Americans Bag Wheat Kings, 5-3 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Americans Bag Wheat Kings, 5-3

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KENNEWICK, WA - Earlier this afternoon, a panel of National Hockey League scouts elected to insert the Tri-City Americans back into the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 rankings.  Eight hours later, the Americans proved they belonged.

Behind Kruise Reddick's four point night (2+2), the Americans (9-2-0-0, 18 pts) held off a determined Brandon Wheat Kings (6-6-0-1, 13 pts) squad 5-3 in front of 3,468 fans at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.  In the process, Tri-City improved their home record to 5-0, while stretching their winning streak to seven games.  Meanwhile, the Wheat Kings started off their trip through the U.S. Division with a loss, their fifth over their last seven games.  They also lost for the second straight time at Toyota Center.

Connecting at the 9:14 mark of the first period, the always dangerous Tri-City power play got the Americans off and rolling.  The League's leader in scoring, Brendan Shinnimin, buried an Adam Hughesman pass to put the Americans on top early.

However, just 1:23 later, LA Kings' first round draft pick Brayden Schenn returned the favor.  Set-up by Aaron Lewadniuk, Schenn let a blast go from inside the slot at point blank range, beating Drew Owsley and tying the game at 1.

The second frame was a tale of two halves, as Tri-City owned the first 10 minutes of play.  Only 2:02 into the period, Sergei Drozd notched his second of the season.  Then, 3:33 later, the power play unit connected again, this time off the stick of Justin Feser.

But, after the media timeout, the Wheat Kings seized control, roaring back to tie the game at 3.  At the 13:34 mark of the period, Toni Rajala knocked back his own rebound after two great saves by Owsley.  Then, with less than three minutes remaining in the period and on the power play, Lewadniuk beat Owsley up high, knotting the game.  Yet, the turning point of the game seemed to come with 21 seconds remaining in the second, as Reddick netted a perfect drop pass from Johnny Lazo, giving Tri-City a 4-3 lead going into the second break.

With 4:09 remaining in regulation, Reddick would be heard from again.  This time, Reddick was awarded a short-handed penalty shot after he was slashed and unable to get a clear shot off during a breakaway.  On his attempt, Reddick faked a backhander, switched to his forehand and buried his shot, giving Tri-City some breathing room.  Despite the extra attacker over the final 1:35, Brandon would not score again as Tri-City remained undefeated at home to start the 2009-10 season.  For Reddick, the game marked his first multi-point game of the season and raised his points streak to five games.  He had just one point in his first six games before the streak.

Owsley, who is rapidly climbing the Americans' all-time wins list (16), picked up his seventh straight win behind a 22-save effort.  Meanwhile, Andrew Hayes stopped 33 of the 38 shots he faced in the loss.  The Americans finished the night 2-for-3 on the power play, while Brandon went 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.  Tri-City outshot the Wheat Kings 38 to 25 on the night, including a 13 to 6 margin in the final period.

The Americans will practice on Thursday before returning to the ice on Friday, October 23 when they host the Kelowna Rockets at the Toyota Center.  Game time is 7:05 p.m.  It will be the third match-up of the season between the clubs with Tri-City holding a 2-0 lead in the four-game regular season series.  The Americans, who are 25-10-1-0 with 3 ties all-time at home vs. the Rockets will look to keep their home winning streak in tact.  Meanwhile, Kelowna will look to win a regular season game in Kennewick for the first time since February 25, 2006, a span of seven games.