Prince George, B.C. – After Prince George had tied the game in the last minute of regulation, Braden Purtill scored his third goal of the season 4:21 into overtime as the Tri-City Americans (17-12-1-2, 37 pts.) defeated the Prince George Cougars (11-16-2-3, 27 pts.) Friday night at the CN Centre.
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The win was the third in a row for the Americans, tying the team’s season high, while snapping its three game road losing streak. Eric Comrie played another sensational game in goal, making 38 saves on the night, 17 of which came in the third period.
Tri-City dug itself an early hole, when Jordan Tkatch’s centering attempt found Aaron Macklin who marched in alone to give Prince George a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the game. After failing to score on its first power play opportunity, The Americans tied the game at one while a man short. Nickles stole the puck at the blue line and went in on a breakaway, while his opportunity hit the post, a trailing Marcus Messier was there to lift the rebound over Ty Edmonds.
The Americans were unable use the tying goal to gain any momentum, as just 1:27 later a Plutnar hooking penalty followed by a Jeff Hubic boarding minor put the Americans two-men short for a full two minutes. Tri-City’s fourth ranked penalty kill kept the Cougars off the board, however, Prince George would regain its one goal edge shortly after its power play had expired.
After a Marc McNulty roughing penalty at the 16 minute mark, the Americans tied the game up with a Beau McCue goal. The forward picked up a loose puck in the slot and snapped a wrist shot top corner as he was being knocked down, knotting the game at two.
The Americans took its first lead of the game at the 10 minute mark of the second period. A Messier defensive zone faceoff win helped Tri-City clear the puck. Nickles then beat the two defenseman to the puck and the speedster went in alone on Edmonds for the second time in the game, sliding the puck through the rookie net minder’s legs.
While the Americans were not able to get on the scoreboard again in regulation, the team held the lead up until the final minute of play. But, the Cougars took advantage of the Tri-City’s inability to clear the zone and Todd Fiddler tied the game with 45 seconds remaining.
Early in overtime, Prince George had a golden opportunity to end the game with a cross ice pass to an open forward, but another huge Comrie save, sliding to his left, kept the game going. The Americans ended the game at 4:21 of Overtime when Braden Purtill wristed a shot past a screened Edmonds, giving Tri-City the 4-3 win.
The Americans and Cougars will be right back at it again tomorrow night when the teams play the back end of a weekend double header at the the CN Centre. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. and fans can catch all the action live, via WHL Live, at the Americans’ official home away from home, Kimo’s in Richland.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Lucas Nickles, Tri-City
2) Jordan Tkatch, Prince George
3) Todd Fiddler, Prince George