KENNEWICK, WA – In the early goings, it appeared that Seattle may give that 17-game losing streak inside the Toyota Center a run on Friday night. Then came the penalties, which was all Tri-City needed to extend the T’birds’ frustrations in Kennewick.
Brendan Shinnimin scored twice, while Adam Hughesman and Patrick Holland each chipped in a goal and two assists, as the Tri-City Americans (26-7-0-0, 52 pts) dropped the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds (13-16-0-1, 27 pts) 5-1 in front of 5,170 fans at the Toyota Center. With the win, Tri-City extended their overall winning streak to seven games, their home winning streak to eight games and their home winning streak vs. Seattle to 18 straight. Meanwhile, Seattle saw their two game winning streak come to an end while falling to 1-2 vs. Tri-City on the year.
The Americans seemed out of sync early on, as Seattle took a 1-0 lead. Just 6:41 into the first period, Chance Lund picked up his 9th goal of the season after he beat Eric Comrie. But, it proved to be the only blemish on an otherwise solid night in goal for the young netminder.
Meanwhile, four minutes later, Seattle started to rack up the penalties and it quickly cost them. Playing with a 5-on-3 man-advantage with over seven minutes left in the period, Shinnimin found Hughesman camped backdoor on Calvin Pickard, who knotted the game with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season. Then, 1:19 later, and on the same power play, Patrick Holland’s pass went off the heel of his stick, changing speeds and fooling Pickard. Meanwhile, the puck found its way onto the stick of Connor Rankin, who proceeded to net his 12th of the year and put the Americans on top for good.
Just three minutes into the second period, Shinnimin collected his first of two on the night, making it a 3-1 Tri-City lead. Then, with 7:00 left in the second, Holland placed a perfect shot over the blocker of Pickard to register his 11th of the season and pad the lead.
Finally, just 4:51 into the third period, and back on another 5-on-3 power play, Shinnimin sent a drive from the top of the left circle that ripped through the net, literally, for his 17th of the season and a 5-1 Tri-City lead.
Meanwhile, Seattle wound up hitting the post twice in the final period, but just could not get anything more pucks past Comrie, who kicked aside 24 of 25 shots while improving to 12-3 on the year. On the other end, Pickard finished the night with 25 saves on 30 shots in the loss. Tri-City went 3-for-6 on the power play and was a perfect 6-of-6 on the penalty kill.
After combining for 96 penalty minutes into the first game of the doubleheader, Tri-City and Seattle will now switch venues and wrap-up the season’s first-half tomorrow, Saturday, December 17 at ShoWare Center. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The Americans will be looking for their fifth consecutive road win while Seattle aims to even the 10-game season series at 2-apiece. 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, Patrick Holland, Tri-City
3, Connor Rankin, Tri-City