Game Day Preview: Americans @ Chiefs

Saturday March 23, 2013
2013 WHL Playoffs 1st Round- Game 2
(5) Tri-City Americans (40-27-2-3, 85 pts) at (4) Spokane Chiefs (44-26-2-0, 90 pts)
Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: MeTV 42.2/Charter 280

Series Overview
03/22/13 – Game 1: at Spokane 4, Tri-City  1

03/23/13 – Game 2: Tri-City at Spokane
03/26/13 – Game 3: Spokane at Tri-City
03/28/13 – Game 4: Spokane at Tri-City
03/30/13 – Game 5: Spokane at Tri-City*
04/02/13 – Game 6: Tri-City at Spokane*
04/03/13 – Game 7: Tri-City at Spokane*
* = If Necessary
Spokane leads series 1-0

Regular Season Point Leaders
Brenden Kichton, 22G-63A–85PT; Mitch Holmberg 39G-41A–80PT; Todd Fiddler 42G-35A–77PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 44G-62A–106PT; Malte Strömwall 21G-45A–66PT; Connor Rankin 32G-26A–58PT

Tri-City and Spokane started off their playoff rivalry with the Chiefs edging the Americans 4-1 last night. Blake Gal started off the scoring, but Brandon Carlo tied the game five minutes later. Alessio Bertaggia scored to give the Chiefs the lead. Mitch Holmberg scored later in the first period on the power play to give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead after one period. No goals were scored in the second period and Mitch Holmberg capped the scoring in the game with a goal midway through the third period.

The Highway 395 rivals meet for the third consecutive year in the playoffs. Tri-City earned a late goal in Game 7 last season in the Conference Semi-Finals to edge Spokane 4 games to 3. In the 2011 playoffs, it was Spokane that defeated Tri-City 4 games to 2 in the Conference Semi-Finals. Spokane and Tri-City have met in the playoffs six times previous, with Spokane coming out on top in four of the six series. The other series win for Tri-City besides last season was in the 1995 WHL Playoffs, defeating the Chiefs 4 games to 3 in the Conference Semi-Finals. The Americans have gotten past the first round in the past five seasons and are looking to make it six straight against Spokane, while Spokane has advanced past the first round in the past two seasons. Tri-City is making their 21st appearance in the Playoffs in their 25th season in the Western Hockey League while Spokane is making their 24th appearance in the playoffs. This is the 10th straight season the Americans have made the playoffs.

Players to Watch
RW Mitch Holmberg: Holmberg scored two goals in last night’s 4-1 win over the Americans in Game 1.       

D Reid Gow: Gow tallied two assists in last night’s 4-1 win.
D Brandon Carlo: Playing in his first career WHL game, he scored his first career WHL goal, the only goal the Americans scored last night.  

G Troy Tombley: Trombley made 28 saves in last night’s loss and will be a key factor if the Americans want to win tonight.         

Keys to the Game
Home Away From Home: Tri-City played six games in Veterans Memorial Coliseum this season, the most played in one building on the road for the Americans this season. The Americans were excellent on the road this season with a 21-14-1-0 record. The Americans were 2-4 on the road in Spokane this season, earning a 2-1 win on Dec. 15 and a 4-3 overtime win on Jan. 19. Even with the loss last night, the Americans know they can win in Spokane. There will be no surprises for the Americans in Spokane and the experience winning in Spokane proves to themselves that they can defeat the Chiefs on the road.    
Bounce Back: Tri-City did not play quite to its potential last night, falling 4-1. The Americans have won in Spokane this season and know they have the ability to defeat the Chiefs in Spokane. The Americans will have to bounce back and win this game to avoid an 0-2 hole and give them momentum heading into next week’s games against Spokane in the Toyota Center.      

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