Saturday, February 9, 2013
Tri-City Americans (31-20-1-2, 65 pts) at Tri-City Americans (31-21-2-0, 64 pts)
Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: MeTV 42.2, Charter 280; WHL Live
Spokane: 4-1 Loss at Kootenay
Tri-City: 5-2 Loss vs. Victoria
Spokane: Todd Fiddler, 36G-27A–63PT; Brenden Kichton 17G-45A–62PT; Mitch Holmberg 32G-28A-60PT
Tri-City: Justin Feser, 31G-43A–74PT; Malte Strömwall 16G-29A–45PT; Connor Rankin 19G-18A–37PT
Whenever these two teams get together, always expect a good game and a close contest. But this game means even more to both teams, as playoff seeding is on the line. The Americans hold a one point lead over the Spokane Chiefs for fifth place in the Western Conference. Tri-City is one point back of Victoria for fourth place in the conference, and because the Royals are idle today, the Americans have an opportunity to move back into fourth and keep their rivals in sixth place. Spokane is coming off of a loss to the streaking Kootenay Ice 4-1. The two teams have met eight times this season, with each team winning four meetings. Tri-City has won the last three meetings, including the last two in Spokane, the most recent a 4-3 overtime win as Malte Strömwall netted the winner early in overtime. Tri-City has a two game win streak in Spokane, earning a win in mid-December 2-1 on Spokane’s Teddy Bear Toss Night.
Players to Watch
C Mike Aviani: He leads the Chiefs in plus/minus with a +35 rating and has a two game point streak coming into this game.
D Brenden Kichton: The captain of the team and second leading point scorer had a goal and assist in the New Year’s Eve game against Tri-City.
RW Malte Strömwall: The Sweden native had a part in all three of the Americans goals last night and is the second leading scorer on the team.
LW Jesse Mychan: Mychan had a goal last night and was named the offensive player of the month for the Americans in January.
Keys to the Game
Extra Implications: With the season coming down to the end, the Americans and Chiefs are both fighting for playoff seeding. The teams are separated by a point, and this game will give one team the lead in the season series, which could be a determining factor in who is the higher playoff seed when the season ends in mid-March.
Road Warriors: The team has played well on the road this season, going 18-9-1-0 while not playing as well at home, going 13-11-0-2. Tri-City has a five game road win streak including a win in Spokane in mid-January. The Americans seem to play better on the road and have a better penalty kill unit on the road, while the PK unit at home is ranked near the bottom of the league.
Spokane: Feb. 10 vs. Victoria
Tri-City: Feb. 12 vs. Calgary