KENNEWICK -- The Seattle Thunderbirds slowed down the Shinnimin Express on Tuesday night, but the Tri-City Americans steamrolled their way to another win.
Backed by a 31-save performance by rookie Eric Comrie, the Americans handed the Thunderbirds a 3-1 loss before a crowd of 3,679 at Toyota Center.
With the win, Tri-City (45-15-1-2) earned home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and remained atop the Western Hockey League standings with 93 points.
Seattle (21-39-1-1, 44 points), which hasn't won in Kennewick since Jan. 27, 2008, a span of 22 games, failed to put distance between itself and Everett (43 points) in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Americans did all of their scoring in the first period, and held off the Thunderbirds down the stretch to run their win streak to seven games.
"Sometimes a quick start is a blessing and a curse," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team finished 9-1 against Seattle this season. "We relaxed a bit and they were stride for stride with us the rest of the way."
Comrie picked up his 19th win of the season and is 6-1 against Seattle.
"I've played them a lot and I understand what they do," Comrie said of the Thunder-birds. "I know their systems and their plays. I'm happy to have 19 wins. I give full credit to my team, they go out and score a lot of goals."
With Calvin Pickard on the bench, the Americans came out firing on Seattle rookie backup goalie Daniel Cotton.
It didn't take long for Tri-City to find the net as Patrick Holland scored on the power play at 3:20.
Adam Hughesman took the original shot, and the rebound shot out to the left circle, where Holland whipped the puck in the net for his 24th goal of the season.
"Shinny and Hughesman are hot. It's special to play with them," said Holland, who needs just three points to join his linemates in the 100-point club. "Credit to those guys."
Connor Rankin gave the Americans a 2-0 lead at 14:41, taking a nice pass from Brendan Shinnimin at the top the left circle and blasting the puck past Cotton.
Justin Feser made it 3-0, collecting his own rebound and backhanding the puck behind Cotton at the left post at 16:20.
"They are a good team," Holland said of Seattle. "They play hard and they hit. We were able to take advantage of our opportunities early, then we took our foot off the gas a little."
After scorching the Thunderbirds for three goals in the first, the Americans were held scoreless in the in the second, but not for a lack of effort.
Shinnimin, who had four goals against Seattle on Sunday, had a short-handed breakaway at 13:20 that Cotton stopped with his right pad at the post. With 8 seconds left in the period, Jordan Messier rang a shot off the post.
Shinnimin saw his 10-game goal scoring streak come to an end, but he had two assists and has points in 14 consecutive games. He leads the league in scoring with 117 points.
"Shinny probably had more chances tonight than he did when he scored four the other night," Hiller said. "Hopefully he got that out of his system."
The Thunderbirds had 11 shots on goal in the second -- and two power plays -- but Comrie made some brilliant saves to keep Seattle off the scoreboard.
Connor Sanvido scored Seattle's lone goal on the power play at 18:33 of the third, while Cotton finished with 39 saves.
"The two young goalies were the highlight of the night," Hiller said.
Note: Shinnimin, who was named WHL Player of the Week on Monday, was named CHL Player of the Week on Tuesday after a 19-point week that included 11 goals.