Kennewick, WA- The home ice hasn’t been as friendly to Tri-City this year.
Victor Rask scored a hat trick and former American Chris Driedger turned in a 31 save performance to push the Calgary Hitmen (37-16-1-3, 78 pts) past the Tri-City Americans (31-22-1-2, 65 pts) 6-2 in front of 3,355 at the Toyota Center.
Tri-City ties a season high with three straight losses and falls to 13-12-0-2 on home ice. Calgary won their fourth straight against U.S. Division opponents and will look to make it a perfect 5-for-5 against the division against Spokane tomorrow.
The first period was back and forth, as each team did not have many shots, but each shot was a good chance. Tri-City outshot Calgary 4-3, and had a couple of good opportunities, the best being a Lucas Nickles breakaway that was denied. Calgary scored first as Victor Rask fired a shot through traffic past Luke Lee-Knight just under eight minutes into the period to give Calgary a 1-0 lead into the second.
Former Tri-City American Brooks Macek got on the board 30 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0. Calgary scored two goals during 4-on-4 play within 30 seconds of each other midway through the second as Brady Brassart scored, followed by Rask netting his second of the game to increase the lead to 4-0. This prompted a goalie change as Troy Trombley saw his first action at home this season.
The Americans finally scored late in the second period on the power play as Malte Strömwall fed Jesse Mychan at the right post, putting the puck into a wide open net to make it 4-1. The Hitmen would increase the lead back to four less than 30 seconds later. Chase Clayton scored his third goal of the season to make it 5-1. Tri-City outshot Calgary 17-8 in the period, but didn’t have as good of chances as the Hitmen, making it a four goal deficit after two periods.
Rask completed his hat trick in the third period as he beat Trombley to make it 6-1. Mitch Topping scored on the power play, beating Driedger high blocker side to cut the lead to 6-2 with less than six minutes remaining. Calgary cruised the rest of the game to leave Kennewick victorious.
Tri-City had a season high eight power play opportunities tonight and converted two of them.
Lee-Knight made six saves in 31 minutes of work and Trombley made eight saves in 29 minutes of work.
Tri-City will have two days to mentally prepare for a tall task, as they go on the road to take on the CHL’s best Portland Winterhawks (46-8-1-2, 95 pts) in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday, Feb. 15. Game time is at 7:00 p.m. Portland has dominated the series against Tri-City winning six of seven meetings, including shutting out the Americans twice. Last time these two met, Portland left Tri-City with a 7-0 win. The only win for the Americans was in early December in Portland 3-2. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game starting at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Victor Rask, Calgary
2. Brooks Macek, Calgary
3. Chris Driedger, Calgary