Tri-City coach Mike Williamson got his first look at his team last weekend at the Everett Tournament, and will have another three games to evaluate his players this week when the Americans host the Red Lion Hotels Preseason Tournament at Toyota Center.
“I think there is a lot to work on,” Williamson said. “What I liked is that we got better and stronger as the tournament went on. They never quit. They got down in the first game (4-0) to Portland and came back and almost caught them. We need to have better starts.”
“It was an opportunity for some of the younger players to get playing time and for us to evaluate them. We got a chance to work on things. We will take the positives out of it.”
The Americans open the tournament Wednesday against Prince George, then will take on Red Deer on Friday and Seattle on Saturday. All games are at 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City sent 15-year-old defenseman Mitchell Brown back home, but there still are close to 30 players in camp, but just three goaltenders.
Starter Evan Sarthou did not see any time last weekend, and he may not this week as Williamson and his staff are taking a hard look at Nick Sanders and Beck Warm for the No. 2 spot.
“We are using these games as much as possible to evaluate Nick and Beck,” Williamson said. “We need to make a decision pretty soon.”
Sanders and Warm each played a game and a half in Everett. Sanders gave up seven goals on 57 shots, while Warm allowed three goals on 54 shots.
Williamson also said fans will see more of the veteran players this week, especially since a few will leave next week for NHL camps.
“You want everyone to get ready,” he said. “As we get closer to the regular season, you want to make sure they have been tested.”
Also Wednesday, Everett plays Spokane at 3 p.m. On Thursday, Portland plays Everett at 3 p.m., while Kootenay takes on Prince George at 7:05 p.m.
Friday’s lineup has Portland playing Prince George at 11 a.m., Kootenay playing Seattle at 3 p.m., followed by Red Deer and Tri-City.
Kootenay and Portland open the action Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by Red Deer and Spokane at 3 p.m., and Seattle and Tri-City in the late game.