Kennewick, WA- The Tri-City Americans (0-2-0-0, 0 pts) showed noticeable signs of improvement on the defensive side of the puck, but penalty troubles throughout the game cost the team, as the Prince George Cougars (1-2-0-0, 2 pts) skated away with the 2-1 victory at the Toyota Center Sunday evening.
Tri-City controlled the play early in the first period, with the first five minutes staying almost exclusively in the Prince George end. But the Americans couldn’t create any quality scoring chances in the early going.
Tri-City went on its first power play of the evening at the five minute mark of the first period, but were unable produce the first goal of the game. At 9:45 of the period, the Cougars went on its first power play, where Troy Bourke knocked the puck past Eric Comrie, in a scramble at the top of the crease, to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Tri-City never got a chance to generate anymore scoring chances in the first period, having to kill off three minor penalties in the final 10:15 of the opening frame.
The Americans’ penalty trouble continued into the second period, where it would go short handed another three times. While killing off a Parker Wotherspoon tripping penalty, Michal Plutnar went off for boarding to put Prince George on a 5-on-3 power play. Bourke, once again, made the Americans pay, scoring on a slap shot from the blue line at 14:05.
Teams went back and forth in the third period, but the Americans still could not find the back of the net. When Mitch Topping took a slashing penalty at the 12:18 mark, it seemed unlikely Tri-City would be able to get itself back in the game. But, Beau McCue picked up a loose back just inside the Prince George blue line and snapped a missile past Ty Edmonds for the shorthanded goal at 13:55 of the third period.
The Americans pulled its goaltender with a minute and 33 seconds left, but were unable to score the tying goal, falling just short of a third period comeback.
Comrie got his second start in as many nights, standing tall and making many big saves for the Americans down the stretch to keep them in the game. The Tri-City net minder made 27 saves on the night and was named third star. Edmonds, who started the game for the Cougars, turned aside 21 of the Americans’ 22 shots on the evening, earning his first victory of the season.
The Tri-City Americans will hit the road for its first road trip of the 2013-14 season, when it takes on the defending WHL Champion Portland Winterhawks, Tuesday at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. The Americans will also makes stops in Seattle and Spokane next weekend before returning home on October 1 to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds (1-0-0-0 2 pts.).
Jack In the Box Three Stars
1) Troy Bourke, Prince George
2) Marc McNulty, Prince George
3) Eric Comrie, Tri-City