When Drew Owsley gets in a zone, he's hard to beat.
The Tri-City goaltender turned in another stellar performance Tuesday night, stopping 34 of 35 shots, and Johnny Lazo led the offensive charge with a goal and an assist as the Americans beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 3-1 before a crowd of 4,092 at Toyota Center.
"On a night when you aren't clicking making plays and passes, those are the nights you need your goaltender to be good," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "(Owsley) backboned us tonight."
The win was Owsley's league-leading 33rd of the season, complemented by a .919 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average.
"My D-men did a great job clearing the net, and we didn't give them too many second opportunities," Owsley said. "They are a pretty skilled team offensively, and for the most part we limited their chances."
The U.S. Division-leading Americans (41-15-1-2, 85 points) have won four straight over Moose Jaw (28-23-4-4, 64 points) and trail Brandon by just one point in the race for the Scotty Munro trophy for the best record in the WHL.
The Warriors finished their swing through the U.S. Division with a 2-3 record.
"I thought we dictated a good portion of the game," said Moose Jaw coach Dave Hunchak. "I thought we created a couple of really good scoring chances in the third -- we just haven't been able to finish. Owsley made some really good saves tonight; he was their best player."
Tied at 1 heading into the second period, it took a 4-on-3 power play by the Americans to take the lead as Lazo's blast from the right circle beat Jeff Bosch for his 36th goal of the season and the eventual game-winner.
"We didn't feel like we had our hands today, so we kept it simple," said Lazo, whose 73rd career goal moved him past Ian McDonald (72) on the all-time goals scored list. "We stayed disciplined and we didn't take too many penalties -- they are deadly on the power play."
Hiller said Lazo's power-play goal was a turning point in the game.
"Up to that point, they had the momentum," Hiller said. "We were able to take it back."
The Americans extended their lead to 3-1 at 4:12 of the third with a goal by Brooks Macek.
Sergei Drozd made a nice play holding the puck in behind the net before sending it out front to Lazo. Lazo had his shot blocked, but Macek lifted the rebound into the net.
Tri-City, playing its sixth game in eight days, opened the scoring at 7:56 of the first when Patrick Holland took a pass from Neal Prokop at the top of the crease and finally got the puck past Bosch on his third attempt in the middle of a pack of defenders.
Moose Jaw used a power play to even the score at 17:03. Brendan Rowinski's shot slid under Owsley's left pad.