by Ben Tole
February 22, 2014, Kennewick, WA (ISN) – Parker Bowles turned in a two-goal night, tying the game for the Tri-City Americans (27-28-3-4, 61 pts.) midway through the third period, but after a scoreless overtime, the Everett Silvertips (30-23-7-1, 66 pts.) earned the extra point, defeating the Americans in a shootout for a 3-2 victory Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
The defeat extended the Americans’ losing streak to six games, but gave Tri-City its first point in five contests. The one point would prove valuable, keeping the team one point up on the Prince George Cougars (26-30-3-5, 60 pts.), who won earlier this evening, for the final playoff spot in the West.
Everett came out strong in the first period of play, peppering Comrie with 14 shots in the opening 20 minutes, while holding the Americans to just six. The Silvertips’ best opportunity came at the 16 minute mark, when leading scorer Josh Winquist went in on Comrie with a partial breakaway. But, the 18-year-old kicked out his pad to make the save, keeping the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Shots were hard to come by for the Americans in the second period of play, registering just one in the first 15 minutes. The team made it count, though, as Bowles opened the scoring at 1:30, capitalizing on the rebound after Beau McCue’s shot was turned aside.
But, that 1-0 lead would be short lived, as Remi Laurencelle tied the game just 1:07 later, when the puck deflected off of Thrower’s skate and into in the air. The 18-year-old located the puck before Comrie could recover and shoveled it into the net.
Tri-City found itself in penalty trouble late in the second period, when Mitch Topping was whistled for a high sticking penalty on the same play that the Americans were called for too-many-men, giving the Silvertips a 5-on-3 man advantage for a full two minutes.
The Americans displayed strong penalty killing, as they’ve done most of the season, blocking several shots and holding the Silvertips to just one shot on the two-man advantage.
Tri-City kept Everett off the board during that dangerous opportunity. But, at 6:07 of the third period, Matt Pufahl gave the Silvertips a 2-1 lead with a seeing eye wrist shot through traffic.
At 11:57, Bowles evened the game at two, scoring his second goal of the night after forcing a turnover at the Silvertips blue line and cashing in another McCue rebound. The Americans pressed for the go ahead score late in regulation, but the game would head into overtime tied at two.
Tri-City spent the better part of overtime pressuring the Silvertips in its own end, but could only register one shot on Austin Lotz. On the other end, Comrie was tested five times, coming up big on several occasions to send the game into a shootout.
After Braden Purtill missed with the Americans’ first shot, Josh Winquist gave the Silvertips the shootout lead, deking past Comrie. Brian Williams tied it momentarily, beating Lotz with the team’s second shot, but Patrik Bajkov stole the lead right back, slipping the puck through the legs of the Tri-City net minder.
With its third shot, the Americans sent out Bowles, needing to score to extend the game. But, it was not to be, as Lotz made the save to end the game.
The Americans conclude its three-game home stand this Wednesday, when it welcomes the WHL-leading Kelowna Rockets (48-9-0-4, 100 pts.) to the Toyota Center for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff. 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) Parker Bowles, Tri-City
2) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
3) Matt Pufahl, Everett