Brenden Fiebelkorn had all of 50 minutes and 46 seconds of WHL experience under his belt when he got his first start Sunday night.
The Tri-City Americans rookie goaltender stood his ground in net, finishing with 14 saves and stopped a penalty shot in the second period to help the Americans to a 9-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants before a crowd of 3,777 at Toyota Center.
I try not to get nervous, Fiebelkorn said. Just take it as another game. It was a lot of fun. I had some chances and made some saves. The posts were good to me today.
Justin Feser had three goals and an assist, and Marcus Messier and Brian Williams added two goals each as Tri-City (12-6-1-1) won its third game in three nights to move to the top of the U.S. Division with 26 points.
It was fun for us, said Feser, who has five career hat tricks one in each season he has played. That comes from a lot of hard work. We had that work ethic all weekend and it showed to the end of the third period.
It was a big night for the Americans, who also got two assists apiece from Malte Strömwall, Zach Yuen, Michal Plutnar and Lukas Walter, and rookie Justin Gutierrez scored his first WHL point with an assist on Messiers first goal.
When you work hard, sooner or later it will go your way, Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. We got great contributions all weekend. When Wally (Walter) gets two points, its going to be a good night for us. Brian (Williams) had five goals this weekend and Fes led us all weekend. Hes our captain and you can see that night after night. He had some big goals this weekend.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Americans exploded for five goals in the second to take a 7-0 lead. Feser, with his second of the night, gave Tri-City a 3-0 lead at 1:39 of the second. Beau McCue blasted one into the net from the slot at 3:07, and Williams found the net on the power play at 6:14 for a 5-0 lead.
Plutnar continued the onslaught seconds later with a goal at 6:25. Messier scored his second of the game at 11:26 as his shot off the right wall hit Vancouver forward Carter Popoff out front and sailed into the net for a 7-0 lead.
Vancouver (5-12-0-0, 10 points) looked to get on the board at 13:41 of the second when Trevor Cheek was awarded a penalty shot, but Cheeks shot rang off the pipes.
You could tell with the chances they did get, they were quality opportunities, Feser said. (Fiebelkorn) stood up, made some saves and kept it out of the net. We are all pretty proud of him.
Feser finished completed his hat trick at 1:54 of the third period, giving him a team-leading 13th goal and the Americans an 8-0 lead.
The Giants finally got the puck past Fiebelkorn as Cheek scored unassisted on a breakaway at 4:55.
Williams finished the scoring at 13:31, scoring his second power-play goal the night.
The Americans used a combination of a smothering defense and a couple of nice goals to take a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.
Feser, who had two goals Saturday against Red Deer, potted his 11th of the season at 10:13, taking a pass across the mouth of the goal and beating Vancouver goalie Payton Lee at the right post.
Three minutes later, Messier won a face-off to the right of Lee. The puck got batted around before Messier picked it up and lofted it over Lees shoulder at 13:24.
Tri-City outshot Vancouver 13-2 in the first. The Giants hit two posts the last two minutes of the period.
The defense was good all night, Fiebelkorn said. They didnt have many chances.
Kennewick native Taylor Vickerman started at left wing for the Giants. In 10 games, Vickerman is scoreless with seven penalty minutes and a minus-5 rating. ... Vancouvers Kale Kessy, who got into a fight with Walter at 12:41 of the second period, got 10 stitches above his left eyebrow. ... Giants captain Wes Vannieuwenhuizen took a puck to the mouth and lost a few teeth. The extent of the injury is unknown. w Annie Fowler: 582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org