Rebels’ Power Play Sends Red Deer Past Tri-City 5-3
By Dan Mulhausen | Tri-City Americans
KENNEWICK, WA – The Americans’ struggles versus the Red Deer organization continued on Saturday, even from inside the friendly confines of the Toyota Center.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Byron Froese each had three-point nights, while Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 shots as the Red Deer Rebels (12-6-1-0, 25 pts) took out the Tri-City Americans (11-5-1-1, 24 pts) 5-3 in front of 5,000 fans at the Toyota Center. With the win, Red Deer improved to 7-5-0-0 with 1 tie all-time in Kennewick, snapping their franchise-long two-game losing streak at the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, Tri-City dropped their second straight game in front of the hometown faithful after starting the season 4-0.
In a match-up that featured two of the most potent offenses in the WHL, the first 20 minutes ended in a bit of a surprise when both squads came away empty handed.
In the second period, however, the offenses finally got going. Just 2:18 into the period, and on the power play, Justin Feser took a Brock Sutherland pass, and then got Kuemper to overcommit to him before feeding Brooks Macek. Macek finished the play perfectly, picking up his fourth goal of the season.
But, just before the halfway point of the period, the Rebels countered with a goal by Mathew Dumba. It proved to be the first of a three-goal, six-minute span that turned the game around completely.
With 5:24 remaining in the period, Daulton Siwak picked up his fourth of the season. Then, a minute later, Tri-City took two costly penalties that set-up a 5-on-3 Red Deer power play. The Rebels needed all of 13 seconds before they connected off the stick of Nugent-Hopkins. By the end of some late period fireworks, Tri-City was staring at a two-goal deficit headed into the second break.
Just 1:44 into the third, the Americans took another penalty, putting the Rebels’ red hot power play back on the ice. Red Deer connected early again when, just 38 seconds in, Nugent-Hopkins notched his second goal of the game while making it a 4-1 Rebels lead.
With 8:02 remaining in regulation, and after taking advantage of a Red Deer turnover, Tri-City cut their deficit in half. On a great individual play, Zachary Yuen pinched up from the blue line and then found Jordan Messier camped backdoor on Kuemper, who buried his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
But, on the power play again, the Rebels came back 27 seconds later, this time on a goal by Froese, to kill any momentum Tri-City may had generated seconds before.
With 4:23 left to play, and while playing 6-on-4 with their net empty, the Americans pulled back to within two. After a great effort to keep the puck in the zone, Feser pushed the puck up to Adam Hughesman. Hughesman showed great patience in getting Kuemper to commit to the ice, and then shelved a backhander on the goaltender for his 11th tally of the season.
But, even with Owsley pulled the rest of the way, Tri-City could not get any closer. Owsley struggled on the night, finishing with 19 saves on 24 shots in the loss. Meanwhile, Kuemper picked up 34 saves on 37 shots faced in the win. The Americans went 2-for-5 on the power play, while Red Deer finished 3-for-7 on the man-advantage.
Tri-City will now get another week to prepare for a doubleheader road weekend that kicks off on Friday, November 12 against the Everett Silvertips (6-5-1-3). Game time is 7:35 p.m. at Comcast Arena. It will be the second meeting between the clubs in a two-week span, as Tri-City came away with a 3-2 shootout win in the first of 10 games between the division rivals. Everett, who will head to Vancouver tomorrow before hosting the Rebels on Tuesday, has currently dropped eight of their last 10 games, four of which have come in either overtime or a shootout. Meanwhile, the Americans have gone 2-1 in their last three trips to Comcast Arena, with all three contests having been decided in a shootout. 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 7:20 p.m.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer
2, Darcy Kuemper, Red Deer
3, Brooks Macek, Tri-City