By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
The Tri-City Americans have been a fixture in the Western Hockey League playoffs for the past 10 years. If team captain Mitch Topping has his way, that streak will reach 11.
“Not going to happen,” Topping said of a possibility of missing the playoffs this season. “End of story.”
The Americans last missed the playoffs in 2002-03, when they won just 20 games and had but 44 points.
Since then, they have won four U.S. Division titles, a Western Conference title and played for a trip to the Memorial Cup in 2010.
This year has been a struggle for the Americans, who have had a rash of injuries throughout the lineup all season. Forward Phil Tot still is out of commission with a lower-body injury, and forward Taylor Vickerman had season-ending knee surgery Wednesday.
And, forward Jessey Astles still has three games remaining on a seven-game league suspension.
“It has weighed on our minds,” Topping said of the playoff situation. “We are in desperation mode. I have been in that position before when I was in Chilliwack. I’m just trying to pass that (sense of urgency) onto the guys.”