It’s Thanksgiving week, and the Tri-City Americans have a feast for you.
The Americans (13-6-2-0, 28 points) will host Carter Hart and the Everett Silvertips (10-12-1-1, 22 points) on Wednesday, and the festivities continue Friday when the Regina Pats roll into town.
“We’ve got a lot of road games out the way already, now we have opportunity to come home,” Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. “Traditionally, we have had home games around the Thanksgiving break, and its a good opportunity for our players’ families to come in, even though they are of the Canadian variety, for the holidays.”
Tri-City, two games into a seven-game homestand, is 7-1 on home ice, with the lone blemish a 7-3 loss Saturday to B.C. Division-leading Victoria.
“Obviously, we had a bad period against Victoria,” defenseman Juuso Välimäki said. “It was one of the worst we have had this year. We don’t want that to happen again. That gives us a push to do better. We have to take care of these games. It’s a chance for us to get a lot of points.”
Wednesday’s game likely will see Tri-City’s Beck Warm match wits with Hart, Everett’s top goalie. Hart has played seven games since returning from a bout with mono, which kept him off the ice for more than a month.
While it is certain Warm will play, there was no conformation on Hart, who has the best goals against average in the league at 1.84.
“Carter Hart, it seems he has been in the league as long as I have,” Williamson said. “He’s a top guy. He gives his team a chance to win every time out. We need to make sure we make life tough on him, get in front of the net and compete hard for pucks.”
Warm, who has won his past six starts, boasts 2.90 GAA and a .913 save percentage (ranks fourth).
“Everett is a fun team to play,” Warm said. “It should be a good matchup.”
Warm gave his defense credit for allowing him to see the puck and make crucial saves.
“It’s something we work on in practice,” Warm said. “Making sure me and Patrick (Dea) have lanes to see. It pays off in the end.”
Williamson has every confidence in Warm, and Dea, to get the job done.
“Both goaltenders have played extremely well for us,” Williamson said. “It is a strength of our team. We feel the depth and combination of Beck and Patrick really give us an advantage. I like the healthy competition. They both are pushing for starts, they both want the net.”
Between games, the Americans will enjoy an American Thanksgiving. It’s a treat for Välimäki, who said they do not have a Thanksgiving holiday in his native Finland.
“It’s always nice to have some holiday time,” said Välimäki, who noted that turkey was his favorite part of the meal. “It is pretty cool to experience new things that we don’t have back home.”