KENNEWICK -- The first game Mike Johnston coached behind the Portland bench, the Winterhawks came away with a win over the Tri-City Americans at Toyota Center.
That was Oct. 31, 2008. Portland hasn't won at Toyota Center since, and it will have to wait a month to try again.
Brendan Shinnimin scored the only goal in the shootout to lead the Americans to a 3-2 victory over the top-ranked Winterhawks on Saturday night before a crowd of 4,871.
It was the second big win for the Americans in as many nights as they knocked off the Kootenay Ice 4-0 on Friday.
"They are a really good team, but so are we," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller of Portland. "We played one of the best teams in the East (Kootenay) and the best team in the West this weekend. That was a huge challenge. We are finding that passion we had last year in the playoffs."
Tri-City (15-9-1-1, 32 points), which has won three in a row, is second in the U.S. Division behind Portland (21-6-0-2, 44 points), which has lost two consecutive games for the first time this season.
"We just played two of the best teams in the league and got four big points," said Americans goalie Drew Owsley, who finished with 35 saves. "This was a huge weekend for us. We were in a slump, but I think we are back."
Portland, down by two goals, came out pressing hard in the third and was rewarded with a pair of goals by Brendan Leipsic to tie the game.
"We had 17 shots in the second, we just couldn't find the net," said Johnston, whose team was ranked No. 2 in this week's CHL poll. "I thought they were the best team in the first half and we were in the second half. I was pleased with how we came back."
After a scoreless overtime, the game moved to a shootout, where Owsley denied Ty Rattie, Sven Bartschi and Leipsic, who needed to score to keep the shootout alive.
"I threw a pokecheck and he panicked a bit," Owsley said of Leipsic. "I interrupted what he wanted to do."
Adam Hughesman missed the first shootout attempt for the Americans, but Shinnimin made good on his, backhanding the puck past Keith Hamilton.
"We played a complete game," Shinnimin said. "We let them back in the third, but we never gave up. We stuck to the basics, didn't give up the odd-man rush and we were blocking shots. We just need to keep it up."
There was no scoring in the first period, but Jordan Messier quickly changed that, connecting at 1:53 of the second period, taking a pass from Kruise Reddick in the slot and lifting the puck past Hamilton.
With Portland's Nino Niederreiter in the penalty box for charging, the Americans needed just 8 seconds to score and take a 2-0 lead as Justin Feser redirected a shot from the point by Zak Stebner at 7:14.
Tri-City appeared to take a 3-0 lead at 15:03 as Hughesman and Shinnimin had Hamilton at their mercy and Hughesman put the puck in the net.
The goal was reviewed and when it was discovered that the net had been off its moorings, the goal was disallowed.
Notes: With an assist on Messier's goal, Americans defenseman Tyler Schmidt reached 100 for his career. He also played in his 275th game, moving one game past Jarrett Toll and into fifth for career games played.