Americans blast Rockets, 5-2Posted: Updated:
By Tri-City Americans
KENNEWICK, Wash. – After giving the Rockets all they could handle on Wednesday night, the Americans' offense got over the hump in Friday's rematch and walked away with another win on home ice.
Connor Rankin and Adam Hughesman – each with three-point nights – helped guide the Tri-City Americans (4-2-0-0, 8 pts) past the visiting Kelowna Rockets (3-1-0-0, 6 pts) 5-2 in front of 3,794 fans at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. With the win, Tri-City starts a sixth consecutive season with a 3-0 record inside the friendly confines of the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, Kelowna dropped their first game of the season and also had their three-game winning streak vs. Tri-City snapped in the process.
Both teams were flying around the ice in the first period, combining for 27 shots on goal in the frame. However, midway through the first period, and on the power play, the Rockets struck first. After Colton Sissons' first two attempts were stuffed, Cody Chikie finally was able to slip a rebound past Tri-City netminder, Eric Comrie.
But, less than two minutes later, the Americans answered back with a power play marker of their own. Taking a pass from Adam Hughesman out of the right corner, Connor Rankin buried a shot from inside the slot, knotting up the contest at 1. It proved to be the first of four straight goals for Tri-City, breaking the game open.
Just 1:40 into the second, and back on the power play, the Americans took the lead for good. During a scramble in front of Kelowna starter, Adam Brown, Adam Hughesman cleaned up a Rankin rebound to make it a 2-1 game. The goal was originally credited to Rankin, but was changed after the game. Only a minute after Hugheman's power play goal, Jordan Messier then scored the eventual game-winner. Breaking in as part of a 2-on-2 with Drydn Dow, Messier cut across the crease, got Brown to commit to the ice, and then shelved a shot over the netminder's blocker, to tally his first goal of the season.
Then, with 11:30 left to play in the period, Tri-City capped their three-goal seven-minute outburst. Rankin, from his knees, was able to swat the puck out of the Americans' zone and break out Hughesman and Brendan Shinnimin. Shinnimin patiently waited until the last moment, dishing the puck backdoor to Hughesman, who redirected the pass into the near empty net. And, by the midway point of the contest, Tri-City was skating with a 4-1 lead.
Kelowna, though, with 7:08 left in the second, pulled back to within two. Following a Tri-City icing, Tyson Baillie won the ensuing face-off and pushed the puck back to Jessey Astles. Astles then found Myles Bell, who let a blast go from the right point, that found its way through several bodies and past Comrie.
It would be as close as the Rockets would get, though, as Americans' defenseman Mitch Topping notched his third goal of the season, with 8:04 gone in the third period, to cap the scoring in the contest.
Comrie earned his second win of the season, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced. Meanwhile, Brown allowed five goals on 38 shots in the loss. Tri-City finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play, while Kelowna went 1-of-4 on the man-advantage.