Tri-City Americans

Silvertips get best of Ams 3-2

KENNEWICK — Sometimes the breaks go your way, and other times they can cost you the game.

Everett's Kellen Tochkin scored a pair of goals -- the last being the game winner at 3:58 of the third period -- to lead the Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans before a crowd of 5,461 on Friday night at Toyota Center.

On the rush that led to Tochkin's final goal, it appeared that the Everett player on the right wing was offsides near the Tri-City bench, but no call was made.

Tri-City goaltender Drew Owsley stopped the initial shot by Tyler Maxwell, and Tochkin battled Americans defenseman Tyler Schmidt for the puck, which eventually slid in the net at the left post.

"I thought it (offsides) was close, but it happened pretty quickly," said Americans coach Jim Hiller. "It was a really good hockey game and we had enough chances to win. We pushed hard at the end but couldn't get the one to tie."

Everett coach Craig Hartsburg said he didn't see the play.

"We had a game last week in Spokane where a break went against us," Hartsburg said. "It's all part of the game."

The Americans (41-16-1-2, 85 points) hold a five point lead over Everett (38-19-3-1, 80 points) in the U.S. Division, but fell three points back of Brandon in their quest for the Scotty Munro trophy for the best record in the WHL.

"Every game the rest of the way is big and important," Hiller said. "It's that time of year. It's great to be in the playoff race that we are."

Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Americans came to life in the second and cut the deficit in half as Brooks Macek's second effort in the crease got the puck past Silvertips goaltender Thomas Heemskerk at 16:27.

Just 55 seconds into the third period, Tri-City's Neal Prokop scored to tie the game at 2. Justin Feser started the play, knocking the puck away from Everett's Radko Gudas and skating in for a shot on Heemskerk. Feser's shot was stopped, but Prokop made good on the rebound.

"That line (Feser, Prokop and Patrick Holland) has been getting it done lately," Hiller said. "We just need more from the other guys."

After Tochkin's goal gave Everett a 3-2 lead, the Americans pressured the Silvertips the rest of the way, but couldn't get anything past Heemskerk, who finished with 34 saves.

"I thought we played a strong game," Hartsburg said. "It was a pretty even game. We got an early lead, but with that (Tri-City) team, no lead is safe. We stayed with it and found a way to win. This has been a good battle all year."

The Silvertips got off to a quick start, scoring a pair of goals in the first period, including one on the power play.

Tochkin, who has points in all seven games against the Americans this season, opened the scoring as his shot from the right baseline found a sliver of daylight between Owsley and the right post at 8:58.

Everett, which ranks 16th in the WHL on the power play, scored it's 50th goal on the man advantage at 17:34 on a shot by Alex Theriau.

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