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Comrie, Ams defuse Rockets

Eric Comrie turned aside 52 shots and Justin Gutierrez scored the game winner with less than three minutes left leading the Tri-City Americans to a 4-3 win over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Tuesday.

The win was the first for the Americans who still trail the best-of-seven first round series 2-1.

Tri-City snapped a scoreless tie with three goals in a 3:23 span late in the second then held on during a furious third period for their first win of the series.

The line of Gutierrez, Philip Tot and Brian Williams led the way offensively with a goal and two assists each. Former Rocket Jessey Astles scored the other Tri-City goal.

Myles Bell with his third of the series, Justin Kirkland and Marek Tvrdon on late power-plays scored for the Rockets.

The story again for the Americans was Comrie who has been a star in each of the three games so far in the series.

He was outstanding over the first 30 minutes keeping the Rockets at bay and allowing the offence to take advantage of some opportunities late in the second.

"The second period was going along pretty good but then frustration and mental mistakes led to one, led to two and to three," assistant coach Dan Lambert stated during the post game radio show.

Lambert says the Rockets had complete control of the first period but the fact they were unable to capitalize on a couple of power-play opportunities may have swung some of the momentum back toward the Americans.

Down 3-0, the third period was all Kelowna.

Bell made it 3-1 seven minutes in the Kirkland cut the deficit to one on a power-play with just under six minutes left in regulation time.

Gutierrez stalled the comeback with a breakaway goal with under three minutes to play before Tvrdon again cut the margin to one on a late power-play.

The Rockets had a chance to tie it in the dying seconds with Jordon Cooke on the bench but were unable to get the puck past Comrie during a scramble in front of the Americans net.

"The fact we got three in the third showed we can score goals against this guy. It took a bit of grit, a bit of grease and a bit of will," says Lambert.

"This guy is a very good goalie but we got three in the third which means we can score on him."

Game four in the series goes Wednesday night in Tri-City with game five now set for Friday night at Prospera Place.

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