Americans Blank Kelowna, 2-0Posted: Updated:
KELOWNA, BC -- (by Tri-City Americans) Drew Owsley has performed admirably throughout his first WHL Playoffs experience. Now, the diminutive goaltender from Lethbridge, AB is etching his name into the Tri-City record books.
Behind a tenacious penalty killing effort, Owsley stopped all 31 shots he faced and became just the fifth goaltender in the franchise's history to post a playoff shutout as the Tri-City Americans (6-2-1, 12 pts) blanked the Kelowna Rockets (5-4-1, 10 pts) 2-0 in front of 5,231 fans at Prospera Place. With the win, Tri-City reclaims home-ice advantage in the series, which they now lead 2 games to 1. Meanwhile, after suffering their second shutout and first home loss this post-season, the Rockets will now look to even the series in Game 4, set for Wednesday, April 7 in Kelowna.
In a game reminiscent of Game 2 back in Kennewick, Tuesday night's contest looked like it was going to be tight from wire to wire. Kelowna outshot Tri-City 10 to 9 in the first period, but it was the Americans who managed to come through on the scoreboard. With just under five minutes remaining in the period, Kruise Reddick let a shot go on Mark Guggenberger, who was able to stop the shot but gave up a big rebound in the process. There to capitalize was Sergei Drozd, who flicked the puck in at the near post to collect his fifth goal of the playoffs and put Tri-City on top 1-0.
It would be another 20 minutes before the Americans counted again, but not before they gave the Kelowna faithful a few scares. With 10 seconds remaining in the first period, Johnny Lazo had his shot ring off the post. Then, five minutes into the second period, Hughesman fired the puck off the crossbar as part of a 2-on-1 breakaway. Tri-City then had a third shot clank off the post, this time just past the midway point of the period.
Finally, with 4:09 remaining in the second, the Americans were able to take advantage after a face-off in the Rockets' zone. When Tri-City's face-off win sent the puck into the right corner, Hughesman outhustled everyone to the puck and then used his body to screen the Kelowna defender, dig the puck off the boards and pass it up to Brendan Shinnimin. From there, Shinnimin sent a bump pass, across the ice to Lazo, who slammed home his third goal of the post-season.
The third period, however, belonged to Owsley and the Tri-City defense which saw the Rockets outshoot the Americans 13 to 5 over the final 20 minutes of play. The Americans put the vaunted Rockets power play onto the ice three times in the third period. But, each time they hit the ice, the Tri-City penalty kill was aggressive and opportunistic, allowing just a handful of man-advantage shots combined. In the end, despite pulling Guggenberger for the extra attacker in the final minute of play, Kelowna could not find the back of the net.
Owsley, who had a shutout going in Game 2 of Tri-City's first round series with Chilliwack before being pulled in the final nine minutes, recorded the ninth post-season shutout in the Americans' history. On that list, Owsley's 31 saves were the 5th most and was just the third shutout to occur on the road. Meanwhile, Guggenberger stopped 22 of the 24 shots he saw in the tough luck loss. Tri-City finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
Applebee's 3 Stars:
1, Drew Owsley, Tri-City
2, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
3, Mark Guggenberger, Kelowna