By Matt Baide | Tri-City Americans
Kennewick, WA- Justin Feser had the game on his stick, looking at the puck in the face-off circle with the Toyota Center on its feet.
But the puck slipped off his stick during the final shot of the shootout, and the Victoria Royals (5-2-0-0, 10 pts) came from behind to defeat the Tri-City Americans (3-3-0-1, 7 pts) 4-3 in a shootout in front of 3,925 at the Toyota Center.
The first period was scoreless, with the Americans outshooting the Royals 13-11 in the period. Tri-City had some good chances, but couldn’t convert. Victoria had a couple of shots hit off the post, and a breakaway opportunity to no avail as the first period ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Victoria would break the tie early in the second when Jordan Messier took a charging penalty. It led to Brandon Magee putting home a power play goal for a 1-0 lead. But the Americans would tie it on a bizarre play. Brian Williams was credited with a goal on a delayed penalty. Victoria goalie Jared Rathjen left the net for the extra attacker, and the puck escaped the possession of Victoria and went all the way down the ice into the empty net to tie the game.
Tri-City would gain the lead late in the second on the power play with great puck movement. Mitch Topping fed it from the point to Philip Tot, who slipped a pass to Justin Feser on the side of the net to bang home the goal.
But Victoria would tie the game again on a power play of their own two minutes later, when Logan Nelson picked up a turnover by the Americans and put the puck past Comrie. And just before the end of the period, the Americans would gain the lead back once again on a Mitch Topping shot from the point to make it 3-2 after two periods.
The Americans retained the 3-2 lead all the way through the third period, despite a barrage of good chances from both teams. And just when it seemed like the Americans would hang on for the regulation win, Alex Gogolev fed Nelson for his second goal of the game with just over 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it into overtime.
The Americans outshot the Royals 4-0, and had an excellent chance with a power play at the end of the overtime, but couldn’t score a goal to put the game in the hands of a shootout.
In the shootout, Nelson scored and it was 1-0 Victoria with Feser trying to keep the shootout going. Feser couldn’t convert and Victoria escaped Kennewick with a 4-3 victory.
This was the first game of the season to go into overtime and a shootout. The team is 28-16 all-time in shootouts. The loss snapped a three game winning streak against Victoria.
Eric Comrie made 27 saves in the loss, while Victoria’s Jared Rathjen made 34 saves in the win.
The Americans begin an eight game road trip, starting tomorrow night against the Everett Silvertips (1-4-0-1, 3 pts) at Comcast Arena. Game time is 5:05 p.m. The Americans are 2-0 against Everett this season, including a 2-0 win on the road on Oct. 3. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game, beginning at 4:45 p.m. with the pre-game show. WHL Live will have streaming video online starting at 5:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Logan Nelson, Victoria
2. Joe Hicketts, Victoria
3. Mitch Topping, Tri-City