Portland, OR- Luke Lee-Knight had to step up tonight, and he did in a big way.
Lee-Knight got the start, and made some amazing saves in the third period to hold off the Portland Winterhawks (23-5-1-0, 47 pts) and earn a 3-2 win for the Tri-City Americans (18-11-1-1, 38 pts) at the Rose Garden.
Lee-Knight turned in a dazzling performance by making the most saves by an Americans goalie this season with 44. Lee-Knight stoned all 32 shots he face in the first two periods, and made some incredible saves in the third, including stopping a Ty Rattie breakaway and a back door shot in the final seconds.
Tri-City earned its first win in three meetings against Portland.
Portland dominated the first period with puck possession, but they didn’t get the first goal. Tri-City got on the board first as Connor Rankin picked up a Portland turnover and fired a shot past Mac Carruth for a 1-0 lead. Portland had the edge in the shot department 17-6 and had three power play opportunities, but couldn’t score as the Americans carried a 1-0 lead into the second.
Tensions were high in the second period as the game got physical between both teams. The Americans had a 5-on-3 in late in the second period and Rankin scored again by putting a bouncing rebound into the net for a 2-0 lead. Later in the 5-on-3, Malte Strömwall put the puck into the net to make it 3-0. Portland dominated the shot advantage 15-5 in the second but still couldn’t score as the Americans held a 3-0 advantage after two periods.
The Americans couldn’t hold off the Winterhawks any longer in the third period, as Ty Rattie fired a shot from the slot into the goal to cut the lead to two early in the period. Midway through the period, Portland would cut the lead to one as Nicolas Petan scored to make it 3-2 with 9:05 left in the game. Lee-Knight made some dazzling saves down the stretch to help hold off the Winterhawks in the final minutes of the game to earn the victory.
Justin Feser had two assists this game and moved into 11th on the Americans all-time assist list and is one point shy of tying Stu Barnes for 8th on the Americans all-time points list.
Tri-City has a day off before trying to make it two wins in a row against the Portland Winterhawks in Kennewick. Portland won the previous meeting in the Toyota Center 4-2 on September 23. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 4:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online beginning at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Toyota Center Box Office, at any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Luke Lee-Knight, Tri-City
2. Ty Rattie, Portland
3. Seth Jones, Portland