Comrie, Ams face big test against Spokane

Annie Fowler, Herald staff writerNovember 23, 2012 

Eric Comrie had a busy few days last week, playing against the Russians in the Subway Super Series and backing the Tri-City Americans to a pair of home wins over the Kelowna Rockets.

The task doesn’t get any easier this weekend with a home-and-home series against the Spokane Chiefs, starting tonight at Toyota Center.

“I’m just going to try and build on my game every minute this weekend,” said Comrie, who was under the weather and missed practice Monday and Tuesday. “I’m going to go in, be in position and try to do what I did against Kelowna and try and get four points out of the weekend.”

Comrie stopped 83 of 87 shots over the two game against Kelowna in a pair of 3-2 victories.

“Kelowna was a strong team and we are going to see the same against Spokane,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. “We’ve got to score some goals against them. We’ve had the shots, we just need to get more traffic to the net.”

The Americans (15-7-1-1) are tied for second place in the U.S. Division standings with the Chiefs (16-7-0-0) with 32 points. Spokane defeated Everett 3-1 on Wednesday.

Tri-City finishes its eight-game homestand tonight. The Americans are 6-1-0-0 in the run, with a 3-0 loss to Everett on Nov. 9.

The Chiefs are 3-0-0-0 against the Americans, and come into the game having won five of their last six games. Their only loss was a 9-1 setback to Portland on Nov. 10.

While Comrie was stellar against Kelowna, the team game was in disarray at times. Something Hiller said they have been working on.

“It’s nothing specific, though both nights we weren’t strong in the defensive end,” Hiller said. “We just feel we need to regroup. We were outplayed, but we don’t want to over react. We have to hit that before the weekend. It was a good thing Eric was there.”

With Comrie out sick for two days, the Americans were fortunate to have former goalie Carey Price step in and help out. The Montreal Canadiens starting goaltender is in Kennewick for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“At least we had a replacement while I was out. The guys told me he was OK," Comrie said with a smile. "It has been absolutely spectacular having him here. He is an unreal goalie, but he is so humble and a genuine person.” Price has passed along a few tips, but Comrie said most of their talks haven’t been about stopping pucks.

“Mostly we’ve talked about gear,” Comrie said.

For Hiller, having and NHL All-Star goalie around the rink has been a good influence for his team.

“Eric was run down after last week and he needed a break,” Hiller said. “It was nice to have Carey here as a replacement. He’s been great and engaging with the guys. It’s no different than when he was here. He’s just one of the guys.”

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