By Rene Ferran | Examiner.com
Rookie Connor Rankin’s second power-play goal of the game with 8:43 left to play broke a 3-3 tie, and the Tri-City Americans went on to a 6-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Thanksgiving Monday in Canada.
Rankin had his first career three-point game, Adam Hughesman and Jordan Messier continued their strong Eastern road swings, and Drew Owsley made 33 saves as the Americans won their third straight after opening the road trip with three losses in a row.
“We’re just playing better without the puck,” said Ams coach Jim Hiller. “Because of that, we’re getting better chances offensively.”
The Americans played without captain Kruise Reddick (concussion) and suspended forward Brendan Shinnimin, but they got contributions up and down the lineup, with 10 players recording points.
“That’s been a hallmark of this team,” Hiller said.
He praised the play of forwards Tanner Olstad and David Conrad, who played major minutes with Reddick and Shinnimin on the shelf.
“Tanner has come in the last couple of games and had to take on a more important role with this team,” Hiller said. “Those two have been getting the job done as second- and third-line centers.”
The team went 3-for-4 on the power play, improving to No. 2 in the WHL at 28.1 percent. The Americans also killed off all four of their penalties, moving to No. 6 in the league on the PK at 85.1 percent.
Reddick’s status is day-to-day, and it’s unlikely he will play when the Ams conclude the road trip Wednesday in Swift Current.
“We don’t want to rush him back,” Hiller said. “But the guys are getting the job done (in his absence).”
The WHL’s overage deadline comes Thursday, and GM Bob Tory said Monday that the team’s overage situation isn’t likely to be resolved until right before noon PDT — the moment when the team must drop to three 20-year-olds on the active roster.
Reddick and D Tyler Schmidt, the team’s alternate captain, are safe, and injured F Neal Prokop doesn’t count against the team’s overage limit as long as he remains on the inactive list. That leaves F Mike Brown (who scored his third goal of the season Monday) and G Alex Pechurskiy on the chopping block.