VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- For the second game in a row, Justin Feser helped the Tri-City Americans to two big points.
Feser scored at 2:09 of overtime to lead the Americans to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night against the Vancouver Giants and into first place in the Western Conference.
"Unbelievable, isn't it?" said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team has won eight of its last 10 games. "We are fighting, scraping and clawing. (The wins) aren't pretty, but they are satisfying."
Tri-City (47-17-1-2) is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for first place in the Western Hockey League with 97 points.
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The Americans have a one-point lead over Portland in the race for the U.S. Division title, as well as a two-point lead over B.C. Division champion Kamloops -- which beat the Winterhawks 5-1 on Wednesday -- in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.
"We've had our highs and lows, but in the end, you have to march forward and collect points," Hiller said. "We still have a ways to go. I think people forgot about us there for a bit, and our guys just kept plugging away."
Vancouver (37-25-2-3) is tied with Spokane with 79 points. They will face each other in the first round of the playoffs and still are fighting for home-ice advantage.
Feser, who has 36 goals this season, also scored the game winner in Sunday's 4-3 victory against Portland.
On Wednesday night, Feser took a feed from Patrick Holland and beat Vancouver goalie Adam Morrison from the right circle to hand the Giants their fifth consecutive loss at Pacific Coliseum.
"There is no doubt with the scoring of (Brendan) Shinnimin, (Adam) Hughesman and Holland that (Feser) has been overshadowed, but not underappreciated," Hiller said.
Vancouver looked to put the game away in the opening seconds of overtime, but Tri-City goalie Ty Rimmer stopped Brendan Gallagher on the doorstep. Rimmer finished with 26 saves for his 28th win.
With Vancouver's Jordan Martinook in the penalty box for tripping, the Americans went to work on their seventh power play of the night, where Feser worked his magic.
Dalton Sward gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the first period, and Hughesman, with his 41st goal of the season, tied the score at 16:34 of the second.
Holland, who finished with two assists, leads the league with 79. Shinnimin had an assist to run his point streak to 18 games.
Before the game, the Montreal Canadiens announced the signing of Holland to a three-year contract. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Holland was acquired from Calgary with Rene Bourque on Jan. 12 in the deal that sent Mike Cammalleri and Karri Ramo to the Flames. Holland was a seventh-round draft pick (193rd overall) of Calgary in 2010.
Note: Former Tri-City forward Blair Macaulay, now playing for the University of Manitoba, was named the Canada West men's hockey MVP and CIS Sullivan Trophy nominee. Macaulay, a Winnipeg native, was the leading goal scorer in the CIS with 23. He finished third in Canada West scoring with 33 points while playing all 28 regular-season games.