KENNEWICK -- The Tri-City Americans have a busy week ahead, starting tonight with a road game against the Portland Winterhawks.
The Americans (27-12-1-1, 56 points) are coming off a week where they won three home games and climbed up the standings -- they are just three points back of U.S. Division co-leaders Spokane and Portland.
"We've been home for a bit and it will be a challenge for us to play on the road," said Americans coach Jim Hiller. "They will be ready for us. We are looking to go in and play our best and see where the chips fall."
Tri-City has just the one road game but returns for home games Wednesday against Kamloops, Saturday with Everett and Sunday against Kelowna that makes for a week of four games in six nights.
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Portland (28-14-0-3, 59 points) will be shorthanded tonight as defensemen Tyler Wotherspoon and Joe Morrow, and forwards Sven Bartschi and Ty Rattie are playing in the Top Prospects skills competition in Toronto.
But Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin said they have to be ready to play regardless of who Portland puts on the ice.
"It will be a battle between two good teams," said Shinnimin, who is second on the team in scoring with 19 goals and a team-high 35 assists. "We just have to keep playing hard and carry the success we've had at home on the road."
Since revamping their lineup to include forward Carter Ashton and defenseman Matt MacKenzie, the Americans are 3-0.
"It's tough to see guys go, but at the same time you are excited to get new guys in," said Shinnimin, who is paired on a line with Ashton and Adam Hughesman. "They have grasp our systems and we haven't missed a beat."
NOTES: Red Deer goalie Darcy Kuemper was named WHL player of the week. Kuemper posted a 3-0-0-0 record with two shutouts, stopping 85 of 86 shots for a .320 goals against average and a .988 save percentage. ... Two Ontario Hockey League players were suspended under the rules of the CHL Anti-Doping Policy -- Alexander Aleardi of the Plymouth Whalers Ryan O'Connor of the Saginaw Spirit. Both were assessed an eight-game suspension for a first violation for using methylhexaneamine, a prohibited stimulant.
* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; firstname.lastname@example.org