Kennewick, WA. – After surrendering the first goal of the game, the Tri-City Americans (17-14-1-2, 37 pts.) came back to tie it late in the second period. But, Mathew Barzal’s third period goal lifted the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-9-1-3, 42 pts.) past the Americans 3-1 Tuesday night at the Toyota Center.
The loss was the second in as many games for the Americans, snapping a two-game home ice winning streak.
Eric Comrie allowed two goals on 31 shots, making several key saves down the stretch and limiting a dangerous Seattle offense to just two scores, before being pulled for an extra attacker.
After a fast start by the Thunderbirds in the first period, the Americans gained control of the game, outshooting Seattle 11-6 in the opening frame. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring at 5:12 of the second period. Roberts Lipsbergs took the feed from Matthew Barzal on a fast break, and snapped a shot over Comrie’s shoulder, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds looked to add to its lead, throwing 16 shots on goal in the second period, but strong net minding by Comrie kept the Tri-City deficit at one. Then, while the teams skated 4-on-4, Lucas Nickles tied the game late in the second period. The speedster got a step on Seattle’s Shea Theodore and skated in alone on Danny Mumaugh, then slipped the puck past the Thunderbirds goaltender to tie the game at one.
The Thunderbirds got off to a fast start in the third period, getting multiple good scoring chances right out of the gate. Comrie came up with several sensational saves in the first few minutes to keep the game tied.
But, at the 2:50 mark, the Thunderbirds scored what would end up as the winning goal on Barzal’s sixth goal of the season. Seth Swenson took the initial shot, but after Comrie made the first save, the rookie forward redirected the puck of his chest and into the net.
The Americans had several opportunities to tie the game in the late stages of the game, but only managed to get six shots on Mumaugh in the final period. With 1:35 left in the period, Tri-City pulled Comrie for an extra attacker, but Lipsbergs iced the game for Seattle with an empty net goal at 19:25.
The Americans will have the chance to return the favor when it travels to Seattle next Tuesday for the sixth of 10 meetings between the two teams, which currently sits at 2-2-0-1.
In its last home game before the Holiday break, the Americans will be back at the Toyota Center this Friday to take on the Prince George Cougars (12-17-2-3, 29 pts.) at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer locations, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Mathew Barzal, Seattle
2) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
3) Roberts Lipsbergs, Tri-City