Game Day Preview: Americans @ CougarsDec 07, 2013 - 06:10 PST
Written By: Tole, Ben
Saturday December 7, 2013
Tri-City Americans (16-12-1-2, 35 pts.) At Prince George Cougars (11-16-1-3, 26 pts.)
CN Centre, Prince George, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 6:45 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
Prince George: 12/06/13 vs. Tri-City (3-4, Loss OT)
Tri-City: 12/06/13 vs. Prince George (4-3 Win, OT)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Prince George: Chase Witala 18G-11A-29PT, Troy Bourke 12G-17A-29PT, Todd Fiddler 10G-17A-27PT
Tri-City: Brian Williams 20G-10A-30 PT, Connor Rankin 11G-18A-29PT, Phil Tot 8G-11A-19PT
The Americans return to the CN Centre tonight for the back end of a weekend double header against the Prince George Cougars. Tri-City is 97-48-4-2 all-time against the Cougars with a record of 45-31-1-0 in games played in Prince George. These teams faced off last night, where Braden Purtill’s overtime goal gave the Americans the 4-3 victory against the Cougars in the weekend opener.
Since the 2002-2003 season, the Americans are 6-5-0-0 in the second game of the annual double header in Prince George, winning three of the last five back end games. This will be the fourth time this season that the Americans have played back-to-back games against the same team and have won the second contest in all three occurrences.
Players to Watch
Jordan Tkatch- Tkatch was arguably the best Cougar on the ice during last nights game. The Saskatchewan native was all over the place scoring a goal and an assist registering his first goal since November 10.
Todd Fiddler- The Americans did well keeping a dangerous Todd Fiddler off the scoresheet for 59 minutes, but the forward would tie the game in the last minute. The Saskatchewan native comes into tonight’s game riding a five-game point streak registering nine goals and nine assists on the season.
Troy Bourke- The Americans will face a different challenge tonight when the Cougars get Bourke back from suspension. Bourke is tied for the team lead with 29 points and scored two goals in the teams first meeting in September.
Lucas Nickles- Nickles is coming off what might have been his best game of the season last night where he scored a goal and two assists. The Salmon Arm native created countless opportunities using his legs and the Americans hope to see a repeat performance tonight.
Marcus Messier- Checking in with a two point effort last night was Marcus Messier. The Forward scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game at one last night, as well as an assist on Braden Purtill’s overtime winner.
Beau McCue- In two games against the Cougars this season, McCue has found the net both times adding the game tying second goal for the Americans last not on the power play. With 10 goals on the season, McCue ranks third on the team in goals.
Against the B.C. Division: With last night’s victory against the Cougars, the Americans, evened up its record against the B.C. division to 5-5-0-0 in ten games. With the exception of the Kelowna Rockets, the Americans have at least one victory against every team in the division.
Playing on the Road: A win in Prince George tonight would put the Americans back to the .500 mark away from the Toyota Center for the second time this season. Tri-City previously accomplished that feat after a successful Alberta road trip in early November.
Special Teams Play: The Americans continued its recent success on the power play, scoring on the man advantage for the sixth consecutive game. Tri-City now ranks 13th in the WHL with a 21.7 percent success rate on the man advantage and go up against the Cougars 16th ranked penalty kill tonight. On the other side of Tri-City’s special teams’ unit is the dominant play of the penalty kill which comes into tonight ranked fourth in the WHL. Not only did the Americans hold the Cougars scoreless on the power play last night but the team also went on to score shorthanded for the fifth time this season.
Keeping the Puck Out: Allowing an average of 2.63 goals a night, the Americans have allowed the fifth fewest goals in the WHL this season. Tri-City has used a stifling defensive unit along with the strong net minding of Eric Comrie, who holds the league’s third best save percentage of 0.927 along with a goals against average of 2.39. The Cougars average 2.91 goals a game this season ranking seventh in the Western Conference.
Starting Fast: Last night marked just the fourth time the Americans have come back to win after surrendering the first goal of the game. When scoring the first goal in games, the Americans are 13-2-1-1 this season and only 4-10-0-1 when allowing that first goal.
Tri-City: vs. Seattle 12/10/13
Prince George: vs. Kootenay 12/10/13