The Kootenay Ice are in town for the lone game between the teams this season. The Ice, eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, has won 23 of its last 31 games to pull into playoff contention.
This is the final two-game weekend at home for the Americans, and Connor Rankin will get to share it with his mom Sheree and childhood friend Tyler Kotel, 19, who flew up from Arizona.
Tonight, Americans D-man Zach Yuen is playing his 250th WHL game. In his first 249, he has 29 goals, 84 assists and 113 penalty minutes. He is a career plus-99, though this season he is a plus-5.
Also tonight, the Americans have added Tyler Fraser, 15, to their roster. Fraser, a third-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft, played this season with the midget A-1 Cloverdale (British Columbia) Colts.
If the WHL playoffs started today, here is what the matchups would look like:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
Alumni update: Brothers D Logan (Tri-City, 2001-06) and F Shay (Red Deer, 2000-04) Stephenson have signed contract extensions with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway GET-Ligaen). Shay has one goal and one assist in two games, while Logan has two goals and nine assists in 13 games with Sparta this season. Both brothers started the season with Karlskrona (Sweden, Allsvenskan); Logan had one assist in 21 games and Shay was pointless in three games.
More alumni news: Former Americans assistant coach Scott Beattie, now the head coach of Olten, a professional team in Switzerland, had one of his players, D Ronny Keller, suffered what is believed to be permanent paralysis after being checked from behind during a game on Wednesday. “There’s just absolutely no place in the game for contact from behind,” Beattie said. “Players have got to start to realize that.”