Friday, February 15, 2013
Tri-City Americans (31-22-1-2, 65 pts) at Portland Winterhawks (46-8-1-2, 95 pts)
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR; 7:00 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: Root Sports; WHL Live
Portland: 8-3 Win at Vancouver
Tri-City: 6-2 Loss vs. Calgary
Portland: Brendan Leipsic, 40G-61A–101PT; Nicolas Petan 40G-60A—100PT; Ty Rattie 35G-51A–86PT
Tri-City: Justin Feser, 31G-43A–74PT; Malte Strömwall 16G-31A–47PT; Connor Rankin 19G-19A—38PT
This is the eighth meeting of the season between the two teams. Portland has dominated the season series thus far, winning six of seven meetings. The most recent game was a 7-0 blowout by Portland in Kennewick on Jan. 26, handing the Americans their first loss on CH2M Hill’s Nuclear Night. The only win for the Americans in the series was a 3-2 win in Portland on Dec. 7, with Luke Lee-Knight turning in an impressive performance to earn the win. The Winterhawks have won three in a row and nine of their last 10 coming into this game. Portland boasts the top two scorers in the league, who were the first two players in the CHL to reach the 100 point plateau. Portland has been dominating the league this season, having a seven point lead over the second place team in the WHL and is the only team left in the league with single-digit losses. Tri-City comes into the game on a three game losing streak, having lost the most recent game 6-2 at home against Calgary. The Americans have been better on the road this season with an 18-10-1-0 record, but the Winterhawks have a 23-5-0-1 record at home.
Players to Watch
RW Oliver Bjorkstrand: Bjorkstrand is the highest scoring rookie on the team and scored a hat trick in the last meeting between the two teams.
C Brendan Leipsic: The leading scorer in the WHL has an 11 game point streak coming into this game, including two goals and an assist in the last game against Tri-City.
RW Malte Strömwall: Malte has been exceling in his sophomore season. He is second on the team in points and assisted on both goals in the loss to Calgary.
LW Jesse Mychan: Mychan was named the offensive player of the month in January and had a power play goal against Calgary.
Keys to the Game
Previous Meetings: The history between the two teams this season suggests that the Americans will come out on the losing end tonight. They are coming into the game on a low note, and are playing the highest scoring team in the WHL. Tri-City has played better on the road this season, but Portland has been a monster on home ice this season. The Americans will need to play a great game in order to win tonight.
Playoff Seeding: Portland has already locked up a playoff spot and is the number one seed in the Western Conference right now. Tri-City is fighting for their playoff seed, currently sitting in sixth place in the conference. The Americans are three points back of Victoria and Spokane, each tied at 68 points. The Americans have lost three in a row and are in desperate need of a win to get back into the hunt for fourth seed and get home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Portland: Feb. 16 vs. Vancouver
Tri-City: Feb. 16 vs. Spokane