KENNEWICK — After scoring just two goals over the last two games, the Tri-City Americans found their groove Sunday night at Toyota Center.
Carter Ashton and Brendan Shinnimin each had two goals to lead the Americans to a 6-3 win over Prince George before a crowd of 4,712.
"You saw some skilled players make some skilled plays with some highlight-reel goals," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "We didn't make any big plays Friday (at Spokane), but we did tonight. We were loose defensively and turned the puck over too much in the neutral zone, and they had plenty of opportunities."
The Americans (41-23-2-2, 86 points), who ended a two-game skid, played the first of a four-game homestand. Everett is at Tri-City on Wednesday.
Never miss a local story.
"We like being at home," Shinnimin said. "We get to sleep in our own beds and get a home-cooked meal. It was good to get a day off (Saturday) -- that's important when you have a a long stretch."
Prince George (31-35-2-2, 66 points), holding on by a thread to secure a playoff spot, is seventh in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of Everett, which has two games in hand.
"They were really sharp," PG coach Dean Clark said of the Americans. "We didn't do some good things and they jumped on us. We had some moments of our own, but we hit some posts. In the second, we gave up that one real quick, but it was the third one right after that when we had a bad line change that hurt us."
Tri-City held a 4-3 lead after two periods, but broke the game open in the third with an unassisted goal by Patrick Holland just 2:40 into the action. Shinnimin followed seven minutes later with his second of the night for a 6-3 lead.
"It feels good to be able to score and help the team win," Shinnimin said. "We got the win, but there are things we need to correct. We gave up too much space and odd-man rushes. We are a great team offensively, but we need to tighten up the defensive zone."
After a 1-all game in the first period, the game took a twist in the second as the teams combined for five goals.
Shinnimin was quick to the net, scoring just 24 seconds into the period, bringing the puck down the left boards, cutting into the slot and burying the puck for his 31st goal of the season.
Ashton followed 1:33 later, taking a feed from Kruise Reddick, sweeping the puck around the front of the crease and tucking it in at the left post for a 3-1 Tri-City lead.
"It's nice to get a good start," said Ashton, who has 30 goals for the first time since the 2008-09 season when he was with Lethbridge. "It's just nice to contribute, it's never about a number. But I'm not done yet."
Brett Connolly, a 2010 first-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning, picked off a drop pass by Shinnimin, took the puck down the ice and found a sliver of daylight between Americans goalie Drew Owsley and the post at 3:36 for his 43rd goal of the season.
Justin Feser gave the Americans a 4-2 lead, taking a pass from Connor Rankin and lifting the puck into the net, but the Cougars struck back 3 minutes later to stay in the game.
Owsley ventured out of the crease to clear the puck, but it went right to PG's Brock Hirsche, who slid it over to Jaroslav Vlach for an easy goal.
The Americans opened the scoring at 13:25 of the first as Ashton connected on the power play from the right circle. The Cougars tied the score with just 21 seconds left in the period with a goal by Troy Bourke.
Owsley finished with 26 saves for a career-best 34th win. He had 33 wins last year.