Kennewick, WA – Behind a 37-save outing by Eric Comrie, the Tri-City Americans (24-21-2-2, 52 pts.) earned its season best fourth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds (29-14-2-3, 63 pts.) in front of 5,199 fans on Friday night at the Toyota Center.
The Americans finished the home stand a perfect 4-0, and went 7-0 at the Toyota Center in the month of January. The victory also snapped the Thunderbirds’ seven-game winning streak.
It was the fourth consecutive game that Comrie has held opponents to one goal or fewer, dropping his goals against average to 2.35, while improving his save percentage to 0.930, which ranks second in the WHL. Through 8 games in January, Comrie has posted a 1.25 goals against average and a 0.964 save percentage
Both teams came out playing tight defense, giving the opposing team’s offense very little room to work. Through nine minutes of play, only two shots had been recorded.
At 9:59 of the first period, Riley Hillis was called for a kneeing major and issued a game misconduct, giving the Thunderbirds a five-minute power play.
But, with Jackson Playfair in the penalty box serving the penalty for the ejected Hillis, it would be the Americans to open the scoring. Beau McCue forced a turnover at the defensive zone blue line and skated in on a breakaway, then back handed the puck past Danny Mumaugh to give Tri-City a 1-0 lead at 12:24. The Americans would allow just two shots on the five-minute penalty.
After registering just five shots on Comrie in the first 20 minutes, the Thunderbirds managed to generate more offense in the middle frame, firing 15 shots at the Americans goaltender. However, Comrie was able to come through with several big saves to keep Seattle off the board in the period.
After fending off the Thunderbirds offense for several minutes of sustained pressure, Tri-City added to its lead with less than a minute remaining in the second period. After McCue cleared the puck, Playfair found Devon McAndrews flying down the right side of the ice and the Edmonton native made no mistake, snapping a wrist shot past Mumaugh’s blocker.
Collecting a pass from Phil Tot, Braden Purtill gave the Americans a three-goal lead at 6:36 of the third period. It was the 16-year-old’s seventh goal of the season and second in as many games.
The Thunderbirds continued to pour on the pressure, outshooting Tri-City 18-7 in the final 20 minutes of play. A Roberts Lipsbergs goal at 11:50 gave Seattle life, down just two goals with over eight minutes left in regulation. Seattle then had several dangerous looking opportunities down the stretch, but Comrie and the Americans defense held the Thunderbirds off the score sheet for the rest of the night.
With the home stand in the rear view mirror, the Americans will now begin a four-game road swing starting tomorrow night against the arch rival Spokane Chiefs (28-15-2-2, 60 pts.). Fans can catch the action live, via WHL Live, at the Americans’ official home away from home, Kimo’s in Richland.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
2) Beau McCue, Tri-City
3) Devon McAndrews, Tri-City