It’s always fun to play teams out of your own division, but the Moose Jaw Warriors have had nothing but heartache the last 10 years against the Tri-City Americans.
The Americans (22-21-2-2, 48 points) have won their last seven games against Moose Jaw, and nine of the last 10 meetings. Last season, Eric Comrie had 24 saves as Tri-City shut out the Warriors 5-0 in Moose Jaw.
Tonight, the Warriors (13-26-3-5, 34 points), who are coming off a shootout loss to Seattle on Tuesday, will make their biennial visit to Toyota Center, where their last win came Jan. 2, 2006.
“We haven’t seen Moose Jaw, but we know how hard it is to play in our division,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. “Moose Jaw got a point off of Everett the other night. I truly don’t know what to expect, except for what I seen on video. They have a couple of dangerous forwards in (Brayden) Point and Sam Fioretti.”
MJ is the fifth East Division team to visit the U.S. Division this season, and other than Regina, none have had much luck.
The Pats went 3-2 with losses to Tri-City and Portland, while Brandon picked up a win against Everett. MJ has dropped games to Portland, Everett and Seattle.
“I guess that is difficult to explain,” Hiller said the East’s troubles with the U.S. Division.” Western Conference has done well against the Eastern Conference this year.”
Americans overage forward Jessey Astles played for the Saskatoon Blades last season, and said there are differences between the style of play between the East and the West.
“Here it is a faster, while it is more physical in the East, which I liked,” said Astles, who has six fights this season. “We’re in a hard division. Every team in the states is fast and good, and they aren’t used to that over there.”
The Americans are on a five-game win streak on home ice, where they are 16-8-1-0 this season. In the U.S. Division, only Portland has as many home wins.
“In the end, the home and road splits don’t matter, we just need to win,” Hiller said. “Our home record is based on the support we get. It’s usually pretty strong — it’s the intensity of the fans.”
While the Americans, who are eighth in the Western Conference, are battling ninth-place Prince George (43 points) in the playoff race, the Warriors are 10th in the East, 14 points back of eighth-place Red Deer (48 points).