The Tri-City Americans have earned points in eight consecutive games, but Wednesday night, they picked up just one point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the host Saskatoon Blades at Credit Union Centre.
Matej Stransky scored the game-winner for the Blades at 1:16 of overtime to give Saskatoon (5-7-0-0, 10 points) its first win on home ice this season in five chances.
Still, Tri-City (7-3-1-1, 16 points) took over sole possession of first place in the U.S. Division, one point better than Portland.
The Americans, 3-0-1-0 on a road trip through the East Division, are off today before finishing their six-game trip Friday at Regina and Saturday at Swift Current.
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The Blades opened the scoring 31 seconds into the game as Josh Nicholls scored his first of the night, putting the puck over Eric Comrie’s shoulder.
The Americans tied the score at 8:46 with a goal by Lucas Nickles, who put the puck between Andrey Makarov’s pads for his fourth goal of the season.
Connor Rankin gave Tri-City a 2-1 lead at 16:00 of the second, taking a pass from behind the net by Nickles, but the lead was short-lived as Nicholls tallied his second goal of the night 1:37 later.
The Americans killed off a Saskatoon power play the last two minutes of the game to force overtime and pick up a point.
Comrie, who has played every second this season for Tri-City, had another impressive outing, finishing with 31 saves.
Notes: Rankin was given credit for the Americans’ goal in regulation Tuesday at Prince Albert. The goal, at 2:02 of the third period, was Rankin’s fourth of the season. The goal originally was credited to Jesse Mychan. ... Three Tri-City prospects were selected to represent their provinces in the 2012 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup. The event is Nov. 1-4 at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary. Forward Ty Comrie will play for Team Alberta, forward Braden Purtill will suit up for Team Manitoba and defenseman Parker Wotherspoon will play for Team British Columbia. ... The Kamloops Blazers are atop this week’s Canadian Hockey League poll. The Blazers (9-0-0-1) moved up from third to knock off the Quebec Remparts (8-1-0-0). The Prince Albert Raiders (7-2-0-2) came in at No. 7, while the Portland Winterhawks (7-3-1-0) are eighth. ... Portland traded overage G Cam Lanigan to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a seventh-round bantam pick in 2013. The move was prompted by the return of overage G Mac Carruth from the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs on Oct. 6.