Spokane, WA – The Tri-City Americans (28-29-3-5, 64 pts.) snapped its eight-game losing streak behind a 34 save effort from Eric Comrie, defeating the arch rival Spokane Chiefs (36-23-2-2, 78 pts.) 3-0 at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night.
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With the win, the Americans increased its lead on the Prince George cougars (26-34-3-5, 60 pts.) to four points, as both teams fight for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Tri-City could increase that lead even more, as it still has three games in hand over the Cougars.
It was the first time this season that the Americans have defeated the Chiefs in Spokane, improving its record in the season series to 3-5-1-1. With two games remaining against its U.S. Division rival, Tri-City can still salvage a .500 record against the Chiefs with wins in its last two meetings.
While Riley Whittingham was serving an interference penalty, Parker Bowles gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 3:30, scooping up the loose puck and putting it past Eric Williams. With the goal, Bowles increased his point streak to five games and tallied his 34th point in just his 32nd game this season.
Then, at 13:35 of the opening period, Brandon Carlo extended the Americans lead to 2-0, scoring his third goal of the season after beating the Chiefs net minder with a shot from the point. Spokane had its chances during the first 20 minutes, but Comrie turned aside all 10 shots to maintain the Americans’ two-goal lead after the first period.
Tri-City found itself in penalty trouble in the second period, playing two men short for 39 seconds after back to back hooking minors by Carlo and Josh Thrower. But, a stifling Americans’ penalty killing unit kept the Chiefs off the board.
After killing off another penalty, Brian Williams gave his team a 3-0 lead, taking the pass from Justin Gutierrez, and beating Williams on the breakaway. It was the 36th goal of the season for the California native, as he continues to add to his career-high numbers.
Trailing by three goals, the Chiefs pushed hard in the final 20 minutes of play to get itself back into the game, outshooting the Americans 14-6 in the third period. Spokane’s best opportunity came on a 2-0 breakaway, but Comrie stretched out to rob Connor Chartier.
The shutout was the eighth of Comrie’s career and third this season, lowering his goals against average to 2.56 on the season while raising his save percentage to 0.924, currently 2nd-best in the WHL.
The Americans return home to take on the Portland Winterhawks (47-12-2-3, 98 pts.) Wednesday night at the Toyota Center for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer outlets, or online at ticketmaster.com
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
2) Brian Williams, Tri-City
3) Justin Hamonic, Tri-City