It was an uneventful and rainy day on the way to Vancouver today. It wasn’t raining when I got here at 3:30 p.m., but an hour later, it’s coming down.
I stopped for gas in North Bend — I had a choice of $3.89 or $3.87. I chose the later, then because it was Safeway, I used my 3 cent discount to make it $3.84. Playoffs on a budget. There is a gas station across from my hotel — gas is $1.35 per liter. With 3.785 liters per gallon, that’s $5.10 a gallon. I will not be buying gas north of the border.
An interesting note in the league today — the Seattle Thunderbirds fired coach Rob Sumner.
GM Russ Farwell said in a statement: "Rob has contributed a great deal to our organization during his time here and we would like to thank him for his years of service with the Thunderbirds. He was a dedicated and loyal member of our team for 15 years and we appreciate his efforts to help the Thunderbirds grow as an organization."
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Maybe Mr. Farwell should take a good look in the mirror. He brings in the talent, he makes the trades. He has one of the best goalies in the league in Calvin Pickard, but a porous defense left Pickard helpless at times. The T-birds played about 30 1-goal games this year, winning less than half. A little scoring at the other end would make a difference in those 2-1 or 3-2 games. The T-birds ranked 19th in scoring with 195 goals. Seattle had better hope Calvin doesn't ask for a trade.
I will miss coach Sumner. He was one of my favorites.
Tonight is Game 3 here at Pacific Coliseum. The last time the Americans were here in the playoffs, they beat the Giants in Game 6 to win their first Western Conference title. Right now, I’d settle for a win and a 3-0 lead in the first round. We are here for Game 4 on Wednesday, as well. I could be driving back to Kennewick on Thursday with a week to prepare for the next series. Or, I could be at Toyota Center for Game 5 on Friday.
Tonight, Adam Hughesman rejoins the lineup after missing the last 12 games of the regular season and the first two of the playoffs with a knee injury. He is on a line with Shinny and Ashton, with Sutherland and Big Mac on the blue line.
Vancouver has captain James Henry back in the lineup, as well. Henry also had a knee injury and missed the first two games of the playoffs. Should make for an interesting game.
Kruise Reddick, with a pair of assists in Game 2, passed Daymond Langkow (30) for career playoff assists and now has 32. Kruise needs just one point to reach 50 in the playoffs.
Tyler Schmidt, who needed 5 penalty minutes to surpass Chad Cabana (102) for first on the team's all-time playoff PIM list, had 13 in Game 2, putting him at the top of the list.
Vancouver coach Don Hay, tied with Ken Hodge for the most playoffs wins by a WHL coach at 101, needs a win to take the lead. His team has failed twice to put him over the top.
The team benches here at Pacific Coliseum are right below the press box, thus I have a hard time seeing who is coming and going and if anyone leaves the game and is no longer on the bench. Such is life.
I'm looking for some Ams fans, but I'm not seeing any. I know the Sutherlands are here, and so are Jim Hiller's parents. We all are at the same hotel. I'm sure they are here somewhere. I can't see much beneath me.
In goal for the Ams is Drew Owsley (2-0), while Justin Hamonic, Lucas Nickles, Clinton Atkinson, Marcus Messier and Max Moline are on the scratch list.
Mark Segal (0-2) is manning the crease for Vancouver. Joel Rogers, Dalton Sward, Matt Bellerive, Cain Franson, Marek Tvrdon, Anthony Ast, Tyler Hart, Scott Cooke, Dalton Olsen and Brodyn Nielsen are in the stands.
Referees are Jeff Ingram and Colby Smith.
Tonight, Kelowna is at PG. The Rockets lead the series 2-0.
Also, Kootenay is at Moose Jaw. The series is tied 1-1.
Jack the Giant just led Vancouver out on the ice. Be back soon.
The first period reminds me of Game 1 at Toyota Center. TC has a 9-6 shot advantage in a scoreless game.
The Vancouver fans have white "terrible towels" which look like a large flock of seagulls.
I have to say, I love having replay on the big screen. We so need one at Toyota Center.
I shall return after the second.
Adam Hughesman scored on the PP to give TC a 1-0 lead at the end of two periods. This is a tight game. No room to maneuver and set things up. Gotta take what you can get.
They are doing human bowling, but here they have a big sling shot that propels the guy down the ice t the bowling pins. Looks like fun.
They also have a Fanzoni. An old Zamboni that has been retrofitted with a seat where the snow usually goes and they can gives fans a ride around the ice. Again, looks like fun.
The third is coming soon. Don't go away.
Ams score 3 in the third to skate away with a 4-0 win.
Hughey added a second goal, and Connor Rankin and Justin Feser also scored. Owsley finished with 22 saves for the shutout.
Game 4 is tomorrow. Join me.