Game Day Preview: Americans @ Thunderbirds

Saturday, February 2, 2013
Tri-City Americans (30-19-1-2, 63 pts) at Seattle Thunderbirds (19-29-3-1, 42 pts)
ShoWare Center, Kent, WA; 7:00 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live

Previous Game
5-3 Loss vs. Portland

Tri-City: 2-1 Shootout Win at Everett

Point Leaders
Connor Honey, 14G-27A–41PT; Roberts Lipsbergs 19G-21A–40PT; Alexander Delnov 16G-20A-36PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 27G-43A–70PT; Malte Strömwall 15G-25A–40PT; Connor Rankin 19G-17A—36PT

The Americans and Thunderbirds will clash for the sixth time this season. Seattle got the better of Tri-City in the first two meetings, winning 3-1 in Kent in October and 8-4 about two weeks ago in Kennewick on Teddy Bear Toss night. But Tri-City did get their first win against the Thunderbirds right before the winter break with a 4-1 victory in Kent and followed that up with a 5-3 home win on Jan. 13 with Justin Feser scoring a natural hat trick and his 300th point that night. The most recent game was a 5-1 win for the Americans on Jan. 22. The Seattle win in December in Kennewick snaps a 22 game losing streak for the Thunderbirds in the Toyota Center. Seattle is last in the U.S. Division with 42 points and sits in the eighth and final playoff spot. Tri-City was 9-1 against Seattle last season, losing the first game against the Thunderbirds in Seattle but winning the other nine. The two teams are dead even in the overall series, with the Americans holding a 104-101-7-1 with 13 ties against the Thunderbirds. Tri-City is coming off of a thrilling 2-1 shootout win in Everett while Seattle comes in having lost to the Portland Winterhawks at home 5-3.

Players to Watch
C Luke Lockhart: Luke is the sixth highest scorer on the team and has a goal and three assists against the Americans this season.       

LW Roberts Lipsbergs: The leading rookie point scorer on the team leads the team in goals with 19 and played for Latvia in the World Junior Championships.
RW Malte Strömwall: Malte is second on the team in points, and scored the only goal in regulation and the game winning goal in the shootout.

LW Jesse Mychan: Mychan had a six game point streak in January and nine goals and five assists during January.

Keys to the Game
Confidence: The Americans come into this game having won a thrilling game in a shootout 2-1. They may be a little fatigued after playing extra hockey and grinding out a win, but the team has confidence coming into this game having won two straight and the last four games on the road.
Special Teams: Tri-City’s power play has been playing well in the last 10 games and it has vaulted the team’s overall power play to eighth in the league, including a 12th ranked power play at home. The Thunderbirds have the 13th ranked penalty kill overall and 13 ranked penalty kill at home. The Americans were 0-3 last night on the power play, but killed off all five of the Everett power plays.   

Next Game
Feb. 5 at Victoria

Tri-City: Feb. 8 vs. Victoria

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