Don't mess with the Winnipeg line.
Brendan Shinnimin, Adam Hughesman and Mason Wilgosh combined for five goals in helping the Tri-City Americans to a 9-4 victory Saturday over the Lethbridge Hurricanes before a crowd of 4,625 at Toyota Center.
"We've been playing together since we were 7," said Shinnimin, who also had two assists. "We have eyes in the back of our heads when we're out there. We get the job done."
Justin Feser, Spencer Humphries, Jordan Messier and Neal Prokop also scored for Tri-City, which has won eight in a row at home.
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"Jim has always told us we have to take care of business at home and do better on the road," said Hughesman, who leads the team with 24 goals.
Tri-City (24-12-1-1, 50 points) kept pace with U.S. Division-leading Portland (55 points) and Spokane (53 points).
Lethbridge (13-19-2-6, 36 points), which has won just once in its last 11 games, is in a three-way tie for ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, four points out of playoff contention. The Hurricanes went 0-for-5 against the U.S. Division this season.
"Tonight was a challenge," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team is 13-2-0-1 on home ice. "The score looked one-sided, but for half a game it was close. It got out of hand late. They played hard and we knew they would compete hard, but in the end our depth got to their goaltending."
Tri-City scored four goals on eight shots in the second period to take a commanding 6-2 lead, then added three more goals in the third to go up 9-2 before the Hurricanes scored two in the last minute of the game.
Hughesman, Wilgosh and Messier scored in the third period for Tri-City.
Hughesman, who also scored in the second period, was thought to have had a hat trick, but after the game he said what would have been his third goal was actually Wilgosh's.
"I think me, Shinny and Wils have good chemistry going," Hughesman said. "It was one of those nights where everything somehow went into the net."
In the second, Hughesman scored at 2:02 on the power play for a 3-1 lead. Mike Reddington would pull the Hurricanes within 3-2 at 9:23, but it was all Americans the rest of the period.
Spencer Humphries, coming down the slot, gathered in a pass from Kruise Reddick and blasted the puck past Lethbridge goalie Dylan Tait at 15:45 for his second goal of the season.
"Spencer had two points and two fights," Hughesman said. "It's probably his best game of the year."
Shinnimin, who has scored in 10 straight games, notched a pair of goals in a span of three minutes to end the second.
The first came at 16:27, and the second at 19:21, where he banged in a rebound off a shot by Wilgosh, who finished with three assists for a four-point night.
The Americans and Hurricanes traded goals the first nine minutes of the game as Feser's shot from the bottom of the right circle found daylight beside Tait at 3:09.
Lethbridge got even at 9:01 as Russell Maxwell won a battle on the along the left boards with David Conrad and beat Drew Owsley over his right shoulder, just slipping the puck in under the cross bar.
Prokop gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period with a power-play goal at 19:30.
Owsley had 16 saves in his 100th WHL game. The win gave him 61 and bumped him past Brian Boucher for fourth on the team's all-time wins list.
Owsley yielded the net to back-up Cam Gorchynski, who has been filling in while Chris Driedger was at the U-17 tournament. Gorchynski finished with nine saves on 11 shots.
"It was good to be able to get him in there and reward him for his time here," Hiller said.