Nickles scores winner over Blazers

Lucas Nickles, a 19-year-old forward from Salmon Arm, struck for a late power-play goal on Tuesday night, giving the host Tri-City Americans a 2-1 WHL victory over the Kamloops Blazers.

Nickles, in his third season with the Americans, scored his 13th goal of the season at 18:22 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie.

The winning goal came just after the Blazers failed to score on a power-play opportunity, the fifth time they were blanked with the extra man. The Americans finished 2-for-5.

The Blazers played a lot of the game with only 10 forwards. Kamloops dressed 11 forwards, then lost veteran Aspen Sterzer to an undisclosed injury in the first period. He didn't return.

After a scoreless first period, Brian Williams got the Americans (19-19-4) on the board with a power-play goal at 14:51 of the second.

Josh Connolly of the Blazers (10-28-4) tied it just 20 seconds later.

Tri-City goaltender Eric Comrie stopped 26 shots, as did Taran Kozun of the Blazers.
The Blazers, who have lost three in a row and seven of eight, will meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night, then return home to face the Prince George Cougars on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.

JUST NOTES:The Blazers scratched F Matt Needham (leg), F Luke Harrison (head), D Jordan Thomson (personal), F Chase Souto (hand) and F Nick Chyzowski. . . . The Americans went without D Mitch Topping (wrist), D Wil Tomchuk (wrist), F Parker Bowles (knee), F Jessey Astles (undisclosed injury), F Matt Gelinas (WHL suspension), D Michal Plutnar, D Brendan O'Reilly and F Justin Marreck. . . . The Americans are chasing their eighth straight 40-victory season. This was their 19th victory. . . .

In Prince George, F Ryan Gropp of Kamloops had his first WHL three-goal game to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 9-7 victory over the Cougars.

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