Tri-City Americans

Owsley keys Ams' victory

Sunday was Valentine's Day, but the Tri-City Americans had no love to offer the Kamloops Blazers.

The Americans got 28 saves from Drew Owsley and Brooks Macek scored his first goal since Jan. 13 as Tri-City beat Kamloops 3-1 before a crowd of 4,503 at Toyota Center, ending their first three-game losing streak of the season.

"This effort started last night and carried over," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team lost 3-2 in overtime Saturday in Spokane. "The third period -- our 15th period of the week -- was the best we played. We were determined tonight. Ows made important saves in the second, and we had a lot of chances that didn't go in, but we stuck with it."

The Americans (40-15-1-2, 83 points), who are 17-2 against the B.C. Division, trail Saskatoon and Brandon by one point in the race for the Scotty Munro trophy.

The win stretches Tri-City's lead to six points over Portland in the U.S. Division.

The Blazers (27-28-2-4, 60 points), who were outscored 24-6 in their four losses to the Americans, hold a four-point advantage over eighth-place Chilliwack in the Western Conference standings.

Playing its fifth game in six nights, Tri-City held a 3-1 lead late in the third period when Kamloops pulled goalie Jon Groenheyde for an extra attacker with 1:50 to play. The Blazers got off three shots on goal, but Owsley turned them all away.

"Last few games we gave up a couple (goals) early and it's hard to come back from that," said Owsley, who picked up his league-leading 32nd win. "The last two games (he came on in relief in Spokane on Saturday) I just wanted to give us a chance to win."

Owsley stopped all 17 of the Blazers' shots in the second and third periods as the Americans held on to win their 40th game for just the sixth time in team history.

"Since he went in (against Spokane), he's made save after save when we needed him to," Hiller said.

Leading 2-1 heading into the third, Tri-City scored just 17 seconds into the period as Macek took a pass from behind the net from Jordan Messier for his 15th goal of the season.

"It's been awhile," said Macek, who leads the team with 47 assists. "It was a good forecheck by Jordan and he made a nice pass. I just finished it off."

The Americans looked to take a 4-1 lead with less than three minutes to play, but Neal Prokop's goal was disallowed after video replay showed the net came off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line.

In a physical second period, Tri-City broke a 1-1 tie as Mason Wilgosh got behind Kamloops defenseman Brandon Underwood, took a pass up ice from Jarrett Toll and beat Groenheyde for his sixth goal of the season.

"We were in a rut and he was the spark that got us going against Spokane," Hiller said of Wilgosh. "He carried it over to tonight."

Tri-City opened the scoring at 11:33 of the first on the power play as Tyler Schmidt, streaming down the slot, took a pass from Adam Hughesman and put the puck past Groenheyde. The assist broke a six-game scoring drought for Hughesman.

The lead was short-lived, though. Kamloops' Linden Saip's blast from the right point ricocheted off Schmidt's stick and flew past Owsley at 16:43.

Groenheyde finished with 33 saves for the Blazers, who have just four wins against the U.S. Division this season.

Note: Toll played his 260th game, surpassing Taylor Procyshen for 11th on the team's all-time games played list.

  Comments