KENNEWICK — The thing about droughts, is that one day it will eventually rain.
The Prince George Cougars ended one of the longest droughts in the Western Hockey League on Friday, beating the Tri-City Americans 4-3 in a shootout before a crowd of 4,165 at Toyota Center.
The Cougars (9-6-1-0, 19 points) hadn't won at Toyota Center since Nov. 2, 2003 -- a stretch of 13 games.
"It's good to get the win," said PG forward Charles Inglis, who hit the game-winner in the shootout. "They are a good team, but we proved we are too. I grew up in Winnipeg with those guys (Tri-City has seven Winnipeg natives on its roster) and it's nice to beat them."
The Americans (11-4-1-1, 24 points), playing in their third shootout in as many game, finally saw their luck run out when Jordan Messier couldn't get the puck past PG goalie Ty Rimmer in the fourth round of the shootout.
"They are a dangerous team up front and they have guys who are dangerous with the puck," said Messier, who had two goals and an assist in regulation. "We played hard this month with all the road games, and it's good to get a point even though we didn't win."
Tri-City finished the month of October 8-4-1-1, playing 11 games on the road. Saturday's game was just the fifth at home for the Americans this season. It also was their first loss on home ice.
"I wish we'd had a little more in the tank," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "You don't want to lose that point in the shootout. They (PG) have a really strong offensive team. Prince George scores a lot of goals and they can score in a hurry. You have to be on your toes."
Messier scored his second goal of the game 5 minutes into the third period to tie the game at 3. Messier leads Tri-City with 11 goals.
The Americans had a huge penalty kill with 5:30 left in regulation when Messier went to the box with a hooking penalty.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the way, forcing overtime and eventually the shootout.
The Cougars got shootout goals from Sena Acolatse and Inglis, while the Americans' lone shootout goal came from Adam Hughesman.
"I knew I was going to score when I went out there," Inglis said.
On the losing end of a 2-1 game heading in the second period, the Americans tied the game as Patrick Holland fed the puck to Messier at the top of the crease from the back wall. Messier put the puck over Rimmer's shoulder at 4:11 for his 10th goal of the season.
Former American Spencer Asuchak put the Cougars back out front 3-2 at 5:53 of the second period, following his own shot for his eighth tally of the year.
"This (win) feels good," said Asuchak, who had all of 10 goals last year. "I wanted to take it to them and show them what they are missing. We proved ourselves here tonight."
The Cougars came out on a mission in the first period, using their team speed and puck control to take a 2-1 lead.
Martin Marincin gave PG a 1-0 lead at 1:55 on the power play, as his blast from mid-point beat Owsley up high.
The Americans evened things up at 9:24 when Feser lifted the puck over Rimmer's right pad at 9:24 on the power play.
PG went out front 2-1 in the first period as Acolatse's pass out of the left corner landed on the tape of Brock Hirsche's stick. Hirsche was able to slip the puck under Owsley's pads at 14:52. Owsley finished with 29 saves.
The Americans held PG star Brett Connolly off the scoresheet -- just the second time this season the 2010 first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning failed to record a point.