When it came down to crunch time, the Americans responded in a BIG way.

Facing a must-win situation this last weekend, where the team needed to win at least two of three games, the Tri-City Americans came through in stellar fashion.

Going into the final week of the Western Hockey League regular season, the Americans and Kamloops Blazers were tied with 61 points for the final wild-card berth in the playoffs.  Kamloops finished with three games against Prince George, and after losing to them last Wednesday, the stage was set. That left the Blazers with two games, the Americans 3 to finish the season.

The Americans needed to win at least two of their last three, against very stout teams from Spokane and Portland.  The Americans had come close, but not been able to grab a victory against the speedy Winterhawks, having gone 0-8 so far this season.

But last Friday night, in what was one of their best games of the season, the Americans matched - and even at times - exceeded Portland's skill and speed, and controlled them on the way to a 4-2 victory.  Despite a Kamloops loss that night to PG,  the Ams' weren't out of the woods yet though.

Saturday, Tri-City gutted out a tough 2-1 win over their arch-rivals, the Chiefs, and it was a good things too because Kamloops won 5-2 over Prince George.  But with the Americans win,  it didn't matter.  Tri-City finished two points, or one game, ahead of Kamloops and secured the final wild-card position.

Tri-City went on the road Sunday, and appeared to be on the way to another thrilling (if meaningless in the standings) win over Portland, as they grabbed an early lead.  But Portland ended up coming back and finally took a tough 5-3 win.

But now, the Americans continue the season, and this Friday and Saturday head to Kelowna to take on the top seed in the West, the Rockets.  But Kelowna may be without a key player or two, and the Americans have shown they can play with anyone.

Once it's the post-season, anything can happen!  Be sure to listen to all the games on Newstalk 870.  Friday and Saturday will be live from Prospera Place on Newstalk 870 with a 6:45 pregame.

Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series will be back at Toyota Center next Tuesday and Wednesday, 6:45 pregame right here.   Call the American's office at (509)-736-0606 for ticket information.  And, GO AMS!