Tri-City wins at Vancouver 3-2Posted: Updated:
Pickard stopped 35 of the 36 shots he saw and moved into sole possession of fourth-place on the Americans all-time wins list, as he paced the Tri-City Americans (34-11-1-2, 71 pts) to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants (32-11-1-5, 70 pts) in front of 11,899 fans at Pacific Coliseum. Pickard, who has a 1.97 goals against average through 10 starts in January, has won five of his last six games while moving past Aaron Baker on the Americans' wins list. With the win, the Americans have won six of their last seven games and their last two match-ups with the defending Memorial Cup champions.
It would not come easy for Tri-City, as they were outshot 36-to-19 in the contest, but they made their shots count. With less than five minutes remaining in the first period, Colton Yellow Horn improved on his League-leading goals mark with his 35th of the season. The Americans grew their lead at the 11:34 mark of the second period, after rookie Mason Wilgosh let a slap shot go and beat Giants netminder Tyson Sexsmith for his first-career WHL goal. It was also the first two-point night of his young career, as he assisted on Yellow Horn's goal.
But, Vancouver was heard from early into the third period, cutting Tri-City's lead to one. With 4:46 gone in the final period, Casey Pierro-Zabotel knocked in a rebound, past Pickard, for his 11th goal of the season.
Down just a goal with time winding down, the Americans' top-ranked penalty kill was put to the test. A Tri-City penalty with less than three minutes remaining in regulation put the Giants' top-ranked power play units on the ice with a chance to tie the game. But, after an impressive stop and with Sexsmith pulled for the extra attacker, Yellow Horn broke out Kruise Reddick, who sealed the victory with 41 seconds remaining. Sexsmith finished the night with 16 saves in the loss. The Tri-City power play finished 0-for-2, but went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.After a hard-fought battle, the two teams will race buses back to Kennewick, where the rivals will face-off for the second straight night, tomorrow, Saturday, January 26. Game time is 7:05 PM at the Toyota Center. It is the final contest of the four-game regular season series between the clubs, as Tri-City leads the series 2-to-1. You can catch all the action live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Budweiser Warm-up Show at 6:45 PM.