KENT -- Patrick Holland scored the game-winner at 6:29 of the third period Friday night to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds at ShoWare Center.
The Americans (20-7-0-0, 40 points), coming off an abysmal 6-2 loss Wednesday to Kelowna, kept their slim lead atop the Western Conference and U.S. Division with their league-leading 20th win.
Tri-City got a goal and an assist each from Holland, Adam Hughesman and Brendan Shinnimin, while Justin Feser had two assists and an empty-net goal with
1 second left in the game.
Ty Rimmer finished with 23 saves to earn his 12th win.
Calvin Pickard, who shut out the Americans 3-0 on Nov. 18, had 35 saves for Seattle (11-13-0-1, 23 points), which got goals from Jared Hauf and Sean Aschim.
The Americans will host Everett tonight in the annual Teddy Bear Toss game at Toyota Center.
Americans enforcer Lukas Walter was suspended for six games after his one-man fight at Kelowna on Wednesday. The WHL noted that Walter entered the ice on a line change, but instead of joining the play, he skated directly across the ice to an opponent and initiated a one-man fight. Kelowna's Tanner Moar was on the receiving end of the blows, but was not injured.