Tri-City tops Winterhawks
The Tri-City Americans made the most of their opportunities on Friday, scoring three times in the final five minutes to beat the Portland Winterhawks 6-3 in a Western Hockey League game at Kennewick, Washington.
Portland remains second in the U.S. Division with a record of 30-18-1-3 for 64 points. Third-place Tri-City (27-16-7-0, 61 points) moved within three points of Portland.
Reece Newkirk scored two goals for Portland and Skyler McKenzie's power-play goal gave Portland a 2-1 lead in the second period. The Winterhawks dominated the shots total, 42-29, but Americans' goalie Patrick Dea made 39 saves.
Morgan Geekie's 19th goal of the season, a rocket from the right-wing faceoff circle, broke a 3-3 tie with 4:24 left in the game. The goal came off a bit of a broken play at the end of an up-ice rush.
Riley Sawchuk scored two late goals to seal the win, including an empty-netter.
Portland took a 2-1 lead on McKenzie's power-play goal 8:42 into the second period. He took a quick pass from Kieffer Bellows down below the goal line and slid it under Dea.
The Winterhawks built a 33-12 shots lead midway through the second period. But a pair of defensive communication errors led to Americans' goals.
Sasha Mutala tied it 2-2 at 13:14 of the second. Morgan Geekie picked up a puck behind the goal and shuffled it to Mutala in front. Portland goalie Cole Kehler had a chance to play the puck but left it there as if expecting a teammate to come get it.
Tri-City's go-ahead goal at 18:48 of the second came on a similar play as Henri Jokiharju passed the puck behind the net where it was intercepted and fed to Isaac Johnson on the doorstep.
Newkirk tied it in similar fashion 9:17 into the third period, pouncing on a turnover in front of Tri-City's net and beating Dea. It was the fourth goal of the season for the rookie, who scored his third of the season late in the first period to tie it 1-1.
The two teams travel to Portland for a 6 p.m. Saturday game at the Moda Center.