KENNEWICK -- In a battle between division leaders, the Tri-City Americans defended home ice Wednesday night in a tilt against the East-leading Moose Jaw Warriors.
Ty Rimmer had 42 saves, and Brendan Shinnimin and Jordan Messier each had two goals to lead the Americans to a 5-0 win over the Warriors before an announced Toyota Center crowd of 3,598.
The Americans (30-7-0-0), who lead the U.S. Division and Western Hockey League with 60 points, set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win. They also have won 11 in a row on home ice.
Tri-City has not lost at Toyota Center since Oct. 25, a 5-4 setback to Victoria.
"Eleven wins -- that's special when you can be a part of that," Messier said. "We have confidence in what we are doing and hope to keep it rolling."
Moose Jaw (24-11-4-1, 53 points), which has lost six in a row to the Americans, saw its East Division lead shrink to five points.
"We had opportunities on the power play and didn't capitalize," said Warriors coach Mike Stothers, whose team was 0-for-6 on the man advantage. "That was the difference in the game. We worked hard from start to finish. As a coach, that's all you can ask for."
Leading 2-0 entering the second, the Americans found themselves playing short-handed nearly half of the period as a parade of players went to the penalty box.
But Moose Jaw failed to take advantage of its opportunities. The Warriors outshot the Americans 19-6 in the second but came away empty-handed.
The Warriors had a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:35 early in the second, but they managed just two shots on goal.
At 8:10, Moose Jaw was awarded its third power play of the period. The Warriors peppered Rimmer with six shots on goal, but the veteran goalie denied each one.
"I thought Rimmer, the PK and the power play were probably the three key difference makers in the game," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "Moose Jaw played extremely well. The 5-on-3 to try and get them back in the game was the difference. (Justin) Feser, (Mason) Wilgosh and (Zach) Yuen cleaned up most of that mess."
On their final power play, the Warriors had two shots on goal as the Americans' top-ranked penalty kill lived up to its billing.
"Coming back from the break, we had three tough games," said Rimmer, who leads the league in shutouts (4), goals against average (1.94) and save percentage (.936). "To cap it off against Moose Jaw is a good feeling. They are first in the East, and they are a big, physical team. We responded with a great penalty kill, and our defense is second to none. It's a pleasure to play behind them."
In the third, the Americans had the upper hand, getting two power-play goals by Shinnimin to close the door on the Warriors, 1-3 against the U.S. Division this season.
Shinnimin's first goal came 20 seconds into the Americans' first power play of the period for a 3-0 lead. On the second, he collected a loose puck in the midst of a scramble and beat Luke Siemens at the left post just 11 seconds into the man advantage.
Messier finished things off with a power-play goal at 17:14.
Messier, who has goals in his last two games, opened the scoring at 1:01 of the first as the Americans needed just 11 seconds to score on their first power play of the game.
Patrick Holland, who finished with four assists, took the initial shot from the point, and Messier was there to redirect the puck past Siemens.
"There is confidence that comes with playing with the first unit," Messier said of being paired with Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman. "It's nice to get a couple, but it's a tribute to the players around me."
Yuen gave Tri-City a 2-0 lead 5 minutes later, taking a feed from Holland on a 2-on-1 and beating Siemens from the slot for his sixth goal of the season.
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org