The Portland Winterhawks are in the building tonight for their fifth meeting of the season against the Americans.
Tri-City (24-7-0-0, 48 points) is 4-0 against Portland (20-10-2-1, 43 points) this season with wins of 6-5, 4-1, 4-0 and 7-6. The Winterhawks are five points behind the Americans in the Western Conference standings and, the Ams have two games in hand.
The Americans played Saturday against Everett without defensemen Zach Yuen and Mitch Topping, who have undisclosed injuries. The duo is the team’s top pairing on the blue line. Both are scratched again tonight. Look for Justin Feser to spend some time on the blue line.
Fellow D-man Michel Plutnar was upended by Everett’s Cody Fowlie late in the game. Fowlie faces a probable suspension after picking up a major penalty and game misconduct for a checking-from-behind penalty. Plutnar is in the lineup tonight and appears to be fine.
The Winterhawks are without Joe Morrow, Ty Rattie and Brad Ross, who are attending Canada’s tryouts for the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Also, Sven Bartschi has been invited to try out for Switzerland’s World Junior team, but won't join the team until it comes to North America. Bartschi suited up for the Swiss last year, posting two points in six games.
Today, Ty Rimmer is in goal for the Americans, with Lukas Walter scratched as he serves out the remainder of his six-game suspension.
Mac Carruth is minding the crease for the Hawks, with Cody Castro and William Wrenn scratched.
With two points Saturday against Everett, Adam Hughesman passed Dylan Gyori (286) for fifth on the team's all-time scoring list.
Also Saturday, Mason Wilgosh played his 250th WHL game.
Make that 3 for Holland: After a video replay, it was determined that Patrick Holland tipped in a goal credited to Braian Williams on Saturday against Everett. The goal, in addition to two in the third period, gives Holland his second career hat trick. The official game sheet did not credit Holland with the goal as of 11:30 p.m. Saturday night (press time), but it was changed today.
Alumni update: From Gregg Drinnan’s European contacts (whoever they are), we find out that D Juraj Valach (Tri-City, Vancouver, Regina, Red Deer, 2006-08) has been assigned on loan by Kometa Brno to Slavia Prague (both teams Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He has one goal and three assists in 24 games for Brno this season. The “loan” is effectively a trade between the two clubs. Brno “loaned” Valach and F Tomas Pospisil to Slavia Prague; in return, Slavia has loaned D Jiri Vlasicek and F Tomas Svoboda to Brno. Valach played one season with the Americans.
The puck drops in 10.
Tri-City holds a 2-0 lead after the first period with goals by Jordan Messier and Connor Rankin.
Just a note: Portland coach Mike Johnston is not with the team today. He is scouting a bantam tournament in Canada. Travis Green is running the bench.
Of note in the Western Conference race, Kamloops is getting thumped by Regina 7-2 in the second. Jordan Weal has a hat trick and an assist for the Pats.
It's 3-0 Tri-City here at Toyota Center, with Brendan Shinnimin scoring his 15th of the season.
Ams D-man Derek Ryckman has played an outstanding game.
Up north, Regina beat Kamloops 8-4, ending the Blazers' 8-game win streak.
No scoring in the third. Rimmer with his third shutout of the season and second against Portland.
At 25-7-0-0, the Ams are first team to 50 points this season.
Negating all six Portland power plays, Tri-City's penalty kill moved to the top in the WHL.