Tri-City Americans Win Division Title For 1st TimePosted: Updated:
KENNEWICK ,Wash. -- The Americans showdown with the Spokane Chiefs was everything it was cracked up to be. The Ams had quite a fight on their hands but pulled out the win over their arch-rivals, 2-1.
In arguably the biggest game in franchise history, the Tri-City Americans (52-16-2-2, 108 pts) did what they needed to do to hold off the Spokane Chiefs (50-15-1-5, 106 pts) in front of a packed crowd at Toyota Center.
Blair Macaulay and T.J. Fast scored for the Americans, while Chet Pickard stopped 28 saves to earn his 46th win of the season. With the win, the Americans secured their first U.S. Division banner in franchise history, while in the process, claiming the top spot in the Western Conference and the Scotty Munro Trophy, awarded to the team with the best regular season record.
Tri-City will face-off against the Kamloops Blazers in the first round of the 2008 WHL Playoffs, starting next Friday, March 21st in Kennewick.
Here is how the Ams reacted.
Coach Don Nachbaur says, "Twenty years of hockey was wrapped in to tonight. The fans here are so passionate about their hockey and for the first time, the teams been able to hang something from the rafters and that means a lot to the kids and to the fans."
Defenseman Mitch McColm says, "It's unreal. I don't think anyone expected us to do this so it's unreal to prove everyone wrong."
Goalie Chet Pickard says, "It was ridiculous. It was so loud out there and ya know, we had them behind us."
Forward Taylor Procyshen says, "This place is packed, I couldn't even hear myself think. This was a great atmosphere, a great game. It's a testament to this community and we are really happy we did it for them ... We just got so much confidence going into the playoffs. We know this place is going to smoke if we go far. We're going to do our best and it's a good time right now."
Scoring - 1. Tri-City, B. Macaulay (9) (J. Toll, P. Stoklasa) 9:12
Penalties - Served by P. Stoklasa Tri (too many men) 9:45, B. Macaulay Tri (hooking) 10:18
Scoring - 2. Tri-City, T. Fast (17) (J. Reese, C. Yellow Horn) 12:18
Penalties - J. Blackwater Spo (unsportsmanlike cnd.) 2:07, T. Schmidt Tri (roughing) 2:07, T. Glass Spo (tripping) 11:47, M. Wahl Spo (high sticking) 13:58, C. Bruton Spo (roughing) 16:00
Scoring - 3. Spokane, J. Blackwater (29) (T. Glass) 3:44
Penalties - B. Macaulay Tri (holding) 13:56
SPO Shots: 14 9 12 TOTAL: 35
TRI Shots: 10 7 6 TOTAL: 23
Power Play Conversion
Spokane Chiefs 0-3. Tri-City Americans 0-3.
Tokarski 30-9-0-3 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 58:28 SV: 21 GA: 2
Pickard 45-12-2-2 Start: 1st 0:00 Min: 60:00 SV: 34 GA: 1