DUBNetwork Feature game of the night: Americans @ Thunderbirds
The two Wild Card teams face off in the feature game of the night in their sixth meeting of the season, in what has been quite the season series to date. With a win tonight, the Seattle Thunderbirds could tie up the season series at three wins for each side. With both of these teams in Wild Card spots if the playoffs started today, this would be the second year in a row that both Western Conference Wild Card spots were locked up by US Division teams.
The Tri-City Americans (28-20-2-1) are playing tonight after a 7-4 loss against the Victoria Royals on Saturday night. The Americans are coming into this meeting of the season series as winners of the latest meeting against the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Americans are 6-4-0-0 in their last ten games, good enough to keep pace with the third place Spokane Chiefs who are only five points ahead of them in the standings.
Americans forward Riley Sawchuk has seen some newfound success over the last handful of games as he has six points in his last five. Last game, Sawchuk beat his career high for goals scored in a single season as he notched his 16th of the season. The Prince Albert native was selected in the sixth round by Tri-City back in 2014 and is just approaching that big game #200, as he’s suited up in 196 games coming into tonight’s meeting.
The Seattle Thunderbirds (21-26-5-1) have had quite a lot change since their last encounter with the Americans, having climbed their way out of the basement of the West to a playoff spot. The Thunderbirds are only 4-5-1-0 in their last ten, which is not going to be sustainable for that last playoff spot if the Kamloops Blazers catch fire as they’re lurking in the shadows only three points out with a game in hand. A win tonight for Seattle would be just what the doctor ordered.
Andrej Kukuca, has been someone to watch on the Thunderbirds, he’s been all over so many highlight reel plays its no secret the import forward from Trencin, Slovakia knows how to score. The Seattle Thunderbirds practically struck gold with this import draft pick. Kukuca did not take long to adjust to the North American style of play, which is especially rare among import forwards. Kukuca scored his first goal in just his fifth game of the season, and hasn’t stopped scoring since then, coming into tonight’s game with 18 goals and 24 assists in 48 games.
Expected in goal:
- Beck Warm (TC) 2.872 GAA, .915 SV%- Warm was pulled in his last game after he allowed four goals on 16 shots in a loss to the Victoria Royals.
- Roddy Ross (SEA) 2.752 GAA, .914 SV%- After a rock solid start, Ross has allowed an average of 3.75 goals against in his last four games.
The other puck:
Red Deer Rebels (28-19-3-1) @ Spokane Chiefs (29-17-2-4)
- The Spokane Chiefs have been in the drivers seat lately with their foot on the gas. They’ve won their last three games, and look to enlarge the gap between themselves and the fourth place Americans in the US Division
- The Red Deer Rebels begin a six game road swing tonight that takes them through the US Division, trying to end a five game losing streak.