Game Day Preview: Tigers @ Americans

Friday, January 25, 2013
Medicine Hat Tigers (23-23-2-1, 49 pts) at Tri-City Americans (28-17-1-2, 59 pts)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live

Previous Game
Medicine Hat:
3-2 Loss at Kootenay

Tri-City: 5-1 Win vs. Seattle

Point Leaders
Medicine Hat:
Curtis Valk, 27G-35A–62PT; Hunter Shinkaruk 27G-30A–57PT; Elgin Pearce 21G-36A-57PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 26G-37A–63PT; Malte Strömwall 13G-24A–37PT; Connor Rankin 18G-15A—33PT

Tri-City welcomes Medicine Hat for the only meeting between the two teams this season. Medicine Hat is clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and has a four point cushion on Kootenay. Tri-City is three points back of Spokane for second in the U.S. Division. Justin Feser has been hot for the Americans, currently riding a 10 game point streak that includes five goals and 14 assists. Feser leads the league in insurance goals with seven. The Americans had a team effort chip in to a 5-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in their previous game, as Wil Tomchuk scored his first career WHL goal and Justin Gutierrez scored his third and fourth goals of the season. These two teams played a hard fought game last season, with the Americans coming out on top 4-3 in a shootout with Feser scoring the game winner. Curtis Valk had two goals and Hunter Shinkaruk had a goal in the game, who is two of top weapons on the Tigers this season. Tri-City has won two straight against the Tigers at home, the most recent a 4-1 win in December 2010. Tri-City is lighting it up on the power play recently, converting 11 of their last 22 chances, vaulting them to the fourth best power play in the league.

Players to Watch
Medicine Hat:
C Elgin Pearce: After playing three games with Kootenay, the center has come on strong with the Tigers. He is tied for second on the team in points and has a four game point streak.         

D Tyler Lewington: The 18-year-old defenseman is the wingman for the Tigers, as he has 19 assists and no goals this season in 44 games and is still looking for his first WHL goal.
C Parker Bowles: Bowles has come on strong lately with five goals and three assists in his last five games and is tied for 13th in the league in rookie scoring.       

C Brian Williams: Williams has scored the first goal for the Americans in three of his last five games and is fourth on the team in scoring.

Keys to the Game
Confidence: Tri-City has played eight games against teams from the Eastern Conference this year and has dominated with a 7-0-1 record. The lone loss came in Saskatoon in overtime, but the other seven games against Eastern Conference teams have been solid, including a shutout of Moose Jaw and two home wins against Lethbridge and Red Deer.
Quick Start: Tri-City has played well when they have got off to a quick start. The Americans are 20-4-0-1 when scoring the first goal of the game, but 8-13-1-1 when their opponent scores first. The Americans have been very good at closing games out this season with a 17-0-0-2 record when leading after two periods. The Americans have shown they are a much better team when playing with a lead then having to come from behind to win games.  

Next Game
Medicine Hat:
Jan. 26 at Spokane

Tri-City: Jan. 26 vs. Portland

Game Day Promotion
The Central Division’s Medicine Hat Tigers make their lone Toyota Center appearance on U.S. Cellular Night, presented by Mix 105.3 FM, KEPR-TV and the Tri-City Herald.  The first 2,000 fans will receive the first set of 2012-13 Tri-City Americans Trading Cards, courtesy of U.S. Cellular.  It’s another Tri-City Herald Family Friday, presented by KEPR-TV, so be sure to clip the coupon in the Herald or online at Tri-City Herald Dot Com to save big at the Toyota Center box office.  It’s also Ag Night with the Americans…contact the Americans today to see how you can get your farming or agriculture group involved in the festivities!  Intermission fun will include the Mix 105.3 Musical Chairs Contest, followed by the Coors Light Super Cold Slap Shot Contest!

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