Game Day Preview: Chiefs @ Americans

Tuesday March 26, 2013
2013 WHL Playoffs 1st Round- Game 3
(4) Spokane Chiefs (44-26-2-0, 90 pts) at (5) Tri-City Americans (40-27-2-3, 85 pts)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870

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

03/23/13 – Game 2: at Spokane 6, Tri-City 4
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 2-0

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

Spokane jumped out to a 2-0 series lead with a 6-4 win on Friday night in Veterans Memorial Arena. Drydn Dow scored the first goal of the game, but the Chiefs answered with two goals of their own from Liam Stewart and Tyler King to earn a 2-1 lead. Tri-City answered with goals from Parker Bowles and Marcus Messier to lead 3-2 after the first period. The second period was all Spokane as goals from Blake Gal and Todd Fiddler gave Spokane a 4-3 lead heading into the final period. The Americans tied the game midway through the third as Jesse Mychan scored on the power play. But the Chiefs were able to take the lead with 3:29 remaining in the game as Gal scored his second goal of the game to give the Chiefs the lead and Mike Aviani sealed the win with a late goal.  

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 Blake Gal: Gal has been a thorn in the Americans side in March. He scored the game winning goal in overtime in the final regular season meeting and netted two goals in Game 2, including the game winner.

LW Alessio Bertaggia: Bertaggia has been stellar since coming to the Chiefs from Brandon, including a goal and assist in Game 1 and an assist in Game 2.  
D Drydn Dow: Dow stepped up big in Game 2, scoring the first goal of the game to give the Americans their first lead of the series and added an assist on Jesse Mychan’s third period goal to tie the game.  

RW Malte Strömwall: Strömwall had two assists in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Spokane, assisting on the first goal of the game and on Mychan’s game tying goal.          

Keys to the Game
Home Sweet Home: While the Americans had a better record on the road this season, there is no denying that Tri-City is much more comfortable playing in the Toyota Center. The team can feed off the energy of the crowd at any point in the game, whether it is to keep momentum going or to pick the team up after giving up a goal. The Toyota Center will be rocking to try and help the Americans get back in the series.     
Must Win: The last time the Americans were down 0-2 in a playoff series was last season against the Portland Winterhawks, sweeping the Americans in four games. Tri-City was in a 0-2 hole against the Spokane Chiefs in 2002, and fell in that series in five games. The Americans have never come back from a 0-2 series deficit. Tri-City does not want to go down 0-3 to the Chiefs, so tonight will be crucial to get a win and get back into the series.       

Game Day Promotions
The Americans host Game 3 of their 2013 WHL Playoffs First Round series against the Spokane Chiefs on Tailor-Made Smiles Night, presented by 93.7 The Rockin’ River, KEPR-TV and the Tri-City Herald.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the Toyota Center.  The first one thousand fans will receive a free Americans’ Fan ‘Fan’ noisemaker, courtesy of Dr. Craig Barney and the folks at Tailor-Made Smiles.  Also, be sure to stop by any Ranch and Home location to pick up a Playoff Value Coupon, good for 4 tickets for just $64 when redeemed at the Toyota Center box office!  Our first intermission will host a series of on-ice check presentations, with several highlighting your generosity.  Then, our second break will host Hawthorne Court’s Find the Mascot Challenge. 


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