Regina Pats (21-2-6-0) at Moose Jaw Warriors (19-7-4-1)
Friday, Dec. 16 – 7 p.m. (Saskatchewan) / 6 p.m. (Mountain) – Mosaic Place
Channels: Local Shaw SD; Shaw HD304; Shaw Direct Satellite HD Classic 120 or HD Advanced 620; Access7 and Access HD70 (in Regina)
Key points in the WHL’s East Division are on the line Friday night (7 p.m. Saskatchewan) as the Moose Jaw Warriors play host the Regina Pats on WHL on Shaw and WHL on Access7.
The first-place Regina Pats will look to pad their lead atop the East Division standings, while the second-place Moose Jaw Warriors hope to pull within striking distance.
It seems as though all year long we’ve been talking about one streak or another for the high-powered Pats. Friday, they roll into Moose Jaw fueled by collecting points in eight consecutive games while not having lost in regulation since Nov. 22 at Prince George.
Meanwhile, the Warriors had a four-game point streak snapped Dec. 11 at Saskatoon, but quickly returned to the win column Dec. 14 with a win over the Prince Albert Raiders.
Friday marks the second of eight meetings between the Pats and Warriors this season. In the first meeting back on Nov. 10, it was the Pats eking out a 5-4 overtime win as Sam Steel scored the deciding goal on a power play only 19 seconds into the extra period. Sweden star Filip Ahl notched a hat trick in the game while Warriors goaltender Zach Sawchenko faced 51 shots.
There will be no shortage of offensive fire power involved in Friday’s festivities as three of the WHL’s top-five leading scorers will take to the ice.
On the Regina side of the puck, the Pats will have Sam Steel back in the lineup after he was released from Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp earlier this week. The Anaheim Ducks’ prospect is tied for third in the WHL in scoring with 48 points (21G-27A) in 23 games.
On top of Steel’s return, Pats’ captain Adam Brooks will look to get back on his horse after having his 22-game point streak snapped in a 2-1 overtime loss to Saskatoon on Dec. 10. With 48 points (14G-34A) to his name through 23 games, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect sits tied with Steel in the WHL scoring race.
Meanwhile, there may not be a hotter hand in the Western Hockey League than Warriors forward Jayden Halbgewachs. The 19-year-old product of Emerald Park, Sask., is scoring like a man possessed, having registered 15 goals in the past 10 games. He has vaulted into a tie for the WHL’s overall scoring lead, with 50 points (28G-22A) through 31 games.
In the goaltending department, Tyler Brown is the workhorse in Regina, carrying a record of 14-2-5-0 with a 3.04 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and one shutout.
For the Warriors, Sawchenko and Brody Willms continue to split time in the crease. Sawchenko has gone 12-2-3-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .916 SV% in 18 appearances, while Willms is 7-5-1-0 with a 3.50 GAA and .901 SV% in 15 outings.
Following Friday’s affair in Moose Jaw, the two teams will get right back to blows Saturday night (7 p.m. Saskatchewan) with a rematch at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
Moose Jaw Warriors
Head coach: Tim Hunter
Scoring leaders: C Jayden Halbgewachs (28-22-50); LW Nikita Popugaev (20-24-44); C Noah Gregor (17-25-42)
Goaltending leader: Zach Sawchenko (12-2-3-1, 3.00 GAA, .916 SV%)
Power play: 11th – 20.4 per cent
Penalty kill: 12th – 78.7 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: F Jaxan Kaluski (lower body, indefinite); F Tristin Langan (lower body, day to day); D Matt Sozanski (upper body, day to day)
Head coach: John Paddock
Scoring leaders: C Sam Steel (21-27-48); C Adam Brooks (14-34-48); LW Dawson Leedahl (12-25-37)
Goaltending leader: Tyler Brown (14-2-5-0, 3.04 GAA, .901 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: First – 29.6 per cent
Penalty kill: Seventh – 81.5 per cent
Injuries/unavailable: G Jordan Hollett (lower body, six to eight weeks); F Lane Zablocki (upper body, day to day); F Filip Ahl (WJC – Sweden)
Nov. 10 – Regina (5) at Moose Jaw (4) – OT
Dec. 16 – Regina at Moose Jaw
Jan. 7 – Moose Jaw at Regina
Feb. 1 – Moose Jaw at Regina
Feb. 18 – Regina at Moose Jaw
March 10 – Moose Jaw at Regina
March 11 – Regina at Moose Jaw
WHL on Shaw schedule
Saturday, Dec. 17 – Kelowna Rockets at Calgary Hitmen
WHL on Access7 schedule
Friday, Jan. 6 – Calgary Hitmen at Regina Pats
Saturday, Jan. 21 – Regina Pats at Swift Current Broncos
Saturday, Feb. 4 – Edmonton Oil Kings at Regina Pats