by Ben Tole
January 29, 2014, Calgary, AB (ISN) – The Tri-City Americans (25-21-2-3, 55 pts.) fell behind early in the third period, but the team stormed back to score four unanswered goals, defeating the Calgary Hitmen (31-13-3-3, 68 pts.) 4-1 at the Scotia Bank Saddledome on Wednesday night.
Tri-City has now earned points in each of its last six games, picking up victories in five of those contests. With 55 points, the Americans are just three shy of both the Vancouver Giants (25-19-5-3, 58 pts.) and the Everett Silvertips (25-18-7-1, 58 pts.) for the sixth and seventh spot in the Western Conference.
Eric Comrie made his 43rd start of the season, stopping 39 of Calgary’s 40 shots on the night, holding a potent Calgary offense to just one goal. It was the eighth time in Comrie’s last ten games that he has held his opponent to a goal or less.
The Americans controlled the play early in the game, outshooting Calgary through the first 10 minutes of the opening period. The Hitmen turned momentum in its favor during the Tri-City’s first power play, registering multiple shorthanded scoring opportunities. But, Comrie managed to fend off a late period push from Calgary.
Despite 2:20 of power play time in the first three minutes of the second period, it wasn’t until the eight minute mark that the Americans registered its first shot of the middle frame. Tri-City generated a few quality scoring chances on Mack Shields in the late stages of the middle frame, but were unable to beat the Calgary net minder.
The Americans were outshot 28-15 through 40 minutes of play, but the score remained scoreless heading into the third period of play.
The Hitmen opened the scoring 1:24 into the third period, when Kenton Helgeson sent Greg Chase alone on Comrie, back handing the puck past the Alberta native to give the Hitmen a 1-0 lead.
But, the Americans would strike back 2:40 later with Brian Williams 30th goal of the season. The 19-year-old forward narrowly missed on a 2-on-1, but hustled to keep the play alive, skating the pack out of the corner and snapping it past Shields to tie the game at one.
Braden Purtill put the Americans ahead at the 11:34 mark of the third period, finding the puck in a scramble in front of Shields, sliding the puck into the Calgary goal giving Tri-City the 2-1 lead. Ty Comrie added an insurance marker at 16:46 after Tot forced the turnover, setting up the rookie for his third goal of the season.
Trailing 3-1, the Hitmen threatened to score in the late stages of the game, but were unable to beat Comrie again. Brian Williams iced the game for the Americans with an empty net goal with 40 seconds remaining.
The Americans continue its Alberta road trip with a game against the Edmonton Oil Kings (35-13-0-1, 71 pts.) Friday night at Rexall Place. Fans can catch the action live, via WHL Live, at the Americans’ official home away from home, Kimo’s in Richland.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
2) Greg Chase, Calgary
3) Brian Williams, Tri-City