Kennewick, WA- Tri-City wanted to start off their four-game home stand on a strong note.
Justin Gutierrez and Brian Williams each scored two goals, helping the Tri-City Americans (28-17-1-2, 59 pts) earn a 5-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds (18-27-2-1, 39 pts) in front of 3,449 at the Toyota Center.
Tri-City has won three straight against the Thunderbirds and won two in a row overall.
Seattle came out strong, outshooting and outplaying the Americans in the first half of the first period. But the Americans would pick up their play and get on the board first. Brian Williams would fire a rebound into the net on the power play to make it 1-0 Americans. Seattle outshot the Americans 12-8 in the first period, but it was the Americans with the one goal lead after one.
Tri-City turned it on in the second period. It started early as Williams would score again on a great feed from Justin Feser on a 2-on-1. Less than a minute later, Justin Gutierrez would redirect a shot into the goal to make it 3-0 Americans. Wil Tomchuk would score his first WHL goal midway through the period as he fired the puck toward the net, bouncing the puck off two Seattle defenseman and past Danny Mumaugh to make it 4-0. Seattle would end the Americans' shutout hopes, as Alexander Delnov would score on a 5-on-3 power play at 14:08 to cut the Tri-City lead to three heading into the third period.
The third period was relatively quiet, with Seattle outshooting Tri-City 7-4. The Americans would cap off the win as Gutierrez would score his second goal of the game late in the third to put the Thunderbirds away for good.
With the power play goal, the Americans continued their hot streak on special teams. They were 1 for 2 on the power play, making them 11 of 22 on the power play in the last six games. The Americans also held the Thunderbirds to just one power play goal on seven chances, including two 5-on-3 chances.
Feser had two assists tonight, which brings his point streak to nine games.
Tri-City will welcome an unfamiliar foe to the Toyota Center on Jan. 25 as the Medicine Hat Tigers (23-22-2-1, 49 pts) make their lone appearance at the Toyota Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Tri-City defeated the Tigers last season in Medicine Hat 4-3 in a shootout with Feser scoring the game winner. Derek Ryckman will make his return to the Toyota Center after playing for the Americans last season. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Toyota Center Box Office, any Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Brian Williams, Tri-City
2. Justin Gutierrez, Tri-City
3. Luke Lee-Knight, Tri-City
Photo credit is John Allen.