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Examiner.com: Ams drop third straight on road trip

By Rene Ferran | Examiner.com

Toon Town provided few smiles for the Tri-City Americans again.

Josh Nicholls’ power-play goal with 3:28 to play sealed the Saskatoon Blades’ 5-3 victory over the Americans on Wednesday night, dropping Tri-City to 1-14 all-time with two ties in the Saskatchewan city.

The Americans dropped their third straight, all on the road, after starting the season 4-0. They still have four games left on their East Division swing.

To get back on the winning track, the Americans need to solve their woes at even strength.

In their three losses, they have been outscored 13-3 at even strength, giving up four goals to the Blades 5-on-5 on Wednesday.

“We’re pretty pleased with the power play and the penalty kill,” said Ams coach Jim Hiller, whose team is 6-of-15 (40 percent) on the power play the last three games. “It’s the 5-on-5 play, but we’ll get that sorted out.”

Hiller repeated his theme from Tuesday’s 5-2 loss at Prince Albert — the team appears to be resting on its laurels after last year’s run to the WHL Finals.

“We have some expectations this year, but we’re putting the expectations before the commitment,” he said. “We’re a little out of sorts right now. We’re not playing with the cohesiveness we need. We’re playing with a little bit of individualism right now.”

Defenseman Tyler Schmidt scored a pair of first-period, power-play goals for Tri-City. Mike Brown scored in the third period shortly after the Ams killed off a 5-on-3 power play that lasted almost 2 minutes, drawing them within 4-3.

Drew Owsley made 42 saves as Tri-City was outshot 47-27.

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