Kennewick, WA – Evan Sarthou made a career-high 37 saves and Parker Bowles scored a breakaway goal in overtime, as the Tri-City Americans (14-10-0-2, 30 pts) defeated the Vancouver Giants (10-11-3-1, 22 pts) 2-1 at the Toyota Center on Tuesday night.
It was the sixth consecutive victory on home ice for the Americans, who bounced back from a 5-2 loss to the Giants last weekend at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Sarthou has now picked up victories in three of his first four WHL starts, allowing a goals against of 2.08 with a 0.933 save percentage in five appearances this season.
After being stifled for most of Saturday’s game against the Giants, the Americans started the game strong, controlling the momentum in the early stages of the first period. Bowles nearly put Tri-City ahead early, but his shot rang off the cross bar.
However, Brandon Carlo’s penalty at the 5:46 mark shifted momentum to the Giants. Vancouver got several great chances in the two minute man advantage, but Sarthou stood his ground to keep the game scoreless.
The Giants would open the scoring at 13:12, after Travis McEvoy got the puck in tight on the Tri-City goal. Sarthou made the first save, but McEvoy lifted the puck over the sprawling goaltender on the rebound to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.
After being held in check offensively for most of the period, the Americans finally got the break that it needed late in the first period. With just 10 seconds left on the clock, Luca Leone turned to puck over to the Americans. Connor Rankin’s centering attempt found Brian Williams, and the Americans’ leading goal scorer took care of the rest, back handing the puck past Jared Rathjen for the tying score with 7.2 seconds to go in the period.
The Americans were able to produce more offensive chances in the second period, out shooting the Giants 10-9. Both teams tested the two backup goaltenders, but Sarthou and Rathjen made some key saves in the period.
Tri-City’s best opportunity of the period came late, as Brian Williams went in on a breakaway after stepping out of the penalty box, and tried to beat Rathjen through the five-hole. But, the Giants net minder got his stick on it to keep the game tied.
Both teams tightened up defensively, with scoring chances at a premium in the third period. With 3:50 remaining in regulation, Jessey Astles was issued a five-minute major for checking from behind, which would have put the Americans shorthanded for the remainder of the third period and into overtime. But, Mason Geertsen followed Astles’ check by instigating a fight with the big forward, negating the final two minutes of the five-minute major.
The Americans killed off the Giants’ three minute power play, sending the game into overtime for the second time in the last four games.
In the extra frame, Bowles, who was behind the play, took a pass from Lucas Nickles and made no mistake, scoring on Rathjen to end the game 1:32 into overtime. The Americans are now 4-0-0-2 in extra time, with a perfect 3-0-0-0 record in games ending in overtime.
The Americans will be back at Toyota Center on Friday night, when it takes on the B.C. Division leading Kelowna Rockets (16-2-0-2, 34 pts.) for a 7:05 p.m faceoff. Tickets for Friday night’s game 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) Evan Sarthou, Tri-City
2) Parker Bowles, Tri-City
3) Jared Rathjen, Vancouver