Game Day Preview: Americans @ TigersNov 01, 2013 - 06:05 PDT
Written By: Tole, Ben
Friday November 1, 2013
Tri-City Americans (8-8-0-1 17 pts.) At Medicine Hat Tigers (10-3-2-0 22 pts.)
Medicine Hat Arena, Medicine Hat, AB; 6:30 p.m. PDT
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 6:15 p.m. PDT
Tri-City: 10/26/13 vs. Brandon (4-1, Win)
Brandon: 10/30/13 at Red Deer (4-3, Win S/O)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Medicine Hat: Curtis Valk 8G-12A-20PT, Tevor Cox 2G-12A-14PT, Dylan Bredo 2G-12A-14PT
Tri-City: Brian Williams 11G-5A-16PT, Connor Rankin 5G-9A-14PT, Phil Tot 5G-50A-10 PT
After a successful five-game home stand, which saw the Tri-City Americans win four out of five at the Toyota Center, the team departs on a five-game road swing starting tonight in Alberta against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Americans will be looking to improve on its 2-5-0-1 road record which has seen them drop four games by two goals or less.
While the Americans trail the all-time series, compiling a record of 15-17-0-1, Tri-City does have a record of 9-7-0-0 playing in Medicine Hat. When these teams faced off last season, the Tigers got the better of the Americans coming away with a 6-5 victory at the Toyota Center. Coming into tonight’s contest, Tri-City has won four of the last six meetings between these two teams.
Players to Watch
Curtis Valk- Not surprisingly, the hottest player for the Tiger’s coming into tonight’s game is Valk, who led the team in goals last season. After a relatively slow start for his standards, scoring just four goals in his first 12 games, the 20-year-old has doubled his total scoring four goals in the last three games. When these teams met last season Valk contributed one goal to Medicine Hat’s 6-5 victory over the Americans.
Ty Stanton- Another key contributor to the Tiger’s 6-5 victory last season was defenseman Ty Stanton, who registered two assists in the game. The 18-year-old is off to a good start this season with a goal and five assists to go along with his plus-five rating.
Cole Sanford- Last season, Sanford only scored two goals and nine assists in his rookie campaign, all though two of those assists came against the Americans. The 2013-14 season is a different story for the Medicine Hat forward, as he has already shattered his career high with nine goals in 15 games. He comes into tonight’s contest as the team’s leading goal scorer hungry to get back on the score sheet after being held pointless in his last three games.
Mitch Topping- While Topping has been one of the leaders defensively for the Amerians, he was also a key component to the team’s offensive success in the last home stand. The Americans’ captain has four assists in the team’s last three games making a big impact especially on the power play. This will be the first time in the 2013-14 season that Topping, a native of Red Deer Alberta, has played in his home province.
Devon McAndrews- Another American player who will be playing on his home ice tonight is McAndrews. The Edmonton, Alberta native has two-games into his WHL career which started Friday night against Seattle. Already the 6’4” forward has made an impact on the fourth line for the Americans recording his first point against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.
Connor Rankin- The Americans are hoping to get even more production from Rankin as the team heads off on this road trip. So far this season the North Vancouver native has been the team’s road warrior, leading the team with 9 points (4G, 5A) away from the Toyota Center. In three games against the Tigers in his WHL career, Rankin has scored a goal and two assists.
The Month that was: The Americans head into the month of November looking to build on its success from October. The team compiled a record of 7-5-0-0 during the month, holding its opponents to just 2.41 goals a game. Tri-City held the opposition to two or fewer goals in nine of the teams 12 games during the month of October.
On the Road again: Now that the Americans have built its home record to 6-3-0-0 it heads back onto the road looking to improve on its 2-5-0-1 record on the road. Despite the losing record, Tri-City has outscored its opponents in regulation 24-22 on the road this season. In five regulation losses away from the Toyota Center, the Americans have lost four of them by two or fewer goals and will be looking to change its luck when the road trip kicks off tonight in Medicine Hat.
Unfamiliar Opponent: Tonight the Americans take on the Medicine Hat Tigers for the first and only match up of the season. With the meeting taking place only once every year, players find themselves unfamiliar with its opposition. Only six members of the Americans have played the Tigers more than once in their WHL careers, with Jessey Astles and Phil Tot the most experienced of those players from their time in the Eastern Conference.
Against the Eastern Conference: Since the start of the 2012-13 season the Americans are 11-2-1-0 against opponents from the Eastern Conference. In two games against cross conference rivals this season, Tri-City has a record of 2-0-0-0 with home victories against the Swift Current Broncos and the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Special Teams: The Americans head into tonight’s game with the third best penalty kill in the WHL killing off its infractions at an 84.6 percent rate. Over the past eight games, Tri-City has killed off 26 of its last 29 penalties (90%). On the other side of the special teams battle, the Americans power play showed signs of life on Saturday scoring two goals on the man advantage. While its 17th ranked power play is nothing to write home about the Americans have had success with the man advantage on the road. The team ranks eighth in the WHL with a 21.2 power play success rate away from home.
Tri-City: at Lethbridge 11/02/13
Medicine Hat: vs. Spokane 11/06/13