The Tri-City Americans have been strong on home ice this season, and the Kamloops Blazers have struggled on the road.
The tables were turned Friday night as the Blazers scored three goals in the third period to escape Toyota Center with a 6-5 victory over the Americans.
“They came at us hard,” Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. “They have a good team and guys who can score. We weren’t near good enough. We didn’t look good. Hopefully we can turn it around tomorrow.”
The Americans (14-8-1-0, 29 points) are 1-1 to start their nine-game homestand. Tri-City hosts Edmonton on Saturday.
The Blazers (13-10-1-0, 27 points), who trailed 2-0 early in the second period, rallied to tie the score, then took the lead for good in the third.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we hung in there,” Kamloops coach Don Hay said. “It’s always nice to get a win on the road. Wins are hard to come by, and when you get them, they mean a lot. We had a big win at Everett, then to come here and stick with it was nice to see. Both teams played hard. It was a good game with a lot of offense. It was a good game for the fans.”
Tied at 3-3 after two periods, the Blazers took their first lead of the game at 7:43 on a goal by Quinn Benjafield — his first of two on the night.
Tyler Sandhu came back with a power-play goal for Tri-City at 8:53, but 2 1/2 minutes later, Benjafield scored his second on a 5-on-3 power play for a 5-4 advantage.
Kamloops stretched its lead to 6-4 when Collin Shirley scored on an odd-man rush at 16:13.
Tri-City looked to get back in the game late with a power play at 17:54. The Americans came up empty, and finished the night 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
Michael Rasmussen scored with 3.9 seconds left in regulation to pull the Americans within a goal, but there wasn’t time to even the score.
“I felt like we were complacent when we scored, especially when it was 2-0,” Williamson said. “We started to play too fancy and gave them an opportunity to get back in. We weren’t strong on the puck and we weren’t very sharp.”
Tri-City turned a 1-0 lead from the first period into a 2-0 advantage just 1:47 into the second on a goal by Kyle Olson, who batted the puck into the net as he went to the ice.
The Blazers struck back with two goals in a span of three minutes to tie the score.
Ondrej Vala flung the puck toward the net from the wall at the left point. The puck flew past Rylan Parenteau and into the far side of the net at 5:46, and 3:10 later, Nick Chyzowski cut down the slot and beat Parenteau off a feed from Benjafield.
Rookie Carson Focht put the Americans back on top at 13:27 of the second, knocking a rebound off a shot from the point by Dylan Coghlan past Dylan Ferguson for his second goal of the season.
The teams went into the break tied 3-3 after Kamloops’ Deven Sideroff scored a wraparound goal at 14:38.
The Americans jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first period as Kurtis Rutledge knocked the puck away from Kamloops’ Joe Gatenby and fed Parker AuCoin in the slot. AuCoin beat Ferguson between the pads for his ninth goal of the season.
The Blazers had ample opportunities in the first, firing six shots on goal between two power plays, but Parenteau shut them down.
Blazers 6, Americans 5
First — 1, TC, AuCoin 9 (Rutledge), 17:13. Penalties — Yorke, TC (interference), 3:37; O’Reilly, TC (cross-checking), 9:53; Vala, Kam (slashing), 13:47.
Second — 2, TC, Olson 7 (Leason, Välimäki), 1:47. 3, Kam, Vala 5 (Shirley, Revel), 5:46. 4, Kam, Chyzowski 8 (Benjafield, J.Gatenby), 8:56. 5, TC, Focht 2 (Coghlan, Sawchuk), 13:27. 6, Kam, Sideroff 12 (Balcers, D.Gatenby), 14:38. Penalties — Kamloops bench (too many men, served by Mahovlich), 10:53.
Third — 7, Kam, Benjafield 5 (J.Gatenby, Balcers), 7:43. 8, TC, Sandhu 3 (Coughlan, Rasmussen), 8:53 (pp). 9, Kam, Benjafield 6 (Shirley, McDonald), 11:07 (pp). 10, Kam, Shirley 10 (Mahovlich, McDonald), 16:13. 11, TC, Rasmussen 19 (Wotherspoon, Coghlan), 19:56. Penalties — Vala, Kam, (roughing), 6:36; Yorke, TC (roughing), 6:36; Chyzowski, Kam (roughing), 8:25; Dosanjh, Kam (misconduct), 8:25; Välimäki, TC (misconduct), 8:25; Lukin, TC (high-sticking), 9:31; Kamloops bench (too many men, served by Miller), 13:21; Välimäki, TC (misconduct), 14:00; D.Gatenby, Kam (cross-checking), 17:54.
Shots — Kam 11-9-10 — 30. TC 7-11-13 — 31. Power plays — Kam 1-4. TC 1-6. Goalies — Kam, Ferguson 3-3-0-0 (31 shots-26 saves). Parenteau 7-5-1-0 (30-24). Referees — Brett Iverson and Shane Warschaw. A — 3,366.