Tri-City Americans

Hughesman's trick lifts Ams over Everett

KENNEWICK -- The Everett Silvertips have had Tri-City's number all season, but Saturday night, it was the Americans who were dialing all the right numbers.

Adam Hughesman had a hat trick and line mates Carter Ashton and Brendan Shinnimin each had a goal and three assists as the Americans rolled to 7-4 victory before a crowd of 5,181 at Toyota Center.

"It's hard to stop them when they are on their game," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller of his top line. "They'd had a couple of off nights, but tonight you saw the strength and power of Carter, Hughey's shot and Shinny in the middle making plays. There are a lot of dynamics on that line when they are moving."

The Americans (29-12-2-1, 61 points), who are 18-2-0-1 on home ice, picked up their 13th straight at Toyota Center.

With Portland winning Saturday, Tri-City trails the U.S. Division leader by four points and is two behind Spokane, which lost to Kelowna.

Everett (18-22-3-4, 43 points), which had a 4-1-0-1 series lead on Tri-City coming into the game, was the last team to beat the Americans at Toyota Center -- 4-2 on Nov. 21. The Silvertips are ranked last in the U.S. Division and the Western Conference.

"It was a really fun game if you were wearing a Tri-City jersey," said Everett coach Craig Hartsburg. "But we didn't quit. Tri-City is an elite team in the league and we have a lot of young guys on the back end. In our building we played decent against them, but we don't have their skill. We made too many mistakes and they made us pay."

The two teams combine for 11 goals through the first two periods, but neither could find the net in the third.

The first period was a wild one.

Mason Wilgosh opened the scoring at 7:38, and in a span of 2:49, the Americans led 3-0 with goals by Shinnimin and Hughesman.

The Tips pulled within 3-2 with goals by Josh Birkholz and Jari Erricson, but another tally by Hughesman put Tri-City out front 4-2 after one.

"That goal was the biggest of the game," Hiller said of taking a 4-2 lead. "At 3-2 they had us on our heels. That goal got the building back in the game."

In the second, there were four goals scored in a matter of 5:15 -- three by the Americans.

Ashton started things off with a power-play goal, followed by the first of two Parker Stanfield goals in the period for Everett.

"Things have been clicking as of late," Ashton said. "You find success when you do things right. We knew as a line our last game we were a step off. We knew tonight was a big game. We got a good start and went from there. We got contributions from everyone."

Hughesman completed his hat trick at 9:37 and David Conrad gave Tri-City a 7-3 lead 16 seconds later.

"The pucks were going in for us," said Hughesman, who recorded his first hat trick since scoring four goals against Portland on Feb. 15, 2008, during his rookie season. "But we were sloppy out there. We just have to keep it simple."

Hughesman leads the Americans with 31 goals, and his 65 points are more than he had all of last season.

"Thirty-one goals means a lot," Hughesman said. "We have 28 games left. That's a long way to go and I'm not satisfied with 31. We want to keep pushing, that's what good teams do."