KENT -- Connor Rankin and Brendan Shinnimin each had two goals, and Eric Comrie finished with 36 saves as the short-handed Tri-City Americans beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-2 on Friday night at the ShoWare Center.
The Americans (39-15-1-2) remained tied with Portland (39-15-2-1) atop the U.S. Divi-sion with 81 points after the Winterhawks beat Everett 4-1 on Friday.
"I thought we had a lot of chances the first two periods," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team outshot Seattle 53-38. "The big goal was Rankin's at the end of the second. That was the turning point right there."
Adam Hughesman put the Americans on the board at 9:41 of the first, backhanding the puck into the top of the net. Rankin made it 2-0 with 38 seconds left in the period, beating Calvin Pickard in the slot.
Tri-City had 22 shots in the second period, but only one -- by Rankin with 12 seconds remaining in the period -- found the net.
Shinnimin won a faceoff and Adam Hughesman collected the puck. Hughesman sent the puck up ice to Rankin, whose shot glanced off Pickard and rolled into the net.
"It was the best game of the year for Connor," Hiller said.
Shinnimin, scored twice in the third -- once at 4:02, and the other an empty-netter at 19:44. He also assisted on Hughesman's goal and leads the team with 94 points -- which ranks second in league scoring.
"We wanted to make sure we redeemed ourselves from the (Portland) game," Hiller said. "It's all how you respond. We were good from the drop of the puck."
Connor Honey scored twice for the Thunderbirds (20-35-1-1, 42 points), who also got 48 saves from Pickard.