Three’s Company: Bouchard, Huo, and Mutala Show Up Big in WHL Finale
(Kennewick, WA) -- It was the final Western Hockey League game for Connor Bouchard, Samuel Huo, and Sasha Mutala on Saturday. The 20-year-olds have hit the age limit at which they can compete in the junior hockey league, but their ride ended about as well as anyone could have hoped for when the Tri-City Americans bested the Everett Silvertips 4-1 in the regular season finale at the Toyota Center.
Names out for their last game. pic.twitter.com/GJfXN0bmwQ
— Tri-City Americans (@TCAmericans) April 16, 2022
Everett is the top team in the WHL Western Conference--having already secured a place in the playoffs prior to the season finale. You'd have a hard time believing that, though, if you watched the game in Kennewick last night. The Americans led virtually from start to finish when defenseman Marc Lajoie found the back of the next just three-and-a-half minutes into the first period assisted by Bouchard and Mutala. The Ams jumped up to a 2-0 lead later that same period when Petr Moravec netted a power play goal off a wrist shot from the left circle. Parker Bell and Lukas Dragicevic were credited with the assists.
It remained 2-0 heading into the first intermission, but Bouchard scored down low in the slot mere seconds into the third period. The center was assisted by his fellow 20-year-olds Huo and Mutala. The two teams played each other even throughout the rest of the period, and the Americans led 3-0 heading into the third. The Silvertips scored their only goal of the night about six minutes in--courtesy of center Michael Gut. The last goal of the game was an empty-netter for Mutala secured with just over ten seconds left in regulation. Everett actually led in Shots on Goal 26-23, but Tomas Suchanek played well in the net all night long to help get the win.
And so, Head Coach Stu Barnes' first season leading the program ended on a high note. Final score 4-1.