TUESDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPS

Tue Dec 11

HITMEN WELCOME BLAZERS – Cody Sylvester and the Calgary Hitmen (20-7-1-2) host Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (24-7-1-2) for a match-up between two top clubs in Western Hockey League action on Tuesday night.

The Hitmen split a weekend home-and-home series versus the Edmonton Oil Kings, winning 5-2 in Edmonton on Friday then falling 4-2 in Calgary on Saturday, and currently share first place in the Central Division with the Oil Kings.  The Hitmen are 9-6-1-1 on home ice this season, compared with an 11-1-0-1 record away from home.  Sylvester leads the Hitmen with 18 goals this season.

The Blazers skated to a 4-1 win over the Giants in Vancouver on Sunday for their third straight victory, and currently sit tied with Portland for first place in the overall WHL standings.  The Blazers have outscored their opponents 9-2 over their last three outings.  Smith leads all WHL players in scoring with 59 points this season.

It’s the second meeting of the season between the Hitmen and Blazers.  The Blazers managed a 5-2 win in Calgary on October 14th in the first encounter.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (11-17-2-2) host Matej Stransky and the Saskatoon Blades (15-14-0-1) for an East Division clash.

The Wheat Kings snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-4 overtime victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night, and currently sit in fifth place in the East Division.  Pulock ranks sixth among all WHL defencemen in scoring with 26 points.

The Blades are coming off a pair of blowout wins over the Regina Pats, having won 9-0 in Saskatoon on Saturday before blasting the Pats 7-0 in Regina on Sunday, and currently sit tied for second in the East Division.  Stransky netted four goals and seven points in the two weekend wins over Regina.

In Cranbrook, B.C., Brock Montgomery and the Kootenay Ice (9-19-1-0) host Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets (19-9-1-1) on Tuesday.

The Ice fell 6-1 to the Hurricanes in Lethbridge on Saturday night for their fourth loss over their last five games, and remain in sixth place in the Central Division.  Seven of Kootenay’s nine wins this season have come at home.

The Rockets posted a 7-2 win over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Saturday for their second straight victory, and currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference.  Bell is tied for sixth in WHL scoring with 44 points this season.

In Prince George, B.C., Alex Forsberg and the Prince George Cougars (10-16-1-3) take on Adam Lowry and the Swift Current Broncos (13-16-3-2) on Tuesday night.

The Cougars suffered a 7-2 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday night for their second loss in as many nights, and currently sit in fourth place in the B.C. Division.  Forsberg netted both goals in Saturday’s loss, snapping an eight-game goalless drought.

The Broncos were edged 2-1 in Victory by the Royals on Saturday night, dropping them to 1-3 through four games of their B.C. road trip, and currently hold a share of second place in the East Division.  The Broncos’ power play is clicking at 29.2% efficiency on the road.

In Kent, WA, Connor Honey and the Seattle Thunderbirds (16-14-1-0) welcome Alex Gogolev and the Victoria Royals (16-13-0-1) on Tuesday.

The Thunderbirds dropped a 6-2 decision to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, snapping a four-game winning streak, and currently sit tied with the Royals for sixth place in the Western Conference.  The T-Birds are 10-5-1-0 on home ice this season.

The Royals eked out a 2-1 win over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Saturday night for their third victory over their last four games, and currently sit in third place in the B.C. Division.  Gogolev leads the Royals in scoring with 33 points.

In Kennewick, WA, Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (18-12-1-1) take on Trent Lofthouse and the Everett Silvertips (12-20-0-2) for a battle between U.S Division foes on Tuesday.

The Americans fell 4-1 to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Sunday, dropping them to 5-5 over their last 10 games, and currently sit in third place in the U.S. Division.  Feser is goalless over his last eight games.

The Silvertips skated to a 4-1 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants on Saturday, putting a stop to a three-game losing streak, and remain in fifth place in the U.S. Division.  The ‘Tips are 6-12-0 on the road this season.