Saturday, December 29, 2018

Another overtime with Portland, another win forAms

Portland, OR.-- For the fourth time in as many meetings this season, it took extra time for the Tri-City Americans and Portland Winterhawks to decide things, with an overtime goal by Parker AuCoin sealing the deal in a 3-2 Americans win, before 8,061 at the Moda Center in Portland Friday night.

Coming off the Christmas break, the two teams went toe-to-toe from the opening draw. Portland's Brendan De Jong would energize the crowd with a goal at 8:04, assisted by Lane Gilliss and Cross Hanas on the power play, putting the Hawks up 1-0. Tri-City would respond with a power play goal of their own late in the period, as a redirect by Sasha Mutala found the back of the net for his 8th goal of the season. Kyle Olson and Aaron Hyman drew the assists at 17:27, tying the game 1-1.

Each team would hit the scoreboard in the second period. Blake Stevenson's 6th of the year, assisted by Samuel Stewart and Riley Sawchuk at 6:08, put Tri-City up 2-1. The score would stay that way for over 10 minutes, before Ryan Hughes, off an assist by Clay Hanus at 16:38 would bring Portland even at 2-2.

After a scoreless third period, the teams would step into their fourth overtime in as many games this season. Playing solid defence, the Americans would force the Winterhawks into their own end. Just over a minute into the extra session, the puck would end up behind the Portland net. Mutala got to the puck about the same time as the Hawks' Joachim Blichfeld, appearing to trip him up in an attempt to gain control. The officials kept the whistles silent, Mutala would shovel the puck back to AuCoin, who would then cut across the net from right to left, sliding a backhander along the ice and in the far side for his 18th goal of the season, with the second assist going to Olson at 1:19, giving Tri-City the 3-2 win. It is the fourth extra time with for the Americans over Portland this season (One came in a shootout) and runs the Tri-City overtime record this season to 9-1-1, their current win streak to 4 (all in overtime) and their record in one-goal games to 10-3-1-1.

Goaltending was sharp in both ends. In his 30th appearance this season, Beck Warm made 33 saves to help the Americans to their 18th win of the season. Shane Farkas did a stellar job keeping the Hawks in the game, making 29 saves. Both teams were even on the power play, going 1-for-3.

With the win, Tri-City improves to 18-12-1-1, while the loss drops Portland to 19-11-3-2. The Hawks remain second in the U.S. Division, 15 points behind front-running Everett. The Americans, who trail third place Spokane by 4 points, still hold the top spot in the Western Conference standings, 9 points ahead of Kamloops and 11 points ahead of Prince George.

Coming Up: Tri-City gets another chance to climb closer to the top three, with a road match-up tonight with the Spokane Chiefs. Game time at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is 7:05 pm. The live broadcast, with Craig West, gets underway at 6:45 pm and can be heard throughout Southeast Washington on Newstalk 870 KFLD and online at The games can also be viewed online for free, by going to, clicking WHL Live, schedule, then clicking Buy next to the listing of the game. Use code WHLGIFT18.

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