By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
The Tri-City Americans have proven they can beat Portland, and tonight would be a good time to take another game off the visiting Winterhawks.
Every point is crucial for the Americans (28-29-3-5, 64 points), who are hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with just a four-point lead over the Prince George Cougars with seven games remaining.
“Four points aren’t enough,” said Americans forward Brian Williams, who leads the team with 36 goals. “We want to be fortunate enough to seal our own fate. We may need to count on other teams to help, but we need to take care of things. A six or an eight-point lead would be better.”
Tri-City took a big step in helping themselves Saturday night, shutting out rival Spokane 3-0 on the road — and ending an eight-game losing streak.
“I love playing in Spokane,” said Williams, who had a goal and assist in the game. “That was awesome for me. I think for the young guys, it shows that hard work does pay off. I spent the next day reflecting on what a good game that was for us as a team. A good stepping stone for the playoffs.”
During the eight-game slide was a 7-0 loss to Spokane and a 5-1 loss to Kelowna, but there also were five games lost by one goal — including one in overtime and two in shootouts.
To help turn things around, the Americans went back to their strength — defense.