VANCOUVER, B.C. – Over the past four years, the Giants have been the unfortunate recipients of some crooked offensive numbers from the Americans and, on Friday night, Tri-City made it worse by doing something the club had not done in nearly a decade.
Led by Justin Feser’s hat trick, three different skaters notched 3-point nights as the visiting Tri-City Americans (33-8-0-0, 66 pts) rolled over the Vancouver Giants (26-15-1-1, 54 pts) 11-4 in front of 6,452 fans at Pacific Coliseum. With the win, Tri-City improved to 2-0 vs. the Giants this season, outscoring their conference rivals 16 to 4 in the process. It was the highest scoring output by a Tri-City team since the Americans posted an 11-7 win over Prince George back on March 4, 2003. Meanwhile, the Giants had their brief two-game winning streak come to an end after allowing the most goals on home ice in the franchise’s 11-year history.
While the final score was a surprise, the fact that the game was scoreless after the first 20 minutes was an even bigger shock. But, that was all before Tri-City rolled off a season-high 6 goals as part of a 13-shot second period, with 4 of them coming in the first 6:23 of the period.
While playing four-aside, and from the high slot, Feser got the ball rolling when he buried a drop pass from Patrick Holland just 29 seconds into the second. Only 3:14 later, Feser connected again from the slot, this time rifling a shot over the glove of Giants’ starter, Adam Morrison. At the 5:15 mark, Adam Hughesman put back a Mason Wilgosh rebound, which found its way under Morrison and across the line. Just 1:18 later, Tri-City struck for a fourth time after Brian Williams picked off a Kiefer McNaughton pass. Finally, by the midway point of the period, the Americans had cruised to a 5-0 lead following Jordan Messier’s power play marker, which also chased Morrison from the game.
Back-up goaltender, Jackson Whistle didn’t fare much better, as Messier tacked on a second goal with 1:42 left in the period.
But, despite a six-goal lead headed to the third, the Americans kept their foot on the gas, adding two more inside the first 2:00 of the third period.
Just 28 second into the final frame, and playing shorthanded, Holland was able to break away from the Giants, then sent a perfectly timed cross-ice pass to Feser, who capped the hat trick. Only 1:23 later, Mitch Topping found Hughesman in the slot, whose shot glanced off the glove of Whistle and into the net, giving Tri-City an 8-0 lead.
To their credit, the Giants did not go away, staging a bit of a rally to pull to within 5 after scoring three times in a six-minute span. First, at the 3:55 mark, rookie Riley Kieser snapped Eric Comrie’s shutout bid, slipping a shot just under his left pad. Five minutes later, Marek Tvrdon took a pass from Jordan Martinook and broke in Comrie, eventually lifting a backhand over the netminder. Then, less than a minute later and on the power play, Cain Franson converted a Tri-City turnover into his 16th tally of the season, making it an 8-3 game.
At the 11:52 mark, however, and on a power play, Tri-City’s Nathan MacMaster ripped a shot from the left circle, over the glove of Whistle, to make it 9-3. Three minutes later, Brendan Shinnimin was credited with his 25th goal of the season after he tipped in Zachary Yuen’s shot from the point. Then, with 3:34 left in regulation, Jesse Mychan picked up his second goal in as many games as a member of the Americans, making it 11-3.
Just 12 seconds later, Anthony Ast streaked down the side, beating Comrie with a shot over his shoulder, but it was as close as the Giants would get down the stretch.
Comrie went on to notch 22 saves while improving to 14-3 on the year. Meanwhile, Morrison and Whistle combined to stop 24 of the 35 shots they faced in the loss. Tri-City finished the night 2-for-7 on the power play, while the Giants went 1-of-3 on the man-advantage.
The Americans, now 2-1 on their 5-game road trip, will head back across the mountains and resume division play against the rival Spokane Chiefs (21-13-3-3) tomorrow, Saturday, January 14. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Chiefs are coming off their first loss in four games, following a come-from-behind victory by Everett on Friday. But, Spokane has averaged 5.67 goals/game over their last three home games. Meanwhile, the Americans will be gunning for a fourth straight win over their division rivals and their 16th road victory of the season. The game will be aired locally on KVEW-TV’s My Network, starting at 7:00 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.
Justin Feser now has 4 career WHL hat tricks…With three points night (1+2), Brendan cracked the top-10 on the Americans’ all-time scoring list, passing Eric Johansson (266)…With 11 goals tonight, the Americans have scored 8 or more goals against the Vancouver Giants in three of the last four seasons.
Applebee’s 3 Stars:
1, Justin Feser, Tri-City
2, Adam Hughesman, Tri-City
3, Riley Kieser, Vancouver