Pechurskiy Blanks Everett in WHL Debut, 1-0Posted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Welcome to Kennewick, Alex!
After a seven month journey finally ending with his first Western Hockey League start, goaltender Alexander Pechurskiy made the most of his Tri-City Americans' debut.
Pechurskiy stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead the Tri-City Americans (28-9-0-0, 56 pts) to a 1-0 shutout of the visiting Everett Silvertips (19-15-2-1, 41 pts) in front of 4,399 fans at the Toyota Center. The win also stretches the Americans' winning streak to six games. Meanwhile, Everett dropped their second straight game to Tri-City and fell to 1-4 against their division rival this season.
Meeting for the third time in the last 10 days, the two squads appeared very familiar with one another. But, that didn't stop Tri-City from outshooting the ‘Tips early and often. Despite two penalty kills, the Americans finished with an 18 to 11 shot advantage in the period but no points on the scoreboard.
Tri-City continued to outshoot and outchance Everett in the second period. But, the ‘Tips' first penalty of the contest proved to be a costly one.
With 1:12 remaining in the period, Everett's Chris de la Lande was sent to the box after being called for tripping. The ensuing Tri-City power play saw a flurry of action in the Everett zone. With less than a minute remaining in the period, Johnny Lazo just missed on a shot batted out of mid-air. But, the ‘Tips failed to clear the zone and the puck wound up on the stick of Brendan Shinnimin. Shinnimin fed the puck to Tyler Schmidt, who then found Lazo in the slot. With 1.6 seconds remaining, and Pechurskiy banging his stick on the other end of the ice to signal the approaching intermission, Lazo buried a wrist shot high on the stick side of Kent Simpson for the eventual game-winner.
Both teams had their chances in the third period, but things got interesting in the final half of the period. Just past the midway point of the period, Everett went on the power play. But, the Tri-City defense, who played great all night long, limited the ‘Tips to just two shots on goal during the man-advantage and kept them scoreless.
Then, with less than a minute, Jarrett Toll was called for a hand pass after he knocked the puck out of midair, setting up a face-off just outside the Tri-City zone. With Simpson pulled for the extra attacker shortly after the face-off, Everett got two more chances to tie the game. But, Pechurskiy was up to the task, capping Tri-City's sixth shutout this season and third vs. the Silvertips.
Simpson, who was just as impressive, finished with 39 saves on 40 shots faced in the tough luck loss. Tri-City finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play and a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Tri-City will get a practice day on Wednesday before they host the arch rival Spokane Chiefs in the 21st annual New Year's Eve game on Thursday, December 31. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Toyota Center. It will mark the 20th straight time the two rivals have met on New Year's Eve in Kennewick, with Tri-City holding a record of 12-5-0-1 w/ 1 tie in the annual meeting. It has been over a month since the two squads last met. Their last meet-up resulted in a 4-1 Spokane victory on Nov. 27 in Kennewick. Tri-City will look to improve on their three-game home winning streak. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have lost four straight coming into Thursday's tilt.