WEDNESDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSFeb 20, 2013 - 02:49 MST
BLAZERS HOST WINTERHAWKS – Brendan Ranford and the Kamloops Blazers (40-15-2-3) welcome Oliver Bjorkstrand and the Portland Winterhawks (48-9-1-2) for a match-up between Western Conference powers in WHL action on Wednesday night.
The Blazers are coming off back-to-back wins over the Kelowna Rockets in a weekend home-and-home series between the teams, stretching their winning streak to seven games, and currently sit three points back of the Rockets for the B.C. Division lead. The Blazers are 23-4-1-1 at home this season. Ranford has multiple points in each of his last five games, and has recorded at least one point in nine straight games.
The Winterhawks downed the visiting Spokane Chiefs 8-3 on Monday afternoon for their 25th home-ice win of the season, and currently hold an 11-point lead over Kelowna for first place in the Western Conference. The Hawks clinched the U.S. Division title with Monday’s victory over Spokane. Bjorkstrand scored four goals and five points in Monday’s win.
It’s the fourth and final regular-season clash between the Blazers and Winterhawks. The Hawks won two of the first three meetings but lost their only previous trip to Kamloops.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Josh Nicholls and the Saskatoon Blades (35-21-0-3) host Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors (20-30-3-6) for an East Division clash.
The Blades posted a 5-1 win over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday for their 12th win in a row, and will go for a franchise record-tying 13th straight win versus the Warriors on Wednesday. Nicholls boasts a team-leading 38 goals this season.
The Warriors edged the Raiders 4-3 in Prince Albert on Saturday night for their second win over the Raiders over a four-day span, but currently sit 11 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Rielly has four goals and five points over his last three outings.
In Medicine Hat, AB, Pearce Elgin and the Medicine Hat Tigers (30-27-2-1) battle Leon Draisaitl and the Prince Albert Raiders (32-22-2-3) on Wednesday.
The Tigers dropped a 4-3 decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Saturday, snapping a five-game winning streak, and currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Elgin has points in 12 of his last 15 games, and ranks third on the Tigers with 68 points this season.
The Raiders are coming off Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Warriors for their third defeat over their last four games, and currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Raiders are 15-14-0-0 on the road this season, and have dropped six of their last seven road games.
In Edmonton, AB, Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings (43-12-2-3) welcome Lane Scheidl and the Regina Pats (20-33-3-4) on Wednesday.
The Oil Kings blanked the visiting Prince George Cougars 6-0 on Monday in Edmonton for their second win in a row and their 13th win in 14 games, and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference. Edmonton has outscored Regina 15-1 in two meetings this season.
The Pats dropped a 3-2 decision in a shootout in Red Deer on Tuesday night for their fourth straight loss, and currently share 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Scheidl scored twice on Tuesday in Red Deer, giving him 31 goals this season.