The Kamloops Blazers are making their first visit to Toyota Center this season.
The Blazers got off to a hot start this season, winning 16 of their first 17 games, but did not lose in regulation until Kelowna shut them out in their 18th game Nov. 1. Kamloops has hit the skids since the loss to the Rockets, losing their last two games, and three of their last four.
Kamloops, which leads the Western Conference with 35 points, is playing without overage forward Dylan Willick, who broke his ankle against Prince George last Friday. The Blazers dropped their next two games.
Tri-City, which had their three-game win streak halted by Everett on Friday, looks to bounce back tonight.
The Silvertips, led by goalie Austin Lotz, shut down the Americans in a 3-0 victory. It was the first time the Americans had been shut out at home since January 2008.
Both teams desperately need a win tonight to get back on track.
For the Americans, they need to keep pace with Portland and Spokane in the U.S. Division, and give their fans a better performance than they did against Everett. Its not often the Toyota Center fans boo their own, but they did Friday night.
Former Tri-City D-man Sam Grist faces his former team for the first time tonight. A little bird told me he was a bit nervous. I would be too.
The officials except for local linesman Trevor Shively didn't arrive at the rink untl after 6 p.m. They were coming from Abbotsford, British Columbia, and hit snow on their way to the Tri-Cities.
Tonight, the first 2,000 fans will receive a coupon for two free tacos, courtesy of Jack in the Box. My single co-workers could use a free meal.
Its also Veterans Night with the Tri-City Americans, with all active military personnel receiving ticket discounts at the box office. I love the respect the military men and women get from the Tri-City fans. They certainly deserve it.
My younger brother Nick Flerchinger, 27, severed two tours in Iraq with the Washington National Guard. I admire his courage.
You can follow me throughout the game on Twitter at: tchicequeen