The Tri-City Americans will play their 36th game Friday night when they host the Everett Silvertips marking the midpoint of the season.

They will enter the second half just outside of the playoff picture ... but Coach Stu Barnes says his young team has been adjusting and making necessary improvements.

"I think you look, first of all, to the make the playoffs. We haven't done that here in a couple of years which is a big deal for the Tri-City Americans. We've had good teams over the years. So Number 1 is get in the playoffs cause once you're in anything can happen if you're playing your best hockey during the playoffs."

Barnes says the improvements they're seeing will be a big part of their success.

Forward Sasha Mutala ... fresh off a hat trick against rival Spokane ... says they are getting better particularly since late 2021.

"Obviously the postseason is a pretty heavy game ... a different type of game. I think, personally, if we clean up our D zone, a little more structure all over the ice I think we will be pretty well off heading into April and May."

The Americans trail Victoria for the 8th and final playoff spot.

Tri-City will drop the puck against Everett at 7 p.m. Friday night.

You can watch the Americans against the Chiefs Saturday on SWX beginning at 7.