VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- What a series we have brewing here.
Drew Owsley finished with 30 saves and Kruise Reddick had a goal and three assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants that evened the Western Conference finals at two games apiece Thursday night before a crowd of 7,428 at Pacific Coliseum.
"Obviously going down 3-1 would have been the nail in the coffin," Reddick said. "We came out for a full 60 minutes and got the job done. It was a great win."
Game 5 of the best-of-7 series is tonight at Toyota Center.
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Game 6 is back in Vancouver at 5 p.m. Sunday.
"It's the Western Conference finals -- we knew it would be a battle," said Giants winger Brendan Gallagher, who leads Vancouver with 21 points in the postseason. "All we are focused on now is going to Tri and trying to get a win. It's nice to be playing in a series like this one. It's an exciting one for the fans."
The Americans held a 3-2 lead after two periods, and even though the Giants maintained control of the puck in the Americans' end for a good portion of the third, they had nothing to show for their nine shots on goal.
"It's getting tighter and tighter out there with the scoring chances," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "These are two teams who have respect for each other and are playing responsible. Vancouver goes to the net hard, but I thought we checked well, had good sticks and battled hard."
In an act of desperation, the Giants pulled goaltender Mark Segal with 1:30 to play for an extra attacker, but the move resulted in an empty-net goal for Reddick at 19:13.
Vancouver kept the net empty after the goal, and this time it was Justin Feser, with a helper from Reddick, with the empty-netter at 19:33.
"We didn't want to sit back," Reddick said. "We were in our end a lot, but it was a solid third by everyone."
Including Owsley, who's yet to lose back-to-back games in the playoffs.
"It was a huge win," Owsley said. "It was good to bounce back after Tuesday's game and get the win. We did a good job not giving up many scoring chances. It's good to be going home with some momentum and our fans will be behind us. It won't be easy. They came after us hard tonight, we will have to answer the bell."
After allowing the Giants an early lead in the first, the Americans took a 2-1 lead early in the second as Jarrett Toll took a pass from Feser off the wall and pulled the puck into the slot. His shot was blocked and the rebound went right to Jordan Messier, who tapped the puck and watched it roll into the net behind Segal at the left post at 5:01.
The Giants, who had struggled on the power play the previous three games of the series, going 2-for-14, scored their second goal on the man advantage at 7:53 as David Musil reeled in a nice cross-ice pass from Milan Kytnar and found an open net behind Owsley.
Tri-City, which has had its share of success on the power play against the Giants, connected once again at 10:49 as Adam Hughesman corralled a rebound off a shot by Brendan Shinnimin and found daylight behind Segal at the left post for a 3-2 lead.
Each team scored in the first, but it was a case of helping out the enemy.
Gallagher opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 9:32. From the right side of the net, his shot nicked Toll's stick and flew into the net.
Tri-City evened things up at 11:49 with Brett Plouffe's first goal of the playoffs. Plouffe blasted the puck from the left point and it was deflected out front and ended up in the net.
Video replay showed the puck floating over Reddick's stick, ricocheting off Vancouver's James Wright's stick and past Segal, who finished with 20 saves.