With Backs Against The Wall, Ams Win Game 4, 4-2Posted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, WA - With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Tri-City Americans gave their fans two things in Game 4...a win and hope.
Four different skaters picked up goals and Alexander Pechurskiy collected 40 saves, as the Tri-City Americans (13-6-2, 26 pts) muscled their way past the visiting Calgary Hitmen (15-6-1, 30 pts) 4-2 in front of 4,532 fans at the Toyota Center. The Americans picked up their first win in the best-of-seven series and staved off elimination for at least one more game. Game 5 is set for 6:00 p.m. (PST) on Friday, May 7 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The game will be aired throughout Western Canada on Shaw TV and locally on My Network 280 or 42.2/35.2 on your digital tuner. And, as always, the game will be also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 5:45 p.m. (PST).
With their proverbial backs against the wall, the Americans came out with great energy and passion in the first period. Taking the fight to the Hitmen, Tri-City grabbed their first lead of the game, and the series, as the period neared the midway point. At center ice, defenseman Zachary Yuen maneuvered his way through the Calgary defense and fired the puck into the corner. After Yuen made a great play to keep the puck in the zone a few moments later, he let a shot go from the point that was tipped by Jordan Messier as the Americans made it 1-0. Then, with 5:47 remaining in the period, Mason Wilgosh picked up his first goal of the post-season after he put back his own rebound to make it 2-0.
But, 2:20 later, Rigby Burgart's shot bounced off Pechurskiy's pads and landed directly in front of Mackenzie Royer. Royer then put back the easy rebound to cut the Hitmen deficit in half just before the break.
The second period, however, belonged to Pechurskiy as he turned away 22 Calgary shots. Despite the lofty shot total, including outshooting the Americans 10-2 through the first five minutes of the second period, Calgary could get nothing through the Tri-City netminder, as the Americans clung tightly to their one-goal lead going into the final period.
A hooking call on Tyler Fiddler late in the second period, put Tri-City on the power play for the first 41 seconds of the third period. But, Kruise Reddick needed just 20 seconds to bury a great pass from Adam Hughesman. Then, with 4:31 remaining in the period, Messier was able to breakout Justin Feser, who walked in uncontested on Martin Jones. Feser got Jones to commit then slipped a shot past the goaltender to make it 4-1.
With just under three minutes remaining in the game and, in a last ditch effort to get back into the game, Calgary coach Mike Williamson pulled Jones for the extra attacker. Then, with 1:33 left and during a scramble in front of Pechurskiy, Giffen Nyren notched his fifth goal of the playoffs to pull the Hitmen to within two. But, it would be as close as Calgary would get.
Jones, who saw his seven-game winning streak snapped, finished the night with 26 saves on 30 shots. Meanwhile, Pechurskiy notched his first WHL playoff win behind a sparkling 40-save effort. Tri-City went 1-for-4 on the man-advantage, while Calgary was 0-for-1.
Applebee's 3 Stars:
1, Alexander Pechurskiy, Tri-City
2, Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City
3, Mike Brown, Tri-City