Ams head to Vancouver Island for 2

By Annie Fowler, Tri-City Herald December 6, 2011 

The last time the Tri-City Americans played a Western Hockey League game in Victoria, British Columbia, was March 19, 1993.

The Americans beat the Victoria Cougars 6-3 at the now demolished Victoria Memorial Arena.

After the season was over, the Cougars headed north to Prince George, and Victoria was left without a WHL team for 17 years until the Chilliwack Bruins were sold to Graham Lee this past spring and headed to the island.

The Western Conference-leading Americans (21-7-0-0, 42 points), will play at Victoria (12-16-1-1, 26 points) tonight and Wednesday in their only visit this season to the capital of British Columbia.

"It's somewhere the players have never been before," Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said. "It's a beautiful spot and a new arena (Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre)."

The Americans caught the 7 p.m. ferry out of Tsawwassen, British Columbia, on Monday for the 90-minute ride to the island.

It's not a cheap jaunt across the water, with the round trip costing about $1,200 for the bus, players, coaches and training staff.

And it's not just the ferry ride that adds to the cost of the trip.

With no late-night ferry, teams have to spend an extra night in Victoria and leave the following morning.

"Victoria has helped in making deals with hotels for reasonable rates," Tory said. "Since we don't play at Everett until Saturday, we will leave Friday morning. It's an extra cost, but it will be a time for the boys to have a down day. They don't get too many of those."

Tri-City coach Jim Hiller lived in Victoria when he coached the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

"It's a great trip. Too bad it's dark," Hiller said of the ferry ride across the Strait of Georgia. "We'll get to see it Friday. Thursday, we are going to Patrick Holland's. His family just got a place northeast of Victoria on the coast. That will be nice for the boys."

The Americans are 0-1 against the Royals this season, as Victoria handed Tri-City its second home loss.

The Americans are 12-2-0-0 at Toyota Center.

"With every team, we have a couple of nail biters," Hiller said. "They have a good home record and they beat us. We will have to be good to beat them. Just because we have a good team doesn't mean we are going to win them all. We have been in a lot of one-goal games (12)."

The Americans will again be without defenseman Zach Yuen tonight, but Tory said Yuen is expected to be back with the team Wednesday.

Note: Americans leading scorer Adam Hughesman (20 goals, 29 assists), needs one point to tie Stu Barnes (285) for sixth on the team's all-time scoring list. With his two assists Saturday against Everett, Hughesman tied Barnes and Kruise Reddick (174) for fifth on the team's all-time assists list.

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