KENNEWICK -- Two of the top teams in the Western Hockey rolled through Toyota Center last week. Both left with a loss to the Tri-City Americans.
Today, Linden Vey -- the league's leading scorer -- comes to town with the Medicine Hat Tigers, who so far have posted a 3-0 record on their trip through the U.S. Division.
Americans veteran forward Adam Hughesman is hoping to hand the Tigers the same fate as Kootenay and Portland.
"We had two big games over the weekend and came out with wins," said Hughesman, who leads the Americans with 18 assists and 32 points. "We have another big test in Medicine Hat. There are no easy games in this league and Medicine Hat will provide a big challenge; we are excited for that."
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The Americans (15-9-1-1, 32 points) are second in the U.S. Division, three points ahead of third-place Seattle, which lost to Medicine Hat 3-1 on Tuesday.
Medicine Hat (17-7-1-0, 35 points) began its journey through the U.S. division with a 5-3 victory over Everett on Saturday. On Sunday, the Tigers beat Portland 3-2 in a shootout. Over the two games, goalie Tyler Bunz stopped 70 of 75 shots.
After two big wins over the weekend, Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said he has noticed that practices this week have had a more relaxed atmosphere.
"Everyone was working hard but was frustrated," said Hiller, whose team recently went through a five-game skid. "We've been executing better and the mood is better in general. We went out and grabbed that confidence -- we earned it."
The Tigers come in having won eight in a row and are third in the Central Division, just three points behind second-place Kootenay and four back of division leader Red Deer.
"They are all good games, but they are the hottest team in the league, winning eight in a row," Hiller said. "Their forwards are dangerous and their goaltender (Bunz) has played well. We are more concerned that we have ourselves ready to play."
Vey, the younger brother of former Americans forward Shaun Vey (2004-08), has 18 goals and 48 points. He earned WHL player of the week honors last week after scoring four goals with five assists in helping the Tigers to three wins.
"He's an elite talent, but he's not a one-man show," Hiller said of Vey. "They have some good players around him."
Notes: Vey was one of 17 WHL players chosen to attend Canada's National Junior Team selection camp Dec. 12-15 in Toronto. Also invited were Calvin Pickard (Seattle), Tyson Barrie (Kelowna), Jared Cowen (Spokane), Brayden McNabb (Kootenay), Ryan Murray (Everett), Mark Pysyk (Edomonton), Carter Ashton (Regina), Brett Connolly (Prince George), Cody Eakin (Swift Current), Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver), Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon), Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw), Ryan Howse (Chilliwack), Ryan Johansen (Portland), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer) and Brad Ross (Portland).
* Annie Fowler: 582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org