Game Day Preview: Hitmen @ Americans

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Calgary Hitmen (36-16-1-3, 76 pts) at Tri-City Americans (31-21-1-2, 65 pts)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live

Previous Game
4-3 Overtime Win at Seattle

Tri-City: 5-2 Loss at Spokane

Point Leaders
Cody Sylvester, 30G-34A–64PT;  Brooks Macek 26G-36A–62PT; Brady Brassart 21G-34A-55PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 31G-43A–74PT; Malte Strömwall 16G-29A–45PT; Connor Rankin 19G-19A–38PT

A rematch of the 2010 WHL finals, these two teams don’t see each other very often. Last season, the teams met in Calgary with the Hitmen coming out on top 4-1. The Americans are below .500 all-time against the Hitmen, but have a 6-4 record at home against Calgary including the recent three game home win streak, outscoring Calgary 12-5. Calgary comes into this game on the fourth game of their five game road trip through the U.S. Division, winning the first three games. They defeated Portland to begin the trip, coming from behind to win 4-3. Calgary routed Everett next 5-1 and narrowly escaped Kent with a 4-3 overtime win. Tri-City has lost the last two games, which were critical in the playoff picture. The Americans dropped a 5-3 game to Victoria to fall to fifth place in the conference, and then followed that up with a loss to Spokane to drop to sixth. The team sits one point back of Spokane and three back of Victoria. The Americans are solid on the power play at home, ranking fourth in the league at 24.3 percent. Calgary will counter the Americans power play with their fifth ranked penalty kill on the road.

Players to Watch
D Alex Roach: The 19-year-old Los Angeles Kings-signed prospect has a point in each of the three games on the U.S. road trip that includes a goal and three assists.           

LW Jake Virtanen: The number one overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft has 12 goals and nine assists in his rookie campaign, including two goals and two assists during the U.S. road trip.
C Connor Rankin: While the team has lost the last two games, Rankin has an assist in each of the two games.        

RW Malte Strömwall: Strömwall has two goals and four assists so far in February, including an assist for each goal in the Americans 5-3 loss to Victoria.

Keys to the Game
Early Start: The Americans are 22-5-0-1 when they score the first goal of the game and are an excellent closing team with a 19-0-0-2 record when leading after the 2 period. Tri-City will need to get off to a quick start if they want to hold off the team that has the third most goals for in the Eastern Conference.    

Special Teams: Calgary has the most penalty minutes in the league with 1065. This will serve to the Americans benefit, as the Americans have the fourth best power play in the league at home. Tri-City has been good at avoiding the penalty box this season, having the second least amount of penalty minutes in the league. This is a good stat for the Ams at home, as they have the second worst penalty kill in the league at home.  

Next Game
Feb. 13 at Spokane

Tri-City: Feb. 15 at Portland

Game Day Promotions
The Calgary Hitmen make their only Toyota Center appearance this season on Kadlec’s Neurological Resource Center Night, presented by 107.7 The Vine and Tú Decides.  The game will serve as a fundraiser for the Neurological Resource Center and, as a thank you, the first 1,000 fans will receive a free mini cowbell, courtesy of Kadlec Regional Medical Center.  It’s another Ranch & Home 2-Fer Tuesday– to receive your discount, simply pick up a coupon at the Sporting Goods counter at Ranch & Home Kennewick, or at the Clothing Counter at Ranch and Home Pasco, and redeem it at the Toyota Center box office!  It’s also Bar and Restaurant Worker Night with the Americans… contact the Americans today to see how you can get your establishment involved.  Our first intermission will feature the return of the Kadlec Regional Medical Center Concentration Game, followed by Hawthorne Court’s Find the Mascot Challenge.

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