Playing in Prince George is different than any other WHL city.
It's over 300 miles from the closest WHL team (Kamloops). Most teams in the Western Conference won't even go there for just one game, they require a weekend series as to not have to come back again soon.
But the Tri-City Americans did their best Friday to make Prince George's CN Centre look like home in an impressive 5-2 win over the Cougars.
Tri-City saw its balanced scoring attack continue as five different Ams found the net and Evan Sarthou stopped 31 of 33 shots for his best performance of the early season. Sarthou was at his best in the second period when Prince George outshot the Americans 17-6.
There were even a few audible cowbells coming from Tri-City fans who were in attendance, over 700 miles from Kennewick and the Toyota Center.
Saturday....a different story
The weekend finale wasn't as kind to the Americans.
Or, you could say, the Americans weren't kind to themselves. They were flat and played like a team ready to end a 3-game B.C. road trip. The game saw four fights, over 100 penalty minutes and an undisciplined Ams club fall 4-1 to the host Cougars.
There were minimal bright spots: trailing 2-0 Sarthou stopped a penalty shot early in the third period, and rookie Michael Rasmussen followed a few minutes later with his first WHL goal.
But the Cougars tallied twice in the final four minutes to put away Tri-City, which now sits at 3-2-1-0 and is third in the U.S. Division with 7 points headed into Wednesday's home game against Prince Albert.
Trip begins with win
The road trip began with an impressive 4-3 win in Kamloops on Wednesday. Beau McCue had two goals and rookie Kyle Olson added his first WHL goal as the Americans trailed three different times before taking their first lead in the third period.
Injuries adding up
Injuries are already starting to pile up for Tri-City. The Americans were without forwards Austyn Playfair and Braden Purtill, who were injured in the home opener. Purtill is still day-to-day after suffering an injury on a vicious check from Spokane's Jacob Cardiff. Cardiff was suspended three games by the league for the hit. Jordan Roy played in his first WHL game in Kamloops as the Ams continue to mend injuries.
The club is also still without defenseman Riley Hillis, who is still recovering from offseason surgery. Hillis will play a key role on the Americans blue line upon his return.
Prince Albert will continue its tour of the U.S. Division in Kennewick on Wednesday. It's the fourth game against the U.S. Division in five nights for the Raiders (4-2-0-1, 9 points). Tri-City then heads to Vancouveron Friday before welcoming Portland Saturday for the first of 10 matchups with the Winterhawks.
Rasmussen, Olson named to watch list
Rookies Michael Rasmussen and Kyle Olson were named to Team Canada's roster for the World U-17 Hockey Challenge. The tournament takes place November 1-7 in Dawson Creek, B.C., and Fort St. John, B.C. Team Canada has three different teams taking on Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, United States and Finland.
Design an Americans jersey?
If you have ever wanted to design a hockey jersey, the Americans are giving you that chance. The club announced a contest where you can create a design to be used in February's Breast Cancer awareness night. Designs must be submitted by Oct. 31.
Ams prospects named to Challenge Cup
Seven Tri-City prospects will play in the upcoming U16 Western Canada Challenge Cup. The list included: Team BC, Seth Bafaro and Keltie Jeri-Leon; Team Alberta, Paycen Bjorklund and Jacob Bennett; Team Saskatchewan, Carson Focht; Team Manitoba, Matthew Thiessen, Samuel Stewart. Calgary will host the event from October 28-November 1.