KENNEWICK, WA – On Friday night, it was a match-up of Swift Current’s physical play vs. the Americans’ finesse. And, by the end of the night, Tri-City’s top line of Adam Hughesman, Brendan Shinnimin and Connor Rankin were just too much for the Broncos to match.
Shinnimin recorded a 3-point night, Hughesman scored twice and Rankin chipped in two assists as the Tri-City Americans (18-6-0-0, 36 pts) corralled the Swift Current Broncos (10-13-2-1, 23 pts) 5-1 in front of 4,686 fans at the Toyota Center. With the win, Tri-City stretched their winning streak to three games overall and 4 straight at home, matching their season-high. Meanwhile, Swift Current fell to 0-2 to start their U.S. Division swing and have now lost in their last three trips to Kennewick.
In a penalty-free first period, the Broncos did a good job of slowing down the Americans, allowing just 9 shots on goal while totaling 7 themselves. However, some great passing by Tri-City in the early going allowed them to take a 1-0 lead.
Just 2:46 into the contest, Nathan MacMaster, who was camped backdoor on Broncos’ starter, Jon Groenheyde, sent a great pass to Marcus Messier in the slot, who notched his second goal of the season.
However, in the closing minutes of the first period, the Broncos knotted the game. Rookie Coda Gordon sent a stretch pass up to fellow rookie Colby Cave, who had slipped behind the Tri-City defense after hitting the ice on a line change. Cave was able to break in all alone on Tri-City netminder, Eric Comrie, making a nice move before beating Comrie just below his stick for his 4th goal of the season.
But, it was a close as Swift Current would get, as Tri-City rolled off 4 unanswered goals, including 2 in the second and 2 in the third, to break the contest open.
With 7:01 remaining in the second period, Hughesman parked himself backdoor on Groenheyde, and then buried a perfect pass from Rankin to put the Americans on top for good. Just 2:14 later and playing a man down, Mason Wilgosh broke out Shinnimin and Derek Ryckman in a 2-on-1. Shinnimin elected to take a shot from the right circle, finding space under Groenheyde’s stick to make it a 3-1 game.
Midway through the third period, Tri-City just missed a second shorthanded goal against the League’s top power play. At the 9:31 mark, and only 7 seconds after Mitch Topping returned to the ice, Justin Feser broke out Wilgosh, who came in untouched on Groenheyde and beat the Broncos goaltender to put the Americans up 4-1. Finally, with 5:28 remaining in regulation, Hughesman capped the scoring with his team-leading 18th goal of the season.
After Hughesman’s second marker made it 5-1, things turned ugly as frustration finally boiled over. By the end of the game, both squads had combined for 142 penalty minutes, 118 of which came in the final 5:26 of regulation.
In the end, Comrie stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced, earning his third win in his last four starts while improving to 7-3 on the year. Meanwhile, Groenheyde finished the night with 30 saves on 35 shots while dropping his second straight start. Tri-City finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play but was a perfect 3-of-3 on the penalty kill.
The Americans will now look to cap a perfect Thanksgiving week tomorrow, Saturday, November 26 when they host the Regina Pats (13-10-1-1) at the Toyota Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Pats, who are at the end of their U.S. Division swing, are coming off a 5-2 win over Everett to snap their 5-game losing streak. Regina, which has won just 3 of their last 10, embarrassed Tri-City in their last trip to Kennewick, skating away with a 7-1 win back on November 21, 2009. On the other side of the ice, the Americans will be attempting to stretch their home ice winning streak to a season-high 5 games while looking to move to 4-1 vs. the East Division this season. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including online at ticketmaster.com, the Toyota Center box office, or all Fred Meyer outlets. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
2, Connor Rankin, Tri-City
3, Adam Hughesman, Tri-City