(ISN) – Kennewick, WA- There is only one team on top of the U.S. Division after tonight, and that team is the Tri-City Americans (7-4-0-0, 14 pts).
Vladislav Lukin scored the winner in a shootout as the Americans defeated the Everett Silvertips (5-0-2-1, 13 pts) 5-4 in front of 3,403 at the Toyota Center on Friday night.
The Americans came out and grabbed the momentum early, as Dylan Coghlan scored his first career WHL goal with a shot from the point to put Tri-City up 1-0. Tri-City kept that momentum going throughout the period by killing a penalty midway through the period before the Americans got on the board again. Lucas Nickles gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated towards Everett goaltender Austin Lotz on a breakaway, mishandling the puck but still scoring a short-handed goal to make it 2-0 Americans. Everett had the shot advantage in the first period, 8-7, but the Americans held the two goal lead heading into the second.
Everett came out and immediately changed the momentum in the second period, scoring an early power play goal by Graham Millar less than a minute into the second to cut the lead to 2-1. But the Americans would respond to the goal in a big way. Parker Bowles notched his fifth goal of the season 9:58 into the second to increase the lead back to two goals. Less than two minutes later, Beau McCue was able to put home a rebound on the power play to increase the lead to 4-1. Everett would not go into the night quietly, as Patrick Bajkov scored to cut the lead to 4-2. And 30 seconds later, Cole MacDonald scored to cut the lead to 4-3. Everett had the advantage in shots, 10-9, with the Americans clinging to a one goal lead going into the third period.
The Silvertips looked to tie the game in the third period, and were able to accomplish that with a Kohl Bauml goal early in the third to tie the game at four. The two teams traded chances throughout the third, with the Americans outshooting the Silvertips 12-7 in the period. But neither team could find a winner in regulation, so the game went to overtime. Tri-City tallied the only shot in the overtime session, sending the game to a shootout.
In the shootout, Everett’s Ivan Nikolishin scored to put Everett ahead. Parker Wotherspoon answered as the third shooter to tie the shootout at one. A miss by Nikita Scherbak opened the door for Lukin, who found the back of the net. Eric Comrie stopped Carson Stadnyk’s shootout attempt to give the Americans the two points.
Tri-City’s win was its third straight home win. The win snaps a three game losing streak against the Silvertips dating back to last season. Tri-City is undefeated in Friday games this season with four wins.
The teams combined for 18 penalty minutes, including 12 Tri-City penalty minutes. Everett converted 1-of-6 power play opportunities, while the Americans were 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Eric Comrie stopped 21 shots in the win, while Austin Lotz made 25 saves in the loss.
Tri-City has no time to rest, as they are back in the Toyota Center on Saturday, Oct. 18, taking on the league leading Kelowna Rockets (10-0-0-0, 20 pts) in a rematch of last season’s first round playoff series. Kelowna won the series, 4-1, and has gotten off to a great start this season with 10 straight wins to start the season undefeated. Kelowna is ranked No. 1 in the CHL top 10 rankings. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.