For the Reporter
The Tri-City Americans defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2 in a Western Hockey League game at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Wednesday night.
The T-Birds travel to Kelowna to take on the Rockets at 7:05 p.m. Friday. They are back home at the accesso ShoWare Center on Saturday to face the Everett Silvertips at 6:05 p.m.
The Americans are in first place in the wild-card playoff standings in the Western Conference, three points ahead of the T-Birds, who are six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers.
Tri-City (30-21-7-1) went in front 1-0 at 10:56 of the first period on a goal from Jordan Topping. Michael Rasmussen and Jake Bean had the assists.
Seattle (28-22-7-2) tied the game 1-1 18 seconds into the second period. Austin Strand intercepted a pass at the right point. Strand skated into the right circle and beat Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea on the glove side for his 20th goal of the season.
Nolan Yaremko gave the Americans the lead back at 2:29 of the second when he scored. Isaac Johnson and Parker AuCoin had the assists.
The T-Birds came right back and tied the game 2-2 at 5:31 of the second. Nolan Volcan passed the puck to Jarret Tyszka and the left point. Tyszka took a wrist shot with Zack Andrusiak screening Dea. Tyszka’s shot beat the goalie on the glove side.
Topping put the Americans up 3-2 at 9:51 of the second with his second goal of the game. Riley Sawchuk and Juuso Valimaki had the assists.
Rasmussen tipped a Dylan Coghlan point shot past Seattle goalie Liam Hughes with six seconds left in the second period to make it a 4-2 Americans lead.
Tri-City outshot Seattle 45-28 in the game.
Hughes had 41 saves on 45 shots and his record is 10-9-4-1.
Dea made 26 saves on 28 shots and his record is 16-12-6-0.
For tickets, order on the T-Birds website or drop by the ShoWare box office.
First period – 1, Tri-City, Topping 33 (Rasmussen, Bean), 10:56. Penalties – Katzalay, Sea (slashing), 5:40. Mutala, Tri (cross checking), 8:00. Wedman, Sea (interference), 18:01.
Second period – 2, Seattle, Strand 20, :18. 3, Tri-City, Yaremko 18 (Johnson, AuCoin), 2:29. 4, Seattle, Tyszka 8 (Volcan), 5:31. 5, Tri-City, Topping 34 (Sawchuk, Valimaki), 9:51. 6, Tri-City, Rasmussen 34 (Coghlan), 19:54 (pp). Penalties – Lee, Sea (hooking) 18:20.
Third period – No scoring. Penalties – Huo, Sea (major-fighting), 2:26. Brown, Tri (major-fighting), 2:26. Geekie, Tri (holding), 7:09. Geekie, Tri (slashing), 10:07. Ottenbreit, Sea (roughing), 10:07. Yaremko, Tri (roughing), 10:07.
Shots on goal – Seattle 4-9-14 28, Tri-City 16-19-7 45. Goalies – Seattle, Hughes 45 shots-41 saves (10-9-4-1); Tri-City, Dea 28-26 (16-12-6-0). Power plays – Seattle 0-3; Tri-City 1-3. Referees – Duncan Brow, Troy Paterson. Linesmen – Trevor Shively, Daniel Spore.