The Tri-City Americans wrapped up a pair of preseason tournaments last weekend at home in the Red Lion Preseason Classic. All five U.S. Division teams, along with Prince George, Red Deer and Kootenay, were on location at the Toyota Center for the event.
RED LION PRESEASON CLASSIC
Lost to Kootenay 2-1
The Americans opened play with a 2-1 shootout loss to Kootenay. Tyler Sandhu scored the lone Americans goal, while Beck Warm stopped all 18 shots he faced before Nicholas Sanders took over and stopped 14-of-15 shots.
Sanders and Warm have battled through the preseason for the backup spot behind starter Evan Sarthou. Each saw time in the Americans net last season while the club was decimated by injuries and international tournaments.
Lost to Red Deer 5-3
On Friday Red Deer used three third-period goals to defeat the Americans 5-3. Brett Leason (2014 bantam pick) opened the scoring for Tri-City and later assisted on another goal. Import draft pick Juuso Valimaki scored midway through the game for his first in an Americans sweater. Warm got the start and stopped 13-of-15 shots. Sarthou played the second half and allowed three goals on 14 shots.
Defeated Seattle 3-2
In Saturday's finale the veterans took over. Local product Beau McCue scored twice and Sarthou stopped 23-of-25 shots playing the entire game in a 3-2 win over Seattle.
After the weekend, GM Bob Tory and staff re-assigned a handful of young players for the season.
Leason, Landon Fuller and Mark Drohan were all re-assigned to their junior clubs. Zach Andrusiak was also re-assigned to play in the BCHL, a league filled with players on the cusp of reaching the WHL.
The Americans wrap up preseason play with a home-and-home series this tonight and tomorrow against arch rival Spokane. After Saturday's matchup with the Chiefs, the club has a week to prepare before making the same trek up U.S. Route 395 to face Spokane in the regular season opener September 26.
It appears the Americans will use the entire preseason to determine which goaltender will stay with the squad for the beginning of the year. The club likely will give Sarthou one more opportunity to prepare for the long season. But Warm and Sanders should each get their final chance to impress staff and remain with the club.
Whoever gets re-assigned should still put on an Americans sweater this season as Sarthou will attend the U.S. National Junior camp in December.
Other notes from Kennewick: Brandon Carlo (Boston, 2nd round) was invited to stay for the Bruins' main training camp, which takes place this weekend...Juuso Valimaki and Michael Rasmussen were named to Yahoo! Sports Top 10 News Faces to Watch in the WHL this upcoming season.
Make sure to check back with Seattlesinbin.com (LINK) in the coming weeks as our WHL U.S. Division beat writers will release their season previews, division and conference playoff picks, and players to watch for the upcoming season.