(ISN) – Kennewick, WA- The Tri-City Americans (16-13-0-0, 32 pts) had a big lead against the Kootenay Ice (15-16-0-0, 30 pts) on Sunday, but the Ice charged back in the third period and came up just short, as the Americans earned a 5-4 win in front of 3,121 at the Toyota Center on Sunday night.
The Americans came out and played well early, able to generate some solid scoring chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Kootenay was able to get on the board first, as Tim Bozon was able to fire a shot that squeaked past Eric Comrie on the power play to make it 1-0 Ice. The Americans answered less than a minute later, as Richard Nejezchleb passed the puck to a wide open Parker Bowles at the back door, burying a shot to tie the game at one. Kootenay had the shot advantage in the period, 10-9, and the game was tied heading into the second period.
In the second period, the Americans came out and grabbed the momentum early as they scored to take the lead. Beau McCue found Nejezchleb in the slot, firing a one-time shot into the goal to make it 2-1. It didn’t take long for the Americans to get a third goal, as Brandon Carlo laced a shot into the net to increase the lead to 3-1. A few minutes later, the Americans were able to get a fourth goal shorthanded, as a 2-on-1 chance turned into a goal with Justin Gutierrez passing the puck to McCue, who didn’t miss to increase the lead to 4-1. Kootenay kept themselves in the game midway through the second period, with Austin Vetterl cleaning up a rebound in front of the Americans net to cut the lead to two goals.
Early in the third period, Kootenay made it clear they wouldn’t go away quietly, as Bozon found the back of the net shorthanded 10 seconds into the third to cut the lead to 5-3. The Ice got within a goal a few minutes later as Luke Philp scored on the power play to make it 5-4 Americans. The Ice outshot the Americans 17-5 in the third and came close to tying the game, but Tri-City held on down the stretch to earn the victory.
The Americans snap a two game losing streak and extends its win streak against Kootenay to five. Tri-City is 4-0 against Central Division opponents and 8-2 against the Eastern Conference.
The Americans were 0-for-5 on the power play tonight and had 16 penalty minutes. Kootenay was 2-for-6 with a man advantage and had 14 penalty minutes. The power play goal ends the Americans streak of 38 straight penalty kills at home.
Eric Comrie stopped 31 shots in the win, while Keelan Williams and Wyatt Hoflin combined for 26 saves in the loss.
Tri-City has a day to prepare for its next game, which is Tuesday, Dec. 9, against the division-leading Everett Silvertips (17-7-3-1, 38 pts) at the Toyota Center. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. The Americans and Silvertips each have one win, with the Americans earning a 5-4 shootout win in the lone game in Kennewick this season.