SATURDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSSat Jan 12
BLADES WELCOME OIL KINGS – Michael Ferland and the Saskatoon Blades (21-19-0-1) host Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings (28-9-2-3) in one of 10 Western Hockey League contests on Saturday night.
The Blades dropped a 3-1 decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, snapping a two-game winning streak, and currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Blades fell to 8-9-0 on home ice with Friday’s defeat to the Rebels. Ferland, Collin Valcourt and Erik Benoit all made their debuts for the Blades on Friday after being acquired at the WHL trade deadline on Thursday.
The Oil Kings shut out the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-0 on Friday night for their 10th victory over their last 12 games, and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Tristan Jarry posted his second straight shutout and his fourth shutout of the season on Friday, setting a new Oil Kings’ franchise record for shutouts in a single season.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the Oil Kings and Blades. Edmonton posted a 4-1 win over the visiting Blades in the first meeting on October 6th.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Nick Buonassisi and the Brandon Wheat Kings (15-25-2-2) take on Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (18-23-2-2) for a battle between East Division rivals.
The Wheat Kings skated to a 6-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Friday, snapping a five-game losing skid, and currently sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Buonassisi scored his 10th goal of the season and added an assist on Friday night in Moose Jaw.
The Pats suffered a 6-1 defeat to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday night for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Pats are 7-14-0-2 on the road this season.
In Everett, WA, Tyler Sandhu and the Everett Silvertips (17-24-0-2) welcome Nicholas Petan and the Portland Winterhawks (36-5-1-0) for a match-up between U.S. Division combatants on Saturday.
The Silvertips managed a 7-4 win over the visiting Victoria Royals on Friday night for their third straight victory at home, and currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference. Sandhu, a 16-year-old rookie, chipped in three assists on Friday, giving him 19 points this season.
The Winterhawks pushed their winning streak to 13 games with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday night, and currently own a nine-point lead over Kelowna for first place in the Western Conference. Petan leads the WHL in scoring with 71 points this season.
In Medicine Hat, AB, Elgin Pearce and the Medicine Hat Tigers (19-21-2-1) host Jaimen Yakubowski and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (21-19-1-5) on Saturday evening.
The Tigers are coming off Friday’s 7-5 loss to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, dropping them to 6-14-1-2 on the road this season, and currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Pearce has 18 goals and 49 points this season.
The Hurricanes suffered a 4-0 shutout loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Friday night after having won their previous two outings, and currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The ‘Canes are 7-9-0-2 on the road this season.
In Prince Albert, SK, Josh Morrissey and the Prince Albert Raiders (25-15-0-3) take on Turner Elson and the Red Deer Rebels (24-18-2-2) on Saturday.
The Raiders dropped a 3-1 decision to the Broncos in Swift Current on Friday night for their fourth defeat over their last five games, but remain atop the East Division standings. Morrissey got his 10th goal of the season on Friday, matching his total from last season.
The Rebels managed a 3-1 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Friday night, putting a stop to a mini two-game losing skid, and currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Elson scored for the fourth time in his last five games on Friday night.
In Prince George, B.C., Klarc Wilson and the Prince George Cougars (13-24-1-4) host JC Lipon and the Kamloops Blazers (28-12-2-2) for the second straight night.
The Cougars edged the visiting Blazers 1-0 on Friday night on the back of a 44-save shutout performance from Brett Zarowney, snapping a seven-game losing skid. Wilson made his Cougars’ debut on Friday after being traded from Edmonton earlier in the week.
The Blazers suffered their second straight defeat with Friday’s shutout loss in Prince George, and now sit four points back of Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division. The Blazers fell to 12-9-1-1 on the road this season with Friday’s loss.
In Kent, WA, Connor Honey and the Seattle Thunderbirds (16-23-2-1) host Brandon Magee and the Victoria Royals (20-17-2-1) on Saturday.
The Thunderbirds are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Chiefs in Spokane on Wednesday for their third straight defeat to the Chiefs and their 11th straight loss overall. Honey leads the T-Birds in scoring with 33 points this season.
The Royals fell 7-4 in Everett to the Silvertips on Friday night for their second straight defeat, and currently occupy sixth place in the Western Conference standings. The Royals have lost their last five games away from home.
In Spokane, WA, Mike Aviani and the Spokane Chiefs (27-14-1-0) welcome Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (17-24-1-4) on Saturday.
The Chiefs dropped a 5-2 decision to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night, putting a halt to a three-game winning streak, and currently sit in second place in the U.S. Division. Spokane boasts a 14-5-0 record on home ice this season.
The Ice posted a 7-5 win over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night for their seventh consecutive victory, and now sit just six points behind the Tigers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Reinhart and Brock Montgomery each scored a hat trick on Friday night.
In Swift Current, SK, Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (20-20-3-2) host Brady Brassart and the Calgary Hitmen (30-10-1-3) on Saturday night.
The Broncos pulled off a 3-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Friday for their third straight triumph, and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Lowry extended his point streak to 19 games with an assist on Friday night.
The Hitmen posted a 6-1 win in Regina over the Pats on Friday night for their sixth win in a row, and currently sit three points ahead of Edmonton for top spot in the Eastern Conference. Brassart has eight goals and 17 points over his last six outings.
In Vancouver, B.C., Brett Kulak and the Vancouver Giants (11-32-0-0) welcome Madison Bowey and the Kelowna Rockets (31-10-1-1) for a B.C. Division battle on Saturday.
The Giants closed out a Central Division tour with a 7-4 loss in Lethbridge on Wednesday for their fourth loss in a row, and remain in 10th place in the Western Conference. The Giants were outscored 21-8 over their last four games.
The Rockets doubled up the visiting Tri-City Americans 6-3 on Friday night for their seventh straight victory, and remain in first place in the B.C. Division. The Rockets are 13-8-1-1 on the road this season.