'Hometown' Americans lead way in BrandonPosted: Updated:
BRANDON, MB – The joke has been made for a few seasons now that the Americans should switch their name to Quad City to accurately represent the influx of Winnipeg players on their roster. Though geographically irrelevant, after the performance from the Manitobans on Saturday, they just might consider it.
Winnipeg-native David Conrad's first goal with the team stood as the eventual game-winner, as the Tri-City Americans (6-2-1-0, 13 pts) dropped the Brandon Wheat Kings (4-4-0-0, 8 pts) 3-1 in front of 4,421 fans at Westman Place. With the win, the Americans evened their record vs. the East Division at 2-2 while picking up their first win in Brandon since November 17, 2000. Meanwhile, after starting the season 4-0, the Wheat Kings have now dropped four straight games.
In a physical, back-and-forth game, it was the Americans that game the ‘hometown' fans something to cheer about. With 6:16 left in the first period, Max Moline separated the puck from a Wheat Kings defender in the corner and fed the puck to Justin Feser. Feser then dished the puck off to Jordan Messier who, from the slot, beat Brandon goaltender Corbin Boes at the near post.
Five minutes later, it was Conrad's turn. Adam Hughesman started the play from inside the Tri-City zone, breaking out Mike Brown as part of a 3-on-2 Americans' rush. Coming down the right wing, Conrad took a pass from Brown and beat Boes up high with a sharp angle shot to give Tri-City a 2-0 lead.
But, as great as the lead was, Tri-City watched as Captain Kruise Reddick left the game with an injury in the period and would not return.
After outshooting the Americans 9 to 5 in the first period, the Wheat Kings poured it on in the second, launching 16 shots on Tri-City goaltender Drew Owsley. Finally, at the 12:56 mark of the second period, Brandon got one past the netminder. Pulling Brandon to within one, Brenden Walker picked up his fourth goal of the season when his rip from the high slot beat Owsley shelf on the glove side. But, it proved to be all that Owsley would surrender on the night.
The back-breaker for the Wheat Kings came late in the third period, as the resurgent Americans power play connected in its fifth straight game. With 3:54 left in regulation, a great individual effort by Brown kept a Brandon clearing pass in the zone before getting the puck onto the stick of Tyler Schmidt. From the top of the point, Schmidt found Hughesman, who buried a shot high on the blocker side of Boes. Hughesman and Schmidt, both Winnipeggers, gave Tri-City a 3-1 lead headed down the stretch as Brandon allowed just their second power play goal against of the season.
With less than a minute remaining in the contest and Boes pulled for the extra attacker, Owsley made a terrific diving save on Mark Stone, robbing the team's scoring leader to keep it a two-goal game. It was the icing on the cake for Owsley, who finished with 29 saves and picked up his fourth win of the season. Meanwhile, Boes recorded 17 saves on 20 shots in the loss. Tri-City finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and was a perfect 4-of-4 on the man-advantage.
After picking up just their fifth win in 17 trips to Brandon, the Americans will now turn their attention to a Monday, October 11 contest vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors (2-6-0-0). Game time is 1:00 pm (PST) at Civic Centre. Tri-City comes into Monday's afternoon affair having won their last four match-ups vs. the Warriors and is 3-0 in their three previous trips to Civic Centre. Meanwhile, the Warriors enter having dropped two straight games and five of their last six. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL WebTV, at the Americans' home away from home, Kimo's Sports Café in Richland. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 12:45 pm (PST).
Notes: Twenty-year-old forward Neal Prokop rejoined the team in Brandon on Saturday and will accompany the team back to Tri-City to finish his rehabilitation. Prokop, who broke his leg in Game 3 of the Americans' first round playoff series win over the Chilliwack Bruins last season, is currently on Tri-City's injured reserve list and does not count against the Americans' overage limit until he is removed.