Kennewick, WA- Justin Feser entered the record books in dazzling fashion tonight.
Feser had an assist and a natural hat-trick, giving him 300 career points as he led the Tri-City Americans (24-16-1-2, 51 pts) to a 5-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds (16-25-2-1, 35 pts) in front of 3,664 at the Toyota Center.
Feser becomes the seventh American to reach the 300 point plateau. He is four points behind Terry Degner on the Americans all-time points list. His three goals tonight also moved him into fourth on the all-time goals list with 136, passing Brent Ascroft with 134.
Seattle jumped on the board first as Branden Troock would fire a wrist shot into the top left corner of the net to give the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead. The Americans would come back five minutes later as Zachary Yuen would fire a slap shot that found its way into the goal to tie the game. Tri-City would take the lead a minute later as Justin Gutierrez would score his first career WHL goal, slipping it past Brandon Glover to give the Americans the lead. Tri-City had more opportunities and outshot Seattle 12-9 in the period as the Americans would carry the lead into the second.
The Thunderbirds would tie the game early in the second as Andrew Johnson would score as he fired a shot that was saved by Luke Lee-Knight but the rebound came right back to Johnson, who put it into the net. Tri-City would regain the lead on the power play as Mitch Topping would feed the puck to Feser, who would fire a shot low glove side into the net. Seattle would outshoot the Americans in the period 11-10, but Tri-City would have the one goal lead after two periods.
The third period would be back and forth until midway through the third period as Feser would add his second goal of the game, slipping it past Glover to increase the lead to 4-2. Feser would complete the natural hat trick late in the period as he fired a one-timer from the point into the goal on the power play to earn his 300th career point. Seattle would add a short-handed goal in the final minute by Seth Swenson, but it wouldn’t make a difference in the outcome as the Americans earned the victory.
Tri-City extended its win streak to two against the Thunderbirds. Seattle has dropped their last 14 games.
Lee-Knight made 26 saves in the win while Glover made 26 saves in the loss.
The Americans have a day to recover before they hit the road for two games in two nights. The first game will be Jan. 15 against the Everett Silvertips (17-25-0-2, 36 pts) in Comcast Arena. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The Americans have faced the Silvertips six times this season and come out on top in four of the meetings, although Everett has won the last two meetings. Tri-City has not lost in two trips to Everett this season. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online starting at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Justin Feser, Tri-City
2. Malte Strömwall, Tri-City
3. Justin Gutierrez, Tri-City