By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans
CRANBROOK, B.C. – In their first of two CHL Top 10 match-ups in three days, the #3 Americans bested the #6 Ice behind a 4-goal third period rally for their first come-from-behind win of the season.
Brendan Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman – each with 4-point nights – upstaged Jesse Ismond’s hat trick, as the visiting Tri-City Americans (13-5-0-0, 26 pts) came back to defeat the Kootenay Ice (12-4-1-2, 27 pts) 5-4 in front of 2,583 stunned fans at the Cranbrook Rec. Complex. With the win, Tri-City has now won three straight and stretched their road winning streak to 4 games. It also marked just the fifth time in 18 trips to Cranbrook that Tri-City walked out with a win. Meanwhile, the Ice dropped their second straight and just their third home game of the season.
Special teams marked the difference in the game, as the teams combined to score 5 of the 9 goals via the power play. And, just 3:08 into the contest, Kootenay picked up the first one. Ismond, parked in the slot, took advantage of an Elgin Pearce rebound to put the Ice up 1-0.
Then, with 2:23 left to play in the first, Tri-City forced a Kootenay turnover, but got caught cheating up into the zone, which the Ice were able to exploit after they regained control. Erik Benoit broke out Adam Rossignol as part of a 2-on-1, who then fed Brock Montgomery at the far post. Montgomery stuffed the puck past a sprawling Eric Comrie, netting his second goal of the season.
After 20 minutes and down 2-0 to the defending WHL champions, things did not look good for Tri-City, especially while facing the WHL’s leading goaltender in Nathan Lieuwen. But, Lieuwen needed to come up big on three occasions in the first to keep the Americans off the board and Tri-City parlayed that momentum into a strong second period effort.
Midway through the second period, and on their second power play opportunity of the contest, Tri-City needed all of 6 seconds to pull to within one. Justin Feser won the face-off in the Kootenay zone and pushed the puck out to Hughesman. Hughesman then left a drop pass for Shinnimin in the slot, who proceeded to rip a one-timer high over the glove of Lieuwen.
But, after 40 minutes of play, and despite a 15 to 9 shot advantage in the second, Tri-City could not pull even. Then, to make matters worse, 6:06 into the third period, the Ice regained their two-goal cushion. Back on the power play, Ismond connected from inside the slot for his second of the night.
Trailing by two with less than 14 minutes left in regulation, the Americans finally broke loose, connecting 4 times in a 3:48 span, to take a 5-3 lead. At the 8:26 mark, and back on the power play, Jordan Messier banked a shot off of the left post and in, pulling Tri-City back to within one. Then, two minutes later, Shinnimin redirected Hughesman pass, through the pads of Lieuwen, tying the game. Just 17 seconds later, and after Mason Wilgosh stripped the puck behind the Ice net and fed it into the slot, Patrick Holland notched his second of the season to give Tri-City their first lead. Finally, with 7:46 left to play, and on another power play, Shinnimin sent a tape-to-tape pass onto Hughesman’s stick, who went shelf on Lieuwen for the eventual game-winner.
Inside the final minutes, and with Lieuwen pulled for the extra attacker, Ismond completed the hat trick after he redirected Joe Antilla’s shot from the point. But, Comrie was solid the rest of the way and held on for the win. Comrie finished the night with 24 saves on 28 shots, improving to 3-0 in his last four starts. Meanwhile, Lieuwen suffered back-to-back losses for just the second time this season, stopping 35 of a season-high 40 shots faced. After allowing a season-high 5 goals, it also marked the first time Lieuwen had allowed more than two goals in consecutive games this season.
Tri-City finished the night 3-for-5 on the power play, while Kootenay went 2-of-7 on the man-advantage. The Americans matched their season-high for power play goals in a game (3). Meanwhile, the consistently stingy Tri-City penalty kill allowed two power play goals for just the second time in their last 14 games and for only the fourth time this season.
Off to a 2-0 into their five-game road trip, the Americans will prepare for another Top 10 match-up on Friday, November 11 when they travel to Alberta and face-off against the #9 Medicine Hat Tigers (14-5-1-0). Game time is 6:30 p.m. (PST) at Medicine Hat Arena. The Tigers, winners of three of their last four, feature the League’s only two 20-goal scorers in Emerson Etem and Hunter Shinkaruk. However, Tri-City sports an all-time record of 8-7-1-0 with 2 ties at The Arena, their best road record against any current Central Division opponent with 10+ meetings. The clubs have split their last six contests. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL Live, at Kimo’s, the Americans’ home away from home, starting at 6:30 p.m. (PST). The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:15 p.m. (PST).
Tri-City improved to 5-11-0-0 with 2 ties all-time at the Cranbrook Rec. Complex. Four of their five wins against Kootenay on the road have been decided by just one goal, including an overtime and a shootout decision … Now 18 games into the 2011-12 season, Tri-City (13-5-0-0) has matched the franchise’s second-best start. The Americans’ best record through the quarter pole came in 2009-10, when they started 15-3. However, at 13-5, the 2011-12 Americans matched the same start as the 2007-08 team, which went on to win the Scotty Munro trophy, as well as the 1990-91 squad. It marks the sixth consecutive season that the Americans have started a season with 11 or more wins by the 18-game mark.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
2, Jesse Ismond, Kootenay
3, Adam Hughesman, Tri-City