Ams Can't Keep Up with Saskatoon, Lose 5-3Posted: Updated:
SASKATOON, SK – The solution to The Mystery at Credit Union Centre will continue to evade the Tri-City Americans for another two seasons.
Josh Nicholls and Darian Dziurzynski each scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades (5-1-0-0, 10 pts) held off the Tri-City Americans (4-2-1-0, 9 pts) 5-3 in front of 3,026 fans. The loss dropped the Americans to 0-2-1-0 midway through their seven-game road trip and fall to 1-13-1-0 with 2 ties all-time at the Blades' home rink. Meanwhile, the Blades, who have also won three straight vs. Tri-City, take over possession of the best record in the Eastern Conference.
In a marquee match-up that pitted two teams inside the CHL Top-10, Wednesday's game certainly lived up to the hype.
But, for the first time this season, the Americans had to play catch-up from the start. Just one minute into the contest, Curtis Hamilton was able to breakout Nicholls, who got around Zachary Yuen and took off into the Tri-City zone. Nicholls then slipped a backhander past Drew Owsley to put the Blades on the board. Eight minutes later, Dziurzynski and Brent Benson went in on a 2-on-1, with Dziurzynski finishing the play to make it a 2-0 game.
However, just past the midway point of the period, the Tri-City power play continued its resurgence. After Adam Hughesman shanked a shot from the left circle, the fortuitous bounce went straight to Tyler Schmidt, who tipped the puck past Adam Morrison for his first goal of the season.
Four minutes later, though, Dziurzynski struck again to put the Blades back on top by two.
But, Tyler Schmidt was not done either. With 1:27 remaining in the first period and back on the power play, Schmidt followed up on his own rebound, beating Morrison again. Schmidt's second goal pulled the Americans back to within one headed into the first intermission.
The Blades, though, would counter early into the second period, as Marek Viedensky stretched their lead back to two at 4-2.
Then, with their come-back hopes hanging in the balance, the Americans were then forced to kill off a 1:47 5-on-3 Blades' power play to start the third period. A gritty effort, though, neutralized the threat and kept Tri-City within striking distance. Finally, with 5:27 gone into the third, David Conrad's shot when high of its mark and rang off the glass behind Morrison. Behind the net, though, Jordan Messier dug the puck free and found Mike Brown out in front. Brown then beat Morrison for his second goal of the season and, again, pulled Tri-City to within one.
But, after a clean first 39 minutes, penalties finally caught up to the Americans, as Saskatoon had all five of their power play chances in the final 20+ minutes. It was #4, though, that broke Tri-City's back. After a checking from behind penalty was called on Yuen at the 16:15 mark, the Blades took all of 17 seconds before Nicholls registered his second goal of the game and capped the scoring.
Despite the five goals allowed, Owsley put forth a solid effort in goal, picking up a season-high 43 saves in the loss. Conversely, Morrison finished the game with 24 saves on 27 shots to earn his first win of the season. The Americans finished the night 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Blades went 1-of-5 on the man-advantage.
Tri-City will now get Thursday off before returning to the ice on Friday, October 8 to take on the Regina Pats (1-4-1-0). Game time is 6:00 pm (PST) at the Brandt Centre. The Americans are 7-7-2-0 all-time in the Saskatchewan capital, including a 3-2 record over their previous five visits. Tri-City will also be looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since Jan. 4-9, 2008. On the other side of the ice, Regina also comes in having dropped their last three games but routed the Americans 7-1 in the club's lone meeting in 2009-10.