SATURDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Feb 09, 2013 - 05:03 MST

BLADES BATTLE HURRICANES – Darren Dietz and the Saskatoon Blades (30-21-0-3) look for their eighth straight win as they host Daniel Johnston and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-24-2-7) in Western Hockey League action on Saturday night.

The Blades skated to a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Friday night, stretching their win streak to a season-best seven games, and currently sit just four points back of Prince Albert for first place in the East Division.  The Blades’ offence has piled up 36 goals over the last seven games.  Dietz scored twice on Friday, including his fourth game-winner of the season.

The Hurricanes suffered a 2-1 overtime loss in Prince Albert on Friday night for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, four points back of the Blades.  The Hurricanes have dropped seven of their last eight games on the road.  Mckechnie has 24 goals and 40 points this season.

It’s the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the teams.  The Blades took two of the first three, including the only other previous meeting in Saskatoon.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, Jayce Hawryluk and the Brandon Wheat Kings (20-32-2-2) welcome Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (19-30-3-3).

The Wheat Kings fell 6-2 to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night after having won their previous two contests, and remain tied for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.  Hawryluk picked up two assists on Friday, giving him five goals and nine points on his current five-game point streak.

The Pats were shut out 7-0 by the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday night for their third loss in a row, and are tied with the Wheat Kings for 11th spot in the conference.  The Pats have given up 17 goals over their last three games, including five in a 5-2 loss in Brandon last Saturday.

In Kamloops, B.C., Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (36-15-2-3) welcome Brady Gaudet and the Red Deer Rebels (29-21-4-2) on Saturday.

The Blazers blanked the visiting Everett Silvertips 6-0 on Thursday night for their third win in a row, and clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference.  The Blazers are 21-4-1-1 on home ice this season.

The Rebels posted a 6-3 win in Kent, WA, over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday for their second straight win, and currently hold a one-point lead over Saskatoon for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Rebels’ penalty killing unit is operating at 85.7% on the road.

In Kelowna, B.C., Colton Sissons and the Kelowna Rockets (40-12-3-1) welcome Nic Petan and the Portland Winterhawks (44-8-1-2) for the second straight meeting between the top Western Conference Clubs.

The Winterhawks skated to a 5-3 win over the Rockets on Friday night in Kelowna for their fourth straight road win, and padded their lead to seven points over Kelowna for first place in the Western Conference.  Petan got his 37th goal and 95th point of the season on Friday.

The Rockets saw a 23-game home-ice winning streak snapped with Friday’s defeat, but remain seven points up on Kamloops for the B.C. Division lead.  The Rockets have dropped their last two games, marking their first back-to-back losses since mid-November.

In Cranbrook, B.C., Luke Philp and the Kootenay Ice (25-27-2-0) take on Sam Fioretti and the Moose Jaw Warriors (18-28-3-6) on Saturday.

The Ice pulled off a 4-1 win over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday for their second straight victory, but remain three points behind Swift Current and Medicine Hat for a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.  The Ice have won their last nine home games.

The Warriors suffered a 4-1 loss in Medicine Hat on Friday night for their second straight setback, and remain in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.  Fioretti got his team-leading 27th goal of the season on Friday night.

In Prince George, B.C., Troy Bourke and the Prince George Cougars (17-30-2-6) welcome Cain Franson and the Vancouver Giants (13-41-0-0) for the second straight night on Saturday.

The Cougars skated to a 6-4 win over the Giants on Friday, giving them six of a possible eight points from their last four games, and currently sit just one point behind Seattle for eighth place in the Western Conference.  The Cougars are 12-13-2-2 at home this season.

The Giants suffered their third straight defeat with Friday’s loss in Prince George, and remain in 10th place in the Western Conference.  Franson got his 20th goal of the season for the Giants on Friday.

In Kent, WA, Shea Theodore and the Seattle Thunderbirds (19-32-4-1) host Jake Virtanen and the Calgary Hitmen (35-16-1-3) on Saturday night.

The Thunderbirds fell 6-3 to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Friday night for their fifth straight setback, and currently sit in eighth place in the Western Conference.  The T-Birds have been outscored 23-11 over their five-game losing skid.

The Hitmen scored a 5-1 win in Everett over the Silvertips on Friday for their second straight win on their U.S. Division tour, and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference.  The Hitmen are 19-8-0-1 on the road this season.

In Spokane, WA, Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs (31-21-2-0) host Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (31-20-1-2) for a key U.S. Division match-up on Saturday.

The Chiefs dropped a 4-1 decision to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook on Friday for their fifth loss over their last six games, and currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference but just one point back of Tri-City for fifth and two back of Victoria for fourth.  Holmberg got his 32nd goal of the season on Friday.

The Americans are coming off Friday’s 5-3 loss to the visiting Royals, dropping them to fifth place in the Western Conference.  Feser scored twice on Friday to hit the 30-goal plateau for a third time in his WHL career.

In Swift Current, SK, Levi Bews and the Swift Current Broncos (25-24-3-2) welcome Josh Morrissey and the Prince Albert Raiders (31-19-2-3) for an important East Division match-up.

The Broncos suffered a 4-1 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Friday for their third loss in a row, and have dropped into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.  The Broncos have scored just two goals over their last three games.

The Raiders edged the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime on Friday, ending a mini two-game losing skid, and remain four points ahead of Saskatoon for the East Division lead.  Morrissey scored his second overtime winner of the season on Friday night versus Lethbridge.