VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouver Giants coach Don Hay will have to wait at least one more game to write his name into the junior hockey record books.
The Tri-City Americans beat the Giants 5-2 in Western Hockey League semifinal action Thursday to knot their best-of-seven Western Conference championship series 2-2.
With the loss, Hay remains in a tie for the WHL's all-time playoff coaching win record at 101 with former Portland Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings coach Ken Hodge.
"I thought we competed hard," said Hay. "It was like a chess game out there. There wasn't a lot of opportunities. Both teams didn't create a lot, but I thought we did okay."
Game 5 of the series goes Friday night in Kennewick, Wash.
"I've got a lot of respect for (Hay), but I'm happy to see him wait," said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller.
Kruise Reddick had a goal and three assists to lead the way for the Americans. The 19-year-old Manor, Sask., native, passed over in the last two NHL drafts, now has 19 points in 15 post-season games.
"Overall, I was happy with my game and I'm very happy about the outcome," said Reddick.
Brett Plouffe, Jordan Messier, Adam Hughesman, with the second-period winner, also scored for Tri-City, before Reddick and Justin added empty-netters in the game's final minute. Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley recorded 30 saves, as the Giants outshot the Americans 32-25.
"It's disappointing when you get a chance to go up 3-1 in the series," said Vancouver netminder Mark Segal. "That was a pivotal game and we weren't able to execute well enough."
Brendan Gallagher and David Musil, both on the power play, scored for the Giants, who went 2-for-3 with the man-advantage in the first 40 minutes.
The score was tied 1-1 after the first and the Americans led 3-2.
Reddick said Tri-City limited the Giants' offence by staying out of the penalty box as both clubs went without an infraction in the third.
Segal said the players were disappointed to not be able to get the record for Hay, but more disappointed to be tied in the series
"It would have been great to get the record for Don, said Segal. "We all appreciate what he does. But it's much more important for him and for all of us to get that series lead and to win the series."
With the score tied 2-2 in the second, Hughesman scored the game-winner on the power play at 10:49 when he pounced on a loose puck after Musil blocked a Brendan Shinnimin shot.
Gallagher gave the Giants a 1-0 lead in the first when banked a puck in, but Plouffe tied it 77 seconds later as his point shot appeared to go in off Vancouver centre James Wright.
Messier gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at 5:01 of the second, but Musil deadlocked the game again as he pinched in from the point to tap home Milan Kytnar's back-door pass.
Now, Americans and Giants have to see who can gain the upper hand in the series by travelling by bus over night and playing back-to-back games in two cities.
"We've got two relatively tired teams," said Hiller. "It's going to come down to will and determination."
Hay, meanwhile, doesn't think fatigue will be an issue.
"We did it during the year," said Hay. "We play on Friday and we play somewhere else on Saturday, so I don't think it will really make a big difference."