SATURDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSDec 15, 2012 - 05:21 MST
CHIEFS HOST AMERICANS – Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs (23-8-1-0) take on Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (18-12-1-2) in Western Hockey League action on Saturday night.
The Chiefs pulled off a stunning comeback from a 6-2 deficit in the third period to post a 7-6 shootout win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night for their seventh victory over their last eight games, and currently sit in second place in the U.S. Division. Holmberg scored a natural hat trick in the third period as part of a five-point effort on Friday.
The Americans are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Tuesday for their second loss in a row, and remain in third place in the division. The Ams are 9-6-1-0 on the road this season. Feser leads the Americans in scoring with 38 points this season.
It’s the sixth meeting of the season between the Ams and Chiefs. Spokane won four of the first five encounters.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Josh Nicholls and the Saskatoon Blades (18-14-0-1) welcome Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (10-20-1-0).
The Blades skated to a 4-3 win over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Friday night for their season-high fifth straight victory, and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern conference. Nicholls scored twice on Friday, giving him a WHL-leading 26 goals this season.
The Ice edged the Raiders 5-4 in a shootout in Prince Albert on Friday night after having lost their previous two outings, and currently occupy sixth place in the Central Division. Friday’s win was just their third victory on the road this season.
In Red Deer, AB, Matt Bellerive and the Red Deer Rebels (20-12-2-1) host Dylen McKinlay and the Kelowna Rockets (22-9-1-1) on Saturday night.
The Rebels edged the visiting Victoria Royals 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night for their 10th victory over their last 12 games, and remain in third place in the Central Division. Bellerive has eight goals and 21 points this season.
The Rockets skated to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday night to improve to 3-0 through the first three games of a Central Division tour, and currently sit in second spot in the B.C. Division. The Rockets have given up just four goals through three games on their Central Division road trip.
In Prince George, B.C., Alex Forsberg and the Prince George Cougars (10-18-1-3) host Trevor Cheek and the Vancouver Giants (9-23-0-0) for the second of three straight meetings this weekend between the teams.
The Giants eked out a 2-1 win over the visiting Cougars on Friday night in Vancouver, snapping a three-game losing skid, and currently sit in fifth place in the B.C. Division. The Giants have managed just three goals on 40 power play chances through their first 14 road games.
The Cougars dropped their fourth straight decision with Friday’s loss to the Giants in Vancouver, and remain in fourth place in the B.C. Division. The Cougars have scored just three goals over their last four games.
In Portland, OR, Derrick Pouliot and the Portland Winterhawks (26-5-1-0) host Connor Honey and the Seattle Thunderbirds (16-15-1-1) for a U.S. Division battle on Saturday.
The Winterhawks doubled up the visiting Everett Silvertips 4-2 on Friday night for their third straight victory and their 14th home-ice win of the season, and moved into first place in the overall WHL standings. Pouliot picked up three assists on Friday, giving him 35 points this season.
The Thunderbirds fell 7-6 in a shootout in Spokane on Friday night for their third loss in a row, and currently sit in fourth spot in the U.S. Division. The T-Birds blew a 6-2 lead in the third period en route to the shootout loss in Spokane on Friday.
In Moose Jaw, SK, Tanner Eberle and the Moose Jaw Warriors (12-16-3-4) take on Nick Buonassisi and the Brandon Wheat Kings (12-18-2-2) for the second meeting in as many nights between the East Division rivals.
The Wheat Kings doubled up the visiting Warriors 4-2 in Brandon on Friday night for their second win in their last three games, and currently sit in fifth place in the East Division. The Wheaties are 5-9-1-2 on the road this season.
The Warriors dropped their second straight decision with Friday’s setback in Brandon, and currently sit three points ahead of the Wheat Kings in the East Division. Eberle got his fifth marker of the season and added an assist in Friday’s loss.
In Medicine Hat, AB, Hunter Shinkaruk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (14-18-2-0) welcome Chase Souto and the Kamloops Blazers (25-9-1-2) on Saturday evening.
The Tigers fell 5-2 to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Friday night for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division. 10 of the Tigers’ 14 wins this season have come on home ice.
The Blazers suffered a 4-2 loss in Lethbridge to the Hurricanes on Friday night for their second straight setback, and dropped to second place in the Western Conference standings. Souto has three goals over his last four games.
In Edmonton, AB, Michael St. Croix and the Edmonton Oil Kings (20-7-2-3) take on Brandon Magee and the Victoria Royals (17-13-0-2) on Saturday.
The Oil Kings are coming off a 5-2 triumph over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday for their second straight victory, and currently sit one point behind Calgary for first place in the Central Division. Edmonton has won 13 of 19 home games this season.
The Royals fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Rebels in Red Deer on Friday night, snapping a modest two-game win streak, and currently sit in third place in the B.C. Division. The Royals’ power play is operating at 231% efficiency on the road this season.
In Calgary, AB, Greg Chase and the Calgary Hitmen (21-7-1-3) host Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (12-18-2-2) on Saturday.
The Hitmen posted a 2-1 victory in Red Deer over the Rebels on Wednesday night, snapping a two-game losing skid, and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hitmen are 9-6-1-2 at home this season.
The Pats snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 3-0 shutout win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, and currently share fifth place in the East Division. Klimchuk shares the team scoring lead with 38 points this season.