Sunday, December 9, 2012
Portland Winterhawks (24-5-1-0, 49 pts) at Tri-City Americans (18-11-1-1, 38 pts)
Toyota Center, 5:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870
Watch: WHL Live
Portland: 6-2 Win at Seattle
Tri-City: 3-2 Win at Portland
Portland: Nicolas Petan, 18G-32A–50PT; Brendan Leipsic 21G-28A–49PT; Ty Rattie 19G-27A–46PT
Tri-City: Justin Feser, 17G-20A–37PT; Malte Strömwall 10G-13A–23PT; Connor Rankin 11G-8A–18PT
Tri-City is coming off of a big win against the Portland Winterhawks in Portland. Luke Lee-Knight had a season high in saves for American goaltenders with 44, making some big saves down the stretch to help the Americans hold on to a 3-2 victory. Portland bounced back from the defeat to win on the road against Seattle 6-2 last night. Portland brings a three game winning streak at the Toyota Center into this game. Tri-City has been great at home this season with a 9-6 record. Tri-City had an eight game home stand in November which they were 7-1 during which helped get them into the race for the U.S. Division. But Portland has pulled away from the pack with 49 points, while Spokane is second with 45 and Tri-City in third place with 38 points. Tri-City was 6-4 last season against the Winterhawks, but Portland won the Conference Final matchup in a 4-0 sweep to go to the WHL Finals.
Players to Watch
C Brendan Leipsic: The WHL player of the month in November, Leipsic is playing excellent and currently has a 18 game point streak going which started against the Americans in October.
G Mac Carruth: Recorded his second shutout of the season against the Americans in October, stopping all 15 shots he faced.
RW Connor Rankin: A top 25 WHL draft prospect, Rankin scored two goals in the win against Portland on Friday.
RW Malte Strömwall: Strömwall has been a steady point force for the Americans, scoring the game winning goal against Portland to tie him for the team lead with five game winners.
Keys to the Game
Home Ice: Portland has a three game win streak in Kennewick coming into this game. Tri-City is 9-6 at home this season, losing the first game played against Portland in the Toyota Center 4-2. The Americans need to halt the Portland win streak in Tri-City in order to start climbing their way into contention for the top spot in the Division.
Elite Talent: This game will feature some of the best talent that will be draft eligible when the NHL holds the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Seth Jones, Eric Comrie, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Connor Rankin and Nicolas Petan are all highly rated prospects that will be featured in this game, and you can bet that some NHL scouts will be watching this game. One of these high level talents could decide the winner of this matchup.
Portland: Dec. 14 vs. Everett
Tri-City: Dec. 11 vs. Everett
Game Day Promotion
The Americans and Portland Winterhawks face-off inside the Toyota Center on Cascade Natural Gas Night, presented by 610 KONA and Tidbits. The first 2,000 fans will receive a replica 2012 Division Championship Banner magnet, courtesy of Cascade Natural Gas. Sunday is also our first Cascade Natural Gas’ A is for Americans Night, presented by Tú Decides, where students can bring their successful report card or progress report to the Americans office for a free student ticket to the game. It’s our next Americans’ Dollar Dog Day of the season, with one-dollar hot dogs all night long, while supplies last. Also, following the game, meet all your favorite Americans players on the Toyota Center concourse as part of our Numerica Credit Union Sunday Post-Game Autograph Session program.