SPOKANE — It’s hard to believe this could be the last game of the season for the Americans. I hope not, but there is a chance. The Ams need a win tonight to keep their season going forward. They won the first game here in Spokane, and captain Kruise Reddick believes they can do it again.
Interviewing Kruise on Monday brought back a lot of memories — the Ams winning their first U.S. Division title, then another and another. The Western Conference title was really special, as was the trip to the WHL finals.
Eric Degerman covered the Americans for 10 years. He watched players like Olie Kolzig, Stu Barnes, Brian Boucher, Daymond Langkow and Scott Gomez. All high profile players who had or still have good NHL careers.
In my nine years, Carey Price is the NHL gem, but watching players who know they may never have a shot at the NHL win banners and championships is priceless. The blue collar work ethic this hockey team has is to be admired.
I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to make it to my nephew Josh's graduation from Willamette University on May 15. Bill Nye the Science Guy is the guest speaker. Memorial Cup ... Science Guy ... Do you really have to ask? Sorry Josh.
Wednesday,the WHL is having a surprise announcement from Victoria, B.C. Surprise? Whatever. We ALL know that they will announce that Victoria has a WHL team. Why? Because Darryl Porter couldn't make a go of things in Chilliwack, so he found a man with deep pockets, told him his sob story and the man with deep pockets took the team off his hands. It's all been hush-hush, the league GMs and such are under a gag order, which makes me want to know all the details even more.
Why give Victoria another team? They had the Cougars for years before they jumped ship and headed to the middle of nowhere called Prince George. Victoria can't be the Cougars again, so I guess the big news will be what the team will be called. I don't know if Chilliwack still retains the rights to Bruins. I wonder if the Victoria paper wants the Best of the West poll back. Maybe the man with deep pockets will make me an offer after I tell him how hard it is to compile all the names and numbers. Worked for Porter.
The Kootenay Ice sent out its season-ticket renewal notices on Monday, so you can take them out of the equation of teams relocating to Chilliwack.
Tonight, we have Game 6 here at Spokane Arena. The readerboard around the Arena has four Chilliwack logos with Xs through them, and three Americans logos with the same Xs. To reach the Mem Cup, my friends, takes 16 wins.
This series, between Toyota Center and Spokane Arena, is averaging 4,962 fans per game. Not bad.
Drew Owsley is in goal for the Ams. Tonight, Drew will pass Chet Pickard (28) for first on the team's all-time playoff games played list. Eric Comrie will back up Drew. On the scratch list are Chris Driedger, Clinton Atkinson, Marcus Messier and Max Moline.
For the Chiefs, James Reid is manning the net. Reid has a franchise record 85 regular-season wins. On the Spokane scratch list are Cole Hamblin, Brady Brassart, Reid Gow and a player to be named later.
The refs tonight are Nathan Wieler and Derek Zalaski.
A shout out to the fine fans at Kimo's. Wish you were here.
Former Spokane player Michael Grabner, now with the New York Islanders, has been named a finalist for the 2011 Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top rookie. Also up for the award are Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes and Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. Last year, former Kelowna Rockets D-man Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres won the award.
Saskatoon Blades forward Curtis Hamilton signed a three-year entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In 62 games with the Blades this season, Hamilton had 82 points (26G, 56A), a plus-48 rating.
Regina's Jordan Weal signed a standard 3-year player contract with the Los Angeles Kings. Weal was fifth in WHL in scoring with 96 points. Over the past two seasons, Weal has racked up 198 points without missing a game.
Be back after the first.
Adam Hughesman gives TC a 1-0 lead at the end of the first. I'm told the crowd at Kimo's went a little crazy.
Spokane's Tyler Johnson picked up a kneeing major (on Shinny) at 18:31 and was ejected from the game (again big cheers at Kimo's). This may make things interesting. Shinny went off the ice favoring his right leg. Not good.
In the crowd tonight are former Chiefs Kyle Beach, Mitch Wahl and Dustin Donaghy. Beach played for the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) this season with 16 goals, 20 assists and 163 PIMs in 71 games. Wahl played 17 games for the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) before an injury cut his season short. Donaghy played 33 games for the Wichita Thunder (CHL), scoring 10 goals with 8 assists.
Ams have 3:31 left on Johnson's penalty to start the second.
Holland scores a pair of goals in the second, though I believe Schmitty got the second one on a redirect in front.
Ams lead 3-0, which is all the matters.
I'm under the impression that the WHL has to suspend Johnson for his hit on Shinnimin. If Schmidt missed a game for his hit, this one was worse.
Wow! Spokane comes out with 4 unanswered goals for a 4-3 lead just 8:57 into the third. Adam Hughesman, with his second goal of the night, tied the game at 4 on a 5-on-3 power play at 12:39. Both goalies made some nice saves down the stretch, which means — We're Going to Overtime! for the third straight game. This series certainly has had the WOW factor.
Levko Koper scores to give Spokane a 5-4 win and oust the Ams from the playoffs.
I've never seen such a collapse. Out coached, out played. Call it what you want, it wasn't pretty.