SATURDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Nov 03, 2012 - 05:06 MDT

HURRICANES WELCOME BLADES – Jay Merkley and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (9-7-1-1) take on Josh Nicholls and the Saskatoon Blades (7-9-0-0) in Western Hockey League action on Saturday night.

The Hurricanes skated to a 5-2 win over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night for their third win over their last four outings, and currently sit in third place in the Central Division.  The Hurricanes are 7-3-1-1 on home ice this season.  Merkley scored a pair of goals on Friday night versus the Tigers.

The Blades edged the Kootenay Ice 3-2 in overtime in Cranbrook on Friday night for their second straight victory, and moved up to fifth place in the East Division.  Six of the Blades’ seven wins this season have come on the road.  Nicholls scored twice on Friday in Cranbrook, giving him 14 goals on the season.

It’s the second meeting of the season between the ‘Canes and Blades.  Saskatoon managed a 5-2 win in Lethbridge on October 13th in the first meeting.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Nick Buonassisi and the Brandon Wheat Kings (8-6-2-1) host Cody Sylvester and the Calgary Hitmen (9-4-1-2).

The Wheat Kings edged the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors 3-2 on Friday night in Brandon, snapping a two-game losing skid, and currently share second place in the East Division.  Buonassisi scored his seventh goal of the season on Friday night versus Moose Jaw.

The Hitmen skated to a 4-1 win in Regina on Friday night, snapping a three-game losing skid and moving them back into a tie for top spot in the Central Division.  Calgary’s power play is clicking at 40.9% efficiency on the road.

In Kelowna, B.C., Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets (9-6-1-1) take on Colin Jacobs and the Prince George Cougars (7-7-1-1) for a B.C. Division match-up on Saturday.

The Rockets are coming off a 3-0 shutout win over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Thursday for their second straight triumph.  The Rockets have surrendered just two power play goals through their first six home games.

The Cougars dropped a 2-1 decision in a shootout in Kamloops on Friday, stopping a two-game win streak.  The Cougars have dropped their last five road games.

In Cranbrook, B.C., Brock Montgomery and the Kootenay Ice (4-9-1-0) host Jackson Houck and the Vancouver Giants (4-11-0-0).

The Ice fell 3-2 in overtime to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Friday for their fifth straight defeat, and remain in sixth place in the Central Division.  The Ice’s power play is operating at just 14.8% effectiveness this season.

The Giants fell 5-1 in Medicine Hat on Thursday night for their fifth road defeat of the season.  Vancouver has struck for just one power play goal through six road games this season.

In Moose Jaw, SK, Justin Kirsch and the Moose Jaw Warriors (7-7-2-1) host Riley Sheen and the Seattle Thunderbirds (7-7-1-0) on Saturday.

The Warriors dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night for their third straight defeat.  Moose Jaw boasts a 6-1-1-1 record on home ice this season.

The Thunderbirds fell 4-3 in Swift Current on Friday night for their third loss in a row.  Sheen potted his fourth goal of the season on Friday, and leads the T-Birds with 13 points this season.

In Portland, OR, Nick Petan and the Portland Winterhawks (11-3-1-0) host Brandon Magee and the Victoria Royals (9-7-0-0) for the second straight night.

The Hawks skated to a 6-2 win over the Royals on Friday night to push their winning streak to seven games and take over first place in the U.S. Division.  Petan enjoyed a three-point outing on Friday, and leads the Winterhawks with 24 points this season.

The Royals suffered their third loss in a row with Friday’s defeat in Portland.  Magee netted his team-leading eighth goal of the season on Friday night.

In Regina, SK, Dyson Stevenson and the Regina Pats (6-11-1-0) host Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders (11-4-0-2) for an East Division clash.

The Pats suffered their fourth straight setback with Friday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen, and sit in sixth place in the East Division.  The Pats are 4-4-1 on home ice this season.

The Raiders edged the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings 3-2 on Friday night for their third win in a row, and remain in first place in the East Division.  The Raiders boast a 5-1 record on the road.

In Spokane, WA, Brenden Kichton and the Spokane Chiefs (11-6-0-0) host Kohl Bauml and the Everett Silvertips (6-10-0-2) for a U.S. Division battle.

The Chiefs fell 3-1 to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, absorbing their first home-ice loss of the season.  Kichton scored his sixth goal of the season in Friday’s loss to the Rebels.

The Silvertips dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, WA, o Friday for their fourth straight setback.  Five of the ‘Tips’ six wins this season have come on the road.

In Swift Current, SK, Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (7-7-3-2) host Dylan Wruck and the Edmonton Oil Kings (9-4-1-2).

The Broncos edged the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 4-3 on Friday night, snapping a two-game losing skid.  Lowry scored and set up two more on Friday, giving him a team-leading 21 points this season.

The Oil Kings saw a four-game win streak snapped with Friday’s 3-2 loss in Prince Albert, and currently share first place in the Central Division.  Edmonton’s penalty killing unit is operating at 90.4% efficiency this season.

In Kennewick, WA, Malte Stromwall and the Tri-City Americans (10-6-1-1) host Turner Elson and the Red Deer Rebels (9-8-1-1) on Saturday.

The Americans posted a 3-2 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Friday, putting a stop to a three-game losing skid.  The Ams are 3-3-0-1 on home ice this season.

The Rebels posted a 3-1 win in Spokane on Friday night for their second win in a row, and currently sit tied for third place in the Central Division.  The Rebels improved to 6-4-0-1 on the road with Friday’s win in Spokane.