KELOWNA, British Columbia — It doesn't matter how many shots on goal you have. It only matters what you do with them.
The Tri-City Americans were outshot 35-13 on Wednesday but came away with a 3-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets as Drew Owsley turned aside 33 shots in yet another outstanding performance that left the 5,368 fans at Prospera Place stunned.
"This is a tough building," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "To come in here and win two doesn't happen often. We did a good job and played good hockey."
The Ams lead the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series 3-1 and return to Toyota Center on Friday for Game 5. Tri-City can eliminate the Rockets with a win.
"Sometimes, that's the way it goes," said Rockets coach Ryan Huska of the loss. "I thought we deserved better than what we got. Owsley played well again tonight. We just have to stay with it and find a way to score some goals."
The Rockets tied the game at 2 midway through the third period as Lucas Bloodoff's shot ricocheted off the back wall and bounced out to the edge of the crease at the left post, where Brandon McMillan was waiting to slip the puck in the net.
A minute later the Americans, working on their third power play of the night, went with their five-forward formation and Kruise Reddick gave Tri-City a 3-2 lead with a blast from the high slot at 11:51.
The Rockets got their sixth power play of the game with 2:10 left to play as Mason Wilgosh went to the penalty box for high-sticking.
Kelowna struggled to control the puck, and with 1:08 to play, pulled goalie Mark Guggenberger for an extra attacker. As the game wound down to the final seconds, the Rockets managed no shots on goal during the man advantage.
"Our power play has to be better," Huska said. "We had chances, we just have to find a way to be better."
The Rockets fired 17 shots on goal in the second and finally got one past Owsley, who had not allowed a goal in 113 minutes, when Bloodoff scored at 6:18 of the third in Game 2.
Working on the power play, Kelowna's Tyson Barrie blasted the puck from mid-point and beat Owsley stick side to tie the game at 9:18.
Just 18 seconds later, the Americans went back out front 2-1 as Brock Sutherland, the trailer on a 3-on-2 rush, reeled in a pass from Kruise Reddick, bided his time as he skated down the slot, then fired the puck past Guggenberger for his first goal of the playoffs.
"It's about time," said Sutherland, who had two goals during the regular season. "I saw an opening glove side and I thought about going roof over his glove, but it ended up going under his arm."
The Americans took a 1-0 lead in the first period despite being outshot 6-3 by the Rockets.
Justin Feser brought the puck up ice and dumped it to Patrick Holland in the left corner. Holland brought the puck out of the corner, slid it across the slot to Tyler Schmidt, who was cutting down the right lane.
Schmidt found daylight next to Guggenberger for his second goal of the playoffs at 5:33.
The Rockets had plenty of quality chances among their six shots, the first coming from Barrie, who stole the puck from Mike Brown and had Owsley at his mercy, but was robbed with a beautiful glove save by Owsley at 9:40.
"I saw him looking glove," Owsley said. "I just found my glove and made the save. I felt good out there. I was confident. We knew they would come out hard and we knew they didn't want to be down 3-1 going back to Tri. We did a good job defensively. I saw everything -- a credit to my D."
Just four minutes later, Brandon McMillan had an open left corner of the net, but his shot went under Owsley's leg and through the crease.
At 15:49, Max Adolph was awarded a penalty shot after Johnny Lazo hooked him going to the net. Adolph, attempting his first penalty shot of the season, was wide right of the with his shot.
The Rockets also had three power plays, but again came up empty.
"What can you say about Ows," Sutherland said. "He made a lot of big saves -- sometimes it looks so easy for him."