Tonight in Kennewick, WA the Vancouver Giants kick off a two-game road trip down South when they take the ice for the third time this season against Kelly Buchberger’s Tri-City Americans. The Giants come into tonight’s game with a nine-point lead on Victoria for first in the B.C. Division standings and have won three games in a row. This marks the first road matchup for the Giants against the Americans this season.
Head Coach: Kelly Buchberger
Home Record: 10-6-1-0
Last Game: An 8-3 loss to Spokane in Spokane on Saturday night.
Last 10: 6-4-0-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 122 GF/126 GA (-4)
Power Play: 17.2% (19th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 78.7% (9th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Parker Aucoin (39GP – 22G – 22A – 44PTS), Nolan Yaremko (39GP – 17G – 22A – 39PTS), Kyle Olson (35GP – 10G – 26A – 36PTS)
LETS FLIP ‘AUCOIN’:
20-year-old forward Parker AuCoin has been a steady, consistent performer over the years for the Tri-City Americans. Coming into tonight AuCoin leads all Tri-City skaters with 22 goals and 44 points. He has recorded a goal and an assist in each of his past two games and has recorded 40-or-more points in each of his past three seasons. His 44 points this season have already helped him notch a new season high, and with 29 games still to go, he’ll obliterate his previous best when all is said and done.
1999-born goaltender Beck Warm has been a workhorse between the pipes for the Tri-City Americans. The pride of Whistler, B.C. has appeared in 36 of Tri-City’s 39 games and currently ranks tied for second in goaltender games played. His record is 20-15-1-1 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.92 goals-against-average and one shutout. He’s 0-2 against the Giants this season with a 4.11 goals-against-average and an .886 save percentage.
THAT’S A LOT OF OVERTIME:
No team in the Western Conference has played more overtime than the Tri-City Americans. The Ams have played in 11 games that have required overtime. In December the Ams played in four straight games that went to overtime, and they won all of them. They are 5-1 in overtime and 4-1 in shootouts this season.
Head Coach: Michael Dyck
Road Record: 9-7-1-0
Last Game: A 3-2 home win against Victoria on Sunday, January 13th
Last 10: 5-5
Goals For/Goals Against: 129 GF/94 GA (+35)
Power Play: 23.7% (6th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 86.2% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (40GP – 13G – 28A – 41PTS), Bowen Byram (40GP – 13G – 26A – 39PTS), Milos Roman (34GP – 18G – 16A – 34PTS)
A POTENTIAL PLAYOFF PREVIEW?:
If the WHL playoffs were to start today the Vancouver Giants and the Tri-City Americans would meet in the first round. Given the way the standings have shaped out to this point, it’s worth paying the extra attention to tonight’s matchup. The Giants are 2-0 so far against the Ams having rattled off back-to-back wins in Vancouver on December 1st and 2nd. These teams will meet once more during the regular season back in Kennewick on March 9th.
SOME NATIONAL ACCOLADES FOR BOWEN BYRAM:
Earlier this week Giants defenceman Bowen Byram was named both the CHL and WHL Player of the Week. The draft eligible defenceman brings a six-game point streak into tonight’s game and is coming off a week where he snagged three goals and three assists over the course of a two-game span. One of those games was a historic one for Byram as he became the first Giants defenceman to ever record five points in a single game. He leads all Giants with a goal and three assists this season against the Ams.
WHEELIN’ ‘NIELIN’ SON OF A GUN:
2000-born forward Tristen Nielsen has six points in his past two games, and is coming off back-to-back games with a goal and two assists. He’s found instant chemistry alongside Davis Koch and Jadon Joseph, and tonight that trio will once again be looked upon to provide steady two-way minutes for Michael Dyck’s Giants. He comes into tonight’s game with six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 29 games played.