Saturday March 8, 2014
Tri-City Americans (28-31-3-5, 64 pts.) at Kelowna Rockets (53-10-0-4, 110pts.)
Prospera Place, Kelowna, B.C. 7:05 p.m. PST
Local Radio Broadcast: NewsTalk 870 AM, 6:45 p.m.
Kelowna: 03/05/14 at Spokane (3-1, Win)
Tri-City: 03/07/14 vs. Everett (2-4, Loss)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Kelowna: Myles Bell 41G-33A-74PT, Damon Severson 14G-44A-58PT, Ryan Olsen 27G-29A-56PT
Tri-City: Brian Williams 36G-19A-55 PT, Beau McCue 19G-18A-37PT, Lucas Nickles 17G-19A-36PT
The Tri-City Americans kick off its final road swing of the regular season with the fourth and final meeting against the WHL leading Kelowna Rockets. The Americans have dropped all three games against the Rockets this season with a 0-2-0-1 record, but will be looking for revenge after a tough shootout loss at the Toyota Center last week. All-time, the Americans lead the series against Kelowna with a mark of 63-57-2-1 historically.
Players to Watch
Myles Bell- Myles Bell has been the offensive MVP for the Rockets so far this year, leading the team in goals and points with 41 and 74 respectively. The 20-year-old has scored goals in two of the three matchups so far this season, but has been held out of the goal column in each of his last three games.
Damon Severson- Leading the team in assists is defenseman Damon Severson, who enters Saturday’s game with 44 on the season. The Saskatchewan native also leads the team with a +44 rating, registering two points against the Americans this season.
Jordan Cooke- The Americans will have the challenge of scoring against one of the league’s top net minders in Jordan Cooke, who has a 2.30 goals against and a 0.921 save percentage. The 20-year-old has faced the Americans twice this year, giving up just a single goal in each contest.
Parker Bowles- Parker Bowles will be playing in front of his home crowd on Saturday night and he will look to give the Americans a boost. The Kelowna native leads the team with 23 assists in just 34 games this season and has registered points in five of his last seven games.
Eric Comrie- Eric Comrie makes up the second half of this goaltending duel, going up against Cooke on the other side. The 18-year-old net minder ranks third in the WHL with a 0.923 save percentage and will be looking for another good outing after turning in a solid 39 save night against the Rockets last week in Kennewick
Justin Gutierrez- Gutierrez is coming off what might have been his best game of the season last night, scoring his fourth goal of the season while playing his usual solid defensive game. While he hasn’t done any damage against the Rockets offensively this season, look for his strong outing to carry into Saturday night’s contest.
Previous Game: The Americans came up just short against the Everett Silvertips at the Toyota Center on Friday night in a 4-2 final. After falling behind by two, Lucas Nickles scored with 15.9 seconds remaining in the second period to get his team within a goal. But, Austin Lotz and the Everett defense kept the Americans in check to come away with the victory.
March to the Playoffs: With five games remaining in the 2013-14 regular season, the Americans continue hold that eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Tri-City sits just six points back of the Vancouver Giants for the seventh spot as the team looks to improve its post season positioning down the stretch. Still in the hunt are the Prince George Cougars who are now four points back of the Americans, but have just three games remaining on its schedule.
Potential First Round Matchup : If the season ended today, the Americans and the Rockets would face off in the first round of the WHL playoffs. The Rockets are in the driver’s seat for the WHL’s top seed in the post season, with a seven point lead over the Portland Winterhawks with just five games remaining in the regular season.
Against B.C. Division: The Americans will be looking to improve on its record against the B.C. Division where it has gone 8-9-1-1 so far this season. In previous meetings against its cross division Western Conference opponents, Tri-City has victories against Victoria and Prince George as well as multiple wins against both Vancouver and Kamloops.
Eric Comrie Closes in on Single Season Saves Record: Americans goaltender Eric Comrie is just 41 saves away from breaking the team record for saves made in a single season. The current record was set by Aaron Baker during the 97-98 season where he made 1,825 saves. Comrie has surpassed the 41 save mark in a single game once this season, but is on pace to break the record Tuesday night in Portland.
Comrie Saves for Hunger: Americans goaltender Eric Comrie has teamed up with 2nd Harvest Tri-Cities to re-launch “Comrie Saves Hunger” for its second season. Comrie will donate 50 cents out of his own pocket for every save that makes on home ice. The Tri-City Americans will also match Comrie’s donation to 2nd Harvest dollar for dollar. So far Comrie’s save total at the Toyota Center is up to 933, equaling to $466.50 in his personal donation.
Tri-City: at Portland 03/11/14
Kelowna: vs. Victoria 03/11/14