By Annie Fowler

Brendan Shinnimin did what he does best Tuesday night to put the Tri-City Americans one win from the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.

Shinnimin scored twice in the second period, Ty Rimmer finished with 23 saves for the shutout, and the Tri-City defense was at its best in a 4-0 victory against the Everett Silvertips before an announced crowd of 2,442 at Comcast Arena.

"Playoffs on the road, I liked what I saw," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "(Shinnimin) scores big goals. He had 58 during the regular season. The impressive part of our game was our defense. When people think about our team, they think speed and skill. We are just as good without the puck."

The Americans have a 3-0 series lead entering Game 4 tonight at Comcast Arena. The last team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs was Spokane over Portland in 1996.

"The fourth one is always the toughest to win," Everett coach Mark Ferner said. "You have to take it one game at a time. We have another opportunity to play (today) against a very good hockey team. We will certainly reveal our character (today)."

After a scoreless first period, the Americans wasted no time in getting on the board in the second.

Shinnimin, on a feed from Adam Hughesman, scored at 1:41 for his first goal of the playoffs. He struck again at 3:21, this time between the circles in the slot to give the Americans a 2-0 lead they would hold until the end of the period.

"I had chances in the first couple of games. They just weren't going in," Shinnimin said. "You have to put the puck to the net. Sometimes they go in, and sometimes they don't. We came out pretty strong in the first and second periods. We played well defensively and weren't giving them any scoring opportunities."

Even though the Americans left Tuesday's game with a 3-0 lead, Shinnimin said the series wasn't over.

"Everett was missing a couple of key guys (Ryan Harrison and Manraj Hayer on Tuesday)," Shinnimin said. "They are a team that doesn't quit."

The Silvertips came at Rimmer with a barrage of shots to start the third, but there was a stick in every lane, disrupting any hope of offense for Everett.

"Like we tell our team, when you are in your own end, you'd better play defense," Ferner said. "Credit our kids, we came out hard. I'm not saying we had more zone time more than they did, but they made it tough for our guys to get pucks to the net. Our guys have to understand that's where the pucks need to get to. I thought we were trying to be too cute with it when we had opportunities."

With time winding down, the Silvertips pulled goalie Kent Simpson for an extra attacker, but Hughesman had an empty-net goal at 18:14 to seal the win.

Justin Feser finished the scoring at 18:51 with his first goal of the playoffs.

Rimmer picked up his third consecutive win and gave credit to his defense for lending a helping hand.

"We were solid (Tuesday)," Rimmer said. "Guys were blocking pucks all over the ice and sacrificing their bodies. That's what it's going to take to win. We knew they were going to come out hard. Their backs are against the wall. They play hard at home, but we were able to shut them down."

After giving up two major penalties to the Americans in Game 2 last Saturday, the Silvertips cashed in on one of their own in the first period when Tri-City's Patrick Holland was assessed a major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct at 13:28.

Everett managed just one shot on goal during the extended man advantage against the Americans' top-ranked penalty kill, spending most of the time retrieving the puck from its own end of the ice.

With Holland out, Americans forward Jesse Mychan left the game at 5:52 of the second period with a right foot injury and did not return.

"It doesn't look good," said Hiller, who did not expand on Mychan's injury. "With Holly and Mych out, Brian Williams made good decisions. He was a positive impact offensively."