WHL this week: January 16th, 2014

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whl

by Jeff Hubert

January 16, 2014, Calgary (ISN) – The 2013-14 WHL regular season enters its third weekend of play in January with 23 games on the schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

AROUND THE RINKS…

In Everett, WA, Saturday night is 90’s Night when the Silvertips host the Moose Jaw Warriors.  Fans are encouraged to wear their favorite 90’s era sports jersey or break out their flannel shirts and ripped jeans for a Grunge look.

In Portland, OR, the Winterhawks will hit a significant milestone this weekend when they welcome their Eight Millionth Fan through the gates at Sunday’s game versus the Spokane Chiefs.  The lucky fan will win a number of great prizes, including season’s tickets for 2014-15.

In Prince George, B.C., the Cougars are gearing up to take part in Hockey Day in Canada celebrations this Saturday.

In Red Deer, AB, 80’s Night invades the Centrium when the Rebels host the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night.

In Saskatoon, SK, the Blades invite fans to join them for a Community Skate on Sunday.  Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy will be there to lace up the skates as well.  The Blades will also honor Minnesota Twins pitcher and North Battleford, SK, product Andrew Albers at Saturday night’s game versus Brandon.

In Swift Current, SK, the Broncos are calling on all fans to help Pack the ‘Plex on Saturday night when the Kootenay Ice are in town.  One lucky fan will walk away with a mitt full of cash.

In Victoria, B.C., the Royals will pay tribute to Canadian Forces with their third annual Defence Team Appreciation Night on Saturday night when the Kelowna Rockets are in town.  In addition to displays and a special ceremony to open the game, the Royals will be sporting special jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game to benefit the Military Family Resource Centre.

TEAM ORR VICTORIOUS IN BMO CHL / NHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME…

Calgary, AB – Team Orr scored a 4-3 victory over Team Cherry in the 2014 BMO CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday night before a crowd of 11,631 at the Saddledome in Calgary, AB.

13 players from the Western Hockey League took part in the contest, including Kootenay Ice and Team Cherry captain Sam Reinhart, who netted a goal and an assist.

For the 2014 MBO CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game story, CLICK HERE

NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING RELEASES MID-TERM RANKINGS…

Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders is the top-ranked skater from the Western Hockey League in NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term rankings of North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart is the fourth-ranked skater while defenceman Haydn Fleury (No. 6) and Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen (No. 9) also made the top 10 in the mid-term rankings.

For more and to view the rankings, CLICK HERE

WHL OFFICIAL STEVE PAPP ENJOYED GOLD MEDAL WJC ASSIGNMENT…

Malmo, Sweden — Being a Canadian, it may not have been the match-up he wanted to see.  But, for referee Steve Papp, getting the opportunity to work the Gold medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, more than made up for the fact that Canada wouldn’t be battling for the big prize.

For more, CLICK HERE

ROCKETS ENJOY THIRD STRAIGHT WEEK WITH CHL’S No. 1 RANKING…

The Kelowna Rockets are the No. 1-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League for a second straight week in the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings.  The Portland Winterhawks and Calgary Hitmen are also among the Top 10, while the Victoria Royals earn honorable mention.

For more, CLICK HERE

KEY WEEKEND MATCH-UPS…
Victoria Royals vs. Kelowna Rockets
Friday, January 17th & Saturday, January 18th @ Victoria, B.C.     

Ben Walker and the Victoria Royals take on Myles Bell and the Kelowna Rockets for a pair of meetings between the B.C. Division rivals this weekend.

The Royals have been idle since splitting a pair of games versus the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks last weekend in Victoria, and currently sit in second place in the B.C. Division and third spot in the Western Conference.  The Royals own the WHL’s lowest goals-against average, having surrendered just 110 goals in 46 games.  The Royals’ balanced attack featured nine players with 20 or more points.

The Rockets wrapped up a four-game Central Division tour with a 4-2 win in Calgary over the Eastern Conference-leading Hitmen on Sunday, and currently hold down first place in the overall WHL standings – 14 points ahead of the Royals.  Kelowna boasts an impressive 21-3-0 record on the road.  Bell’s 25 goals is a team-high.

This weekend’s meetings mark the fifth and sixth encounters of the season between the clubs.  The teams split the first four meetings, with the road team winning on each occasion.

