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Game Day Preview: Chiefs @ Americans

Mar 30, 2013 - 04:50 PDT

Saturday March 30, 2013
2013 WHL Playoffs 1st Round- Game 5
(4) Spokane Chiefs (3-0-1) at (5) Tri-City Americans (1-2-1)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: MeTv 42.2/Charter 280

Series Overview
03/22/13 – Game 1: at Spokane 4, Tri-City  1

03/23/13 – Game 2: at Spokane 6, Tri-City 4
03/26/13 – Game 3: at Tri-City 5, Spokane 4 (OT)
03/28/13 – Game 4: Spokane 4, at Tri-City 3 (OT)
03/30/13 – Game 5: Spokane at Tri-City
04/02/13 – Game 6: Tri-City at Spokane*
04/03/13 – Game 7: Tri-City at Spokane*
* = If Necessary
Spokane leads series 3-1

Regular Season Point Leaders
Spokane:
Brenden Kichton, 22G-63A--85PT; Mitch Holmberg 39G-41A--80PT; Todd Fiddler 42G-35A--77PT

Tri-City: Justin Feser, 44G-62A--106PT; Malte Strömwall 21G-45A--66PT; Connor Rankin 32G-26A--58PT

Notes
Spokane has Tri-City on the ropes after taking a 3-1 series lead on Thursday night, earning a 4-3 win in overtime. The game started off good for the Americans as Justin Feser scored to make it 1-0. Spokane’s Adam Helewka and Todd Fiddler both netted goals late in the first period to make it 2-1 Chiefs after one period. No goals were scored in the second but the Chiefs made it a two goal lead early in the third as Brenden Kichton scored to make it 3-1. The Americans fought back, as Mitch Topping scored on a power play and Drydn Dow scored late in the period to tie the game at three and send the game to overtime. Blake Gal scored the overtime winner 5:10 in, beating Troy Trombley glove side to send the Chiefs onto the ice in celebration.  

The Highway 395 rivals meet for the third consecutive year in the playoffs. Tri-City earned a late goal in Game 7 last season in the Conference Semi-Finals to edge Spokane 4 games to 3. In the 2011 playoffs, it was Spokane that defeated Tri-City 4 games to 2 in the Conference Semi-Finals. Spokane and Tri-City have met in the playoffs six times previous, with Spokane coming out on top in four of the six series. The other series win for Tri-City besides last season was in the 1995 WHL Playoffs, defeating the Chiefs 4 games to 3 in the Conference Semi-Finals. The Americans have gotten past the first round in the past five seasons and are looking to make it six straight against Spokane, while Spokane has advanced past the first round in the past two seasons. Tri-City is making their 21st appearance in the Playoffs in their 25th season in the Western Hockey League while Spokane is making their 24th appearance in the playoffs. This is the 10th straight season the Americans have made the playoffs.

Players to Watch
Spokane:
LW Adam Helewka: He scored his first goal of the series last game to tie the game in the first period and has three points in the series thus far.   

LW Alessio Bertaggia: Has made a big impact since coming to Spokane from Brandon in a trade and leads the team with seven points in the playoffs, including three assists in the Game 4 win.   
Tri-City:
RW Malte Strömwall: Strömwall has four points in the series, all of which are assists. He had two assists in the Game 4 loss, including an assist on Drydn Dow’s game tying goal in the third period.  

D Drydn Dow: The 20-year-old does not want his Americans’ career to end tonight and he is doing everything to make sure of that in this series. He leads the team with five points, including the game tying goal in the third period in Game 4.

Keys to the Game
Energy: The Americans love playing in the Toyota Center because of the energy the crowd gives the team. In Game 3, the team fed off of that energy and came back to tie the game in the second period and win the game in overtime. That same energy was in the building in Game 4, especially during the third period comeback the Americans made. If the crowd and team can create some energy in the building and get the Americans out to an early lead, it is going to be tough for Spokane to earn a win.       
Adversity: The Americans have been down in a series 3 games to 1 nine times and have lost all nine series. The last time they were down 3-1 in a series was in the 2010 WHL Finals against Calgary, losing the series in five games. Tri-City has been down to the Chiefs 3 games to 1 in a series one other time back in 2002, losing the series in five games. While they have never come back from a 3-to-1 series deficit, the Americans know they can do it and they need that confidence when facing adversity.

Game Day Promotions
The Americans host Game 5 of their 2013 WHL Playoffs First Round series against the Spokane Chiefs on Columbia Point Golf Course Night, presented by URock Radio, KVEW-TV and the Tri-City Herald.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the Toyota Center.  The first one thousand fans will receive free 2-for-1 Greens Fees coupons, courtesy of Columbia Point Golf Course.  It’s another Jack in the Box Rock the Rink Saturday Night, with student ticket discounts available at the Toyota Center box office, simply by showing your valid student card.  Also, be sure to stop by any Ranch and Home location to pick up a Playoff Value Coupon, good for 4 tickets for just $64 when redeemed at the Toyota Center box office!  Our first intermission will host the challenging Columbia Point Golf Course Closest to the Puck contest, followed by the always-popular Ranch and Home Chuck-A-Puck in our second break.