Pickard's Shutout leads Tri-City past Portland, 4-0 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pickard's Shutout leads Tri-City past Portland, 4-0

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PORTLAND, OR - He has been close so many times this season, but a shutout as eluded Tri-City goaltender Chet Pickard through 43 games.  After posting 13 one-goal games in 2007-08, Pickard finally got his first shutout of the season on Friday night.

Pickard stopped 33 shots in route to his 31st win of the season, as he lead the Tri-City Americans (36-12-1-2, 75 pts) to a 4-0 victory over the Portland Winter Hawks (9-42-1-1, 20 pts) at the Memorial Coliseum.  The win improves the Americans record to 4-1 against the ‘Hawks this season, outscoring Portland 18 to 5 in the series.  Pickard, who has made quite a name for himself this season with the Americans, continues his assault on the Tri-City record books.  He is three wins shy of tying NHL goaltender Brian Boucher for third place on the Americans' all-time wins list (60) and setting a new franchise record for wins in a season, which is also currently held by Boucher (33).

While Pickard did his job on defense, the Americans provided plenty of offense to help his cause.  In the process, they also revived their recently dormant power play.  With 28 seconds remaining in the first period and on the man-advantage, defenseman T.J. Fast notched the would-be game-winner, past Portland goaltender Jordan White, for the 1-0 lead.  It was Fast's eighth goal of the season and his first since January 6 against Everett, a span of 10 games.

The Americans opened the game up in the second period; outshooting the ‘Hawks 35-to-20 after two periods of play.  At the 8:30 mark of the period, Tri-City connected again on the power play, this time off the stick of Taylor Procyshen.  Procyshen has two goals and three points in six games since returning to the line-up after suffering a concussion in late November.  Nearly six minutes later, Shaun Vey used his 21st goal of the season to make it a 3-0 game.

With five minutes gone in the final period, defenseman Jarrett Toll went behind the net and bounced the puck off White to put the Americans up 4-0 and cap the scoring in the game.  However, Portland turned up the heat in the final period, as they tried to deny Pickard the shutout.  But, time after time, Pickard came up with the save to keep the ‘Hawks off the scoreboard.  White finished the game with 40 saves.  Tri-City wound up going 2-for-7 on the power play, while Portland was 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.

With the win, the Americans improve to 10-5 after suffering a loss and will look to start another winning streak as they head back to the friendly confines of the Toyota Center.  On Friday, February 1, the Seattle Thunderbirds head back to Kennewick for a re-match, after knocking off the Americans last Sunday and handing Tri-City only their fifth loss at home all season.  Game time is 7:05 PM.  Tri-City and Seattle each have three wins thus far in the nine-game series, as the Americans look to avoid losing back-to-back games at home for the second time this season.  You can catch all the action live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Budweiser Warm-up Show at 6:45 PM.  Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including all Fred Meyer locations and the Toyota Center Box Office, or online at ticketmaster.com.
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