It's Wednesday night hockey here at Toyota Center. I don't care what day the Americans play, it's just nice to have them home once in a while.
The Medicine Hat Tigers are in town. The Tigers are 3-0 on their trip through the U.S. Division with wins over Everett, Seattle and Portland. Let's see if the Ams can snap the Tigers' 8-game win streak.
Bob, who had been the voice of the Tigers and their bus driver for 40 years, said they had to chain up going over Snoqualamie Pass on Tuesday night. He said it was just the second time in 40 years that he's had to put chains on the bus. The other time — a few years back — was also on Snoqualamie. Leads me to believe the Canadians take better care of their roads than we do here in the states — or here it the City of Kennewick. I could e-mail the city a long list of roads and round-a-bouts that could use a bit of sanding.
This just in — If the Americans score within the first 10 minutes of the third period, all fans will go home with a voucher for a free Chalupa from Taco Bell.
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Tonight, Drew Owsley is minding the net for the Americans. on the scratch list are Drydn Dow, Nils Moser, Tanner Olstad and captain Kruise Reddick. With 4 20-year-old players, someone has to sit and it appears to be Kruise's turn. This all means Neal Prokop is in the lineup. A week from today, Ams GM Bob Tory has to make a decision as to which 3 overage players to keep.
Portland has an overage opening, but let's not start selling players off just yet.
For MH, Deven Dubyk is in goal, giving Tyler Bunz a rest after winning his last six starts. Ont he scratch list are Dylan Busenius, Vahe Zakaryan (shoulder) and Curtis Valk. The Tigers have 6 NHL drafted players and all are in the lineup tonight. Linden Vey, the league's leading scorer with 48 points, has points in eight straight games.
Behind the Medicine Hat bench is for Tri-City coach Shaun Clouston, who was the Americans coach when I started covering the team 9 years ago. He was let go with 12 games left in the season. He was an assistant in Medicine Hat for Willie Desjardins for years and took over when Willie took a job as an associate coach for the Dallas Stars this past spring.
The Tri-City-Medicine Hat series has had some close games in the past. Ten of the last 12 games have been decided by two goals or less, including six overtime games. Last year was an exception as the Tigers won 6-1 in Medicine Hat.
A little ECHL hockey for those keeping track of former Americans.
Mitch Fadden (Florida Everblades) leads the league in scoring with 30 points (9 goals, 21 assists) — four points ahead of Justin Donati (not a former American) of the Elmira Jackals.
Goalie Chet Pickard is still struggling. In 8 games, he is 1-4-2 with a 3.50 GAA and a .879 save percentage. A word (or 12) to Nashville, get the kid some help. You have the people and the resources.
Speaking of Pickards, Calvin and the Seattle Thunderbirds are at Kelowna tonight. Calvin has never won a game at Prospera Place. We'll see if he can get that elusive win tonight.
For those who haven't seen my blog in the last couple of days, there are photos from the bowling day with the Americans Booster Club.
News out of Montreal has the Canadiens losing 4-3 in overtime to Edmonton. Carey Price, who had a 3-1 lead in the second, gave up two goals in the third and one in OT. On the good news front, his Fathead is back in stock.
Check in after the first period.
We are scoreless here at Toyota Center. MH has a 14-13 shot advantage. The Tigers have had two power plays, but the Americans killed them both off.
The play has been quick and entertaining. Two good teams getting a feel for each other.
MH goalie Deven Dubnyk's pads look like dismembered basketballs. Orange with black stripes in a circular pattern. Not so sure I like them.
In Kelowna, Seattle and the Rockets are tied at 1 after the first.
In Portland, Kootenay has a 3-2 lead a the end of one.
The teams are back, more later.
We have goals!
Tri-City leads 2-1 with goals by Marcus Messier — his first of the season — and Connor Rankin. Reid Petryk has the Tigers' goal.
When Little Mess scored, a trio of little kids threw a bunch of confetti and plastic jewels over the glass. Where are their parents?
With an earlier deadline tonight, I'd best get to writing part of my story.
Oh, Kootenay leads Portland 4-2 and Kelowna had a 2-1 lead over Little Pickard and the Thunderbirds. Portland could be headed for its fourth straight loss.
It's a 4-1 Tri-City victory. Mason Wilgosh and Brooks Macek added third-period goals for the Ams. Drew finished with 28 saves.
With Portland losing 5-3 to Kootenay, the Ams are 11 points behind the Winterhawks, who have lost 4 in a row.
Seattle and Calvin lost 3-2 in Kelowna. The Prospera Place curse lives on for Calvin.
Until next time.