Kennewick, WA- Portland jumped out to a two goal lead and when all looked grim, the Americans true colors showed.
Facing the two goal deficit, the Tri-City Americans (37-22-1-2, 77 pts) rebounded as Justin Feser sparked an Americans comeback in his 311th consecutive game, helping them earn a 4-2 win over the CHL’s best Portland Winterhawks (51-10-1-2, 105 pts) in front of 3,783 on Tuesday night at the Toyota Center.
Feser tied the WHL record set by Dwayne Newman for most consecutive games played. He is anticipated to break the record on Friday against Seattle. Feser had a goal tonight, which was the 150th of his career.
The Americans extended their season high win streak to six games while snapping Portland’s five game win streak. Portland won the season series over Tri-City 6-3.
The first period was advantage Portland, outshooting Tri-City 14-8. Portland scored first as Shaun MacPherson received a stretch pass from Nicolas Petan as MacPherson got out of the penalty box, allowing a breakaway chance and slipping a backhand past Troy Trombley to take a 1-0 lead. Tri-City had two power play opportunities in the first, but couldn’t capitalize on either chance as the Winterhawks had a one goal lead after one.
Portland increased their lead to two early in the second period. Petan fed a pass to Ty Rattie, who was able to slip the puck into the net. But Tri-City fought back into the game midway through the second as Justin Feser sparked the Americans by scoring his 39th goal of the season, firing a laser past Brendan Burke. Parker Bowles tied the game with just over two minutes remaining in the period. Both teams had 12 shots in the period but it was Tri-City with the momentum heading into the third period.
Tri-City took their first lead of the game 6:42 into the third. Connor Rankin battled for the puck in front of the goal crease and was able to slap it into the net to take a 3-2 lead. Less than two minutes later, the Americans would pad the lead as Malte Strömwall passed it to Zachary Yuen in the slot, firing a wrist shot under Burke’s glove to make it 4-2. The Winterhawks pressed to try and cut the lead to one and eventually tie the game, but excellent defense and Trombley’s play in net kept the puck out of the goal and helped the Americans complete the comeback win.
With the goal tonight, Bowles is the youngest Americans rookie to reach 20 goals in a season at 17-years-old. Jaroslav Kristek was the youngest Americans rookie to score 20 goals in a season when he was an 18-year-old rookie during the 1997-98 season.
The Americans were 0-for-2 on the power play, bringing their home power play goal streak to an end at six games. The Americans killed off all three Portland power play opportunities.
Trombley made 37 saves in his sixth win in a row, while Burke made 27 saves in the loss.
Tri-City will play their final game of the six game home stretch on Friday, March 1 when the Seattle Thunderbirds (21-34-7-1, 50 pts) come to the Toyota Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Tri-City has won the last four meetings between the two teams, including a 4-3 overtime win in the most recent meeting in Kent. 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. Tickets are still available at the Toyota Center Box Office, any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Parker Bowles, Tri-City
2. Beau McCue, Tri-City
3. Troy Trombley, Tri-City