Fri Nov 23

ROYALS WELCOME BLADES LIVE ON SHAW – Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings host Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders for a match-up between East Division rivals in Western Hockey League action on Friday night.

Friday’s match-up between the Raiders and Wheat Kings can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm CT).

The Wheat Kings snapped a four-game losing skid with a 5-3 victory in Lethbridge over the Hurricanes on Sunday, and currently sit tied for third place in the East Division.  Brandon’s penalty killing unit is operating at 80.0% efficiency at home as compared to just 69.2% on the road.  Pulock is ranked third among WHL skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s fall preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft.

The Raiders are coming off a 3-2 win over the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Wednesday night for their eighth victory over their last 11 games, and remain in first place in the East Division standings – 11 points ahead of Brandon.  The Raiders are 8-4 on the road this season, and have won three of their last four road games.  McNeill leads the Raiders in scoring with nine goals and 28 points.

Friday’s meeting is the first of back-to-back encounters between the Raiders and Wheat Kings, and the first meeting of the season between the teams.  Last year, the Wheat Kings won five of six meetings versus the Raiders.

Elsewhere in WHL action on Friday, Jake Virtanen and the Calgary Hitmen (16-5-1-2) host Spenser Jensen and the Medicine Hat Tigers (11-14-1-0) for a Central Division match-up.

The Hitmen are coming off back-to-back 3-2 wins over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a midweek home-and-home series, and have won eight of their last nine games.  Calgary’s penalty killing unit is operating at 72.6% efficiency at home as compared to an 89.6% clip on the road.

The Tigers suffered a 4-0 shutout loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Tuesday for their fifth straight setback, and currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division.  The Tigers beat up the Hitmen 10-1 in the first meeting between the teams this season.

In Kamloops, B.C., Colin Smith and the Kamloops Blazers (19-5-1-1) host Josh Nicholls and the Saskatoon Blades (10-11-0-1) on Friday.

The Blazers are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting Regina Pats on Wednesday night, snapping a two-game win streak, and currently hold a 14-point lead for first place in the B.C. Division.  The Blazers are 10-1-1 on home ice this season.

The Blades fell 5-2 in Victoria on Tuesday night, dropping them to 2-1 through three games of their B.C. road trip, and currently sit in sixth place in the East Division.  Eight of the Blades’ 10 wins this season have come on the road.

In Kelowna, B.C., Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets (12-8-1-1) take on Lane Scheidl and the Regina Pats (11-12-1-2) on Friday night.

The Rockets have been off since dropping back-to-back 3-2 decisions to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick last weekend, and currently sit in second place in the B.C. Division.  The Rockets have surrendered just two power play goals on 36 opposition chances through their first nine home games.

The Pats edged the Blazers 2-1 in overtime in Kamloops on Wednesday night, improving them to 2-0-0-2 through four games of a B.C. Division road swing.  Scheidl has scored twice in each of his last two games, and leads the Pats with 15 goals this season.

In Portland, OR, Ty Rattie and the Portland Winterhawks (18-4-1-0) host Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (7-13-1-0) on Friday.

The Winterhawks shut out the visiting Vancouver Giants 3-0 on Wednesday night for their second win in a row and their 14th victory in 15 games, and 3currently own top spot in the U.S. Division.  Rattie has piled up 271 points in 229 career regular-season games for the Winterhawks.

The Ice fell 7-4 in Kent, WA, to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday, snapping a three-game win streak, and remain in sixth place in the Central Division.  The Ice have scored a WHL-low 55 goals this season.

In Red Deer, AB, Turner Elson and the Red Deer Rebels (13-11-1-1) host Jamal Watson and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (13-12-1-1) for a match-up between Central Division combatants on Friday.

The Rebels blanked the Tigers 4-0 in Medicine Hat on Tuesday night for their third consecutive victory, and currently sit tied with Lethbridge for third place in the division.  The Rebels have outscored their opposition 12-2 over their last three games.

The Hurricanes dropped a pair of 3-2 decisions to the Calgary Hitmen in a home-and-home series, stretching their losing skid to four games.  Three of the Hurricanes’ last four losses have been by a 3-2 score line.

In Kennewick, WA, Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans take on Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs for the first installment of a home-and-home series between the U.S. Division archrivals this weekend.

The Americans have been idle since posting back-to-back wins over the visiting Kelowna Rockets last weekend, stretching their win streak to three games, and currently share second place in the U.S. Division with the Chiefs.  The Ams have allowed the third-fewest number of goals of any Western Conference team.

The Chiefs are coming off a 3-1 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night for their second straight triumph and their fifth win in six games.  Holmberg has racked up four goals and six points in two games versus Tri-Cities this season.

In Victoria, B.C., Brandon Magee and the Victoria Royals (12-11-0-0) take on Alex Forsberg and the Prince George Cougars (8-11-1-3) for the first of two meetings this weekend between the B.C. Division rivals.

The Royals skated to a 5-2 win over the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday for their third victory over their last four games, and currently sit in third place in the B.C. Division.  Magee ranks second on the Royals with 10 goals this season.

The Cougars edged the visiting Regina Pats 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday to snap a seven-game losing skid, and remain in fourth place in the division.  The Cougars are 3-5-0-3 on the road this season.