By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans
KENNEWICK, WA – A night after their offense put on a show, the Tri-City defense was not about to be outdone.
Jordan Messier scored twice, Kruise Reddick had a three-point night and Tyler Schmidt and the Tri-City Americans’ (2-0-0-0, 4 pts) defense shut down the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds (1-2-0-0, 2 pts) 4-1 in front of 4,373 fans at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. With the win, Tri-City has now won 13 consecutive home games vs. Seattle, as they start the year 2-0 for the fourth straight season.
At the start of the contest, it appeared that Tri-City was in for a long night, as they took two penalties in the first 2:47 of the game. After Zachary Yuen was called for checking from behind, Seattle coach Rob Sumner used his only time out to rally his troops as they prepared for a 36-second 5-on-3 opportunity. But, in tone-setting fashion, the Americans did not allow a shot on goal during either power play opportunities.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the first period, Seattle’s Erik Bonsor was called for roughing to give Tri-City their first power play. Just 27 seconds into the man-advantage, Reddick sent a drive from the right point that beat Calvin Pickard, putting the Americans on top 1-0. However, despite a 13 to 2 shot advantage in the period, Tri-City led by just one headed into the second period.
Deep into the second period, Tri-City goaltender Alexander Pechurskiy was screened on a Charles Wells shot that tied the game at 1-apiece. It was just the fifth shot faced at that point.
But, three minutes later and back on the power play, Brendan Shinnimin fired a shot from the high slot that went over the net and rang off the back wall. Adam Hughesman capitalized on a fortunate bounce, beating Pickard for the eventual game-winning tally.
Midway through the third period, Pickard, who was putting on another solid performance against Tri-City, stood up to try and corral a shot by Yuen. But, Pickard bobbled the puck and, there to take advantage was Messier, who made it a 3-1 game. Nine minutes later, Messier connected again, this time with a wrist shot following a nice set-up by David Conrad.
Pechurskiy, who was making his first start of the season, finished with 15 saves on just 16 shots in the win. Meanwhile, Pickard collected 32 saves in the loss. Tri-City went 2-for-8 on the power play and was a perfect 3-of-3 on the penalty kill.
After a successful doubleheader weekend to start the 2010-11 season, Tri-City will now prepare for their first road contest of the season, set for Wednesday, September 29 against the Kelowna Rockets. Game time is 7:05 pm at Prospera Place. The Americans swept the 09-10 regular season series vs. the Rockets, going 4-0 while outscoring Kelowna 20 to 5. The two clubs then squared off in the Western Conference Semi-Finals for the second straight year, with Tri-City advancing 4 games to 1. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL WebTV, at the Americans’ home away from home, Kimo’s Sports Café in Richland. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Jordan Messier, Tri-City
2, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
3, Kruise Reddick, Tri-City