Tonight features a matchup of two of the top teams in this week's CHL poll.
The Americans are ranked No. 1 for the first time in franchise history, and Moose Jaw is ranked 10th. Tonight is the one and only meeting between the teams this season. Tri-City has won the last five meetings with the Warriors.
The Americans lead the U.S. Division, Western Conference and WHL with 58 points, while the Warriors lead the East Division with 53 points. A win tonight and the Americans would set a franchise record for consecutive wins (11).
This is the is the fourth of eight consecutive road games for the Warriors, who are 1-2 on their trek through the U.S. Division.
The Americans have won 10 in a row on home ice, but Portland can do one better — the Winterhawks have won 13 in a row at home. The Americans have not lost at home since a 5-4 setback to Victoria on Oct. 25.
The Warriors picked up former Brandon Wheat King, Wheaton King, who had been playing with the Kindersley Klippers of the SJHL since the middle of last year.
Ty Rimmer, the WHL December goalie of the month, is in net for Tri-City. Ty is 17-4-0-0. The 17 wins equals is win total from last year. Rimmer leads the WHL in goals against average (2.03) and save percentage (.932). The Americans lead the WHL on the penalty kill at 85 percent.
On the scratch list for Tri-City are Sam Grist, who is serving a one-game suspension for a hit on Spokane's Marek Kalus last Saturday, Riley Guenther, Lucas Nickles and Connor Rankin, who has an upper body injury. Eric Comrie has been at the U-17 tournament and should return Thursday.
For the Warriors, Luke Siemens is in goal. Ams fans will remember him from his time in Everett. Other familiar faces on the MJ lineup are Kenton Miller and Tyler Vanscourt — former Spokane Chiefs. On the Warriors scratch list are Carter Hansen (U-17), Torrin White (U-17), Quinton Howden (WJC with Team Canada), Morgan Rielly (lower body injury), Shayne Gwinner and Braiden Doucette.
Puck drops in 5.
Well, well, well, Cody Beach plays just like his older brother Kyle. Mr. Beach has taken three trips to the penalty box in the first period, and still will have 44 seconds left when the second period begins.
Tri-City leads 2-0 with goals by Jordan Messier and Zach Yuen. Ty Rimmer has 13 saves, and nearly got into a tussle with MJ's Andrew Johnson, who wanted to occupy Rimmer's crease. Derek Ryckman and Drydn Dow had Rimmer's back, though I would have put money on Ty to clock Johnson a good one. You don't rack up 10 PIMs as a goalie without having an edge to your game.
Still 2-0 Tri-City. The Warriors outshoot the Ams 19-6 and have 4 power plays, but have nothing to show for it. Rimmer was outstanding, as was the PK.
Brendan Shinnimin had a pair of goals and Messier added another in a 5-0 win over a good Moose Jaw team.
Ams were 4-for-9 on the power play, while the PK killed off all 6 MJ power plays.
Tri-City has a franchise record 11 consecutive wins, and also have won 11 in a row on home ice. The Ams are the first team to 30 wins and 60 points in the WHL. A good way to celebrate the top ranking in the CHL.