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Pickard stops 33 as Tri-City thumps rival Spokane 5-1 to extend division lead

NHL.com @NHL

KENNEWICK, Wash. - On Thursday, Spokane's Jared Cowan playfully had his gloves around Chet Pickard's throat in the team photo following Team WHL's victory over the Russian Selects in the final game of the Canada-Russia challenge.

Friday, it was Pickard who had a stranglehold on Cowan and the Spokane Chiefs as the Tri-City goaltender finished with 33 saves to back the Americans to a 5-1 victory before a sold out Thanksgiving holiday crowd of 5,858 in the Western Hockey League.

The win also marked the 400th victory for Americans coach Don Nachbaur. He is only the 10th coach in WHL history to reach the milestone, and it came on a night where his team took a three-point lead in the U.S. Division over Spokane, their biggest rival.

Johnny Lazo's penalty shot goal tied the game at 1-1 in the second period and Tri-City (18-7-0-2) added goals by Kruise Reddick, Mitch Fadden, Adam Hughesman and Jarrett Toll to even the season series with the Chiefs at two games apiece.

Steve Kuhn scored the lone goal for Spokane (16-8-0-3). Chiefs goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 32 shots.

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