Tri-City Americans

Ams rally comes up short

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Tomas Vincour was just looking to put the puck on net and hope for a rebound.

He got a whole lot more than he bargained for.

Vincour's shot from just above the goal line to the right of Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley found a sliver of daylight by Owsley's hip and the post to give the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 overtime win Tuesday night over the Americans before a crowd of 6,178 at Pacific Coliseum.

"I saw two guys in front of the net, and I was hoping they'd get a rebound," said Vincour, who has seven goals in the playoffs. "(Owsley) was cheating short side so I thought I'd go for it."

The win gives the Giants a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals. Game 4 will be played Thursday night at Pacific Coliseum. The series returns to Toyota Center on Friday for Game 5.

The win also gives Vancouver coach Don Hay 101 career WHL playoff victories, tying him with former Portland bench boss Ken Hodge, but the record was a secondary thought for Hay after the game.

"The most important thing is the series and for us to go up 2-1," Hay said. "(The record) will be something when I retire I can look back on."

The Giants appeared to set the tone for the game with two early goals and 12 shots on goal in the first, but they had little to offer after that. They had 12 shots the rest of regulation and allowed Tri-City a pair of power-play goals to tie the game and send it into overtime.

"I thought the last 45 minutes of the game were our best this series," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "We were too hesitant in the first and that hurt us. Special teams were good for us tonight. Our PK did an outstanding job. We could have used another big goal around their net."

The Americans' penalty kill was solid in the third, killing off two Vancouver power plays before Jordan Messier tied things up at 2 with a goal on the man advantage at 9:03.

"It was kind of funny," Messier said of the goal. "(Patrick) Holland shot it from the point, then (Brooks) Macek tipped it to Feser. Feser hit me right in the gut with the puck -- I was in his way, but I was in the right place at the right time."

Tri-City's power play was clicking nicely, but it was the penalty kill that set the tone for the last two periods of the game.

Already trailing 2-0, the Americans were put behind the 8-ball early in the second as Sergei Drozd was issued a 5-minute major for a checking-from-behind penalty on James Wright at 5:55, and also received a game misconduct.

The Giants received a extended power play but managed just two shots on goal as the Americans' penalty kill was solid behind the work of Jarrett Toll and Mason Wilgosh.

The Giants lost Wright the rest of the second period as he had to get stitches in his nose. Vancouver also lost Brett Brietkreuz in the second to an undisclosed injury, and he did not return to the game.

Tri-City's power play followed the penalty kill's lead with a goal at 14:50 to pull within 2-1.

Brett Plouffe took the original shot from the point and Vancouver goalie Mark Segal got a piece of the puck, but lost track of it in traffic. The puck rolled around to the right of the goal just out of Segal's reach, where Feser got a touch before Brooks Macek helped it into the net for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

The Giants got off to a quick start to open the game as Wright brought the puck over the blue line and let it fly toward the net. The puck found its way behind Owsley at 4:33 for a 1-0 lead.

Vancouver, which had struggled with its power play at Toyota Center, going 1-for-10, connected on the man advantage at 11:49 as Owsley stopped a shot by Brendan Gallagher, but a short rebound landed in front of Neil Manning, who had an open net at the left post and gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with his first goal of the playoffs.

The Americans had 10 shots on goal in the period, but only a couple of good chances. There was little sustained pressure in Vancouver's end and even less flow to their offense.


Edmonton Oil Kings coach Steve Pleau and assistant Rocky Thompson were fired Tuesday. Pleau, a former Spokane assistant, was 67-116-12-21 in three seasons, with one playoff appearance.