Tri-City Americans Playoff Battle – Here’s What They Have to Do
Starting Friday night, the Tri-City Americans have a little more wiggle room than the Kamloops Blazers, but not much.
After an injury-riddled season the Americans' playoff hopes come down to potentially the final game of the season Sunday vs. Portland. Under the new WHL playoff system this season, the Americans are in position to grab the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The top six teams in the Eastern and Western Conference have already been locked in, now it's just the wild-card berths.
Spokane is safely in as a wild-card, and cannot be knocked out or caught by Tri-City or Kamloops. There's one wild-card playoff berth left and coming into tonight, the Americans and Blazers are tied with 61 points apiece. The Americans let out a sigh of relief Wednesday when Prince George (PG) defeated the Blazers, keep them even with the Ams.
Kamloops has two more games, Friday and Saturday, both vs. PG. Should the Blazers win BOTH, they and the Cougars would be tied for the final conference berth in the British Columbia Division. Then would come a complicated series of tiebreakers, which according to the WHL website, start by comparing who has the most wins. Remember-teams get a point for going to overtime or a shootout, so it's possible for Team A to have more points than Team B, but fewer victories.
But we will let those Canadian teams settle their own business. Starting Friday, the Americans face Portland and Spokane at home, and Portland Sunday on the road.
Here's possible scenarios: (2 points awarded for a victory).
*Tri-City and Kamloops both win all their final games. Tri-City wins wild-card because we had 3 games left, Kamloops 2.
*Kamloops Splits 1-1 with PG, Tri-Cities takes two of three this weekend, Ams still win wild-card by 2 points.
*Kamloops goes 0-2, Tri-Cities wins only 1 of 3 final games, Tri-City breaks the 61-point tie and get the berth.
*Kamloops and Tri-City go 0-2 and 0-3 for weekend, then the WHL tie-breaking procedures come into play. Depending upon wins, points vs. each other etc, there COULD be a one-game playoff to determine the final wild-card spot. It's truly down to the wire.
*Any combination of Tri-City wins vs. Kamloops losses that give us a 2-point lead in the standings after Sunday means the Ams are in.
Best thing you, the fans, can do? Come out Friday and Saturday, pack the Toyota Center, and make some serious noise for the boys! The Ams have battled injuries and adversity and are still alive for the postseason.