Rookies Lead Americans Past Cougars, 5-2Posted: Updated:
PRINCE GEORGE, BC -- Two days later, the Tri-City youth movement picked-up right where it left off New Year's Eve.
The Americans got goals from five different skaters, including three from rookies, and goaltender Brett Martyniuk picked-up his third straight win, to lead the Tri-City Americans (26-10-0-2, 54 pts) past the Prince George Cougars (14-25-0-1, 29 pts) 5-2 in front of 2,413 fans at the CN Centre in British Columbia. For the Americans, it was their second straight win as they improve to 3-2 since the holiday break. It was also their third consecutive victory against the Cougars and 10th in their last 11 meetings. Meanwhile, the Cougars dropped their fourth straight contest.
Just 1:58 into the contest, Johnny Lazo got things started for Tri-City. Lazo, with his 11th goal of the season, has quietly put together a span of six points in his last six games. But, four and a half minutes later, the Cougars' Alex Poulter tied the game at 1, after he beat Martyniuk, inside the far post, from the right circle.
However, the tie was short-lived.
At the 12:02 mark of the first period, rookie Brock Zimak knocked in a rebound of a Tyler Schmidt shot, giving the lead right back to Tri-City, a lead they would not relinquish. For Zimak, it was his first-career WHL goal. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the period and on the power play, Mitch Fadden followed suit, netting his 10th goal of the season and sending the Americans to the locker room with a 3-1 lead.
At the 7:55 mark of the second period and, for the second consecutive game, rookie Spencer Asuchak lit the lamp with a backhander, past Cougars' netminder Joe Caligiuri.
However, 23 seconds later, a poor Tri-City clearing pass ended up on the stick of the Cougars' Colin Scherger, who was able to beat Martyniuk for his first-ever WHL goal and pull Prince George to within two, at 4-2.
But, midway through the third period and on the power play, rookie Jordan Messier followed-up on his own rebound and beat Caligiuri to cap the scoring in the contest. Caligiuri finished the night with 39 saves on 44 shots, while Martyniuk stopped 14 shots in the win. Tri-City ended the night going 2-for-6 on the power play and was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The same two teams will do it all again tomorrow, Saturday, January 3, as the Americans and Cougars wrap-up their doubleheader weekend at CN Centre. Game time is 7:00 p.m.