Reversal of Fortunes for Tri-City, beat Portland 5-1Posted: Updated:
PORTLAND, OR – Winners of seven of their previous 10 games headed into the Winter Break, the Americans picked up right where they left off in their first game back.
Five different players scored and Drew Owsley stopped 20 shots, as the Tri-City Americans (20-11-1-1, 42 pts) took down the Portland Winterhawks (25-10-0-3, 53 pts) 5-1 in front of 7,877 fans at the Rose Garden. With the win, the Americans improved to 2-1 against the first-place ‘Hawks, while winning four of their last five games. Meanwhile, Portland has dropped their previous two games headed into the back end of a home-and-home doubleheader with Tri-City, set for tomorrow, December 29 at Toyota Center.
On Tuesday, Tri-City jumped on the ‘Hawks early and never let up, racing out to a 3-0 lead.
Only 1:43 into the contest, and from behind the Portland net, Brendan Shinnimin's second effort slipped past goaltender Mac Carruth at the far post, giving the Americans an early 1-0 lead. Then, just past the midway point of the period, David Conrad knocked down a Troy Rutkowski clearing pass, and then found Connor Rankin. Rankin then fed Marcus Messier, who lifted a shot over Carruth, to make it 2-0. Finally, just 44 seconds later, older brother Jordan Messier let a shot go from the right circle that found its way between Carruth's pads to stretch the Tri-City lead to three.
But, with just over three minutes to play in the first period, the ‘Hawks were able to get on the board. After he blocked a Tyler Schmidt shot, Seth Swenson broke out Oliver Gabriel, who eventually shelved a shot over Owsley's blocker.
However, Tri-City, who had outshot Portland 19 to 8 after the first 20 minutes, put up a season-high 25 shots in the second period, while allowing just four Winterhawks shots, to keep the Portland offense at bay. And, at the 3:36 mark of the second, the Americans made good on one of those attempts when Conrad connected for his third goal of the season.
After carrying a 4-1 lead into the third period, and with six minutes remaining in the game, Tri-City capped the scoring when Spencer Humphries' shot deflected off a Portland stick, and then past Carruth, to make it a 5-1 game. For the rookie defenseman, the goal marked his first in the WHL.
Owsley, who continued his solid play in December, picked up his 16th win of the season behind 20 saves on 21 shots. Meanwhile, while tagged with the loss, Carruth faced a season-high 52 shots, stopping 47 of them, also a season-high. Tri-City finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play, but was a perfect 6-of-6 on the penalty kill.
Game time is 7:05 p.m. for tomorrow's rematch at Toyota Center, which will serve as the fourth of nine meetings between Tri-City and Portland this season. The Americans will put their five-game home winning streak on the line, while the ‘Hawks look to win in Kennewick for the first time since October 31, 2008, a span of nine straight games. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including online at ticketmaster.com, the Toyota Center box office, or all Fred Meyer outlets. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.