by Ben Tole
December 28, 2013, Portland, OR. (ISN) – The Tri-City Americans (17-17-2-2, 38 pts.) traveled to Oregon on Saturday in search of revenge after last night’s overtime loss. But, once again the Portland Winterhawks (25-8-2-2, 54 pts.) got the better of the Americans, taking control with three goals in the second period on its way to a 4-1 victory on Saturday night.
It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Americans, who are back at the .500 mark for the first time since early November. It was also the first time in the season series that the home team had come away with the win, in five previous matchups against Portland.
The Americans had a good start to the game, outshooting the Winterhawks for the majority of the first period. Tri-City also held one of the league’s most potent power plays scoreless on three man advantages in the opening frame.
It looked as though for the second straight night, the game would go into the first intermission with a scoreless tie. But, with just 23 seconds remaining in the period, Dominic Turgeon through the puck towards the net and Adam De Champlain re directed the puck over Eric Comrie’s shoulder, giving Portland a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Tri-City had two successive opportunities to score the equalizer with the man advantage. But, after failing to score on its first power play, the Americans turned the puck over on the second, giving Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand a 2-on-1 odd man rush. Bjorkstrand took the pass from De Leo and beat Comrie for the shorthanded score, giving the Winterhawks a 2-0 lead at the 5:04 mark.
Portland took control of the game with two goals in a span of 1:35 , starting with Tyson Predinchuk’s first WHL goal at 12:20. Then, at the 13:55 mark, Turgeon scored on his own rebound after Comrie had made a great save on the original shot.
Trailing 4-0 heading into the third period of play, Evan Sarthou took over in net for the Americans, giving Comrie the period off after starting 33 of Tri-City’s first 38 games. Sarthou looked strong in relief, turning aside all 12 shots he faced.
Brian Williams got the Americans on the board at 8:05 of the third period, capitalizing on the team’s fifth power play of the game. The goal was the 18-year-old’s 21st of the season, snapping a 10-game scoreless draught, dating back to November 23.
Tri-City pushed to get itself back in the game in the late stages, but were unable to do anymore damage, as Portland coasted in for a 4-1 victory.
While the Americans dropped both games to open up the second half of the season, it still gained a point on the Prince George Cougars (14-19-2-3, 33 pts.) over the weekend, extending its lead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference to five points.
The Americans get set to host the rival Spokane Chiefs (22-12-0-2, 46 pts.) in the annual New Year’s Eve game at the Toyota Center this Tuesday for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer locations, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Brendan Burke, Portland
2) Adam De Champlain, Portland
3) Dominic Turgeon, Portland