Photo credit is Steve Einan
(ISN) – Kennewick, WA- The Tri-City Americans (8-4-0-0, 16 pts) knocked off the last undefeated team in the Eastern Conference two weeks ago. And tonight, they took down the last undefeated team in the Western Conference.
Lucas Nickles scored twice and Eric Comrie had another stellar performance to hand the Kelowna Rockets (10-1-0-0, 20 pts) its first loss of the season, 5-2, in front of an electric crowd of 3,433 at the Toyota Center Saturday night.
Kelowna established the tempo of play in the first period, moving the puck well while maintaining possession for a majority of the first. The Rockets got on the board first as Tyrell Goulbourne scored nine minutes into the game to put Kelowna up 1-0. Tri-City was outshot by Kelowna, 11-5, in the first period, as the Americans looked to gain some momentum in the second.
The Americans got it going in the second period as a power play led to a goal by Parker Bowles to tie the game at one less than a minute into the second. It didn’t take long for Tri-City to add another goal, with Lucas Nickles scoring less than two minutes later to put the Americans ahead 2-1. But Kelowna answered quickly, with Tomas Soustal lighting the lamp to tie the game at two. The Americans had the shot advantage in the period, 14-12, and had the edge going into the third period.
Tri-City got off to a quick start in the third, as Beau McCue found the back of the net 39 seconds into the period to put the Americans ahead once again, 3-2. The Americans built the lead to two goals 8:53 into the third period as Nickles netted his second goal of the game. Kelowna tried to get back into the game, but Eric Comrie was on his game in the third period, stopping all nine shots he faced. With less than a minute remaining, Braden Purtill scored an empty net goal to cap off the win for the Americans.
The win snaps a six-game Tri-City losing streak to the Rockets dating back to the 2012-13 season. Tri-City has won four straight home games and it’s the Americans’ first win on a Saturday this season.
Tri-City converted 1-of-2 power play chances, while Kelowna was 0-for-3 on power play. The referees’ whistles were relatively quiet tonight, with the two teams combining for 10 penalty minutes. Tri-City’s six penalty minutes was a season-low.
Eric Comrie stopped 30 shots in the victory, while Kelowna’s Jackson Whistle made 23 saves in the loss.
Photo credit is Steve Einan
Tri-City will have a few days to rest before they hit the road again for a rematch against the Kelowna Rockets this Wednesday, Oct. 22, at Prospera Place. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. Fans can watch the game through WHL Live or at Kimo’s, the Americans home away from home. The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 870, starting at 6:45 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars
1. Lucas Nickles, Tri-City
2. Beau McCue, Tri-City
3. Parker Bowles, Tri-City