Kennewick, WA- It was a Happy New Year at the Toyota Center on Monday night.
The Tri-City Americans (21-14-1-2, 45 pts) rang in 2013 exactly how they planned, scoring four goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs (24-12-1-0, 49 pts) in front of a sold out crowd of 6,098 at the Toyota Center.
This is the Americans fifth straight win on New Year’s Eve. Tri-City is now 16-5-1-0-1 in the annual game. Tri-City has won two in a row against Spokane, while Spokane has dropped their last two games.
The Americans got off to a fast start. Marcus Messier, in his first game back from injury, scored on a 2-on-1, firing a wrist shot into the top left corner to make it 1-0 early. But Spokane would answer right back, as Brenden Kichton would fire a shot from the slot into the net to tie the game. With two minutes left in the period, Parker Bowles would break the tie with a power play goal. The shots were close and both teams had opportunities, but it was the Americans with the lead after one.
Spokane came out and dominated the second period, outshooting the Americans 17-6. Midway through the period, the Chiefs were able to tie the game as Blake Gal would slip one past Eric Comrie. The Chiefs would take their first lead of the game in the final minute of the period as Mitch Holmberg would score to give Spokane a 3-2 lead after two.
Tri-City would come out hot in the third period. The Americans would tie the game early in the third period as Bowles scored his second goal of the game to knot the game up at three. Five minutes later, Tri-City would regain the lead as Drydn Dow would fire a shot from the point that would deflect off of a Spokane defender and into the net. And 14 seconds later, Connor Rankin would make it 5-3 Americans on a nifty goal. Five wasn’t enough, as Beau McCue would slide the puck between Eric Williams legs on a breakaway for the Americans sixth goal. Comrie would guide the Americans the rest of the way en route to the three goal win.
Rankin has continued his hot second half and now has a goal in three straight games. Comrie made 30 saves in the win, while Williams made 27 saves in the loss.
The Americans have a few days off before they go on the road for four games, with the first on Jan. 4 against the Victoria Royals (19-14-0-2, 40 pts). Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The Americans lost the lone contest against the Royals in October, a 4-3 shootout loss in Kennewick. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game live starting at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Parker Bowles, Tri-City
2. Connor Rankin, Tri-City
3. Beau McCue, Tri-City
Notes: The 6,098 was the largest crowd for a New Year’s Eve game and the fifth largest crowd ever for an Americans game.