SATURDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Sat Feb 2

SILVERTIPS BATTLE BLAZERS – Reid Petryk and the Everett Silvertips (21-28-1-3) welcome Kale Kessy and the Kamloops Blazers (34-15-2-3) in Western Hockey League action on Saturday night.

The Silvertips suffered a 2-1 loss in a shootout to the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night for their third straight setback, and remain in seventh place in the Western Conference.  Friday’s setback dropped the ‘Tips to 11-12-0-3 on home ice this season.  Petryk has 12 goals and 30 points this season, but has just one goal over his last 12 outings.

The Blazers torched the visiting Spokane Chiefs 7-4 on Friday night for their fourth victory over their last five games, and currently occupy third place in the Western Conference.  The Blazers are 14-11-1-2 on the road this season.  The trio of Kessy, Colin Smith and Tim Bozon combined for five goals and 14 points on Friday night versus Spokane.

It’s the third meeting of the season between the Silvertips and Blazers.  Kamloops won both previous meetings, with both games being decided in overtime or a shootout.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, Jayce Hawryluk and the Brandon Wheat Kings (18-31-2-2) take on Lane Scheidl and the Regina Pats (19-27-3-3) for the back half of a home-and-home series between the East Division rivals.

The Pats edged the visiting Wheat Kings 3-2 in Regina on Friday night, putting a stop to an eight-game losing skid, and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.  Scheidl scored twice, including the winner, and set up another on Friday night.

The Wheat Kings suffered their fourth straight defeat with Friday’s loss in Regina, and remain in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.  Hawryluk scored both goals for the Wheat Kings on Friday, giving him four goals over his last four games.

In Kelowna, B.C., Colton Sissons and the Kelowna Rockets (39-10-3-1) welcome Brett Kulak and the Vancouver Giants (13-39-0-0) for the second meeting in as many nights between the B.C. Division outfits.

The Rockets pulled off a 5-1 win over the Giants in Vancouver on Friday night for their second win in a row, and clinched a playoff spot in the process.  The Rockets are aiming for their 23rd straight home-ice win, which would equal a franchise record.

The Giants suffered their seventh loss in eight games with Friday’s defeat to the visiting Rockets, and remain in 10th place in the Western Conference standings.  Vancouver has managed just four wins on the road this season.

In Cranbrook, B.C., Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (23-27-2-0) host Ryan Pilon and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (24-22-1-7) for a Central Division match-up on Saturday.

The Ice are coming off a 6-2 loss in Red Deer to the Rebels on Thursday for their second straight setback, and currently sit five points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  Reinhart has recorded at least one point in each of his last 15 games.

The Hurricanes edged the visiting Red Deer Rebels 3-2 on Friday night in Lethbridge after having lost their previous two outings, and currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.  Pilon leads all 16-year-old rookie defencemen in scoring with 23 points this season.

In Medicine Hat, AB, Curtis Valk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (25-25-2-1) welcome Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings (37-11-2-3) for another Central Division tilt on Saturday.

The Tigers were doubled up 8-4 in Moose Jaw on Friday night for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.  Valk scored a hat trick on Friday night, giving him a team-leading 32 goals this season.

The Oil Kings shut out the visiting Swift Current Broncos 3-0 on Friday night to stretch their winning streak to seven games, and now hold a nine-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.  Lazar scored a pair of goals on Friday, giving him 10 goals over his last 10 games.

In Portland, OR, Ty Rattie and the Portland Winterhawks (42-7-1-2) take on Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs (30-19-2-0) for a match-up between U.S. Division rivals on Saturday.

The Winterhawks posted a 5-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent on Friday for their fifth straight victory, and remain in first place in the overall WHL standings.  Rattie had a four-point outing on Friday, stretching his point streak to 16 games.

The Chiefs suffered a 7-4 loss at the hands of the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday for their third straight setback, and dropped to fifth place in the Western Conference.  Holmberg scored three goals on Friday, giving him 30 markers on the season.

In Prince Albert, SK, Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders (29-18-1-3) host Brooks Macek and the Calgary Hitmen (33-15-1-3) on Saturday.

The Raiders are coming off a 5-1 loss in Vancouver on Wednesday to close out a five-game B.C. Division tour with a 2-3 record, and remain in first place in the East Division.  McNeill scored in each of his last three outings.

The Hitmen suffered a 6-0 drubbing in Saskatoon to the Blades on Friday for their second straight defeat, and remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.  The Hitmen have lost five of their last six road games.

In Prince George, B.C., Chase Witala and the Prince George Cougars (16-30-2-4) take on Alex Gogolev and the Victoria Royals (27-19-1-3) for the second straight night on Saturday.

The Cougars managed a 6-2 victory over the visiting Royals on Friday night, snapping a two-game losing skid, and currently sit four points behind Everett for eighth place in the Western Conference.  Witala scored three times on Friday, giving him six goals over his last three games.

The Royals suffered their second straight setback with Friday’s loss to the Cougars, but remain comfortably in sixth place in the Western Conference.  The Royals are 10-14-0-1 on the road this season.

In Saskatoon, SK, Nathan Burns and the Saskatoon Blades (26-21-0-3) host Coda Gordon and the Swift Current Broncos (25-22-3-2) for a match-up between East Division foes on Saturday.

The Blades shut out the visiting Calgary Hitmen 6-0 on Saturday night for their third win in a row, moving them into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with the Broncos.  Goaltender Andrey Makarov posted his franchise-record eighth career shutout on Friday night.

The Broncos fell 3-0 in Edmonton to the Oil Kings on Friday night for their second setback in three games, and share sixth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Broncos are 10-13-1-1 on the road this season.

In Kent, WA, Connor Honey and the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-29-3-1) host Malte Stromwall and the Tri-City Americans (30-19-1-2) for a U.S. Division battle on Saturday.

The Thunderbirds fell 5-3 to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Friday for their fourth defeat in five games, and currently sit in eighth place in the Western Conference.  Honey leads the T-Birds with 27 assists and 41 points.

The Americans edged the Silvertips 2-1 in a shootout in Everett on Friday night for their second straight triumph, and moved past Spokane into fourth place in the Western Conference.  Stromwall scored in regulation and in the shootout in Friday’s victory in Everett.