The Western Hockey League debut of Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase pits a pair of Alberta foes looking to reverse their recent fortunes as the Red Deer Rebels (9-15-1-0) visit the Calgary Hitmen (6-14-3-1) at 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT.
Carolina Hurricanes first round pick Jake Bean and the Hitmen have dropped seven straight entering the weekend as they trail the Rebels by three points in the Central Division.
Bean has 20 points (3-17–20) in as many games from the back end while overage centreman Matteo Gennaro leads the Hitmen in scoring with 25 points (14-11–25) to his credit.
Vancouver Canucks prospect Jakob Stukel is one to watch for Calgary while 6-foot-6 rookie defender Jackson van de Leest is among the league’s most exciting young blueliners.
The visiting Rebels haven’t fared much better of late, entering Friday’s action having won just one of their last 10 games.
Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Alexeyev has 12 points (1-11–12) in 15 games as a sophomore while veterans Mason McCarty (13-10–23), Brandon Hagel (6-15–21), Grayson Pawlenchuk (9-11–20) and Lane Zablocki (7-8–15) are relied upon offensively by head coach Brent Sutter.
It’s an all-Alberta matchup on Saturday afternoon as both teams look to turn things around with a win as a national audience looks on.
100th MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP TOUR CONTINUES IN CALGARY:
After making its first stop in Barrie last weekend, the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup Tour continues in Calgary.
Hitmen players and staff took the prestigious trophy to the Royal Canadian Legion North Calgary Branch 264 on Thursday.