Prince George, B.C. – The Tri-City Americans (17-13-1-2, 37 pts.) dug themselves into an early hole that it never managed to recover from, as the Prince George Cougars (12-16-2-3, 29 pts.) scored the first three goals of the game, going onto defeat the Americans 5-2 at the CN Centre on Saturday night.
The Americans earned a weekend split in back to back games in Prince George, but had its three-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Eric Comrie allowed just three goals on the night, making 34 saves on the 37 shots he faced.
For the second time in as many nights, the Americans surrendered the first goal of the game. Jansen Harkins won the faceoff to his defenseman, Tanner Lishchynsky, who found a wide open Tyler Mrkonjic in front of the net, one timing the pass by Eric Comrie at the 5:36 mark.
Tri-City had three power play opportunities in the first period, but never managed to put much pressure on the Cougars 16th ranked penalty killing unit, going scoreless on all three man advantages.
Trailing 1-0 in the last minute of the first period, The Americans looked to get to the first intermission trailing by just a goal. But, with 20 seconds left on the clock Jordan Tkatch scored on a deflection in front of the net, giving Prince George a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Cougars extended its lead to three goals at 10:28 of the second period, when Parker Wotherspoon took a holding penalty to put Tri-City two men short. On the two man advantage, Todd Fiddler scored his second goal in as many nights, taking a pass from Marc Mcnulty and wristing it past Comrie.
After falling behind 3-0, the Americans began to get more pressure on Ty Edmonds, and shifting the momentum. At 14:08, Phil Tot cut into the Cougar lead, skating in alone on the Prince George Goaltender after a defenseman fell down at the blue line.
At 10:59 of the third period, Brandon Carlo got the Americans within one goal, blasting a one timer past Edmonds after a long shift in the offensive zone. Tri-City carried the play late in the game with several great chances to tie it.
But, with 54 seconds remaining in the game, Comrie was pulled for the extra attacker and before the Americans were able to get anything set up on its 6-on-5 opportunity, Klarc Wilson scored on the open Tri-City goal. 30 seconds later Alex Forsberg added his sixth of the season on an open net giving the Cougars a 5-2 victory.
With the loss the Americans now trail the season series 2-1 with the fourth and final meeting coming next Friday night at the Toyota Center, where Tri-City hopes to earn the season split.
The Americans will be back in action on Tuesday night when it takes on its U.S Division rival Seattle Thunderbirds (18-9-1-3, 40 pts.) for a 7:05 p.m. start at the Toyota Center. 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) Troy Bourke, Prince George
2) Jordan Tkatch, Prince George
3) Eric Comrie, Tri-City