Spokane Chiefs @ Portland Winterhawks
Sunday, January 19th

Nicolas Petan and the Portland Winterhawks welcome Mitch Holmberg and the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday for a battle between teams boasting four of the WHL’s top five scorers.

The Winterhawks posted a 3-0-0-1 record in four road games last week, and remain in first place in the U.S. Division standings.  The Hawks have scored a WHL-best 193 goals this season.  Petan (21g-49a-70pts) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (28g-33a-61pts) rank second and fourth, respectively, in WHL scoring.

The Chiefs are coming off back-to-back overtime losses to the Seattle Thunderbirds, falling 4-3 last Saturday in Kent, WA, before dropping a 1-0 decision at home on Tuesday, and currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference.  Holmberg leads the WHL in scoring with 42 goals and 84 points while Mike Aviani sits fifth with 30 goals and 60 points.

Sunday’s meeting will be the sixth of the season between the Chiefs and Hawks.  Portland is a perfect 5-0 versus Spokane this season. 

The Winterhawks host Moose Jaw on Friday while the Chiefs are in Everett on Friday and Tri-Cities on Saturday prior to Sunday’s head-to-head tilt.

FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAW…

Nikita Scherbak and the Saskatoon Blades take on Leon Draisaitl and the Prince Albert Raiders for an East Division clash on Friday night, live on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm CST).

The Blades are coming off a 6-2 loss to the visiting Regina Pats last Saturday for their fourth straight setback.  Saskatoon is 6-14-1-0 at home this season.  Scherbak competed in Wednesday’s BMO CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game.

The Raiders split a pair of games versus the Wheat Kings in Brandon, MB, last weekend, and currently occupy a share of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Raiders are 9-11-1-0 on the road this season.  Draisaitl also played in the BMO CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday.

It’s the sixth meeting of the season between the Blades and Raiders.  Prince Albert won all five previous meetings versus Saskatoon this season.

SHAW will broadcast 32 WHL games during the 2013-14 WHL regular season.  For the entire WHL on SHAW broadcast schedule, click HERE

PATS HOST ICE, FRIDAY NIGHT ON SPORTSNET…

Chandler Stephenson and the Regina Pats welcome Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice for an Eastern Conference match-up on Friday night, live on Sportsnet (7:00pm CST; East, Ontario, West and Pacific).

The Pats have won three of their last four games, including wins over Calgary and Saskatoon last weekend, and currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Pats have posted an 11-5-2-1 record on home ice this season.  Stephenson ranks ninth in WHL scoring with 55 points.

The Ice split a pair of meetings versus the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings last weekend, losing 4-3 in a shootout on Friday before posting a 5-4 win on Sunday, and sit in seventh place in the conference, just three points back of Regina.  Reinhart has scored 18 goals and 53 points in 34 games this season.

It’s the second meeting of the season between the Pats and Ice.  Kootenay posted a 3-1 win over the visiting Pats in Cranbrook on September 28th in the first clash.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE – Jan. 17 – Jan. 19
All times local
WATCH WHL HOCKEY LIVE ON
WHL LIVE ON DEMAND

Friday, Jan. 17
Swift Current @ Brandon; 7:30
Spokane @ Everett; 7:35
Vancouver @ Kamloops; 7:00
Moose Jaw @ Portland; 7:00
Edmonton @ Prince George; 7:00
Calgary @ Red Deer; 7:00
Kootenay @ Regina; 7:00 **Live on Sportsnet**
Prince Albert @ Saskatoon; 7:05 **Live on SHAW**
Tri-City @ Seattle; 7:35
Kelowna @ Victoria; 7:05

Saturday, Jan. 18
Moose Jaw @ Everett; 7:05
Seattle @ Kamloops; 7:00
Calgary @ Medicine Hat; 7:30
Regina @ Prince Albert; 7:00
Edmonton @ Prince George; 1:30
Lethbridge @ Red Deer; 7:00
Brandon @ Saskatoon; 7:05
Kootenay @ Swift Current; 7:00
Spokane @ Tri-City; 7:05
Kelowna @ Victoria; 7:05

Sunday, Jan. 19
Spokane @ Portland; 3:30
Swift Current @ Prince Albert; 7:00
Vancouver @ Tri-City; 5:05

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