It’s Thanksgiving Day hockey this weekend with the Tri-City Americans.
Tonight, the Portland Winterhawks are in town, while Swift Current is here Friday and Regina on Saturday. So, if your family starts to get on your nerves, sneak out to a game. Or better yet, get tickets for everyone and put the annoying people two sections away.
Since the Americans started their holiday feast of three games five years ago, they are 8-4.
Portland is coming in off a 5-2 win over Regina on Tuesday. The Winterhawks are 4-0 against the East Division this season.
In their three previous meetings this season, Tri-City is 3-0 against Portland, with one home win and two road victories.
Both teams come in with 32 points, and the winner tonight will be at the top of the U.S. Division standings when the final horn sounds. The Americans have been atop the division all season.
The game features the Hawks’ No. 3 power play against the Americans’ No. 4 penalty kill. Portland also has a potent PK, ranked No. 3 with five short-handed goals.
For the Americans, Riley Guenther, Justin Hamonic, Tyson Dallman and Nathan MacMaster are scratched. Ty Rimmer gets the start in goal. He is 3-0 against Portland this season, so this was an easy decision.
We need to keep an eye on Adam Hughesman tonight. He is two points from passing Bill Lindsay (271) for 8th on the team's all-time points list.
For Portland, Seth Swenson, Cody Castro and Layne Viveires are scratched. Mac Carruth is in goal. The Hawks still have Nino Niederreiter on their roster. Wishful thinking since he's sticking with the Islanders.
The refs are Steve Papp and Matt Thurston. They'd better be at their best since their boss Kevin Muench is in the building.
I have a shadow tonight. Matt Ward, a 2007 Southridge graduate who is studying journalism at Eastern Washington. With 10:45 p.m. deadlines tonight, he will get a good view of life on the run.
The CHL poll came out today, and the apparently there is a price to pay for losing to Calvin Pickard and Seattle. Tri-City slipped from third to fifth in the poll, while Pickard was named CHL Goalie of the Week after back-to-back wins over Tri-City and Portland.
Here’s how the scouts see it.
1. London Knights (18-4-0-1)
2. Quebec Remparts (20-4-2-1)
3. Saint John Sea Dogs (21-7-0-1)
4. Saskatoon Blades (18-6-0-1)
5. Tri-City Americans (16-6-0-0)
6. Plymouth Whalers (16-6-2-1)
7. Sarnia Sting (15-4-1-3)
8. Shawinigan Cataractes (17-8-1-2)
9. Victoriaville Tigres (18-9-0-1)
10. Kootenay Ice (16-5-1-2)
The puck drops in 15 minutes.
The Winterhawks have a 1-0 lead after Sven Bartschi scored at 18:19.
The refs aren't doing much to impress their boss. Late in the period, Ty Rimmer's net was knocked off its moorings. The face-off went to the other end and Rimmer had to get the refs attention to put it back on. Ooops.
The Ams will start the second on a 5-on-3 power pay for 1:32.
Wow, that was a wild one. With early deadlines (10:45 p.m.), I fell a little behind on my Game Day updates. Sorry.
Mitch Topping scored the game winner with less than two minutes left in the game, and Adam Hughesman had a five-point night with a goal and four assists in the 7-6 victory.
The crowd of 4,229 was treated to an exciting game. With the win, the Americans stayed atop the U.S. Division.
The Americans are back on the ice Friday and Saturday. Savor your turkey and eat some pie, but save room for hockey.