Isaac Johnson played nearly 100 regular season games with the Tri-City Americans and he was a big part of their team over the past two seasons.
In the regular season alone, Johnson had 80 points, 29 of which were goals with Tri-City.
However, Isaac’s tenure in Tri-City came to an end after last season. His WHL career didn’t, however, as he was Manitoba bound, joining the Winnipeg ICE.
On Friday night, Johnson made his return to the Twin Cities for the first time since last season and he made an immediate impact.
In a back and forth affair, Johnson ended up elevating his new team to victory as he scored in overtime in a 3-2 victory against the Americans.
”I think we battled really hard all night long and we ended up getting two points at the end,” said Johnson after the game courtesy of winnipegice.ca.
”There was a lot to like. Our battles and puck control through the first two periods was outstanding,” said James Patrick, head coach. “It was a really good effort.”
Both Jesse Makaj for Winnipeg and Beck Warm for Tri-City were perfect for their teams in the first.
Beck made 12 saves while Makaj made seven in the opening 20 minutes.
The second period would bring some goals along with it.
The period can also be called the Blake Stevenson show for the Americans.
Just 1:56 into the period, Stevenson potted a puck past Makaj to give Tri-City a 1-0 lead and they didn’t stop there.
At the 8:50 mark, Stevenson scored his second of the game and period as Tri-City all of a sudden had a 2-0 lead.
The second goal was a power play marker.
”I was upset with those goals and what we did. Our penalty killing has been a real sore spot for us,” said Patrick. “We’ve tried many different guys and we’ve watched a lot of video.”
”It comes down to getting sticks in lanes, blocking pucks, and clearing it down the ice, we need to be better at that,” continued Patrick.
There is no doubt that Winnipeg is a resilient squad and they showed that not long after.
Just 28 seconds after Stevenson’s second, Cole Muir brought Winnipeg back in the game with his fourth of the season.
”That was a huge goal. He’s been one of our best forwards in the last couple of weeks. It was a big response,” continued Patrick.
It was then time for Winnipeg to pull off some late period magic. With just 14 seconds left, Jakin Smallwood scored his fourth of the season to tie the game at two after 40.
Both teams pushed hard to find the winner in the third, but it was not to be.
Warm went a perfect 9-for-9 while Makaj was also perfect, going 7-for-7.
That set the stage for the former American to do his thing in overtime.
Isaac Johnson got away on a breakaway and he beat Warm to give Winnipeg two points in a thrilling 3-2 win.
”Makaj made a big save and then I was gone. It was a good goal and a great win for our team,” said Johnson.
Winnipeg is now 13-9-1 and they have jumped Saskatoon for the second spot in the East Division.
Tri-City, meanwhile, dropped to 11-7-1-1, but they’re still third in the U.S. Division.
Winnipeg plays in Spokane on Saturday while Tri-City is off. They head to Everett on Sunday.
- Winnipeg went 0-for-3 on the power play while Tri-City was one better going 1-for-3.
- Winnipeg is now 2-1-1 on their current extended road trip with one game to go.
- Beck Warm was fantastic for Tri-City as he made 38 saves, 16 of which came in the second alone.
- Peyton Krebs was a healthy scratch for Winnipeg. He’s expected to return on Saturday.