TCH: Blocking shots pays dividends for Tri-City Americans

John Allen

By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald

Marcus Messier lost his stick for the better part of a shift against the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. No big deal for the Tri-City Americans forward, who instead used his body to block pucks.

It was just another day at the rink for Messier, who as a key player on the Americans’ penalty kill, takes a beating every game. “I think everyone has it in them. Everyone is going to have to do it at some point,” Messier said of blocking shots. “Being in the position as a penalty killer, in that situation you have to do it a lot more often because they want to get pucks to the net and you gotta try and limit that as much as possible.

“You gotta be nuts. A shoutout to all the PKers. They block a lot of shots and suck up the bruises. It’s part of the game.” Tri-City (14-10-0-2), which has won six in a row on home ice, has the third-best penalty kill unit in the Western Hockey League heading into tonight’s home game against the B.C. Division-leading Kelowna Rockets, who have the league’s top-ranked penalty kill.

The Rockets (16-3-0-2), who average four goals per game, also are stingy on defense, allowing just 2.5 goals per game. “They are a really good team,” said Americans defenseman Justin Hamonic, who also is one of the team’s premier shot blockers. “They are going to shoot a lot and we have to help our goalie as much as possible keeping pucks away from the net. It’s huge for us to have success against them.”

Messier, who still was smarting from a puck to the inner thigh on Thursday, is one of a handful of Tri-City players who lay their bodies in front of pucks every game.

In the end, one blocked puck — or not — can mean the difference between winning and losing.

 

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Playoff Stats

Goalie GP W SO GAA SV%
Eric Comrie 5 1 0 3.46 0.917
Evan Sarthou 0 0 0 0.00 0.000
Player G A PTS PIM
Jessey Astles 1 0 1 2
Parker Bowles 1 2 3 4
Brandon Carlo 0 1 1 8
Ty Comrie 0 0 0 0
Jordan Davies 0 0 0 0
Morgan Geekie 0 0 0 0
Matthew Gelinas 0 0 0 0
Justin Gutierrez 1 3 4 2
Justin Hamonic 1 0 1 6
Riley Hillis 0 0 0 0
Justin Marreck 0 0 0 0
Devon McAndrews 0 0 0 0
Beau McCue 0 1 1 0
Lucas Nickles 0 0 0 4
Jackson Playfair 0 0 0 2
Michal Plutnar 0 0 0 2
Braden Purtill 0 0 0 2
Rodney Southam 0 0 0 0
Josh Thrower 0 0 0 5
Mitch Topping 0 2 2 4
Philip Tot 3 4 7 0
Taylor Vickerman 0 0 0 0
Brian Williams 3 2 5 4
Parker Wotherspoon 0 2 2 2
Standings
  • B.C. Division |
  • Central Division |
  • East Division |
  • U.S. Division |
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Kelowna Rockets 72 57 11 0 4 118
Victoria Royals 72 48 20 1 3 100
Vancouver Giants 72 32 29 7 4 75
Prince George Cougars 72 27 37 3 5 62
Kamloops Blazers 72 14 53 2 3 33
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Edmonton Oil Kings 72 50 19 2 1 103
Calgary Hitmen 72 48 17 3 4 103
Medicine Hat Tigers 72 44 24 3 1 92
Kootenay Ice 72 39 28 2 3 83
Red Deer Rebels 72 35 32 1 4 75
Lethbridge Hurricanes 72 12 55 2 3 29
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Regina Pats 72 39 26 4 3 85
Swift Current Broncos 72 38 25 3 6 85
Brandon Wheat Kings 72 34 29 6 3 77
Prince Albert Raiders 72 35 32 3 2 75
Moose Jaw Warriors 72 21 42 3 6 51
Saskatoon Blades 72 16 51 2 3 37
Team GP W L OTL SL PTS
Portland Winterhawks 72 54 13 2 3 113
Seattle Thunderbirds 72 41 25 2 4 88
Everett Silvertips 72 39 23 7 3 88
Spokane Chiefs 72 40 26 3 3 86
Tri-City Americans 72 29 33 4 6 68