Gore's 44 Saves Snap Americans Win StreakOctober 29, 2009 - Western Hockey League (WHL) Tri-City Americans
Led by two quick goals to start the third period, Hiller's former club, the Chilliwack Bruins (5-6-1-3, 14 pts), held off the red hot Tri-City Americans (11-3-0-0, 22 pts) 5-2 in front of 2,954 fans at Prospera Centre. For Chilliwack, the win was just their second of the season on home ice and marked the first time they had defeated the Americans at Prospera Centre. Meanwhile, the loss ended several streaks for Tri-City, including their bid to tie the franchise's all-time consecutive wins mark (10) and Drew Owsley's attempt to become just the third Americans' goaltender to win 10 straight games.
Hiller's Americans, who were facing off against his former club for the first time since being let go in mid-March, came in having won their last four road contests. But, coaches and players alike will tell you that streaks don't matter once the puck is dropped.
In this reunion of sorts, it was the Bruins who jumped out on top early. Just 3:16 into the contest, and on the power play, Dylen McKinlay recorded his first of two goals on the night. However, 6:38 later, Tri-City's Jordan Messier used his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at 1.
The game remained tied until 12:59 of the second period until Chilliwack retook the lead. After Owsley stopped two quick shots by Jeff Einhorn and Kevin Sundher, Jamie Crooks connected on try #3 and beat Owsley for the 2-1 lead. But, with less than two minutes remaining in the period, Messier tied it again, when he rebounded a Neal Prokop shot. It marked Messier's first multi-goal game of his young WHL career.
Despite the momentum headed into the second break, Chilliwack quickly tilted the ice in their favor to start the third period. Just 3:36 into the final frame, the Bruins' scored twice to quickly put the Americans in a 4-2 hole. Off the stick of Roman Horak, Chilliwack took the lead for good at 1:25. Then, 1:11 later, McKinlay stole the puck from Tyler Schmidt and scored on a breakaway all alone.
In an effort to refocus his team, Hiller used his one and only timeout following McKinlay's second goal. It appeared to work as the Americans continued to pepper Bruins netminder, Lucas Gore. But, even with a 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the period, Tri-City could get nothing past him. With 43 seconds remaining in regulation, an empty net goal by Shayne Neigum wrapped up the scoring in the contest.
Gore, who won his second straight start, finished with a season-high 44 saves. Meanwhile, Owsley, who hadn't lost since a 1-0 defeat in Seattle on Oct. 2, stopped 28 shots in the loss. The Bruins went 1-for-3 on the man-advantage, while holding the potent Tri-City power play scoreless on three opportunities.
With history now on hold, the Americans will look to start a new streak on Friday, October 30, when their five-game road trip takes them even further north to the Prince George Cougars. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at CN Centre. It is the first match-up of the year between the two clubs. The Americans swept the four-game series last year between the two clubs and come in with a six-game winning streak vs. the Cougars. Meanwhile, Prince George recently snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 5-4 shootout victory last Saturday vs. Chilliwack. Two of their three wins this season have come at the CN Centre. Fans can catch all the action live, via WHL WebTV, at the Americans' home away from home, Kimo's Sports Café in Richland starting at 7:00 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.
Applebee's 3 Stars:
1, Lucas Gore, Chilliwack
2, Dylen McKinlay, Chilliwack
3, Jordan Messier, Tri-City
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