Kamloops, B.C. - With the game tied at one, the Tri-City Americans (3-5-0-1, 7 pts) scored two late second period goals to take a 3-1 lead into the dressing room after forty minutes, then holding on for a 3-2 victory against the Kamloops Blazers (2-5-0-0, 4 pts) Tuesday night at the Interior Saving Centre.
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It didn’t take long for the Americans to get its offense going, scoring on the team’s first shot on goal. Lucas Nickles took a pass from Brian Williams and snapped a wrist shot through the legs of Taran Kozun to take an early 1-0 lead.
While the Blazers outshot the Americans 13-10 in the first, Tri-City nearly got out of the period with the lead. But, with 1:34 remaining, Tim Bozon created an Americans turnover, leading to Chase Souto’s first goal of the season.
Beginning the second period with more than three minutes remaining on a double minor power play, the Americans started the middle frame with all the momentum. At one point, Tri-City was outshooting the Blazers 7-0. However, it wasn’t until the 17:13 mark of the period, that the Americans finally regained the lead. After Nickles gained control of the puck on the side boards, he found Connor Rankin open in the slot. While Rankin's shot was steered aside, Phil Tot was right on the doorstep to put the rebound away.
Moments after the go ahead goal, the Americans were given a late second period power play and Tri-City took advantage. Marcus Messier took a wrist shot from the point that deflected off a Blazer defender and into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
The Americans limited Kamloops’ scoring chances early in the third period, but the Blazers managed to cut into the lead at the 12:17 mark. Cole Ully went wide around the Americans defenders to set up Souto for his second of the night, pulling Kamloops within a goal at 3-2.
Ryan Rehill took a key delay of game penalty for Kamloops with just 3:51 to go in the third period. While the Americans could not capitalize on the man advantage the power play, Kamloops had just 1:51 seconds to tie the game once it returned to full strength.
The Blazers got several chances late in the period, but Eric Comrie was there to make the big stops when his team need them. The Tri-City netminder made 30 saves on the night, dropping his goals against average to 2.52 for the season. Kozun made 27 saves in a losing effort for the Blazers.
These teams will be right back at it Friday night, when it plays the second leg of the home and home set at the Toyota Center at 7:05 p.m. The Americans will then hit the road for two more games in Seattle and Portland before returning home for five straight games in Kennewick.
Jack In Box Three Stars:
1) Eric Comrie, Tri-City
2) Chase Souto, Kamloops
3) Marcus Messier, Tri-City