Driving over the Cascades is a FAR better prospect for the opening round of the 2016-17 WHL Playoffs than taking a leisurely 15-hour bus ride to Prince George in Canada. Thanks to their thrilling overtime comeback victory over Everett Sunday night, the Americans did just that.

During Sunday night's game at the Toyota Center, people were keeping an eye on the Spokane vs. Portland matchup, to see who would get the #3 seed from the U.S. Division.  Everett played hard, but the Americans kept coming back, rallying from a 5-3 deficit. Thanks to a Jordan Topping hat trick, the Americans blew the roof off the Toyota Center in front of nearly 5,000 fans with the thrilling overtime win.

Meanwhile, Portland played like they were taking the night off, allowing the Chiefs (who finished in the cellar and missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 years) to drill them 7-2.  With the Americans winning their last three, and Portland splitting their final two, Tri-City gets the 3rd berth by ONE point.

That's big, because now the Winterhawks have to trek to the place some say is near the end of the WHL world, Prince George, to face the first-ever B.C. Division champs. Unlike many previous seasons, PG is a tough, gritty hard to figure out team, and yes they won their FIRST ever division title this year.

Starting this weekend, here's the Americans playoff schedule:

  • Friday March 24 in Seattle, 7:20 pregame, 7:40 puck drop
  • Saturday March 25th in Seattle, 6:50 pregame, 7:10
  • Wednesday March 29th Toyota Center, 6:45 pregame, 7:05 puck drop
  • Friday March 31st, Toyota Center, 6:45 pregame, 7:05 puck drop

If Necessary, Game 5 will be April 1st in Seattle pregame 6:50, game 7:10, Game 6 would be at Toyota Center Monday April 3, 6:50 pregame, 7:10 game time, and Game 7 would be in Seattle, Wednesday April 5, 6:50 pregame, 7:10 game time.

In beating Everett, and Portland losing, the Americans get a team they match up with well, Seattle. While the T-Birds won the season series, they are very much like the Ams, a fast skilled team that Tri-City has adjusted to, and had some success against late in the season. Seattle finished 2nd in the U.S. Division, while Everett won the title.

Everett will open the playoffs vs. Victoria, while Spokane stays home. Get your Am's playoff tickets by calling (509)-736-0606.