KENNEWICK -- It takes a special breed of player to play on the checking line.
His main objective is to shut down the opposing team's top line.
Anything else is icing on the cake
Saturday night, the Tri-City Americans got three goals from their checking line, and it held Regina's top scorer Jordan Weal off the score sheet for just the third time this year, in cruising to a 6-1 win over the Pats before a crowd of 4,554 at Toyota Center.
"Points are nice," said Patrick Holland, who had a goal and two assists. "At the end of the day though, our line is just as big a part of the win as points. I love playing on this line. The special thing about it is you get to play with the top defensemen (Mitch Topping and Zach Yuen), and Topping is easy to play with."
The Americans (19-6-0-0, 38 points) have won four in a row and stretched their lead in the U.S. Division to four points over Portland, which was idle Saturday.
"We had three really good wins this week, and some really big points," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team beat Portland, Swift Current and Regina. "Guys like Justin Hamonic and Riley Guenther, who don't play much got in, and Eric (Comrie) was great both nights. It nice to see first-year players step up and contribute. That's important."
"We certainly are in a bit of a groove. There are expectations of how we play, and we are deep enough we should know what to do -- how we have to execute -- and we've done that."
The Pats (13-11-1-1) finished their trek through the U.S. Division with a 1-3-0-1 record, with a win over Everett.
"We played well in spurts, and you can't do that," Regina coach Pat Conacher said. "You have to play a full 60. We knew we were up against good competition. This is the strongest division in the league. We knew the teams we would face and we didn't want to beat ourselves, but each and every game we shot ourselves in the foot -- for 10 minutes or one period. You can't do that."
The Americans dominated the first, taking a 3-0 lead just 10:43 into the period.
Adam Hughesman scored his team-leading 19th goal at 4:46 on the power play, shooting the puck across the front of Matt Hewitt and finding the far side of the net.
It took a video replay to give Jordan Messier his eighth goal of the season.
Messier's pass across the top of the crease to Mason Wilgosh went off Regina defenseman Brandon Davidson's skate -- not Wilgosh's stick -- and slowly rolled into the net at 6:58 for a 2-0 Tri-City lead.
"On our line you have to take pride in what you do, it's not all about the points, though they are nice to get," said Messier, who plays on the checking line with Holland and Wilgosh. "Holding Weal off the score sheet was nice."
The Pats, who were outshot 6-0 and trailed 2-0, called their only timeout after Messier's goal to regroup.
"We were flat and they brought it to us," Conacher said. "Two of their first three goals I'm sure our goaltender (Hewitt) would like to have back. We have to eliminate the turnovers. It's not what you get, but what you give away."
Holland gave the Americans a 3-0 lead at 10:43 as his shot in the slot went between Hewitt's pads.
Tri-City continued to pour it on in the second, taking a 5-1 lead by the end.
The Pats finally found the net at 16:38 as Ricard Blidstrand picked up a puck turned over by the Americans and his shot from the right point beat Comrie.
The Americans came right back with goal by Wilgosh at 17:13, and Brendan Shinnimin made it 5-1 at 18:55, taking a pass from behind the net from Hughesman and lifting the puck over Hewitt's right shoulder and into the net.
Justin Feser closed out the scoring, and Comrie picked up his eighth win after stopping 20 of 21 shots.
Note: With an assist on Shinnimin's goal in the second period, Guenther picked up his first WHL point.