KENNEWICK, WA – Things looked bleak for a while on Saturday; the Americans’ 10-game winning streak on Teddy Bear Toss night hanging in the balance.
But, strong goaltending from Eric Comrie and a late power play goal from Brendan Shinnimin forced overtime before Adam Hughesman won it in a shootout, as the Tri-City Americans (21-7-0-0, 42 pts) rallied from behind to earn a 4-3 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips (5-18-0-5, 15 pts) in front of 5,284 fans at the Toyota Center. Tri-City has come from behind to win their past two games, improving to 12-2 overall on home ice this season. Meanwhile, Everett suffered their league-leading 5th shootout loss of the season, and their second in their last six games.
Looking to keep the bears in the stands, Everett was very opportunistic in the first period, scoring twice on only 5 shots on goal. Just 5:17 into the contest, and playing shorthanded, Cody Fowlie was able to step around Justin Feser and walked in all alone on Comrie, recording his 6th goal of the season. Then, 3:41 later, Ryan Harrison forced a turnover from Derek Ryckman, and then fed Kohl Bauml who, from the slot, found daylight over Comrie’s glove to quickly put Tri-City down 2-0.
But, penalties cost the ‘Tips midway through the period, as Everett took two penalties 34 seconds apart to put Tri-City on a 5-on-3 power play. Only 28 seconds into the two-man advantage, and during a scramble in front of Kent Simpson, Jordan Messier gathered up the loose puck and poked it through the mass and across the goal line, igniting a cascade of fur and fluff onto the ice.
After the 2,537 stuffed toys were rounded up, and the proverbial monkey was off the Americans’ back, they could now focus on tying the game. But, some great goaltending by Simpson throughout the next 28 minutes left Tri-City still staring at a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period.
However, just 3:23 into the period, defenseman Derek Ryckman knotted the game. After some great work by Connor Rankin along the boards, Justin Feser fed a shot out of the right corner that deflected out into the slot. Crashing into the zone, Ryckman fired the puck past Simpson, notching his first goal as a member of the Americans.
Everett, though, would not go quietly, as they retook the lead 4:34 later. After a turnover by Comrie attempting to play the puck behind his own net, the puck eventually wound up on the stick of Teal Burns, who connected for his first goal as an Everett Silvertip. The play would later be reviewed, and upheld, giving Everett a 3-2 lead.
The ‘Tips’ lone penalty in the third period, though, came back to haunt them. With 43 seconds remaining on the man-advantage, Shinnimin buried Malte Strömwall’s rebound, picking up his 11th goal of the season and tying the game at 3.
Following two great saves by Simpson in the overtime, the game eventually headed to a shootout. Tri-City opted to let Everett shoot first, who sent Josh Winquist over the wall first. Comrie, though, was up to the task, coming away with the save. The Americans then sent Hughesman out for their first attempt, who found space between Simpson’s pads for the marker. Comrie then held off Josh Birkholz and JT Barnett to complete the comeback.
In his first WHL shootout, Comrie collected 24 saves on 27 shot, and then 3 stops in the shootout, to improve to 9-3 on the year. Meanwhile, Simpson, who earned 3rd Star honors with his effort in net, stopped 46-of-49 shots in the loss. Tri-City finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play and was a perfect 4-of-4 on the penalty kill.
After a day off tomorrow, the Americans will head back out on the road, with their next stop coming in the capital of British Columbia. On Tuesday, December 6, Tri-City will head to Victoria for the first time since March 19, 1994 as they take on the Victoria Royals (12-16-1-1) in the first game of a doubleheader on the island. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena. The Royals, who handed Tri-City one of their two home losses this season, have lost seven of their last eight games. Meanwhile, the Americans have won seven of their last nine road games. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL Live, at Kimo’s, the Americans’ home away from home, starting at 7:05 p.m. 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, Adam Hughesman, Tri-City
3, Kent Simpson, Everett