FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAW AND ROOT

Fri Feb 8

ROCKETS TAKE ON WINTERHAWKS LIVE ON SHAW AND ROOT SPORTS– Colton Sissons and the Kelowna Rockets (40-11-3-1) take on Ty Rattie and the Portland Winterhawks (43-8-1-2) for a showdown between the top two teams in the WHL on Friday night in Kelowna, B.C.

Friday’s match-up between the Rockets and Winterhawks can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm PST).  The match-up can also be seen on ROOT SPORTS in the Pacific Northwest region (7:00pm PST).

The Rockets are coming off Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to the Chiefs in Spokane for their first regulation defeat since December 16th in Calgary, and currently sit five points behind the Winterhawks for first place in the Western Conference and overall WHL standings.  The Rockets have won 23 straight home games, having not lost since October 10th versus Spokane.  Sissons has 20 goals and 51 points this season.

The Winterhawks suffered a 4-3 setback to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday, snapping a six-game winning streak, and currently hold a commanding 24-point lead for first place in the U.S. Division.  The Winterhawks boast the WHL’s best road record at 20-3-1-1 this season.  Rattie got his 30th goal of the season on Wednesday versus the Hitmen, becoming the third Hawks’ player to hit the 30-goal mark this season.

Friday’s clash is the first of back-to-back meetings between the Winterhawks and Rockets in Kelowna.  The teams split the first two meetings in Portland way back in September.

Elsewhere on Friday night, Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (20-31-2-2) host Michael St. Croix and the Edmonton Oil Kings (40-11-2-3).

The Wheat Kings managed a 4-1 win over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday for their second straight victory, and currently sit tied for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.  The Wheat Kings are 10-15-1-0 on home ice this season.

The Oil Kings posted a 7-0 shutout win in Regina over the Pats on Thursday night for their 10th straight victory, and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference.  Thursday’s win in Regina was the Oil Kings’ third shutout over their last four games.

In Everett, WA, Reid Petryk and the Everett Silvertips (21-29-1-4) battle Cody Sylvester and the Calgary Hitmen (34-16-1-3) on Friday.

The Silvertips were shut out 6-0 in Kamloops by the Blazers on Thursday night for their fifth straight defeat, and currently occupy seventh place in the Western Conference.  The Silvertips have been shut out three times and scored just three goals over their last five games.

The Hitmen are coming off Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland, snapping a three-game losing skid, and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference.  Sylvester scored twice in the third period of Wednesday’s game in Portland as the Hitmen erased a 3-1 deficit in the frame.

In Cranbrook, B.C., Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (24-27-2-0) welcome Brenden Kichton and the Spokane Chiefs (31-20-2-0) on Friday night.

The Ice have been idle since posting a 3-0 shutout win over the visiting Lethbrigde Hurricanes last Saturday, snapping a two-game losing skid, and currently sit three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.  Reinhart is riding a 16-game point streak.

The Chiefs blanked the visiting Kelowna Rockets 5-0 on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game losing skid, and currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference.  Kichton leads all WHL defencemen in scoring with 62 points this season.

In Medicine Hat, AB, Hunter Shinkaruk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (25-26-2-1) host Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors (18-27-3-6) on Friday evening.

The Tigers dropped a 6-0 decision to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday night for their third loss in a row, and remain in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Tigers have allowed 17 goals over their last three games.

The Warriors suffered a 5-4 setback to the Blades in Saskatoon on Tuesday after having won their previous two outings, and currently sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.  Rielly has racked up six assists over his last two games.

In Prince Albert, SK, Josh Morrissey and the Prince Albert Raiders (30-19-2-3) take on Russell Maxwell and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-24-1-7) on Friday.

The Raiders were blasted 7-1 in Saskatoon by the Blades on Wednesday night for their second loss in a row, and saw their East Division lead cut to four points over the Blades.  The Raiders are 15-7-2-3 on home ice this season.

The Hurricanes dropped a 4-1 decision in Brandon on Wednesday night, leaving them at 4-4-0-2 over their last 10 games, and currently occupy sixth place in the Eastern Conference.  Maxwell has 19 goals and 42 points this season.

In Prince George, B.C., Chase Witala and the Prince George Cougars (16-30-2-6) host Jackson Houck and the Vancouver Giants (13-40-0-0) for the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams this weekend.

The Cougars fell 4-3 in a shootout to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night for their second straight shootout loss, and remain in ninth place in the Western Conference.  The Cougars’ power play ranks 22nd in the WHL this season.

The Giants have been off since dropping back-to-back decisions to the Kelowna Rockets last weekend, and remain in 10th place in the Western Conference.  Houck leads the Giants with 45 points this season.

In Kent, WA, Connor Honey and the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-31-4-1) welcome Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (28-21-4-2) on Friday.

The Thunderbirds dropped back-to-back 4-1 decisions in Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday, and have lost four straight overall.  The Thunderbirds are 11-11-3-0 on home ice this season.

The Rebels edged the Cougars 4-3 in a shootout in Prince George on Wednesday night for their third win in four games, and currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.  Red Deer’s penalty killing unit is operating at 87.2% efficiency on the road this season.

In Swift Current, SK, Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (25-23-3-2) take on Michael Ferland and the Saskatoon Blades (29-21-0-3) for a key East Division match-up on Friday night.

The Broncos have been idle since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon last Saturday for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference – just five points ahead of the ninth-placed Kootenay Ice.  Lowry leads the Broncos in scoring with 33 goals and 70 points.

The Blades are coming off a 7-1 win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday for their sixth consecutive victory, and have closed the gap to just four points on the Raiders for first place in the division.  The Blades’ offense has exploded for 32 goals over the last six games. 

In Kennewick, WA, Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (31-19-1-2) face Steven Hodges and the Victoria Royals (30-19-1-3) for a key Western Conference match-up on Friday.

The Americans have been idle since posting a 4-3 overtime win over the Seattle Thunderbirds last Saturday for their third win in a row, and currently hold a one-point lead on the Chiefs and Royals for fourth place in the Western Conference.  Feser has 30 more points than the next highest Ams’ scorer.

The Royals skated to a pair of wins over the Thunderbirds in Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday, stretching their win streak to three games.  The Royals have given up just three goals over their last three games.