KENNEWICK, WA – On Sunday, Portland played with three of their top four scorers away at Team Canada’s World Junior camp. And, the Americans made sure to take full advantage of their depleted roster.
Brendan Shinnimin recorded a goal and an assist while Ty Rimmer stopped all 29 shots he faced, as the Tri-City Americans (25-7-0-0, 50 pts) blanked the visiting Portland Winterhawks (20-11-2-1, 43 pts) 3-0 in front of 4,313 fans at the Toyota Center. With the win, Tri-City earned their sixth straight win, a season-high, while running their home-ice winning streak to seven games. Meanwhile, the ‘Hawks have now dropped three in a row and fell to 0-5 vs. the Americans on the year.
The Americans wasted little time getting their offense started on Sunday, taking a 1-0 lead just 3:40 into the contest. While on the power play, Malte Strömwall fed the puck back to Justin Feser at the left point. With no one around, Feser stepped up to the top of the left circle and fired a bullet in on Portland goaltender, Mac Carruth. The puck appeared to change direction on Carruth, but Feser retained credit to register his 200th WHL point.
Then, with 3:36 left to play in the first, and just as another Tri-City power play expired, the Americans stretched their lead to two. From out of the corner, Shinnimin sent in a perfect pass to Connor Rankin in the slot. Rankin then redirected the pass past Carruth, notching his 11th goal of the season. In all, Tri-City outshot the ‘Hawks 11 to 5 after the first 20 minutes, as they took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
But, Portland turned up the pressure in the second period, outchancing Tri-City 14 to 9, but got nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, the Americans tacked on one more to round out the scoring. At the 8:53 mark of the period, Shinnimin let a blast go on Carruth that deflected off a Portland defender’s skate and between the netmider’s pads, collecting his 15th goal of the season and stretching his point streak to a season-high 6 games.
Meanwhile, the third period belonged to Rimmer and the Tri-City defense, which shutdown Portland’s top-ranked power play three times in the period, including a 4-save flurry five minutes into the period to keep it scoreless. By the end of the night, Rimmer had 29 saves to go along with his 3rd shutout this season and second against the ‘Hawks. On the other end, Carruth finished with 26 saves on 29 shots while suffering his second consecutive loss. Tri-City finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play and was a perfect 6-of-6 on the penalty kill.
After a long two weeks away from home, Tri-City will take Monday off before returning to practice at the Toyota Center. Then, the Americans will wrap-up the first half of the regular season with a home-and-home series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The series kicks off at the Toyota Center on Friday, December 16. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Tri-City and Seattle are currently knotted at 1 in the 10-game season series, with the Americans taking the most recent meeting, a 4-2 win on December 2. The Americans are looking to win their eighth straight home game while Seattle comes in having lost three of their last four. 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 4:45 p.m.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Ty Rimmer, Tri-City
2, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
3, Adam Hughesman, Tri-City