FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAWNov 30, 2012 - 02:50 MST
REBELS TAKE ON TIGERS LIVE ON SHAW – Mathew Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (15-11-1-1) host Curtis Valk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (11-15-2-0) for a match-up between Central Division rivals on Friday night in Red Deer, AB.
Friday’s match-up between the Rebels and Tigers can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:30pm MST).
The Rebels have been off since edging the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 2-1 in a shootout last Saturday, stretching their winning streak to five games since Brent Sutter took over head coaching duties on an interim basis. The Rebels have given up just four goals over their last five games. Rebels’ netminder Patrik Bartosak earned Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week honors for his strong performance last week.
The Tigers dropped a 2-1 decision in overtime in Edmonton last Saturday to extend their losing skid to seven games, and currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division. The Tigers have won just three times through their first 15 road games this season. Valk leads the Tigers in scoring with 37 points this season.
Friday’s meeting marks the fourth encounter of the season between the Tigers and Rebels. The Tigers won the first meeting between the teams, but Red Deer won the last two, including a 4-0 shutout win over the Tigers on November 20th.
In other WHL action on Friday, Brooks Macek and the Calgary Hitmen (17-5-1-2) welcome Matej Stransky and the Saskatoon Blades (12-12-0-1).
The Hitmen haven’t played since defeating the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers 4-1 last Friday for their fourth straight victory, and currently sit tied with Edmonton for first place in the Central Division. Calgary’s power play has struggled at home this season, clicking at a 16.4% efficiency on Saddledome ice.
The Blades posted a 5-3 win over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Tuesday night, improving to 7-3-0-1 over their last 11 games, and currently sit tied with Regina for fourth place in the East Division and eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Stransky has scored six goals over his last six games.
In Edmonton, AB, Griffin Reinhart and the Edmonton Oil Kings (16-5-2-3) host Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (8-15-1-0) for the second straight meeting between the division rivals.
The Ice pulled off a 5-4 win in a shootout over the visiting Oil Kings on Wednesday night in Cranbrook, halting a three-game losing skid, but remain in sixth place in the Central Division. Reinhart notched a goal and two assists in regulation play, and netted a shootout goal in Wednesday’s win.
The Oil Kings saw their three-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday’s shootout loss to the Ice, but moved into a tie with Calgary for first place in the Central Division with the point gained from the shootout loss. Edmonton’s penalty killing unit is operating at a WHL-best 92.7% efficiency this season.
In Everett, WA, Josh Winquist and the Everett Silvertips (10-17-0-2) battle Brett Kulak and the Vancouver Giants (7-18-0-0) on Friday night.
The Silvertips were bested 5-2 in Kent, WA, by the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday for their second straight setback, and currently occupy fifth place in the U.S. Division. Winquist has a goal and three points in three games since returning to the lineup after missing 13 games.
The Giants dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night in Vancouver for their fifth straight defeat, and remain in fifth place in the B.C. Division. The Giants have managed just two goals over their last three games.
In Kamloops, B.C., Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (20-6-1-1) take on Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (16-9-1-1) for a match-up between Western Conference powers on Friday night.
The Blazers are coming off a 2-1 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing skid, and currently sit in first place in the overall WHL standings. Smith leads the WHL with 33 assists and ranks second among all WHL players with 52 points.
The Americans dropped a 3-2 decision in Kelowna to the Rockets on Wednesday night for their second loss in a row, but remain in third place in the U.S. Division and fifth in the Western Conference. Feser has picked up nine goals and 18 points over his last nine games.
In Portland, OR, Brendan Leipsic and the Portland Winterhawks (20-4-1-0) take on Roberts Lipsbergs and the Seattle Thunderbirds (12-12-1-0) for a U.S. Division battle on Friday.
The Winterhawks blasted the Thunderbirds 8-2 in Kent, WA, last Saturday for their fourth straight victory, and currently sit six points clear for first place in the U.S. Division. Leipsic has points in each of his last 13 games, and has put up multi-point efforts in 11 straight games.
The Thunderbirds skated to a 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday night for their fourth win over their last six games, and currently sit in fourth place in the division. Lipsbergs has seven goals and 10 points over his last six games.
In Prince Albert, SK, Mike Winther and the Prince Albert Raiders (18-8-0-2) welcome Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (11-13-1-2) for the first of two weekend meetings between the East Division combatants.
The Raiders are coming off Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, putting a stop to a three-game win streak, but remain firmly in top spot in the East Division. Prince Albert’s power play is clicking at just 9.1% efficiency on home ice this season.
The Pats wrapped up a B.C. Division road trip with a 5-1 loss in Kamloops last Friday, but went 2-1-0-2 through their five-game B.C. swing. Klimchuk, the Pats’ second-leading scorer, is ranked fifth among WHL skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s fall rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft.
In Prince George, B.C., Alex Forsberg and the Prince George Cougars (9-12-1-3) host Brandon Magee and the Victoria Royals (13-12-0-1) for the third and fourth meetings between the B.C. Division rivals inside the last week.
The Cougars have been idle since splitting a pair of games last weekend in Victoria, winning 5-4 last Friday before falling 3-2 on Saturday, and currently sit in fourth place in the B.C. Division. The Cougars are 5-6-1 on home ice this season.
The Royals are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday night after having split last weekend’s two-game set versus the Cougars, and currently sit five points up on Prince George for third place in the division. The Royals have lost seven of their last eight road games.
In Swift Current, SK, Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (11-12-3-2) welcome Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs (17-7-1-0) on Friday night.
The Broncos are coming off a pair of victories over the Brandon Wheat Kings, posting a 5-3 win at home on Tuesday then a 5-1 win in Brandon on Wednesday, and currently hold down second place in the East Division. The Broncos are 6-6-2-1 at home this season.
The Chiefs split a home-and-home series versus U.S. Division rival the Tri-City Americans last weekend, and currently sit in second place in the U.S. Division. Holmberg needs one more goal for 60 in his WHL career.