MONDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Mon Feb 18

BLADES BATTLE WHEAT KINGS – Matej Stransky and the Saskatoon Blades (34-21-0-3) take on Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (21-34-3-2) for a match-up between East Division rivals in Western Hockey League action on Monday.

The Blades edged the Tigers 4-3 in Medicine Hat on Saturday for their 11th straight victory, and moved two points up on Prince Albert for first place in the East Division.  The Blades have scored four or more goals in 10 of their last 11 games.  Stransky had his 10-game point streak snapped after being held off the score sheet on Saturday in Medicine Hat.

The Wheat Kings split a pair of weekend games versus the visiting Kootenay Ice, winning 3-2 on Friday before falling 4-3 in overtime on Saturday, and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.  The Wheat Kings are 10-16-1-2 on the road this season.  Pulock has scored in four of his last five games.

It’s the sixth of eight meetings this season between the Blades and Wheat Kings, and the first of back-to-back clashes between the teams.  The Blades have won three of five previous meetings with Brandon this season.

Elsewhere on Monday, Michael St. Croix and the Edmonton Oil Kings (42-12-2-3) welcome Troy Bourke and the Prince George Cougars (18-33-2-6).

The Oil Kings managed a 5-2 win over the visiting Victoria Royals on Sunday for their 12th victory over their last 13 games, and currently hold a seven-point lead over Calgary for first place in the Central Division.  St. Croix and Curtis Lazar each got their 30th goals of the season on Sunday versus Victoria.

The Cougars edged the Hurricanes 5-4 in Lethbridge on Saturday night, snapping a three-game losing skid, and currently sit just three points behind Everett for eighth place in the Western Conference.  Bourke has three points over his last two outings.

In Portland, OR, Brendan Leipsic and the Portland Winterhawks (47-9-1-2) host Todd Fiddler and the Spokane Chiefs (34-23-2-0) for a U.S. Division battle on Monday afternoon.

The Winterhawks snuck by the visiting Vancouver Giants with a 4-3 overtime win on Saturday night for their 24th home-ice win of the season, and currently sit in first place in the overall WHL standings.  The Hawks can clinch the U.S. Division title by gaining one more point or by Tri-Cities dropping one more point.

The Chiefs are coming off a 6-0 shutout loss to the Tri-City Americans on Saturday night, stopping a two-game win streak, and remain in fourth place in the Western Conference.  The Chiefs have lost two of three previous visits to Portland this season.

In Swift Current, SK, Reece Scarlett and the Swift Current Broncos (28-25-3-3) welcome Brock Montgomery and the Kootenay Ice (28-29-2-0) for a key Eastern Conference battle on Monday.

The Broncos edged the Regina Pats 2-1 in Regina on Friday night, halting a two-game losing skid, and currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference – just four points up on Kootenay.  Scarlett has 38 points this season, putting him in a tie for 12th among all WHL defencemen in scoring.

The Ice pulled off a 4-3 overtime win in Brandon on Saturday night after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Wheat Kings the previous evening, and currently sit one point back of Lethbridge for eighth place in the conference.  Montgomery has scored in each of his last four games.