Game Day Preview: Winterhawks @ AmericansOct 19, 2013 - 05:41 PDT
Written By: Tole, Ben
Saturday October 19, 2013
Portland Winterhawks (6-3-0-1 13 pts.) At Tri-City Americans (5-7-0-1 11 pts.)
Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA; 7:05 p.m.
Listen: NewsTalk 870; 6:45 p.m.
Watch: WHL Live
Tri-City: 10/18/13 vs. Victoria (4-2, Win)
Portland: 10/18/13 vs. Swift Current (5-4, Win)
2013/14 Point Leaders
Portland: Oliver Bjorkstrand 12G-8A-20PT, Nic Petan 6G-14A-20PT, Taylor Leier 4G,7A-11PT
Tri-City: Brian Williams 9G-5A-14PT, Connor Rankin 5G-8A-13PT, Lucas Nickles 3G-4A-7PT, Phil Tot 3G-4A-7PT
After a big win against the Victoria Royals at the Toyota Center last night, the Americans will be right back at it again when it takes on the U.S. Division rival Portland Winterhawks tonight at 7:05 p.m.. This is the third meeting between these teams so far this season with each side picking up one victory at the Moda Center in Portland, OR. Historically the Americans hold the upper hand in the all-time series against the Winterhawks with a record of 126-102-5-1. The Americans have an even better record against Portland in games played on home ice going 75-39-1-1 all-time.
Players to Watch
Oliver Bjorkstrand- The Winterhawks come into the game with the league’s most potent offense statistically and that all starts with Bjorkstrand. Through 10 games the Denmark native ranks second in the WHL with 12 goals and fourth in points with 20. In two games against the Americans this season Bjorkstrand has been limited to an assist and an empty net goal.
Brendan Leipsic- Leipsic is another big time scoring threat for the Winterhawks coming off a 49 goal effort during the 2012-13 season. The Portland Centerman has played in five games for the Winterhawks this season, after being held scoreless in the first game Leipsic has scored a goal in every game since.
Brendan Burke- In two games against the Americans this season, Burke has played both his worst and best game statistically. A rejuvenated Americans offense put six by him on September 24 before he bounced back with a solid effort this past Wednesday, holding Tri-City to one goal.
Brian Williams- After being held goalless in his last seven games, Williams bounced back last night with a beautiful first period goal. The Tri-City forward was one of the league’s hottest players earlier in the month where he scored eight goals in a four game stretch. Williams has scored three goals against the Wintherhawks this season, all coming in the teams 6-2 victory on September 24.
Rodney Southam- The biggest story for the Americans following last night’s victory against the Royals was the breakout performance of Rodney Southam. The Saskatoon native scored two goals last night leading the team offensively.
Phil Tot- With an assist last night Tot extended his point streak to six games. The Tri-City left winger has scored three goals this season, two of them coming against the Winterhawks, one in each meeting. This past Wednesday Tot scored the only Americans goal against Portland to get his team back within a goal.
Friday Night Action: The Americans opened its five-game homestand with a bang last night, snapping Victoria’s five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory. Rodney Southam scored his first two WHL goals and Eric Comrie back stopped the Americans with 37 saves on the night.
Home Sweet Home: With last night’s victory the Americans extended its home ice winning streak to three games. During that time Tri-City has outscored its opponents by a total of 11-3 at the Toyota Center.
Shut Down Defense: In the first two meetings of the season, The Americans have received strong defense and goaltendings against a potent Wintherhawk offense. In the first two meetings, the Winterhawks have managed only six goals combined against the Americans, one of them coming on an empty net goal late in the game on Wednesday. Scoring a WHL best 5.1 goals per night, Eric Comrie and the Tri-City Americans defense will have to bring its best game again tonight.
Spreading the Wealth: Last night, the Americans got the balanced scoring attack that it had been looking for, receiving goals from three of its four lines. Rodney Southam scored two goals playing with the fourth line, Lucas Nickles with the third line and Brian Williams with the first line.
Offensive Success: The Americans will look to keep last night’s offensive momentum going against a Winterhawk team that statistically has had trouble preventing goals. Portland has allowed an average of 4.1 goals a game this season. The Americans highest offensive production so far came on September 24 when Tri-City tallied six goals against the Winterhawks.
Tri-City: vs Swift Current 10/22/13
Portland: at Lethbridge 10/22/13