Saturday, September 28, 2013
Tri-City Americans (1-2-0-1, 3 pts) at Spokane Chiefs (3-0-0-0, 6 pts.)
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 6:45 p.m.
Watch: Charter 280/ MeTV 42.2
Spokane: 09/25/13 At Victoria (6-1, Win)
Tri-City: 09/27/13 At Seattle (4-5, Loss SO)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Spokane: Mitch Holmber 6G-6A-12 PT, Mike Aviani 5G-5A-10PT, Reid Gow 0G-6A-6PT
Tri-City: Brian Williams 5G-3A-8PT, Beau McCue 3G-0A-3PT, Connor Rankin 2G-1A-3PT
When these teams met last weekend The Spokane Chiefs spoiled the Americans home opener by jumping out to an early 4-0 lead coasting to a 6-2 victory. Tonight it will be the Chief’s home opener and the Americans will be hungry to return the favor to an unbeaten Spokane team. It took Tri-City a few games to get going, but the team seems to have put it together offensively scoring 10 goals in its past two games after netting just three in its first two. Defensively the Americans will have its work cut out for it going up against one of the league’s most potent offenses in the early going. Spokane has scored six goals in each of its first three games and have the league’s top two scorers in Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani. Tri-City looks to keep pace with the Chiefs early in the season and tie the season series at one with still 10 meetings to come this season.
Players to Watch
Mitch Holmberg– Holmberg has had a ferocious start to the 2013-14 season with six goals and six assists in his first three games. He is the league’s early leader in points and has tallied four points in every game he has played so far. Last weekend he scored three goals and one assist against the Americans. Tri-City will have to be the first to shut him down if it wants to avenge last weekend’s defeat.
Mike Aviani- Aviani is coming off a huge game against the Victoria Royals. His four goals and one assist effort vaulted him right behind his teammate for second in league scoring so far this season. He did some damage against the Americans last weekend scoring a goal and two assists and seems to only be heating up as the season goes on.
Eric Williams – Not only have the Chiefs been able to score at will, it has also done a great job keeping the puck out of its own not allowing just five goals in three games. Williams has been in goal for two of those games with a 2.00 GAA. The Americans will have to find a way to keep its offensive production going against a solid net minder tonight.
Brian Williams– After a slow start, Williams has caught fire over the last two games scoring 5 goals and two assists since being held scoreless in his first two. Twice Williams was able to tie the game last night and he assisted on the two other Tri-City goals that helped the Americans earn a point. He currently sits third place in league scoring behind both Holmberg and Aviani.
Connor Rankin– Rankin has really gotten it going of late, scoring in each of his last two games. The Americans need him to keep putting the puck in the net as it looks to start stringing wins together early in the season. Spokane will have to be aware of Rankin at all times or he could do some serious damage.
Justin Hamonic– Quietly going about his business every game, Hamonic has been a difference maker at defense early in the season. Not only has he picked up two assists, including a great stretch pass in last night’s game to send Williams in alone, but he has also kept the divisions best scorers off the board. Hamonic comes into tonight’s game with a rating of +5 and will play a key role in keeping a dangerous Chiefs offense at bay.
Key to the Game
Score the First Goal/Early Momentum: Through the first four games of the season the difference for the Americans has been how it has started the game. When Tri-City scores first the team is 1-0-0-0 and when its opponent strikes first the team is 0-2-0-1. Last night the Americans were the better team right out of the gates, outshooting the Thunderbirds 7-0 in the first five minutes. However they still failed to score first and played the majority of the game from behind. When these teams met last weekend, that early start sunk the Americans early. The Chiefs scored four consecutive goals in the first period putting the game away early. The Americans need to turn the tables tonight and play from ahead of a dangerous Spokane offense rather than from behind.
Spokane: At Portland 10/02/13
Tri-City: vs Seattle 10/01/13