Kennewick, WA- No team in the WHL could stop the freight train that was the Tri-City Americans tonight.
The Tri-City Americans (33-22-1-2, 69 pts) scored four in the first period and dominated all aspects of the game the rest of the way, stomping the Spokane Chiefs (34-23-2-0, 70 pts) 6-0 to the delight of 5,449 at the Toyota Center.
With a Victoria loss tonight, the Americans are tied with the Royals for fifth place in the conference, but Tri-City has the edge in the tie-breaker with one more win than Victoria. Tri-City is one point behind Spokane for fourth place in the conference.
In his second start of the season, Troy Trombley turned in another brilliant performance, stopping all 34 shots for his first career shutout.
Tri-City scored six goals for the second straight game. The Americans halted a two game Spokane win streak and have now won two in a row themselves.
Tri-City set the pace early by playing fast and moving the puck well, creating some solid chances early in the period. The Americans scored first as Connor Rankin fired a backhand shot off the faceoff that caught Spokane goaltender Eric Williams off guard, as the puck slipped through his legs for a 1-0 Americans lead. The lead increased to two as Lucas Nickles followed up a Marcus Messier chance, cleaning up a rebound by burying a shot in the back of the net. Rankin scored his second of the game later in the period as Malte Strömwall fed a nice pass to Connor on the back door to make it 3-0. With 15 seconds left in the period, the Americans would get one more as Marcus Messier scored shorthanded to make it 4-0 Tri-City after one period.
The Americans continued their excellent play from the first, as Brian Williams slapped a pass into the net to make it 5-0. Parker Bowles got in on the action, stick handling through the defense and scoring a pretty goal late in the period to make it 6-0. Tri-City dominated the second, outshooting the Chiefs 12-9 and carried a six goal lead into the third.
Spokane tried to get something past Trombley in the third period, outshooting the Americans 11-9. The Chiefs had some opportunities, but Trombley stopped them all as neither team could score in the final period.
It was an all-around team effort for the Americans, with nine players recording a point and three players recording multi-point games.
Eric Williams and Garret Hughson combined to make 33 saves in the loss.
Tri-City will look to carry the momentum gained tonight into the next game as they welcome the Vancouver Giants (15-43-1-0, 31 pts) on Tuesday, February 19 to the Toyota Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m.The Americans have faced the Giants three times this season and won all three games, outscoring the Giants 22-9 in those games. The only game in Kennewick was a 9-1 Tri-City win back in November. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still 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. Connor Rankin, Tri-City
2. Troy Trombley, Tri-City
3. Parker Bowles, Tri-City