Four-Goal Second Propels Americans Past Pats 6-4
By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans
REGINA, SK – Friday’s match-up between the Americans and Pats had a little bit of everything for fans of both teams. But, most importantly for Tri-City, it came with a mark in the Wins column.
Jordan Messier scored twice in a four-goal second period as the Tri-City Americans (5-2-1-0, 11 pts) rallied to beat the host Regina Pats (1-5-1-0, 3 pts) 6-4 in front of 4,031 fans at the Brandt Centre. For Tri-City, it was their eighth win in 17 trips to the Saskatchewan capital. The Americans also avoided losing four games in a row for the first time since early January of 2008. Meanwhile, the Pats fell to 0-3-1-0 in their last four games and have now lost their previous two home games to Tri-City, both in come-from-behind fashion.
Regina, who came into tonight’s game with just two power play goals to their credit, scored on the man advantage to get things started. With four minutes remaining in the first period, Brandon Davidson picked up his first goal of the season after he fired a shot from the high slot that eluded Alexander Pechurskiy.
Then, just 1:26 into the second period, and on the penalty kill, Jordan Weal forced a Tri-City turnover and took off on a breakaway. Coming down the right wing, Weal placed a shot just above the outstretched glove of Pechurskiy, making it a 2-0 Regina lead.
Now faced with a similar situation to their game in Saskatoon on Wednesday, the Americans responded with a flurry.
At the 5:36 mark of the period, Drydn Dow broke out Messier, who carried the puck into the Regina zone. After a great move that got goaltender Matt Hewitt out of position, Messier buried the puck into a wide open net. Then, 33 seconds later, Adam Hughesman drew double coverage as he brought the puck in. Before being taken out of the play, Hughesman slipped the puck to Kruise Reddick, who then let a shot go from the left circle. Hewitt was there for the save but let the rebound sail right out into the mid-slot. Rushing in was Connor Rankin, who was able to capitalize on the loose puck and tie the game at 2-all.
Still not done, Messier connected again only 2:40 later. After dumping the puck behind the Pats’ net, Messier hustled in after it and then used his body to keep Regina’s clearing pass in the zone. From the bottom of the left circle, Messier then corralled the puck and fired it on net. However, in route, the puck appeared to glance off the skate of Regina’s Colin Reddin and past Hewitt, putting Tri-City on top 3-2.
Then, with 7:14 remaining, Tri-City capped their four-goal second period. Marcus Messier won a face-off in the Pats’ end and pushed the puck to Max Moline. Moline then swept the puck over to Zach McPhee, whose shot rang off the left post and trickled across the goal line. It was the first WHL points for each player as the Americans took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission.
Only 54 seconds into the third period, the Americans made it five straight goals when, from the mid-slot, Justin Feser beat Hewitt low on the glove side. It would be the first of two goals for each team in the period, as they exchanged blows over the final 20 minutes of play. But, the Pats could never get their deficit lower than two.
Just past the midway point of the period, Trent Ouellette forced a turnover behind the Tri-City net then fed the puck out to Garrett Mitchell. Mitchell then beat Pechurskiy to make it a 5-3 game. But, three minutes later and on the power play, Tyler Schmidt lifted the puck over Hewitt to bring Tri-City’s lead back up to three. Finally, with 5:10 remaining in regulation, a Weal rebound wound up on the stick of Carter Ashton, who then picked up his second goal of the season and capped the scoring in the contest.
Pechurskiy notched his second win of the season behind a 20-save effort. On the other end of the ice, Hewitt finished with 28 saves on 34 shots, taking the loss in his WHL debut. Tri-City finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Pats went 1-of-3 on the man-advantage.
The Americans will now take their much-needed win and a little momentum into Westman Place on tomorrow, October 9th, when they face-off against the 2010 Memorial Cup Runners-up, Brandon Wheat Kings (4-3-0-0). Game time is 5:30 pm (PST). Tri-City, which won last year’s only match-up 5-3, comes into the game having won just four times in 16 all-time trips to Brandon, including losses in their previous four visits. The Wheat Kings, however, enter Saturday having lost three straight games. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL WebTV, at the Americans’ home away from home, Kimo’s Sports Café in Richland. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 5:15 pm (PST).
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Kruise Reddick, Tri-City
2, Jordan Messier, Tri-City
3, Jordan Weal, Regina