Points, points and more points.
Every point during the last 19 games of the season are crucial for the Tri-City Americans, who are fourth in the Western Conference with 65 points going into tonight’s game.
Visiting Victoria is tied for fifth with Spokane with 64 points. The Chiefs are at Kootenay tonight, and will host the Americans on Saturday. Victoria is off Saturday, but will play at Spokane on Sunday.
The Americans control their own fate this weekend. Four big points on the line that they cannot afford to lose.
I tried to reach Spokane coach Don Nachbaur on Thursday, but in a voice mail Friday morning, he said he had left his phone in the car. He apologized, then proceeded to tell me it had been a long stretch of games since Christmas, and that injuries have taken their toll on the team.
It’s all true. The Chiefs have played 19 games since returning from the holdiay break. They have gone 8-11 in that stretch, and lost four in a row before beating Kelowna 5-0 on Wednesday. This week, they are playing four games in five days. The Americans did that in mid-January, playing 5 games in 7 days, winning 4.
Victoria has taken the league by storm lately, winning 7 of its last 10 games. They aren’t great on the road (11-14-0-1), but the Royals beat the Americans 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 6 at Toyota Center.
Had a nice chat with Victoria's Tyler Stahl before the game. He is serving the final game of an 8-game suspension for a hit to the head against Vancouver.
You can follow me throughout the game on twitter: @tchicequeen