Game Day Preview: Americans @ GiantsJan 05, 2014 - 04:48 PST
Written By: Tole, Ben
Sunday January 5, 2014
Tri-City Americans (17-18-2-2, 38 pts.) At Vancouver Giants (20-15-5-2, 47 pts.)
Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver B.C; 5:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 4:45 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
Vancouver: 01/04/14 vs. Kelowna (2-4, Loss)
Tri-City: 01/03/14 vs. Portland (5-1, Win)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Vancouver: Carter Popoff 11G-35A-46PT, Brett Kulak 13G-29A-42PT, Cain Franson 16G-23G-39PT
Tri-City: Connor Rankin 13G-20A-33PT , Brian Williams 23G-10A-33 PT , Phil Tot 10G-13A-23PT
The Tri-City Americans travel north of the border to take on the Vancouver Giants for the third of four meetings this season. These two teams last met on November 19 at the Toyota Center where Tri-City skated away with the 2-1 overtime victory. Historically the Americans lead the all-time series with a record of 32-18-0-1 with a 12-12-0-0 record in Vancouver.
Players to Watch
Carter Popoff- Leading the team in points this season is Popoff who comes into Sunday with 46. The Richmond, B.C. native has tallied points in seven of his last eight games and has three points in two head to head matchups against the Americans.
Dalton Thrower- One strength that the Giants have the strong offensive production of its defenseman. One of those guys on the blue line is Dalton Thrower who has tallied 10 goals and 22 assists on the season. But, not only has Thrower been productive offensively, he has also been a force preventing goals. The 20-year-old leads the team with a +7 rating.
Jackson Houck- Coming into tonight’s game as the Giants top finisher is Jackson Houck who has scored a team-high 22 goals. The North Vancouver native is one game removed from a hat trick against the Kelowna rockets and has tallied four goals in his last three games.
Phil Tot- After many games of knocking on the door, Phil Tot finally broke it down with a goal against the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night. Tot has scored 10 goals and 13 assists with the Americans this season including an assist against the Giants on November 16.
Brian Williams- After a rough start to the Month of December, Williams as started to heat up as the Calendar turns to January. The California native has scored a goal in each of his last three games, extending his total to a career high 23 goals.
Lucas Nickles- Nickles continued his strong play of late with a goal against the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night. The Salmon Arm native as tallied goals in three of his last four games and leads the team with a +10 rating.
Snapping the Streak: The Americans can loosen the grips on their sticks after snapping a seven-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night. Tri-City will look to string together victories for the first time since December 3.
Playoff Implications: While it may only be early January, tonight’s game will have post season implications as the Americans look to improve its playoff position. Sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, Tri-City sits just seven points behind the Vancouver Giants who sit just one spot ahead in seventh position.
Vickerman Returns to the Coliseum : Tonight will mark the first time that Taylor Vickerman has returned to the Pacific Coliseum as a member of the Tri-City Americans since being acquired by the Ams in August. Vickerman played 52 games with the Vancouver Giants where he registered four goals and five assists.
Williams Heating Up : Since returning from the holiday break, forward Brian Williams has begun to catch fire. The California native has scored goals in each of the last three games, leading the team with 23 on the season.
Against the BC Division: The Americans will be looking to improve on its record against the B.C. Division where it has gone 5-7-0-0 so far this season. In previous meetings against its cross division Western Conference opponents, Tri-City has victories against Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George as well as two against the Kamloops Blazers.
Next Man Up: With four Americans out of town participating in holiday tournaments and the team being hit hard with the injury bug, Tri-City has called upon some of its young talent to fill the void. Jordan Davies and Brendan O’Reilly have played in the last four games for the Americans at defense, while Maxwell James made his WHL debut on New Year’s Eve, filling in at forward for Tri-City.
Tri-City: vs. Kamloops 01/07/14
Vancouver: vs. Prince George 01/10/14