WEDNESDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSWed Jan 2
ROCKETS TAKE ON ROYALS – Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets (26-10-1-1) host Steven Hodges and the Victoria Royals (19-14-0-2) for a match-up between B.C. Division rivals in Western Hockey League action on Wednesday night.
The Rockets are coming off a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Sunday for their third straight win since returning from the Christmas break, and currently sit just two points back of the Kamloops Blazers for first place in the B.C. Division. Bell currently sits tied for fifth in the WHL scoring race with 53 points this season.
The Royals skated to back-to-back victories over the visiting Prince George Cougars on the weekend, winning 5-1 on Friday before posting a 4-3 shootout win on Saturday, and currently occupy third place in the division. The Royals are 7-9-0-1 on the road this season. Hodges has two goals and three points over his last three games.
It’s the third meeting of the season between the Rockets and Royals. The teams split the first two meetings, with both games being played in Victoria.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Greg Chase and the Calgary Hitmen (24-10-1-3) take on Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (14-21-2-2).
The Hitmen dropped a 3-2 decision to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook on New Year’s Eve for their third defeat over their last four games, and currently sit three points back of Edmonton for first place in the Eastern Conference. Chase has 10 goals and 25 points this season.
The Wheat Kings fell 6-2 to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Monday for their third defeat over their last four outings, and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Wheat Kings’ penalty killlint unit is operating at 63.9% efficiency on the road this season.
In Cranbrook, B.C., Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (12-24-1-0) welcome Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (22-15-2-1) for a match-up of Central Division clubs on Wednesday.
The Ice edged the visiting Calgary Hitmen 3-2 on Monday night for their second straight triumph, but remain in 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Reinhart leads the Ice in scoring with 33 points this season.
The Rebels are coming off a 6-5 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday for their second straight setback, and currently own fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Rebels have given up 12 goals over their last two games.
In Prince Albert, SK, Dylan Busenius and the Prince Albert Raiders (24-11-0-3) take on Logan McVeigh and the Medicine Hat Tigers (16-20-2-0) on Wednesday.
The Raiders swept a weekend home-and-home series versus the Saskatoon Blades, stretching their winning streak to three games, and remain firmly in first place in the East Division. Busenius was acquired by the Raiders from Medicine Hat on Monday.
The Tigers dropped a 7-2 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Tuesday, and currently sit just one point behind Moose Jaw for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. McVeigh, who was acquired by the Tigers on Monday, scored in his debut for the Tigers on Tuesday in Saskatoon.
In Vancouver, B.C., Trevor Cheek and the Vancouver Giants (10-27-0-0) host Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (26-10-2-2) for a battle between B.C. Division foes.
The Giants doubled up the visiting Prince George Cougars 8-4 on Sunday, snapping a four-game losing skid, and currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. Cheek boasts a team-leading 16 goals this season.
The Blazers downed the visiting Giants 9-5 on Saturday night in Kamloops, snapping a four-game losing skid of their own, and currently own a two-point lead over Kelowna for the B.C. Division lead. The Blazers are 11-8-1-1 on the road this season.