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Giants Win Battle Of Division Leaders; Defeat Tri-City 4-3

October 30, 2008 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Tri-City Americans News Release

VANCOUVER, BC - In a battle between two of the Western Conference's best, the Giants and Americans put on quite a show.

Backed by two third period goals, the Vancouver Giants (11-0-0-3, 25 pts) came back to defeat the visiting Tri-City Americans (10-4-0-1, 21 pts) 4-3 on Wednesday night at Pacific Coliseum. With the win, the Giants, who have yet to lose in regulation this season, became the first team to defeat the Americans when trailing headed into the third period. The win also snaps a three-game losing streak to Tri-City. Meanwhile, the Americans suffer back-to-back losses for the first time this season and fall to 6-2 in one-goal games this season. However, despite the two tough-luck losses this week, the Americans, who have played 10 of their first 15 games on the road, have started the season 5-4-0-1 on the road, good for third-best in the Conference.

Tri-City looked to be in for a long night, as the Giants' top-ranked offense connected early into the contest. Just 1:19 in the first period, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who had the puck bounce right to him after Evander Kane's shot ricocheted off the crossbar, put back a near empty netter for the early 1-0 Giants lead.

However, twice in the first period, the struggling Tri-City power play connected against the League's best penalty killing unit, taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Americans' first power play goal came at 10:24 when Kruise Reddick beat Vancouver netminder Tyson Sexsmith, from the right circle, to tie the game. With the goal, Reddick snapped a career-long 15-game goal-less drought and reached the 100-point mark for his WHL career. Then, just over three minutes later, rookie Justin Feser lifted a backhand past Sexsmith for his sixth goal of the season.

But, just 4:27 into the second period, the Giants tied the game again. At the near post, Craig Cunningham's wrap-around attempt found its way past Tri-City goaltender Chet Pickard and trickled across the goalline, tying the game at 2. Continuing to fight until the horn blew, however, the Americans would re-took the lead with 34 seconds remaining in the period. From the left point, Tyler Schmidt let a wrist shot go that found its way through traffic and past a surprised Sexsmith, sending Tri-City to the locker room with a 3-2 lead.

Unfortunately, the lead did not hold up, as the Giants scored twice, two and a half minutes apart, midway way through the final period. The first came at 8:07, when Andrej Kudrna tied the game at 3 after he split two defensemen and beat Pickard just over his glove. Finally, at 10:37 of the period, after Lane Werbowski's shot was blocked by Jonathon Blum, Blum broke out Garry Nunn, who shelved a back-handed shot, later proving to be the game-winning goal.

In the final 7:50 of regulation, Vancouver gave Tri-City two power play opportunities but, despite how crisp the Americans' power play started the contest, Tri-City could get nothing going against the Giants defense. In the end, Tri-City went 2-for-6 on the power play and was a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Pickard, who lost back-to-back games for the first time since Mar. 4 and 7 of last season, finished with 35 saves on 39 shots. Meanwhile, Sexsmith amassed 19 saves in route to his seventh win of the season.

The Americans will now head back across the border to the friendly confines of the Toyota Center, where they will prepare to face-off against the Portland Winter Hawks on Friday, October 31. Game time is 7:05 p.m. It is the first match-up of the season between the two division rivals. Last season, Tri-City went 8-1 against the 'Hawks and have won 14 of their last 15 contests against Portland. The Americans are 60-29-3-1 with 5 ties all-time against the 'Hawks at home and currently own a nine-game home-winning streak against Portland. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Toyota Center box office, all Fred Meyer locations, or online at Those unable to make it to the game can catch all the action live on NewsTalk 870 AM, starting with the Sterling Savings Bank Warm-up Show at 6:45 p.m.

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