a pair of assists for the Americans.

Tri-City will get a week off before its home opener against Spokane on Saturday.
Tri-City will get a week off before its home opener against Spokane on Saturday.
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

NOTE: Published a week late due to editor malfunction (Paul Rogers).

After beating arch rival Spokane twice in a span of 20 hours in the preseason the previous weekend, the Tri-City Americans were served a dish of revenge on Saturday.

Spokane rallied from a 4-2 deficit with four unanswered goals to defeat the Americans 6-4 in the regular-season opener for each club.

The Chiefs wasted little time getting on the board in the new season as Hudson Elynuik pounced on an Evan Sarthou rebound for a 1-0 lead barely a minute into the game. Taylor Vickerman later tied the score off a deflected shot from the point and Jordan Topping scored less than two minutes later as the Ams held a 2-1 lead after a period.

Tyler Sandhu scored twice in the second period as Tri-City extended its lead to 4-2, but Spokane captain Jason Fram scored after a net-mouth scramble to make it 4-3 before the intermission. Sandhu's second goal chased Chiefs goalie Garret Hughson from the net, but Tri-City supplied little offense for the rest of the night against replacement Tyson Verhelst.

Spokane rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan completed a hat-trick - the first goals of his WHL career - with two in the third as the Chiefs dominated the final frame.

Evan Sarthou stopped 32 shots for Tri-City. The Americans were outshot 38-23, and the Chiefs held a decided 17-8 advantage in the third period.

The shot discrepancy was aided by a 5-minute major penalty to Dylan Coghlan for checking from behind midway through the third. To make things worse for Tri-City, Parker Wotherspoon was then called for delay of game on a call the officials missed badly. Wotherspoon's clearance attempt was deflected out of play, but after a short conference none of the four officials saw the deflection and a penalty was called. Spokane couldn't score on the 2-minute 5-on-3 advantage.

The Americans had plenty of opportunities on the man advantage but couldn't score and generated few chances. Tri-City went 0 for 7 on the power play, which included a long 5-on-3 advantage. Spokane, on the other hand, went 2 for 6 and scored the go-ahead goal in the third with the extra skater.

Juuso Valimaki had two assists in his first regular season game as an American after heading over from Finland this summer. Michael Rasmussen, the club's first pick in the 2014 bantam draft, scored his first WHL point with an assist on Sandhu's second goal. Rasmussen threw a beautiful pass toward the net that Sandhu tapped in for the easy goal that sent Hughson to the bench.

The Americans have the week off before hosting Spokane in the home opener on Saturday. Seattle visits the Toyota Center on Sunday before the club hits the road for trips to Kamloops and Prince George.

Other notes out of Kennewick: Defenseman Brandon Carlo signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. Carlo had been with the Bruins for training camp and a trio of preseason games after the club drafted him in the second round in June's NHL Draft. Carlo was returned to the Americans shortly after the signing was announced...Evan Sarthou helped Team Plante defeat Team Roenick 6-4 at the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo last Thursday. Sarthou started for Team Plante and allowed two goals before a switch at the halfway point and drew lots of praise from the announcing crew on the NHL Network (Note: the stats paged linked here is incorrect, Sarthou did not allow four goals, but only two as the game was 2-2 when the goalie switch occurred)....Beau McCue was named captain for the upcoming season shortly before Saturday's opener. The 20-year old will be joined by assistant captians Parker Wotherspoon, Parker Bowles, Taylor Vickerman and Brandon Carlo...The Americans traded forward Ty Comrie to the Vancouver Giants for a conditional third round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. Comrie was a third-round pick of Tri-City in 2012 and recorded 10 goals and 20 assists in 135 games.