Portland, OR – Parker Bowles scored the winning goal with 26.6 seconds remaining in the third period, as the Tri-City Americans (11-8-0-2, 24 pts) came back from a 2-0 second period deficit to defeat the Portland Winterhawks (14-4-0-1, 29 pts) 3-2 at the Moda Center on Wednesday night.
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The win snapped the Winterhawks’ 11-game winning streak and handed Portland just its second home loss of the season, both of which have come against the Americans. Tri-City has now won seven of its last nine games, earning points in all but one of those contests.
The Americans controlled the play early in the game, spending the majority of the first ten minutes in the offensive zone. Tri-City out shot Portland for the majority of the period, however it was the Winterhawks who opened the scoring, with a Taylor Leier goal at the 13:27 mark. The Portland captain took the pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand at the side of the net and put the wrist shot past a screened Evan Sarthou.
Late in the period, with the Americans on the power play, Adam Rossignol forced a turnover at the Winterhawks blue line and went in alone on Sarthou with a chance to give Portland a 2-0 lead, but the Americans’ rookie goaltender made a big glove save to keep the game at 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
After the Americans killed off two successive minor penalties, the pace of the game sped up, with both teams going back and forth exchanging chances, which led to the Winterhawks’ second goal. At 12:18, Chase De Leo got behind the Americans defense and snapped the puck past Sarthou’s glove, extending Portland’s lead to 2-0. The two-goal lead did not last long, as just 1:32 later, Connor Rankin scored his first goal since October 12, cutting the Winterhawks’ lead in half.
With time winding down in the middle frame, it appeared Tri-City would go into the second intermission trailing 2-1. But, with just 1.2 seconds remaining in the period, Brian Williams took a pass from Rankin and burried the puck over Brendan Burke’s shoulder, tying the game at two after 40 minutes of play.
After the Americans missed on several quality scoring chances to start the third period, both defenses took over, minimizing the offensive production in the third period.
In the final minute of the period, play opened once again, with Portland pressuring the Americans in its own zone and creating several dangerous opportunities in front of Sarthou. But, after a blocked shot, Williams dove to pass the puck to a wide open Parker Bowles, who had snuck behind the Portland defense. The 18-year-old made no mistake, snapping the wrist shot past Burke’s blocker to give Tri-City its first lead of the game with only 26 seconds remaining.
Since returning to the Americans lineup in Medicine Hat last weekend, Bowles has registered three goals and five assists in just four games, tallying at least one point in all-four games.
Portland managed to get the puck inside the Americans defensive zone with the extra attacker, but never managed to generate a shot in the game’s final seconds.
Sarthou earned his second win of the season, holding the league’s most productive offense to just two goals on 26 shots. The rookie goaltender holds a 2.42 goals against with a 0.917 save percentage in four games this season.
The Americans wrap up its five-game road swing in Everett this Friday, when it takes on the Everett Silvertips (12-3-2-0, 26 pts) at Comcast Arena. Tri-City then returns to Kennewick for the second leg of the home and home against the Silvertips for a 7:05 p.m. face-off at the Toyota Center on Saturday night. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer locations, or online at ticketmaster.com.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Evan Sarthou, Tri-City
2) Brendan Burke, Portland
3) Connor Rankin, Tri-City