(ISN) – Kennewick, WA- The Tri-City Americans (27-30-0-3, 57 pts) can’t seem to find its mojo at the Toyota Center lately, dropping its third straight game at home, this time to the Calgary Hitmen (36-18-1-4, 77 pts), 7-2, in front of 4,447 fans on Saturday night.
Calgary came out and played great hockey, outshooting the Americans 19-3 in the first period. The Hitmen weren’t able to get a goal until late in the first period. Jake Virtanen found the back of the net with eight seconds left in the first period to put Calgary ahead 1-0 after the first period.
The Hitmen found their stride in the second period, as Jake Bean scored 1:45 into the second to put Calgary up 2-0. A few minutes later, the Hitmen took advantage of a power play, as Bean scored his second of the game to put Calgary ahead 3-0. Less than two minutes later, Adam Tambellini fired a shot top shelf into the goal to put the Hitmen up 4-0. But the Americans tried to battle back, as Tri-City got on the board midway through the period on a goal from Beau McCue, cutting the lead to 4-1 after two periods.
In the third, the Hitmen looked to put the finishing touches on the win, as Pavel Karnaukhov scored less than two minutes into the period to put Calgary up 5-1. Just over eight minutes into the third, Tri-City was able to strike again, as Austyn Playfair slapped a rebound into the goal to cut the lead to 5-2. But less than a minute later, Connor Rankin got on the board to put the Hitmen back up by four goals. And the Hitmen finished off the win with a goal from Beck Melenstyn late in the third to help the Hitmen earn the victory.
Calgary has won two straight games at the Toyota Center.
The Americans spent 20 minutes in the penalty box and was unable to convert any of its two power play chances. The Hitmen recorded 26 penalty minutes and converted 1-of-4 chances with a man advantage.
Casey Kaiser, in his first career WHL start, made 48 saves in the loss, while Mack Shields stopped 16 shots in the win.
The Americans have a couple days off before they are back in action against the Portland Winterhawks (35-20-1-3, 74 pts) this Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Toyota Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The Americans lost the last meeting against the Winterhawks, 5-1, in Kennewick.
Jack in the Box Three Stars
1. Jake Virtanen, Calgary
2. Jake Bean, Calgary
3. Casey Kaiser, Tri-City