Cougars Take 4-3 Shootout Win Over Tri-City
By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans
KENNEWICK, WA – After a brutal October schedule that featured 11 road games, the Americans finally ran out of gas in their final game of the month.
Charles Inglis had two assists in regulation, then scored the game-winner in a shootout, as the Prince George Cougars (9-6-1-0, 19 pts) held off the Tri-City Americans (11-4-1-1, 24 pts) 4-3 in front of 4,165 fans at the Toyota Center. With the win, the Cougars snapped their 13-game winless streak at the Toyota Center, picking up their first win in Kennewick since November 2, 2003. It also improved Prince George’s road record to 6-3-1-0 on the year. Meanwhile, playing in their third straight shootout over a five day span, Tri-City picked up their first loss at home this season. The Americans, despite the loss, finished the month of October with a record of 8-4-1-1 and ensured that they will carry 10+ wins into November for a fifth straight season.
After a lopsided doubleheader series last weekend in Prince George, the anticipation was high for the rematch between two of the League’s highest scoring offenses.
And, less than two minutes into the contest, the Cougars kicked things off. While on the power play, Martin Marincin let a shot go from the mid-point that deflected off an Americans’ defenseman and past Drew Owsley, giving the Cougars their first lead of the game.
But, eight minutes later, and on a power play as well, Justin Feser picked up the loose puck following a shot by Brock Sutherland, and then buried it on Cougars’ goaltender Ty Rimmer to tie the game at 1. However, with 5:38 remaining in the period, Brock Hirsche banged the puck out of mid-air and past a surprised Owsley, as the Cougars retook the lead headed into the first break.
Tri-City, though, found a response in the early goings of the second period. Just 4:11 into the frame, and from inside the slot, Jordan Messier let a shot go that eluded Rimmer, tying the game at 2. But, 1:42 later, former Americans’ forward Spencer Asuchak gave the Cougars the lead again, when he banged in his own rebound past Owsley.
It remained a 3-2 Prince George lead until the 5:00 mark of the third period, when Messier connected for his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Following a 3-on-2 breakaway, Zak Stebner fired a shot on Rimmer. Stebner’s rebound bounced out into the near corner, where Messier corralled the puck, then launched a near-impossible angle shot on goal. Somehow, the puck found its way over Rimmer’s blocker and into the net, tying the game at 3.
Despite some close calls down the stretch, neither side could find the go-ahead goal, as each team settled for a point when the contest headed into overtime. In the five-minute extra session, neither squad would get into a rhythm, eventually leading to the first-ever shootout between the two conference rivals.
In the first round, Sena Acolatse and Adam Hughesman scored on their respective attempts, before both squads failed to connect in either of rounds 2 or 3. Finally, in the fourth round, Inglis shelved a shot on Owsley and forced a must-score situation onto Messier. Already with two goals tonight, Messier was stuffed on his attempt, as the Cougars took home the victory.
Rimmer, who had a 36-save shutout last night in Seattle, stopped 28 shots through regulation and overtime, to pick-up his fourth win of the season and improved to 2-0 in three appearances since being acquired by Prince George from Brandon. Meanwhile, Owsley fell to 5-2 all-time in the shootout after picking up 29 saves on 32 shots faced. Both teams finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play.
Tri-City will now get a much-deserved week off to prepare for their next contest, as the high-flying Red Deer Rebels (11-5-0-0) make their lone Toyota Center appearance on Saturday, November 6. Game time is 7:05 pm. Currently the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference, Red Deer has won three straight and seven of their last 10. However, they will play in Seattle on Tuesday and at Portland on Friday before pulling into Kennewick. Meanwhile, the Americans are 9-13-2-1 with 1 tie all-time vs. the Rebels, including a 5-6-0-0 with 1 tie record at home. However, Tri-City has won their previous two home contests vs. Red Deer and is 3-0-1-1 in their last five meetings against their Central Division foes. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer outlets, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Those unable to make it to the game can catch all the action live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 pm.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Jordan Messier, Tri-City
2, Martin Marincin, Prince George
3, Charles Inglis, Prince George