The Tri-City Americans made a strong push in the third period, but weren’t able to overcome a four-goal deficit as they dropped a 6-5 Western Hockey League game Saturday to Medicine Hat at Toyota Center.
The Americans (31-20-3-0, 65 points) have fallen to third in the U.S. Division behind division-leading Everett (31-11-8-2, 72 points) and Seattle (31-15-3-2, 67 points), which is 7-0-1-0 in its past eight games.
“It’s extremely tight,” Williamson said of the standings. “Portland has won a bunch, and Seattle has taken off. We have to pay attention to that.”
The Americans failed to take advantage of eight power plays Saturday night, going 1 for 8.
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“That cost us tonight, for sure,” Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. “Our power play has been a big part of our success. We need to get back to making sure we are working hard and getting pucks to the net. We are guilty of looking for the perfect play. It let us down tonight.”
Matt Bradley had two goals and two assists for the Tigers, who scored the first four goals of the game before the Americans got on the board at 16:11 of the second with a goal by Vladislav Lukin.
“It’s not so much being down by four, but giving up three in the first 10 minutes,” Williamson said. “We knew they would generate chances if we didn’t take care of the puck. We had chances we didn’t capitalize on, and they got some Grade A looks. It’s a long way to come back from. They never throw in the towel, they come back and they play hard. We just can’t put ourselves in that situation.”
Jordan Topping also scored in the second, while Juuso Välimäki and Morgan Geekie scored 90 seconds apart in the third for a 5-4 game.
The Americans pulled Rylan Parenteau for an extra attacker, but allowed an empty-net goal by Bradley with 31 seconds remaining.
Lukin scored his second of the night with 4 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough.
The Americans played without forward Michael Rasmussen, who suffered an injury Wednesday against Everett.
“It’s nothing long term,” Williamson said. “We hope to have him back next weekend.”
With two assists, Parker Wotherspoon moved into a tie with Tyler Schmidt (2008-11) for most career points by a defenseman with 165.
Tigers 6, Americans 5
First — 1, MH, Bradley 24 (Henderson), 4:22. 2, MH, Owre 19 (Henderson Butcher), 7:11. 3, MH, Gerlach 30 (Bradley, Shaw), 11:01. Penalties — None.
Second — 4, MH, Hamblin 15 (Butcher), 11:11 (sh). 5, TC, Lukin 23 (Geekie, Olson), 16:16. 6, TC, Topping 15 (Wotherspoon, Välimäki), 18:29 (pp). Penalties — Bradley, MH (tripping), 5:50; Henderson, MH, minor-major (high-sticking, fighting), 10:13; Yorke, TC, major (fighting), 10:13; Chyzowski, MH (hooking), 17:01; Butcher, MH (slashing), 18:13.
Third — 7, MH Shaw 20 (Kirichenko, Bradley), 3:56. 8, TC, Välimäki 15 (Sandhu, Yorke), 15:09. 9, TC, Geekie 29 (Olson, Välimäki), 16:33. 10, MH, Bradley 25 (Shaw, Butcher), 19:29 (en). 11, TC, Lukin 24 (Olson, Wotherspoon), 19:56. Penalties — Owre, MH (tripping), 7:51; Owre, MH, double minor (high-sticking), 10:17; Rassell, MH (holding), 11:58.
Shots — 13-7-12 — 32. TC 7-12-14 —33. Power plays — MH 0-0. TC 1-8. Goalies — MH, Schneider27-10-1-0 (33 shots-28 saves). TC, Parenteau 20-10-0-0 (31-26). Referees — Steve Papp and Nick Swaine. A — 4,104.