Game Day Preview: Cougars @ Americans

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Prince George Cougars (20-36-2-6, 48 pts) at Tri-City Americans (40-24-1-2, 83 pts)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live

Previous Game
Prince George:
2-1 Shootout Win at Seattle

Tri-City: 6-4 Win vs. Kootenay

Point Leaders
Prince George:
Colin Jacobs, 23G-24A–47PT; Troy Bourke 14G-31A–45PT; Chase Witala 15G-21A–36PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 41G-59A–100PT; Malte Strömwall 18G-42A–60PT; Connor Rankin 30G-26A—56PT

Tri-City and Prince George will meet for the third time in six days. The Americans won the first meeting 6-3, followed by the Cougars shutting out the Americans 3-0, both games occurring in Prince George on Monday and Tuesday. The Americans have won six of their last seven games at the Toyota Center and have won eight of their last 10 games overall. The Americans have been scoring a lot in their last 10 games and outscored their opponents 47-24 in their last 10 games, including scoring five or more goals in seven of the last 10 games. Prince George is fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot and controls their own destiny, only four points back of eighth place Everett with two games in hand. The Americans are in a playoff fight of their own with the Spokane Chiefs, holding a one point lead heading into tonight with the Chiefs hosting Kootenay tonight. The Americans special teams hasn’t been as sharp as it normally is, converting one of their last 15 power play chances, although the Americans are still ranked fourth in the league at 22.3 percent. Tri-City is eighth in the league on the penalty kill but is second to last on the PK at home. Prince George brings the worst power play unit in the league at 14.9 percent.    

Players to Watch
Prince George:
C Troy Bourke: Bourke had two goals in the 3-0 shutout against Tri-City on Tuesday and had two assists in the first game against the Americans in the Toyota Center.

LW Chase Witala: Witala scored two goals in the first meeting between the two teams and is third on the team in scoring.          
C Parker Bowles: Bowles had a goal and two assists last night and is the youngest Americans rookie to score 20 goals in a season.         

C Connor Rankin: Rankin scored three goals last night in the win and had two goals against the Cougars the last time he played in Prince George.    

Keys to the Game
Best Two-out-of-Three?: Tri-City has played Prince George twice this week, with two meetings in  Prince George on Monday and Tuesday. The Americans got the better of the Cougars on Monday with a 6-3 win, but the Cougars came back on Tuesday and defeat Tri-City 3-0. The Americans and Cougars will see who wins the three game series this week, although the Americans hold the advantage in the overall season series 2-1 with a win in Kennewick in late January.  
Playoff Picture: No matter how this game ends up, the winner will be breathing a little easier in terms of playoff positioning. If Tri-City wins, they will either stay one point ahead of Spokane or three points in front. If Tri-City loses, Spokane has a chance to climb back into fourth place and overtake Tri-City depending on the outcome of the Kootenay-Spokane game. If Prince George wins, they will climb within two points of Everett or within four points of Everett and five points of Seattle, depending on the outcome of the critical game between Seattle and Everett tonight. A lot is riding on this game for both teams tonight.

Next Game
Prince George:
March 10 at Vancouver

Tri-City: March 12 at Seattle

Game Day Promotion
It’s another Coors Light Super Cold Saturday on March 9th, when the Prince George Cougars make their final regular season trip to the Toyota Center on Red Lion Hotels – Columbia Center Night, presented by 107.7 The Vine and KNDU-TV.  The first 4,000 fans will receive a free copy of this year’s Team Poster, courtesy of Sterling Bank, Fred Meyer and Kennewick General Hospital.  It’s also another Jack in the Box Rock the Rink Saturday Night, with student ticket discounts available at the Toyota Center box office, simply by showing your valid student card.  On-ice fun will include a performance by the All American Spirit, followed by another round of the Toyota of Tri-Cities Titanic Trike Races and Ranch and Home’s Chuck-A-Puck.

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