SWIFT CURRENT, Saskatchewan -- The Tri-City Americans finished .500 on their East Division road swing after dropping a 2-1 game to Swift Current on Wednesday night.
"You want to go out and win every game, but I was happy that we were able to rebound from a poor start to this road trip," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team finished 3-3 against the East. "Getting it done tonight, we would have been able to call this a good trip."
The Americans (7-3-1-0, 15 points), who opened their road trip with losses to Prince Albert and Saskatoon, remain atop the U.S. Division, two points in front of Portland, which has two games in hand on Tri-City.
The Broncos (4-6-0-0, 8 points) opened the scoring late in the first period as Stepan Novotny scored on the power play at 15:16.
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Adam Lowry gave Swift Current a 2-0 lead in the second, taking a pass from Novotny on a 2-on-1 and beating Tri-City goaltender Drew Owsley at 10:51.
The Americans cut into the Bronco's lead at 10:26 of the third on Patrick Holland's sixth goal of the season, but that would be all Swift Current goalie Mark Friesen would allow.
Owsley finished with 32 saves, while Adam Hughesman and Tyler Schmidt each had an assist. Hughesman, who has scored in all 11 games this season, has seven goals and eight assists. He is ranked third in league scoring with 15 points.
"I thought Drew was in really good form on this trip," Hiller said. "He was an important player for us and he played well."
The Americans played shorthanded for the fourth straight game. Brendan Shinnimin is just four games into a WHL imposed 12-game suspension, and captain Kruise Reddick has missed the last two games with a concussion.
"You have to give a lot of credit to some of the players who have had to play big roles," Hiller said. "(Tanner) Olstad and (David) Conrad have got to play good minutes with the absence of Kruise and Shinnimin."
Second-year defenseman Zach Yuen also earned praise for his play Wednesday after returning to the game after taking a puck to the face at 2:36 of the first period.
"That showed a lot of growth and maturity on his part," Hiller said. "He is a tough player. You couldn't have said that before last Christmas, but we can say it now."
Notes: Today is the cutdown day for overage players in the WHL. Each team is allowed three 20-year-olds. The Americans have four -- Reddick, Schmidt, Mike Brown and goalie Alex Pechurskiy. ... The Americans remained at No. 6 in the weekly CHL poll. The Quebec Remparts retained their No. 1 ranking, while the Saskatoon Blades moved from eighth to fourth and the Red Deer Rebels came in at No. 7. ... Saskatoon's Josh Nicholls, who took a hit from behind from Shinnimin on Oct. 6, was cleared for full contact play and will be in the Blades lineup Friday at Red Deer. Nicholls, who suffered a mild concussion and a bruised back, missed just one game. ... Darcy Kuemper of the Red Deer Rebels was named CHL Goaltender of the Week. Kuemper posted a 4-0-0-0 record with two shutouts.