Kent, WA – The Tri-City Americans (4-6-0-1, 9 pts) were coming off consecutive victories for the first time this season, looking to make it three in a row Saturday night at the Showare Center. But, it was the Seattle Thunderbirds (8-2-0-0, 16 pts) who extended its hot streak, defeating the Americans 4-2, for its fifth consecutive victory.
The Thunderbirds took early command of the game, spending the opening minutes of the first period almost exclusively in the Americans zone, registering eight shots on goal before Tri-City put its first on Danny Mumaugh.
It wasn’t until after a Jim Hiller timeout that Tri-City began to take back some of Seattle’s momentum. Just when it looked as though Tri-City had turned it around, Roberts Lipsbergs corralled the rebound off of Mathew Barzal’s shot and put it home to give Seattle a 1-0 lead.
Being outshot 17-8 in the opening frame, it appeared as though the Americans would get out of the period trailing by just one goal. However, Adam Henry scored for the Thunderbirds with just two second left, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Americans got off to a better start in the second period, coming out with sustained pressure in the first shift. But, Tri-City was unable to cut into the lead. At 14:51, it was the Thunderbirds who extended its lead. Shea Theadore forced an Americans turnover at the blue line, snapping a wrist shot past Eric Comrie to make it 3-0.
With an extra attacker on for a delayed Thunderbird penalty, the Americans showed signs of life. Beau McCue got the Americans back in it, scoring the make it 3-1. Trailing by two, a Mitch Topping penalty put the Americans shorthanded, and Lipsbergs made them pay with his second goal of the night.
Again, the Americans cut the Seattle lead to two late in the game, with a Connor Rankin goal at the 16:54 mark, but that was as close as the Americans would get.
Eric Comrie made 40 saves on the night, just two short of his career high. The 44 shots he faced on Saturday tied for the most shots he’s faced in a single game. Mumaugh steered aside 27 of the Americans’ 29 shots in goal for Seattle.
Tri-City will wrap-up the two-game road trip on Wednesday evening, when it takes on the Portland Winterhawks at the Moda Center. The Americans will then return home to the Toyota Center for a five-game home stand starting this Friday at 7:05 p.m. when it takes on the Victoria Royals.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Roberts Lipsbergs, SEA
2) Justin Hickman, SEA
3) Mathew Barzal, SEA