Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Tri-City Americans (0-2-0-0, 0 pts) at Portland Winterhawks (1-0-0-1, 3 pts.)
Moda Center, Portland, OR; 7:00 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 6:45 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
Portland: 09/21/13 @ Seattle (3-4, Loss SO)
Tri-City: 09/22/13 vs. Prince George (1-2, Loss)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Portland: Oliver Bjorkstrand 2G-4A-6PT, Nicolas Petan 1G-4A-5PT, Chase De Leo 3G-1A-4PT, Taylor Leier 0G-4A-4PT
Tri-City: Beau McCue 2G-0A-2PT, Taylor Vickerman 1G-0A-1PT
The Tri-City Americans head to Portland to play the Winterhawks for the first of ten meetings in the 2013-14 season. Last season the Americans had its struggles against the eventual WHL Champions going 3-6-0-0 against them. However two of the three victories came on the road against Portland and the Americans hope to have even more success at the Moda Center this season. Both teams are coming off tough losses from its previous game with the Americans 2-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars and the Winterhawks shootout defeat to the Seattle Thunderbirds. Tri-City and Portland will look to get back on track tonight.
Players to Watch
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Bjorkstrand has gotten off to a fast start in the 2013-14 season. Through two games he leads the WHL with 6 points (2G-4A) with goals in each of his first two games. The Americans will have to be aware of Bjorkstand at all times or he could do some serious damage tonight.
Chase De Leo – Another player the Ams’ will have to be on the lookout for is Chase De Leo, who through two games has already scored three goals, leading the team in goals so far this season. The Thunderbirds limited him to just one goal last Saturday but the Americans will look to do one better tonight.
Brendan Burke – Burke has played both games for the Winterhawks and so far has looked very steady between the pipes with an early GAA of 2.40. After splitting starts with Mac Carruth last season, Burke looks poised and ready to fill that number one role for the Winterhawks this year.
Beau McCue– With all the troubles the Americans have had scoring this season the one bright spot may be the early play of McCue, who has scored in each of the team’s first two games. Last Sunday McCue brought the Americans back from the dead, scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal to pull the Americans within one goal of Prince George late in the game. Look for McCue to be dangerous once against tonight against a tough division rival.
Connor Rankin– It’s been a tough start for the Americans leading returning goal scorer from last season, but the Winterhawks had better not overlook Rankin who could bust out of his slump at any minute. Rankin is still one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the division and the Americans hope to get him going to help lead the resurgence of the Tri-City offense.
Eric Comrie– It was a tough game for Comrie to start the season, allowing six goals against the Spokane Chiefs. But head coach Jim Hiller showed no hesitation putting him right back in goal the next day against Prince George. Comrie made 27 saves against the Cougars keeping the Americans in the game with a chance to tie it late. While the team fell just short, Comrie was named third star for his performance.
Keys to the Game
Keep Away From the Sin Bin: The American found itself in constant penalty trouble on Sunday against the Cougars, and it was costly, giving up both goals on the power play. Tri-City has given up four power play goals in the first two games and it won’t get any easier tonight. The Portland Winterhawks come into tonight’s game having scored five goals on the man advantage already, scoring on just under 40 percent of its opportunities. The Americans will have to stay out of the box and play Portland at even strength to keep the Wintherhawk’s prime scoring chances to a minimum.
Drawing First Blood: One thing the Americans have not done this season is play with a lead. It had opportunities against both Spokane and Prince George to score that ever important first goal but fell short on both occasions. With strong net minding and a physical defensive unit the Americans will have success when playing with the lead this season. The Portland Winterhawks are a team Tri-City has to jump in front of because of quick strike capabilities. The Americans will need to find a way to get ahead early and keep a dangerous team off the scoreboard to earn its first victory of the season tonight.
Portland: Vs Seattle 9/28/13
Tri-City: At Seattle 9/27/13