Friday, January 18, 2013
Kamloops Blazers (29-13-2-3, 63 pts) at Tri-City Americans (26-16-1-2, 55 pts)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live
Kamloops: 3-2 Loss at Victoria
Tri-City: 9-3 Win at Vancouver
Kamloops: Colin Smith, 28G-41A–69PT; Tim Bozon 27G-33A–60PT; JC Lipon 22G-36A-58PT
Tri-City: Justin Feser, 26G-32A–58PT; Malte Strömwall 12G-23A–35PT; Connor Rankin 18G-14A–32PT
Colin Smith is the leading scorer for the Blazers, who stepped up to fill the void while JC Lipon was gone and he is now third in league scoring. Smith, Lipon and Tim Bozon are in the top ten in scoring and is a line that is a force to be reckoned with throughout the league. Kamloops is second in the B.C. Division and third in the Western Conference. They are four points off of the pace of the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers are coming into this game on a low note and have a current streak of 0-1-0-1. The Americans bring in their hot line to this game comprised of Connor Rankin, Brian Williams and Parker Bowles. The line has 17 goals and 13 assists since the start of the second half of the season and both Williams and Rankin had five game point streaks until they ended in the previous game against the Blazers on Jan. 9. These two teams have met three times before, with the Americans earning the victory in the first game 4-2 on Nov. 10 in Kennewick while the Blazers won the second meeting 3-2 on Nov. 30 in Kamloops. Tri-City has the momentum against the Blazers coming into the game having won the previous meeting in Kamloops 3-1.
Players to Watch
D Joel Edmundson: Recently acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors, the 19-year-old defenseman has played well in 15 games for Kamloops with three goals and seven assists.
C Colin Smith: The leading scorer for the Blazers has played well against the Americans this season, scoring two goals and an assist.
LW Jesse Mychan: He scored three goals and an assist in the win over Vancouver two days ago and has four goals and two assists in 2013.
D Mitch Topping: Topping continued his 2013 point streak, extending it to six games against Vancouver with a power play goal.
Keys to the Game
Special Teams: In the last two games, the Americans were 5-6 on the power play, including a perfect 3 for 3 against the Everett Silvertips. The team has scored in six of their last seven power plays going back to the final power play against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The team vaulted themselves from 10th to fourth in the league on the power play.
Defense: The Blazers are fourth in the league in scoring with 164 goals. The Americans are tied for fifth in the league in goals allowed and have played well against the powerful Kamloops offense, only allowing six goals in three games and have outscored the Blazers 9-6 in three games this season. Goalie Luke Lee-Knight will have to step up in the absence of Eric Comrie for the remainder of the season, and he has played well so far this season with a 5-2 record.
Kamloops: Jan. 19 vs. Victoria
Tri-City: Jan. 19 at Spokane
Game Day Promotions
The Americans return to the Toyota Center to host the Kamloops Blazers on Kennewick General Hospital Foundation Night, presented by URock Radio, KEPR-TV and the Tri-City Herald. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free Pocket First Aid Kit, courtesy of Kennewick General Hospital. It’s another Tri-City Herald Family Friday, presented by KEPR-TV, so be sure to clip the coupon in the Herald or online at Tri-City Herald Dot Com to save big at the Toyota Center box office. It’s also our next Book and Food Drive of the season. Bring your donation of new and gently used children’s book and pre-packaged food items to the game and you will be entered to win a free NOOK Color Tablet. It’s also Real Estate Night with the Americans…contact the Americans today to see how you can get your organization involved in the festivities. Intermission breaks will feature Wildhorse Resort and Casino’s Wild Horse Race and the return of the URock Radio Musical Chairs Contest.