by Ben Tole
February 21, 2014, Kennewick, WA (ISN) – The Tri-City Americans (27-28-3-3, 60 pts.) twice got within a goal during the third period, but could not catch the Prince Albert Raiders (29-28-2-2, 64 pts.), falling 6-4 at the ninth annual Fred Meyer Breast Cancer Awareness game Friday night at the Toyota Center.
The loss ran the Americans’ losing streak to five games but, despite the setback, still lead the Prince George Cougars (25-30-3-5, 58 pts.) by two points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Americans are now 6-3 all-time in the annual pink ice contest.
The Americans controlled play in the first few minutes of the game, registering the first two shots of the game. But, the team was unable to produce any quality scoring chances during that stretch. However, a Brian Williams kneeing penalty at 8:04 shifted the momentum to the Raiders side, as Prince Albert would carry the play for the rest of the period, outshooting the Americans 9-2 in the opening 20 minutes.
Collin Valcourt opened the scoring at 12:46 of the first period, taking the pass from Leon Draisaitl at the blue line, snapping it off the post and in, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders extended its lead to two-goals at 8:59 of the second period, when Gage Quinney scored on a delayed Americans’ penalty, locating the loose puck in front of Eric Comrie and shoveling it past the 18-year-old net minder.
But, just 30 seconds later, Mitch Topping would cut the Prince Albert lead in half by taking a pass from Ty Comrie and slapping it past Cole Cheveldave. Rodney Southam would tie the game for Tri-City at the 14:06 mark of the middle frame, sliding the puck in the net for his second goal in as many games.
Now tied at 2, the Americans started to press for the go-ahead goal, narrowly missing on several occasions. Topping’s hooking penalty at 17:47 would put an end to the Americans’ second period momentum and lead to a Raiders power play goal at 18:06.
Early in the third period, Tri-City looked to tie the game on the power play, after Prince Albert was whistled for a tripping penalty. But, it would be the Raiders that capitalized, as Shane Danyluk forced a turnover at his own blue line and skated in alone on Comrie, scoring on the backhand to put his team ahead 4-2.
The Americans got right back in the game at 10:14, when Parker Bowles scored on the power play to get Tri-City back within one. But, the Raiders would once again spoil Tri-City’s comeback bid with a Carson Perreaux goal at 11:52.
Topping got the Americans back in the game one more time with his second goal of the night, taking the pass from Bowles and snapping it past Cheveldave. But, that would be as close as the Americans would get, as the Raiders added an empty net goal with two second remaining to cap off the 6-4 victory.
The Americans will be right back in action at the Toyota Center tomorrow, when it welcomes the Everett Silvertips (29-23-7-1, 66 pts.) to Kennewick for a Saturday night showdown. Tickets for the game are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer outlets, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert
2) Mitch Topping, Tri-City
3) Shane Danyluk, Prince Albert