FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAWDec 14, 2012 - 02:04 MST
BLADES WELCOME BRONCOS LIVE ON SHAW – Josh Nicholls and the Saskatoon Blades (17-14-1-0) welcome Graham Black and the Swift Current Broncos (14-16-3-2) for a match-up between Saskatchewan rivals on Friday night.
Friday’s match-up between the Broncos and Blades can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm CT).
The Blades rolled to a 5-2 win in Moose Jaw over the Warriors on Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive victory, and have climbed to sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Blades’ offense is heating up, having put up 28 goals over their last four games. Nicholls, the Blades’ leading goal scorer, is eight games shy of 300 for his WHL career.
The Broncos closed out a B.C. Division tour with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Prince George Cougars on Tuesday night, and currently trail the Blades by two points in the East Division standings. The Broncos are 7-9-1-1 on the road this season. Black ranks second on the Broncos in scoring with 29 points this season.
It’s the fourth meeting of the season between the Blades and Broncos. The Broncos took two of the first three meetings, including a 10-1 thrashing of the Blades in their lone visit to Saskatoon on October 19th.
Elsewhere on Friday, Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (11-18-2-2) host Brayden Point and the Moose Jaw Warriors (12-15-3-4) for an East Division match-up.
The Wheat Kings suffered a 7-5 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday for their eighth setback over their last nine games, and remain in sixth place in the East Division. Pulock and defensive partner Eric Roy will participate in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game.
The Warriors fell 5-2 to the visiting Blades on Wednesday night for their third defeat over their last four games, and currently sit in fourth place in the East Division. Point leads all 16-year-old rookies in scoring with 25 points.
In Lethbridge, AB, Sam Mckechnie and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (16-15-1-4) host Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (25-8-1-2) on Friday night.
The Hurricanes dropped a 3-1 decision to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night, leaving them at 3-4-0-3 over their last 10 games, and currently sit in fourth place in the Central Division. Mckechnie ranks third on the Hurricanes with 15 goals this season.
The Blazers are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game winning streak, and currently sit in first place in the overall WHL standings. Smith leads the WHL scoring race with 61 points this season.
In Medicine Hat, AB, Curtis Valk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (14-17-2-0) host Ryan Olsen and the Kelowna Rockets (21-9-1-1) on Friday.
The Tigers suffered a 7-0 shutout loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday, putting a stop to a three-game win streak, and currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division. The Tigers are 10-6-0 on home ice this season.
The Rockets posted a 3-1 win in Lethbridge on Wednesday night for their second straight win to kick off their Central Division tour and their fourth straight win overall. Olsen ranks second on the Rockets with 16 goals this season.
In Portland, OR, Brendan Leipsic and the Portland Winterhawks (25-5-1-0) host Reid Petryk and the Everett Silvertips (13-20-0-2) for a U.S. Division battle on Friday.
The Winterhawks skated to a 4-1 win over the Tri-City Americans on Sunday in Kennewick for their 21st win over their last 23 games, and currently own top spot in the U.S. Division. The Winterhawks have outscored their opposition 144-67 this season.
The Silvertips edged the visiting Americans 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night for their second win in a row, and currently occupy fifth place in the U.S. Division. The ‘Tips are 7-12-0 on the road this season.
In Spokane, WA, Mike Aviani and the Spokane Chiefs (22-8-1-0) host Riley Sheen and the Seattle Thunderbirds (16-15-1-0) for another U.S. Division match-up on Friday.
The Chiefs have been idle since closing out an East Division tour with a 4-3 loss in Moose Jaw on Saturday, snapping a six-game winning streak, and remain in second place in the division. The Chiefs have lost just twice at home this season.
The Thunderbirds are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Victoria Royals on Tuesday night for their second straight defeat by that score line, and currently sit in fourth place in the division. Seattle’s power play is operating at 25.4% efficiency on the road this season.
In Vancouver, B.C., Trevor Cheek and the Vancouver Giants (8-23-0-0) take on Troy Bourke and the Prince George Cougars (10-17-1-3) for the first of three straight meetings between the teams on the weekend.
The Giants dropped three games in three nights last weekend, falling 3-1 to Swift Current on Friday, dropping a 4-1 decision in Everett on Saturday, then losing 4-1 to Kamloops on Sunday, and remain in fifth place in the B.C. Division. Cheek leads the Giants with 10 goals this season.
The Cougars were blanked 2-0 by the visiting Broncos on Tuesday night for their third straight loss and seventh shutout loss of the season, and remain in fourth place in the B.C. Division. Bourke has two assists in four games since returning to the Cougars’ lineup after missing nearly a month due to injury.