The Western Conference leading Portland Winterhawks are here tonight for the final matchup with the Tri-City Americans.
Big to-dos here tonight. Americans captain Justin Feser now shares the WHL Iron Man record of 311 consecutive games played with Winnipeg, Manitoba, native Dwayne Newman (Feb. 2, 1988 through March 17, 1992), who played for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Cougars.
He can own the record of 312 on his own come Friday against Seattle.
The mighty Winterhawks, who are in the driver’s seat for the Scotty Munro trophy for the best regular-season record with a 105 points, are 6-2 against the Americans this season.
Portland has just 12 losses this season, two each to Tri-City, Spokane and Seattle. The Hawks also have lost one each to Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Regina, Kamloops, Lethbridge and Calgary.
The last time Tri-City and Portland met, newcomer Troy Trombley beat the Hawks 6-2, stopping 41 of 43 shots. Since then, the Hawks have won five in a row.
The Americans also are on a five-game roll, including an 8-1 beating of Eastern Conference leading Edmonton last Saturday. Edmonton is at Portland on Wednesday.
While Portland already has win the U.S. Division title, the Americans are battling Spokane for 4/5 seeding. Tri-City will make up its game in hand on Spokane tonight, so a win is crucial. The Chiefs are just one point back of the Americans in the standings.
The Victoria Royals were in the 4/5 mix two weeks ago, but they have lost their last 6 games and trail Tri-City by six points.
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Americans need four wins to reach 40 wins over seven consecutive seasons to tie a league record with Kamloops (1989-90 to 1995-96) and Regina (1979-80 to 1985-86). They could make a dent with a win tonight.
You can follow me throughout the game on Twitter: @tchicequeen