The Tri-City Americans wrapped up their five-game road trip with a 5-1 loss Wednesday to the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Americans (27-27-3-3, 60 points), who have a two-point lead over the Prince George Cougars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Rockets (47-8-0-4, 98 points), the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, took a 1-0 lead at 9:43 of the first with a goal by Tyrell Goulbourne. Three minutes later Myles Bell and Nick Merkley scored 36 seconds apart to open a 3-0 lead the Americans couldn’t close.
Cole Linaker and Mitchell Wheaton also scored for Kelowna, which outshot Tri-City 51-16.
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Rodney Southam had the Americans’ lone goal in the third period, while rookie Evan Sarthou finished with 46 saves.