Kennewick, WA- Tri-City stole a win in Kamloops earlier this month, and the Blazers looked to return the favor tonight.
Top 10 point scorer Colin Smith scored two goals as the Kamloops Blazers (30-13-2-3, 65 pts) reached the 30 win plateau with a 4-1 win over the Tri-City Americans (26-17-1-2, 55 pts) in front of 4,772 at the Toyota Center.
The teams finish the season series tied at two wins a piece, with each team winning one at home and one on the road. Tri-City snaps a three game win streak and a two game home win streak. Kamloops is the fifth team to reach 30 wins this season.
The Americans would get off to another quick start as they have the last couple games, as Jesse Mychan would pick up a loose puck and fire it into the net for a 1-0 lead 2:30 into the game. Tri-City outshot Kamloops 8-3 in first half of period, but the Kamloops closed out the period with momentum. Kamloops had 12 shots to the Americans 11, but the Americans were the team with the one goal lead after one period.
Kamloops owned the second period, starting it off by tying the game at one early in the second period as Luke Lee-Knight turned the puck over in his own end, allowing Matt Needham to slap home a loose puck. Kamloops would gain the lead three minutes later as Chase Souto scored to make it 2-1 Blazers. The shots weren’t close, as the Americans only had three in the period compared to Kamloops’ 13 shots.
Colin Smith would increase the lead to 3-1 three minutes into the third. Lukas Walter would get a five minute penalty, allowing Smith to score his second goal of the game on the power play, slipping it past Lee-Knight to make it 4-1. The Americans had chances late but couldn’t generate any offense as the Blazers would cruise the rest of the game.
Mitch Topping would continue his point streak with an assist tonight, making it seven straight games with a point. Justin Feser also has a seven game point streak with an assist tonight. Mychan’s goal was his fifth in three games.
Lee-Knight made 29 saves in the loss while Kamloops’ goaltender Taran Kozun made 20 saves in the loss.
Tri-City will have to shake off the loss quickly, as they travel north on U.S. 395 to take on the Spokane Chiefs (28-15-1-0, 57 pts) in Veterans Memorial Arena tomorrow night. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Spokane has won four of seven meetings this season, but Tri-City has won two straight against the Chiefs. The Americans trail the Chiefs by two points in the U.S. Division. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. MeTV 42.2/Charter 280 will broadcast the game starting at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Matt Needham, Kamloops
2. Chase Souto, Kamloops
3. Jesse Mychan, Tri-City