KENNEWICK - The Tri-City Americans split a pair of games last week to hold on to their ever-so-slim lead in the Western Hockey League's U.S. Division. The Americans hold a two-point lead over the expansion Everett Silvertips and a three-point edge over Portland, but have played five more games than both teams.

The week started on a high note for the Ams as they defeated the Kamloops Blazers Friday in convincing fashion, taking a 5-1 win at the Tri-Cities Coliseum. Dylan Stanley scored a goal and added two assists, while Carey Price made 32 saves in picking up the win.

A crowd of 4,450 packed the Coliseum Saturday night, only to see Portland take a 3-1 victory. The Winterhawks broke a tie game when Cody McLeod scored with 16:22 left in the third period. Portland added an empty net goal with 36 seconds remaining in the game.

The contest featured solid goaltending from the Ams' Tyler Weiman, who stopped 36 of 38 shots, and Portland's Krister Toews, who made 42 saves to earn the victory.

The Ams didn't help themselves any by committing 10 penalties, which led to nine Winterhawk power plays.

Schedule: The Americans play just two games this week, both at home, beginning Friday when the Prince George Cougars come to Kennewick. The Ams won both games at Prince George, but dropped a 4-1 decision to the Cougars in Kennewick back Nov. 2.

Moose Jaw comes in Saturday for the first meeting of the season between the two. The Warriors are in second place in the East Division, three points behind Prince Albert.

Notes: The ninth annual Tri-City Americans/MDA Skills Competition, which was held Jan. 24 in the Tri-Cities Coliseum, raised $6,024. The money will be donated in its entirety to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Ams split the team into two squads and Team Belle defeated Team Stanley 14-11. The fastest skater was Cody McMullin with a lap time of 13.80, while Ian McDonald proved the most accurate shot by hitting three of four targets in a 20-second span. Goaltender Carey Price won the shootout showdown. "We are pleased to continue our long time support of MDA and we thank our fans and Brad Barker of Outback Steakhouse for their continuing support of this worthy cause," Americans general manager Bob Tory said. ... Defenseman Nikita Korovkin set a career high in goals when he scored his 13th of the season against Kamloops Friday. Korovkin scored 12 goals last year as a member of the Blazers. Dylan Stanley scored his 225th WHL point when he assisted on Korovkin's goal against Kamloops.

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