It’s a big day here at the rink. A win over Everett and the Tri-City Americans will hang another U.S. Division banner and will be the top seed from the Western Conference in the upcoming playoffs.
Of course, if Portland should lose to Victoria again tonight, that would play in the Americans’ favor. If Tri-City and Portland should finished tied, the Ams own all the tie breakers.
The big obstacle, in which the Americans have no control over, is the Edmonton Oil Kings, who are one point ahead of the Ams in the race for the Scotty Munro trophy for the best regular-season record.
The Oil Kings have 103 points and the Americans 102. Edmonton, which has won 9 in a row, plays at Medicine Hat tonight. Ams fans can hope Emerson Etem (leads the league with 60 goals) and the Tigers can help them out a bit.
The big question still on the tabel is who the Americans will play in the playoffs. Finish first, and they get the No. 8 seed, which still is up in the air. Finish third and they get Kelowna.
Back to finishing first. Tri-City’s first-round opponent could be these very same Everett Silvertips, who currently are eighth. Then, if Victoria should drop its last game tonight to Portland and Everett pulls two points out of their hat, then the Royals will not get the Royal treatment at Toyota Center.
Then there are the darkhorses — Seattle and Prince George. Seattle is 2 points back of Everett (the two meet Saturday in Kent) and if they should finish with the same amount of points, Seattle holds the tiebreaker with more wins. PG is four points back of Everett with a home-and-home series with Kamloops tonight and Saturday.
Been to Everett, haven’t been to Kent since the T-birds relocated three years ago, haven’t been to PG (I think I can wait a little longer), and I haven’t been to Victoria (I’ll have to figure out the ferry schedule).
Tri-City forward Brendan Shinnimin (131 points) is on track to win the scoring title. He has a 14-point lead on Portland’s Ty Rattie and Brandon’s Mark Stone.
In fact, Shinnimin leads the CHL (WHL, OHL and QMJHL) in the scoring. Michaek Sgarbossa of the Subury Wolves leads the OHL with 98 points, while Yanni Gourde of the Victoriaville Tigres leads the QMJHL with 117 points.
It’s easy to say Shinnimin already has won the scoring title, but Rattie is a prolific scorer. He has a couple of 5-point games this season, and Stone has a couple of 5-point nights and several 4-point games. We shall assume nothing.
Want a look at Shinnimin’s game winner from last Sunday against PG? It’s on the WHL highlight reel this week. Such a pretty goal.
With it being the final week of the season, there are lot of parents here tonight, and I’m sure they are staying for Saturday’s award ceremony. I’ll have those winners for you after Saturday’s game against Spokane.
Tonight, Ty Rimmer is in goal for the Americans, while Sam Grist and Jesse Mychan have returned from the injured list.
Kent Simpson is manning the net for Everett.
Puck drops in 10.
We are scoreless here after the first. Ams have a 12-6 shot advantage, but not a lot of quality chances on either end.
In other games of importance, Edmonton leads Medicine Hat 3-1 in the second; Victoria has a 1-0 lead over Portland in the first; Spokane and Seattle are tied at 1 in the first; Prince George and Kamloops are tied at 1 at the end of the first and Vancouver and Kelowna are scoreless in the first.
Jordan Messier redirected a shot by Adam Hughesman to put the Americans on the board at 14:32 of the second for a 1-0 game. If this was basketball, Everett would be playing a box-and-one defense, with one player shadowing Shinnimin each time he has the puck. It has worked so far, but can it last?
Rimmer was outstanding late in the period stopping a shorthanded breakaway by Josh Winquist.
In other games, PG and Kamloops are tied at 3; Spokane is up 3-2 on Seattle; Portland and Victoria are tied at 1, and Kelowna and Vancouver are tied at 1. Edmonton still leads 3-1 over Medicine Hat.
Seattle has pulled into a 3-3 tie with Spokane, and Kelowna has taken a 2-1 lead on Vancouver. Kamloops is up 4-3 on PG. A loss and the Cougars are done.
Zach Yuen scores the game winner and Adam Hughesman scores twice to reach 50 goals to lead the Americans to a 4-1 victory and their fourth U.S. Division banner in five years.
Shinnimin, with a 14-point lead over the next guy is a lock for the Bob Clarke trophy as the league's leading scorer.
Ty Rimmer was simply outstanding. Very deserving of the first star.