Just when Seattle and Everett thought they had left Prince George on the side of the road on the way to the playoffs, the Cougars beat Seattle 2-1 in a shootout on Friday. Coupled with a 3-0 win over Tri-City on Tuesday, PG trails eighth-place Everett by just four points with six games to play.
The Cougars (20-38-2-6, 48 points), who play five of their last six games on the road, have two games in hand on Everett. PG is at Tri-City tonight and at Vancouver on Sunday.
The Cougars have a few quality wins under their belt — Tri-City, Kelowna, Kamloops, Kootenay, Red Deer, Spokane and Medicine Hat. If they should be able to jump up into eighth place, they would get Portland in the first round. Sounds good. Wear Portland out with a long bus ride or two.
The Americans, who hit 40 wins Friday with a win over Kootenay, tied a WHL record for 40 wins in 7 consecutive seasons. Kamloops and Regina share the record with Tri-City.
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The Americans have a one-point lead over Spokane in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference. Spokane host Kootenay tonight. The benefit of holding home-ice is weekend games (Friday and Saturday) and having home ice for Game 7 — if needed.
Connor Rankin put up a hat trick Friday, giving him 30 goals this season. He had two goals in the Americans 6-3 win over PG on Monday. That’s five goals and two assists in two games. He’s also a plus-6 in the two games. There’s potential for WHL Player of the Week.
Americans goalie Luke Lee-Knight’s dad, Todd, has been putting a ton of miles on his car lately. Ever since Luke joined the Americans, his parents, especially his dad, have been to almost every home game. Todd told me when he left Calgary on Friday morning it was minus-17 C (minus-1 F). When he got to Kennewick it was 14 C (57 F). Note to Mr. Lee-Knight: No coat needed in the desert.
You can follow me throughout the game on Twitter (provided it behaves itself): @tchicequeen