FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAWDec 07, 2012 - 03:11 MST
OIL KINGS WELCOME HITMEN LIVE ON SHAW – Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings (18-6-2-3) take on Greg Chase and the Calgary Hitmen (19-6-1-2) on Friday night for the first of back-to-back meetings between the Central Division rivals this weekend.
Friday’s match-up between the Oil Kings and Hitmen can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm MST).
The Oil Kings are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Hurricanes in Lethbridge on Wednesday night for their first regulation setback since November 7th, and currently sit tied with the Hitmen for first place in the Central Division standings. The Oil Kings are 12-2-1-2 at home this season. Lazar has scored twice in each of his last two games.
The Hitmen are coming off a sweep of the Kootenay Ice in a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 in Calgary on Sunday then posting a 6-1 win in Cranbrook on Tuesday. The Hitmen currently hold a game in hand on the Oil Kings. Chase has also scored two goals in each of his last two games.
Friday’s meeting marks the fourth encounter of the season between the Eastern Conference heavyweights. The Hitmen have won all three previous meetings versus the Oil Kings, including two visits to Edmonton.
Elsewhere in WHL action on Friday night, Alessio Bertaggia and the Brandon Wheat Kings (10-16-2-2) welcome Liam Stewart and the Spokane Chiefs (21-7-1-0).
The Wheat Kings have been idle since Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Medicine Hat, and have dropped six straight contests. Bertaggia leads the Wheat Kings in scoring with 15 goals and 31 points through 27 games this season.
The Chiefs skated to a 4-1 win over the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday night to improve to 4-0 through four games of their East Division tour, and currently sit in second place in the U.S. Division. Stewart has scored in each of his last two games, and has four goals and six points over his last five outings.
In Everett, WA, Reid Petryk and the Everett Silvertips (11-19-0-2) take on Roberts Lipsbergs and the Seattle Thunderbirds (15-13-1-0) for a battle between U.S. Division clubs on Friday.
The Silvertips suffered a 7-5 defeat to the Winterhawks in Portland on Tuesday night for their second straight defeat to the Winterhawks, and remain in fifth place in the U.S. Division. The Silvertips are 5-7-0-2 at home this season.
The Thunderbirds skated to an 8-4 win over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick on Thursday night to stretch their win streak to three games, and currently occupy fourth place in the U.S. Division. The T-Birds’ power play is operating at 27.4% efficiency on the road.
In Kamloops, B.C., JC Lipon and the Kamloops Blazers (22-7-1-2) take on Daulton Siwak and the Prince George Cougars (10-14-1-3) for a B.C. Division match-up on Friday.
The Blazers are coming off a 2-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Tuesday after having lost their previous two outings, and remain in first place in the B.C. Division. Lipon will attend Hockey Canada’s national junior team selection camp next week in Calgary.
The Cougars edged the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 2-1 on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing skid, and currently sit in fourth place in the B.C. Division. Siwak has seven goals and 14 points this season.
In Cranbrook, B.C., Brock Montgomery and the Kootenay Ice (8-18-1-0) welcome Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders (20-9-0-2) on Friday night.
The Ice are coming off back-to-back losses to the Calgary Hitmen in a home-and-home series, and have dropped three straight contests, overall. Montgomery leads the Ice with 12 goals this season.
The Raiders fell 7-4 to the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday night in Prince Albert, but remain comfortably in first place in the East Division standings. McNeill has 84 goals and 212 points in 242 career WHL regular-season games.
In Lethbridge, AB, Sam Mckechnie and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (15-14-1-3) welcome Hunter Shinkaruk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (13-16-2-0) for a battle between Central Division rivals on Friday night.
The Hurricanes downed the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings 6-2 on Wednesday night for just their second win over their last 10 games, and currently sit in fourth place in the Central Division. Mckechnie scored his fifth game-winning goal of the season on Wednesday versus Edmonton.
The Tigers edged the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in a shootout on Sunday for their second straight victory by that score line, and currently sit in fifth place in the division. The Tigers have just three road wins this season.
In Moose Jaw, SK, Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors (11-13-3-4) host Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (18-11-1-1) on Friday night.
The Warriors are back home after closing out a B.C. Division trek with a 3-2 record, and currently sit tied with Swift Current for second place in the East Division. Rielly, a product of Vancouver, B.C., ranks third among all WHL defencemen in scoring with 26 points.
The Rebels are coming off a 5-1 win in Regina over the Pats on Wednesday night for their eighth consecutive victory. Dumba, a Calgary, AB, product, ranks fourth on the Rebels in scoring with six goals and 16 points this season.
In Portland, OR, Brendan Leipsic and the Portland Winterhawks (23-4-1-0) host Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (17-11-1-1) on Friday night.
The Winterhawks claimed a 7-5 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory and their 19th win over their last 20 games. The Winterhawks have won 12 straight games on home ice.
The Americans suffered an 8-4 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Thursday night for their third loss over their last four games, but remain in third place in the U.S. Division. The Ams are 8-6-1-0 on the road this season.
In Vancouver, B.C., Trevor Cheek and the Vancouver Giants (8-20-0-0) take on Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (12-15-3-2) on Friday evening.
The Giants are coming off a 7-2 thrashing of the visiting Victoria Royals on Wednesday night, snapping a seven-game losing skid, and currently sit in fifth spot in the B.C. Division. 16-year-old rookie netminder Payton Lee has started 10 of the Giants’ last 13 games.
The Broncos fell 6-5 in Kelowna to the Rockets on Wednesday night for their second straight defeat to open their B.C. Division road trip, and currently sit tied for second place in the East Division. Lowry scored a hat trick and four points in Wednesday’s loss in Kelowna.