Eric Comrie was operating on five hours of sleep Friday night, and the Tri-City Americans goaltender didn't have his usual full day for game prep.
Comrie finished with 41 saves, and the Americans scored three unanswered goals in the third period to rally past the Kelowna Rockets 3-2 before a crowd of 3,769 at Toyota Center.
"For us, it was 20 minutes of work," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "We didn't work the first 40. We got schooled in a lot of areas of the game tonight. The scoreboard was the only thing on our side tonight."
Never miss a local story.
"I couldn't ask much more from him," Hiller said. "He kept us in it from minute 1 to 60."
Comrie, who played the last half of Thursday's game for Team WHL in the Subway Super Series against the Russians, arrived in the Tri-Cities at 10 a.m. Friday.
"I was ready to get back and be with the boys," said Comrie, who picked up his 13th win of the season. "Yesterday I was really nervous at the Subway Series. I really wanted to get in. Today, the confidence kept building, and I felt good out there."
The Americans (14-7-1-1, 30 points) remain in second place behind Portland (16-4-1-0, 33 points) in the U.S. Division. Kelowna (12-7-1-1, 26 points), which had its five-game winning snapped, will be at Toyota Center again tonight.
"It's a little deflating," said Kelowna defenseman Myles Bell of the loss. "We know what we did wrong and we know what we did right. Tomorrow, we will start a new streak."
The Rockets dominated the game the first two periods, outshooting the Americans 30-14 and taking a 2-0 lead, but once the third period started, Tri-City took over.
The Americans pulled within 2-1 just 3:18 into the third period as Parker Bowles got behind Riley Stadel and Tyrell Goulbourne at the blue line and went in on Jordon Cooke alone, scoring his fifth goal of the season.
Just 2 1/2 minutes later, Connor Rankin took a pass from behind the net from Zach Yuen and beat Cooke to tie the score at 2.
Justin Feser scored the game-winner at 14:44, taking a cross-ice pass from Beau McCue off the left wall and beating Cooke at the right post.
"I knew he was there," McCue said. "I saw him through the defenseman and I zipped it along the ice."
The Rockets kept charging hard, but Comrie stopped everything that came his way in the third.
"They came out hard in the third and we got away from our team game," said Bell, who had a goal and an assist. "We couldn't get puck past Comrie it the third. We have to be harder on him tomorrow.
After a scoreless first period, the Rockets potted a couple of goals in the second, taking advantage of sloppy play by the Americans.
Bell gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 7:09, taking the puck down the ice and beating Comrie past his left shoulder with a shot from the top of the left circle.
The Americans had a chance to even things up at 10:20 as Feser and Mitch Topping had a 2-on-1, but Topping's shot went right into Cooke's pads.
The Rockets kept pressuring, and another Tri-City turnover led to a 2-0 Kelowna lead.
Bell gathered a loose puck at the Kelowna blue line, drove down the ice and flipped the puck toward the net. Comrie made the initial stop, but Ryan Olsen was there to push the puck over the goal line at 11:40.
The Americans killed off both Kelowna power plays in the period, but the Rockets still held a 30-14 shot advantage.
There was no shortage of action in the first period, with the Rockets keeping Comrie plenty busy with 16 shots on goal. Comrie came up with big saves to keep the Americans in contention.
At the other end, Cooke faced just two shots the first 12 minutes of the game, but Tri-City picked up the pace as Lucas Nickles, Rankin and Drydn Dow all had quality chances, but couldn't get anything past Cooke.