Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ams mount comeback only to drop shootout at Kelowna

Kelowna, BC -- The Tri-City Americans battled back from an early second period 3-0 hole Wednesday night, before being outscored 2-0 in the deciding shootout, losing to the Kelowna Rockets 4-3, before 4,181 at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Despite a shots advantage of only 11-10 in the opening 20 minutes, the Rockets would score twice to grab the lead, as Erik Gardiner scored from Lane Zablocki and Kyle Topping at 8:15, then Liam Kindree lit the lamp, assisted by Nolan Foote and Libor Zabransky at 14:07.

The Kelowna lead grew in the opening stages of the second, as Nolan Foote scored from Kindree at 1:54, for a 3-0 Rocket lead. The Americans comeback would begin just before the horn to end the second period, as Parker AuCoin scored his 14th of the season from Krystof Hrabik and Aaron Hyman on the power play at 19:56, making it 3-1 Kelowna after two.

In the third, the Tri-City comeback continued, as AuCoin scored his second of the night and 15th of the season, coming once again on the power play, with Hrabik and Nolan Yaremko assisting at 8:53 to make it a 3-2 game, advantage Rockets. The Americans continued to apply heavy pressure and finally drew even at 17:24 as defenseman Aaron Hyman scored his 6th of the season and 1st with Tri-City, assisted by Samuel Stewart and Kyle Olson, knotting the score at 3-3 and forcing overtime.

The extra session featured plenty of action, but neither team registered a shot of goal and the game would move on to the deciding shootout, to see who would get the extra standings point. The Americans sent out, in succession, Nolan Yaremko and Kyle Olson, but both were stopped. Kelowna's Kindree was stopped in round one, but Foote and Leif Mattson would score in the next two rounds, giving the Rockets the 4-3 win.

Goaltending was superb at both ends. James Porter made 28 saves for Kelowna, sprinkling in several big ones along the way. Talyn Boyko, making just his second career start and third appearance, got stronger as the game went along, finishing the night with 24 saves for Tri-City. Special teams continued to spark to life from their early season funk for the Americans, going 2-for-7 on the power play and 2-of-2 on the penalty kill.

With the win, the Rockets improve to 13-15-2-0 for 28 points, second in the B.C. Division. Tri-City slips to 14-11-1-1 for 30 points, 4th in the U.S. Division. The Americans have come up winless in 7 of their past 9 games.

Coming up: Tri-City returns home Friday night to face the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7:05 pm faceoff at the Toyota Center, with Craig West calling the action on Newstalk 870 KFLD and beginning at 6:45 pm. Then, on Saturday, the Americans host the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the teams' annual "Teddy Bear Toss Night," with game time set for 7:05 pm. Tickets for both contests are available at the Toyota Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations, plus online at

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