Running with an even mix of veterans and rookies Saturday night, the Tri-City Americans came away with a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in the final game of the Red Lion Hotels Preseason Tournament at Toyota Center.
Beau McCue had two goals, and Evan Sarthou stopped 23 of 25 shots as the Americans evened their preseason record at 2-2-2.
“I thought we controlled the play at times and got better play out of some of our older guys that we needed,” Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. “We are getting close to a 60-minute game.”
Seattle’s Alexander True opened the scoring at 6:31 of the first, only to see the Americans rattle off three unanswered goals.
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Vladislav Lukin evened things up 2 minutes later, and McCue scored at 1:47 and 4:30 of the second period for a 3-1 lead.
“At the start, the puck was kind of scrambly, then it settled down,” McCue said. “It was nice to see the younger guys play with the older guys in unison. Our younger guys have been surprising us so far. They have brought their play up to the WHL level and are doing anything for the team.”
The Americans held a 26-16 shot advantage after two periods, but the Thunderbirds pushed back in the third.
After failing to score on a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:22, Seattle found the net 2 seconds after the fact as Kaden Elder found a sliver of daylight at the right post at 7:19.
Seattle went 0-for-6 on the power play.
The Thunderbirds pulled goalie Logan Flodell with 1:35 to play for an extra attacker, but they could not get the equalizer.
Flodell finished with 29 saves.
This highlight did not come from one of the goalies — it was courtesy of Tri-City forward Morgan Geekie, who cut between Seattle’s Mackenzie Wight and Elder to knock the puck away with 3:40 left in the second period.
If not for Geekie’s heads-up play, the Thunderbirds would have had a wide-open net and a sure goal.
Hit of the night
Tri-City rookie Michael Rasmussen upended Seattle’s Matthew Wedman behind the Thunderbirds’ net with 31/2 minutes to play in the first period. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Rasmussen is making a strong case to crack the lineup this season.
In other games
Bartek Bison scored with 37 seconds left in overtime to lead Prince George to a 3-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. ... Spokane overcame a three-goal deficit with five goals in the third period to beat the Red Deer Rebels 5-3. Markson Bechtold had two goals and an assist for the Chiefs.
Camping with the enemy
Tri-City defenseman Parker Wotherspoon and Seattle center Mathew Barzal are attending the New York Islanders camp. Barzal signed a a three-year entry-level contract Thursday with the Islanders.
The Americans finish their preseason schedule with a home-and-home series with the Spokane Chiefs. Tri-City will host Spokane at 7:05 p.m. Friday, while the Chiefs will host the Americans at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Saskatoon Blades traded forward Igor Larionov Jr. to the Portland Winterhawks for a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft and forward Garrett Wait. ... The Swift Current Broncos traded defenseman Matthew Parsons to the Vancouver Giants for forward Brendan Holterhus.