KENNEWICK -- When you spend 30 hours round trip on the bus, it's always good to come home with a pair of wins.
The Tri-City Americans, behind a sterling performance from rookie netminder Eric Comrie, posted back-to-back 1-0 shutouts over Prince George last Friday and Saturday at CN Centre.
Tonight, the Americans (10-4-0-0, 20 points) are home for their first game of the season with the Victoria Royals (7-6-0-0, 14 points) -- formerly the Chilliwack Bruins -- riding a three-game win streak.
"Prince George is a tough place to get one (win), let alone two," said Americans coach Jim Hiller, who picked up wins No. 100 and 101 on the Tri-City bench with the two wins. "We have high expectations offensively, but playing as well as we did defensively, that is a feather in our cap. And, (PG goalie) Drew (Owsley) played very well."
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It was Comrie and the Americans' penalty kill unit that deserve credit for the wins in Prince George.
Comrie, who was nominated for CHL goalie of the week by the WHL, stopped 17 shots on Friday and 30 on Saturday. The Americans killed off all 12 of the Cougars' power plays. Tri-City's penalty kill is the top in the WHL at 84.3 percent.
"Eric has had an adjustment just like everyone else has," Hiller said. "He is trending in the right direction. He had four or five key saves to keep us in the lead both nights. We scored in the second both nights and for 30 minutes he did his best to keep the door shut.
"We didn't change anything on the PK, but we addressed some small details," Hiller continued. "That was the brightest spot of our weekend."
Hiller wouldn't tip his hand as to whether Comrie or veteran Ty Rimmer would get the start tonight.
Comrie was still on Cloud Nine on Monday and hadn't heard who would start today.
"It was a lot of fun," Comrie said of his first career shutout. "I was more worried about the win. I didn't want them to score and get the momentum. Our team really helped me out a lot all weekend. Our PK was outstanding. We limited their shots in the first game and in the second. We didn't give them any second chances. It was a great team effort."
While Rimmer is 6-2-0-0 (1.78 GAA, .945 save percentage) this season, Comrie is right behind at 4-2-0-0 (2.75, .903), making them one of the most dangerous goaltending tandems in the league.
"It's a learning process every time I go out," Comrie said. "I just try to get better and have fun. I can't thank Ty enough for all he has done for me, and he's played unreal, too. We are really good friends and it has been a good experience for me to work with him."
The Royals, who are coming off a 3-2 win over Kelowna on Saturday, are 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games. They are 3-5-0-0 on the road, and in those eight games, have given up 42 goals.
Keith Hamilton (6-5-0-0) has seen the lion's share of time in goal, posting a 4.20-goals-against average and a .886 save percentage.
The Americans are 6-1 on home ice, scoring 29 goals and giving up just 14.
"Kelowna is a tough building to win in," Hiller said. "(The Royals) have beaten Prince George and they are getting their road legs under them. It should be a good game."