Game Day Preview: Americans @ Thunderbirds
Friday February 14, 2014
Tri-City Americans (27-24-3-3, 60 pts.) At Seattle Thunderbirds (35-17-2-3, 75 pts.)
ShoWare Center, Kent, WA; 7:35 p.m. PST
Local Radio Broadcast: NewsTalk 870 AM, 7:15 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
Seattle: 02/10/14 at Kelowna (3-7 Loss)
Tri-City: 02/12/14 at Victoria (2-3 Loss OT)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Seattle: Shea Theodore 16G-46A-62PT, Alexander Delnov 23G-29A-52PT, Brandon Troock 21G-27A-48PT.
Tri-City: Brian Williams 34G-14A-48 PT , Phil Tot 15G-21A-36PT , Lucas Nickles 14G-17A-31PT,
The Tri-City Americans continue its Western Conference road trip as the team visits Kent for a meeting with its U.S. Division rival Seattle Thunderbirds. So far this season, the Americans have a record of 3-4-0-1 against the Thunderbirds in eight meetings and will look to even up the season series in its last trip to the ShoWare Center this season. All-time, Tri-City holds a 109-107-7-2 record against Seattle with a 41-62-4-1 mark on the road.
Players to Watch
Roberts Lipsbergs- Throughout the season, Lipsbergs has been thorn in the Americans side, registering six goals in seven head-to-head meetings. The 18-year-old leads the team in scoring this season, tallying 31 scores during 2013-14.
Mathew Barzal- It’s been an impressive rookie campaign for Barzal, who has scored 10 goals and 32 assists in 44 games this season, tallying six points against the Americans. The B.C. native has registered points in four of his last six games and has two goals and five assists for far this month.
Taran Kozun- One of the best trade deadline acquistions in the league this season has been that of the Thunderbirds addition of Taran Kozun in January. The net minder has made 11 starts for his new team, recording four shut outs and two CHL goaltender of the week awards.
Parker Bowles- With his power play goal early in the third period on Wednesday, Bowles recorded his first goal since November 19 against the Vancouver Giants. It has been a frustrating season for the Kelowna native, suffering through two injuries that sidelined him for significant amounts of time. But, the 18-year-old looks healthy and primed for a big run as the WHL heads towards the playoffs.
Mitch Topping- Another player who seems to have found his form after missing significant time is Topping, who comes into tonight with points in four of his last five games. The Americans’ captain played in his 300th career game last week and has added some life to the power play running the point.
Beau McCue- At 17 goals and 12 assists, McCue has already matched his offensive numbers from last season and is ready to set new career highs for himself. The Colorado native has been a big part of the team’s offense throughout the season and has been one of the team’s best two-way players, leading the club with four shorthanded goals.
Previous Game: The Americans turned in a strong effort against the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night on the Island, staying right with the Western Conference’s third best team for a whole 60 minutes before falling in overtime. Mitch Topping and Parker Bowles both registered power goals for Tri-City as it earned a valuable point on the night.
The U.S. Division: The Americans are looking to get an important victory against a tough division opponent tonight. So far this season the team is 10-15-2-2 against its division rivals, with at least two victories against all four opponents within the U.S. Division.
Five-Game Road Swing: Tonight is the third of a five-game road swing that began with games against the Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals. After tonight’s game, the Americans will travel east to take on the arch rival Spokane Chiefs tomorrow night, before ending the five-game swing in Kelowna next Wednesday.
Eric Comrie Named Goalie of the Month: Last week, Americans goaltender Eric Comrie was named the Vaughn WHL Goaltender of the month for January. The 18-year-old played in 11 games for Tri-City this past month, posting a 1.35 goals against average and a 0.962 save percentage. Comrie currently ranks second in the WHL in both goals against average and save percentage with a 2.29 and a 0.932 respectively.
Playoff Update: With 15 games remaining in the 2013-14 regular season, the Americans currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Tri-City sits two points back of the Everett Silvertips for the seventh spot and three points shy of the Vancouver Giants for the six seed in the west. Creeping in behind them are the Prince George Cougars who are just five points behind the Americans in ninth.
Tri-City: at Spokane 02/15/14
Victoria: at Everett 02/15/14