Americans Win Game 4: 3-2, Lead Series 3-1 Over KelownaPosted: Updated:
KELOWNA, BC (By Tri-City Americans)- Every game has a story to tell. Sometimes, the story is not found until you dig below the surface. However, as was the case on Wednesday night, sometimes the story simply slaps you in the face.
Despite being severely outshot and having their one-goal lead disappear just a minute earlier, the Tri-City Americans got a little musical inspiration. Coming out of the third period media timeout and about to start their third power play of the game, the Americans hit the ice to none other than their goal song. As fate would have it, Kruise Reddick notched the eventual game-winning goal 31 seconds later, lifting the Tri-City Americans (7-2-1, 14 pts) to a 3-2 road victory over the Kelowna Rockets (5-5-1, 10 pts) in front of 5,368 fans at Prospera Place. With the win, the Americans have now won four straight road games this post-season and head home for Game 5 on Friday, April 9 with a chance to close out the series. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the Toyota Center. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer outlets, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Tri-City needed to be opportunistic on Wednesday night, as the Rockets limited the Americans to just three shots on goal in the first period and 13 shots all night, both of which were season lows. But, just 5:33 into the contest, Tri-City jumped out to a 1-0 lead. After a great individual effort to keep the puck in the Rockets' zone, Justin Feser found Patrick Holland in the corner. From there, Holland dished the puck to Tyler Schmidt, who notched his second goal of the playoffs and gave the Americans the early lead.
But, with 4:11 remaining in the period, Kelowna's Max Adolph was awarded a penalty shot after he was hauled down going in on Drew Owsley. Owsley, though, would win the showdown, as he used his right pad to push Adolph's shot wide of the net.
Finally, after being held scoreless on their nine previous chances dating back to Game 1, the Rockets' power play tied the game at 1. With four seconds remaining on a Tri-City bench penalty for too many men on the ice, Tyson Barrie let a shot go from the mid-point, beating Owsley low on the blocker side, to collect his third goal of the playoffs.
However, the game remained tied for all of 18 seconds. On the ensuing shift, Eric Mestery was able to breakout Reddick, who patiently waited for his trailer and then found Brock Sutherland in the mid-slot. From there, Sutherland fired a shot past Guggenberger up over his glove to register his first career playoff goal and put the Americans' back on top by one. And, despite being outshot nearly three to one in the second period, Tri-City took the 2-1 lead into the third period.
With 9:19 remaining in regulation, the Rockets got a bit of home ice luck when Lucas Bloodoff's shot went wide of the net then ricocheted off the back wall and landed right in the slot. From there, Brandon McMillan was able to knock in a backhander to tie the game at 2.
But, just 39 seconds later, Dallas Jackson was called for hooking on Hughesman, who had slipped by him as he headed into the Rockets' zone. Tri-City coach Jim Hiller opted to go with the 5-forward power play system in this particular situation and, after a little melodic motivation, saw his gamble pay off. Thirty one seconds into the man-advantage, Feser set-up Reddick in the high slot, who fired a one-timer past Guggenberger to give Tri-City a 3-2 lead.
Not going down without a fight, the Rockets threw everything they had at Owsley and the Tri-City defense over the final minutes of play. The stress was compounded when Mason Wilgosh was called for high sticking at the 17:50 mark, essentially putting the Rockets on the power play for the remainder of regulation. With 1:08 remaining, Kelowna pulled Guggenberger for the extra attacker but, despite the 6-on-4 advantage, could not shake the Tri-City penalty killing units and eventually dropped their second straight home game.
Guggenberger finished the night with 10 saves on 13 shots in the loss. Meanwhile, Owsley shined again on enemy ice, improving to 4-0 on the road this post-season behind a 33-save effort. Tri-City wrapped up the night going 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Rockets went 1-for-6 on the man-advantage.
Applebee's 3 Stars:
1, Drew Owsley, Tri-City
2, Brandon McMillan, Kelowna