THURSDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSThu Dec 27
OIL KINGS TAKE ON REBELS – Michael St. Croix and the Edmonton Oil Kings (23-7-2-3) welcome Mathew Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (21-13-2-1) for a Central Division battle as the 2012-13 WHL regular-season kicks off its second half on Thursday.
The Oil Kings entered the Christmas break having won their last five games, including a 4-1 win in Calgary on December 18th that put them in first place in the Central Division and Eastern Conference. The Oil Kings have won 15 of 21 home games this season. St. Croix shares the team scoring lead with 44 points this season.
The Rebels posted a 5-1 win over the visiting Kootenay Ice on December 18th in their final contest before the break, and currently sit in third place in the Central Division standings. Red Deer is 10-7-1-1 on the road this season. The Rebels’ penalty killing unit is operating at 88.2% efficiency on the road.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the Oil Kings and Rebels. The Oil Kings won the first meeting with a 6-2 victory in Edmonton on September 23rd.
Elsewhere on Thursday night, Ryan Olsen and the Kelowna Rockets (23-10-1-1) take on Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (25-9-2-2) for an important B.C. Division match-up.
The Rockets fell 6-2 in Calgary to the Hitmen on December 16th in their final game before the break, but had won eight of their previous 10 games, and currently sit in second place in the B.C. Division. Olsen has 16 goals this season.
The Blazers went into the break having lost their final three games, but remain six points ahead of the Rockets for first place in the B.C. Division. Smith leads the WHL in scoring with 62 points this season.
In Regina, SK, Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (13-20-2-2) host Sam Fioretti and the Moose Jaw Warriors (12-17-3-4) for a match-up between East Division rivals on Thursday.
The Pats edged the Hurricanes 3-2 in Lethbridge on December 18th in their final game before the break, and currently occupy sixth place in the East Division. Klimchuk currently ranks second on the Pats in scoring with 17 goals and 39 points.
The Warriors suffered back-to-back losses to the Brandon Wheat Kings in their final two games before the break, and currently sit in fourth place in the East Division. The Warriors are 5-11-1-2 on the road this season.