VICTORIA - Connor Rankin scored two goals and Mason Wilgosh added three assists as the Tri-City Americans beat the Victoria Royals 5-3 in Western Hockey League action Wednesday.
Adam Hughesman, Zachary Yuen and Marcus Messier also scored for the Americans (23-7-0).
Logan Nelson, Kevin Sundher and Zane Jones replied for the Royals (12-18-2)
Victoria opened the scoring when rookie Nelson manoeuvred through the Americans' defence and beat goalie Eric Comrie for his 13th goal of the season.
Americans star winger Hughesman answered back with a low wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle, beating Royals backup goalie Jared Rathjen, who was starting only his second game of the season.
Sundher's 19th of the season put Victoria up 2-1, but Rankin scored on a power play with less than two minutes to go in the first period to tie the game 2-2.
The second period featured key saves by both goalies, including a sparkling glove stop by Rathjen that brought the home crowd to its feet.
Jones put Victoria ahead at 15:58 of the second period when he banged in a loose puck in front of Comrie. In the final minute of the period, Americans defenceman Yuen beat Rathjen with a wraparound to the far post, tying the game at 3-3.
The Americans jumped ahead by two goals in the first half of the third. Rankin banked the puck off the skate of a Royals defender and past Rathjen. Less than four minutes later, Messier scored on a wrist shot to the top corner.
The Royals finished the game with only 18 shots.
Desite the loss, Rathjen had a standout game, finishing with 25 saves. Comrie stopped 15 in the win.