Kennewick, WA- With both teams in a tight playoff race, it was only fitting for the game to come down to the wire.
Colin Jacobs scored the game winning goal in a shootout, lifting the Prince George Cougars (21-38-2-6, 50 pts) to a 3-2 shootout win over the Tri-City Americans (40-24-1-3, 84 pts) in front of 5,739 at the Toyota Center.
With the shootout loss and a Spokane win, the Americans and Chiefs are tied with 84 points. Spokane overtakes fourth place in the conference due to the tiebreaker of more wins.
Tri-City and Prince George split their season series with two wins a piece, with each team winning a game at home and on the road. The Americans won the first two games in the series while the Cougars won the last two games.
Both teams came out and played fast as Prince George had the first good chance to get on the board with a four minute power play but were unable to capitalize. It opened the door for the Americans to score first, as Jesse Mychan fed a pass across to Justin Feser at the left post, firing a shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Prince George tied the game late in the first on a puck that drifted to the point that found Dallas Ehrhardt, hitting a slap shot into the top right corner of the net. Just over a minute later, the Cougars took the lead as Jari Erricson was patient in front of the net and directed a rebound past Troy Trombley to make it 2-1. Prince George outshot Tri-City 12-6 in the first and was able to carry a one goal lead into the second.
Tri-City looked to tie the game and finally knotted the game up at two late in the second period on a 4-on-3 power play. Michal Plutnar skated into the slot and fired a wrist shot top shelf past Mac Engel to even the game at two. The Americans had more chances than the Cougars and outshot Prince George 6-5 in the period, giving them momentum heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Americans outshot the Cougars 9-6 and had the better opportunities to take the lead in the third period. Both teams fought to gain the lead, but neither team was able to light the red lamp in the third, sending the game into overtime.
The overtime period was all Tri-City, as the Americans had a great chance when Marc McNulty took a penalty with 2:28 remaining in overtime. Tri-City had some solid chances on the power play but couldn’t score which forced a shootout.
Zach Porchiro was first and fired a wrist shot past Trombley to give Prince George an early lead in the shootout. Justin Feser missed his shot and Jake Mykitiuk missed his shot, giving Connor Rankin a chance to tie. Rankin wasn’t able to get a good shot away, which opened the door for Jacob’s game winning shot that slipped past Trombley and into the net, and the Cougars flooded the ice to celebrate.
Tri-City falls to 2-3 in shootouts this season. The Americans were 1-for-3 on the power play tonight and killed off all four Prince George power plays.
Trombley made 21 saves in the loss while Mac Engel stopped 22 shots in the win.
Tri-City will have a couple days off before they hit the road to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds (23-37-7-2, 55 pts) on Tuesday, March 12 at the ShoWare Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. The Americans have won five of eight meetings against the Thunderbirds this season, including a victory in the most recent game 5-3 in Kent. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game starting at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Colin Jacobs, Prince George
2. Michal Plutnar, Tri-City
3. Jari Erricson, Prince George