Tri-City Americans

Ams wrap road trip at Kamloops

The Tri-City Americans will finish their four games-in-five-nights road trip tonight when they take on the Kamloops Blazers at Interior Savings Centre.

The Americans (35-15-2-1, 73 points), one point back of second-place Spokane in the U.S. Division standings, have won seven of their last 10 games and have won the last seven games against the Blazers (24-31-2-1, 51 points).

"I'm really happy with how we played" against Chilliwack on Sunday, said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. "We played really well under travel constraints and emotional games against Portland (Friday) and Spokane (Saturday), and we need the same tomorrow."

The Americans are 8-3-0-1 against the B.C. Division this year, with two of those wins coming against the Blazers at Toyota Center.

"I don't know if there is any rhyme or reason to it, but we haven't been in Kamloops and they are good at home," Hiller said.

Chris Driedger will get the start in goal tonight in place of injured Drew Owsley, who suffered a knee injury Saturday against Spokane.

"He has a sprained knee," said Tri-City general manager Bob Tory, who is in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Canada Winter Games. "We have to wait until some of the swelling and pain subsides for a better evaluation. It doesn't look like there is any structural damage, but at the same time, our first priority is that it is evaluated properly and that we take the right course of rehab. It's unfortunate, but you have to march ahead."

For Driedger (3-1-0-0), it will be his fifth WHL start and the first time he has started back-to-back games.

The rookie goaltender held his own against Chilliwack on Sunday, stopping 20 of 21 shots in a 6-1 win.

The Americans' top line of Adam Hughesman, Brendan Shinnimin and Carter Ashton had productive games against Chilliwack, with Hughesman tallying two goals and Shinnimin and Ashton one each. Hughesman leads the team with a career-high 38 goals.

"They were dangerous all night from the drop of the puck," Hiller said. "They made plays up the ice in the offensive zone and off the rush."

The Blazers, coming off a 3-2 loss to Vancouver in White Horse, Yukon, on Saturday, are ninth in the Western Conference standings, one point behind Chilliwack in a race for one of the conference's eight playoff spots.

Kamloops, which has won just three of its last 10 games, is without a few key players because of injuries.

Defenseman Austin Madaisky suffered a C-7 fracture (a fractured vertebrae) a week ago when Chilliwack's Brandon Manning leveled him back first into the boards. Madaisky will miss the rest of the season.

Also out is defenseman Brandon Underwood (knee) and forward Chase Schaber (leg).

Note: Moose Jaw forward Quinton Howden was named WHL player of the week after scoring five goals with four assists in three games.

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