KENNEWICK -- This weekend will be a tale of two goalies.
Tri-City's Ty Rimmer will face his old team -- the Prince George Cougars -- for the first time since shifting across the border in a trade the first week of August.
On the other end is Drew Owsley, whom the Americans sent to Prince George for Rimmer to alleviate the backlog of overage players.
Owsley, who led Tri-City to its first Western Conference title in 2010, said he is excited to see his former teammates, but not nearly as excited to face them on the ice.
"I saw a couple of them at the rink briefly," Owsley said Thursday night. "It was kind of good to see the guys. I'm looking forward to talking to them and seeing how things are going in Tri. I'm sure I will be seeing a healthy dose of Shinny (Brendan Shinnimin) and (Adam) Hughesman. I've been checking up on the guys -- they are a good team with guys who can score. We will have to be ready for them."
The Americans (8-4-0-0, 16 points), are 6-4-0-0 in the last 10 games, while the Cougars (3-6-0-1, 7 points) are winless in their last three and are 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games.
"Our problem is we are missing some key people in our lineup," PG coach Dean Clark said. "We are waiting for guys to come back into the lineup. Brock Hirsche has an upper body injury, Charles Inglis is suspended (serving 10 games), and Brett Connolly is still with Tampa Bay. Jesse Forsberg is coming off shoulder surgery and will play his first game (today). Drew has been playing well. It's early, but once we get everyone back, we should be competitive."
The problem the Cougars have had is scoring, finding the net just 26 times in 10 games, while giving up 38 goals.
"There is a bit more pressure (on me) because we have had some trouble scoring right now," Owsley said. "I'm just trying to go out and give my team a chance to win. That's all I can do."
Rimmer, who had modest numbers in PG last year (17-20-0-2, 3.29 GAA, .899 save percentage), has taken the Western Conference by storm.
Through Wednesday, he is 6-2-0-0 with a 1.78 goals against average and a .945 save percentage. He ranks in the top four in the league in all three major categories, and he's ready to take those numbers north.
"I'm excited to play against my old team and see some of the guys," Rimmer said. "But there are no friends on the ice."
Owsley, who was 69-28-2-2 with eight shutouts in two seasons as a starter for Tri-City, is 3-4-0-0 this season for the Cougars. He does have two shutouts, but his numbers have dropped. His GGA is 3.20 and his save percentage is .885 -- numbers he hasn't seen in his career.
"We have six 16-year-olds in our lineup right now," Clark said. "With that, it gives the other team a good chance of getting to the net. The goals Drew has given up are not because of his tending, but because of the quality of chances we have given up."
Shinnimin, who played with Owsley for three seasons in Tri-City, said he's not worried about Owsley knowing their strengths and weaknesses.
"I think the guys are excited to see him," Shinnimin said. "Ows is a good friend of ours. He's a great goalie and we know what it takes to beat him. We need to get a lot of pucks on him quick."
That task could be easier said than done. Though PG is just 0-1-0-1 at home this year, it has a tendency to play well on home ice -- where it was .500 last season.
The Cougars and Americans split their games last year at CN Centre, with Tri-City winning 7-3, and PG winning 8-3 the following night.
"It's always tough to play in Prince George," said Americans coach Jim Hiller, whose team left for PG after Wednesday's 5-2 win over Saskatoon. "It's a long trip. They play really well in their rink and that is to their advantage. We have a lot of respect for Drew, but I don't think there is an advantage either way with him or Ty."
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org