The post-Christmas schedule started with a thud for the Portland Winterhawks last night at the Rose Garden as the Tri-City Americans took control in the first period and never looked back, skating away with a 5-1 win.
The same two teams will do battle tonight in Kennewick at 7:00.
An early goal by Brendan Shinnimin gave the Ams the lead and then it was a bad clearing attempt by Oliver Gabriel that allowed for Marcus Messier to get a screened wrist shot home. Less than a minute later it was Jordan Messier on a wrister to make it 3-0, still in the first period.
Gabriel would score the only Hawks goal late in the first period on an up-ice rush by Seth Swenson. The Hawks did hit a few posts, but the Americans scored twice more to get the win.
Craig Cunningham didn’t have the greatest debut in a Hawks sweater but it is a lot to ask of a player being traded from a team where he has been for 4 1/2 years and then take the ice shortly after arriving on a plane, having not had any time to get to know his new teammates.
Our broadcast tonight will be on 95.5 The Game FM, the pre-game show starting at 6:40.