FRIDAY'S WHL MATCH-UPSNov 02, 2012 - 12:05 MDT
RAIDERS HOST OIL KINGS – Mark McNeill and the Prince Albert Raiders (10-4-0-2) welcome Michael St. Croix and the Edmonton Oil Kings (9-3-1-2) for a battle between division leaders in Western Hockey League action on Friday night.
The Raiders edged the visiting Swift Current Broncos 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night for their second win in a row and their third victory over their last four games, and currently sit in first place in the East Division. The Raiders’ power play is operating at just 12.5% efficiency on home ice. McNeill leads the Raiders with 16 points this season.
The Oil Kings posted a 5-1 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory, and currently own top spot in the Central Division standings. The Oil Kings are playing just their fifth road game of the season on Friday night. St. Croix has five goals and eight points over his last four games.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the Raiders and Oil Kings. Prince Albert managed a 4-1 win in Edmonton on October 4th in the first encounter.
In other WHL action on Friday night, Ryan Pulock and the Brandon Wheat Kings (7-6-2-1) take on Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors (7-6-2-1) for a battle between East Division rivals.
The Wheat Kings are back home after posting a 1-2-1-1 record through a five-game tour in B.C. last week, and currently share second place in the East Division with the Warriors. Brandon’s penalty killing unit is operating at 83.3% effectiveness on home ice this season.
The Warriors dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Sunday for their second straight setback. Rielly leads all WHL defencemen with 15 assists this season, and ranks second in points with 19.
In Kamloops, B.C., Brendan Ranford and the Kamloops Blazers (16-1-0-1) host Troy Bourke and the Prince George Cougars (7-7-1-0) for a B.C. Division match-up on Friday.
The Blazers suffered their first regulation defeat of the season with a 3-0 shutout loss to the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday night, snapping a franchise-record 14-game winning streak. The Blazers are 7-0 on home ice this season, and have outscored their opposition 41-27 in the process.
The Cougars edged the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday for their second win in a row, and got themselves back to the .500 mark in the process. Prince George’s power play is operating at 16.7% efficiency this season.
In Cranbrook, B.C., Sam Reinhart and the Kootenay Ice (4-9-0-0) welcome Shane McColgan and the Saskatoon Blades (6-9-0-0) on Friday.
The Ice dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Swift Current Broncos last Friday, stretching their losing skid to four games, and remain in sixth place in the Central Division. Reinhart ranks second on the Ice in scoring with 12 points.
The Blades edged the Pats 3-2 in Regina on Tuesday night, stopping a two-game losing skid, and currently sit in sixth place in the East Division. McColgan scored the game-winner on Tuesday night in Regina.
In Lethbridge, AB, Russell Maxwell and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (8-7-1-1) take on Hunter Shinkaruk and the Medicine Hat Tigers (9-8-1-0) for a match-up between Central Division combatants on Friday.
The Hurricanes dropped a 3-2 decision in a shootout to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Tuesday night after having won their previous two outings. The ‘Canes boast a 6-3-1-1 record on home ice this season.
The Tigers earned their fifth straight win with a 5-1 triumph over visiting Vancouver on Thursday night in Medicine Hat, and have climbed into a tie for second place in the Central Division. Shinkaruk scored a pair of goals on Thursday night versus Vancouver.
In Portland, OR, Seth Jones and the Portland Winterhawks (10-3-1-0) face Steven Hodges and the Victoria Royals (9-6-0-0) on Friday for the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams.
The Winterhawks posted a 5-2 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night for their sixth straight win, and currently sit in second place in the U.S. Division. Bjorkstrand scored his sixth goal of the season and added an assist in Wednesday’s win.
The Royals have been off since falling 5-2 to the Blazers in Kamloops last Saturday for their second loss in a row, and currently sit in third place in the B.C. Division. Hodges has three goals and six points through seven games this season.
In Regina, SK, Morgan Klimchuk and the Regina Pats (6-10-1-0) battle Brooks Macek and the Calgary Hitmen (8-4-1-2) on Friday night.
The Pats are coming off Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat to the visiting Saskatoon Blades for their third loss in a row, and remain in fifth place in the East Division. Klimchuk has two goals and four points over his last two contests.
The Hitmen dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Sunday for their third loss in a row, and currently share second place in the Central Division with Medicine Hat. The Hitmen surrendered 17 goals over their last three games.
In Spokane, WA, Mike Aviani and the Spokane Chiefs (11-5-0-0) host Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels (8-8-1-1) on Friday night.
The Chiefs blasted the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 8-2 on Tuesday night in Spokane for their second straight victory, and currently own first place in the U.S. Division. Aviani has racked up four goals and nine points over his last four games.
The Rebels have been idle since posting a 4-3 shootout win over the visiting Calgary Hitmen last Saturday for their third victory over their last four games. Five of the Rebels’ eight wins this season have come on the road.
In Swift Current, SK, Coda Gordon and the Swift Current Broncos (6-7-3-2) host Luke Lockhart and the Seattle Thunderbirds (7-6-1-0) on Friday.
The Broncos fell 2-1 in a shootout in Prince Albert on Tuesday for their second straight setback, and are 3-6-0-1 over their last 10 games. Gordon (5g-12a) ranks second on the Broncos with 17 points this season.
In Kennewick, WA, Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans (9-6-1-1) take on Ryan Murray and the Everett Silvertips (6-9-0-2) for a U.S. Division battle.
The Americans were blanked 6-0 by the Winterhawks in Portland on Saturday night for their third loss in a row, and currently sit in third spot in the U.S. Division. The Ams are 2-3-0-1 on home ice this season.
The Silvertips fell 5-2 in Portland on Wednesday for their third straight defeat, and currently sit in fifth place in the U.S Division. Murray leads the Silvertips in scoring with 15 points.