Gameday Preview: Kamloops Blazers @ Spokane Chiefs

DUBNetwork Game of the Night: Kamloops Blazers (26-11-2-1) @ Spokane Chiefs (22-13-4-1) 7:05 PM

Tonight’s game features two teams that are offensive powerhouses in the Western Hockey League. Both teams feature several players in the top-50 scorers as well as some offense from the backend. Kamloops scores 4.00 goals per game, Spokane isn’t far behind with 3.68 goals per game.

Also, both teams are trending up, Kamloops has won four games in a row and eight of their last ten games. Spokane has won their last two games.

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena has treated the Chiefs well this season, they are 12-7-2-0 and have five wins in their last six on home ice. Kamloops is 11-7-2-0 on the road this season.

Spokane won the only meeting between the two teams on September 20th, by a 4-3 score. The game was contested in Kamloops.

Taking a look at the team’s playoff positioning, the Blazers lead the Victoria Royals by six points for the BC Division lead. Victoria has an extra game in hand. Spokane is six points behind Everett for second in the US Division.

Dylan Garand. Photo by Allen Douglas/Kamloops Blazers.

One of the top goalies in the league, Dylan Garand, is expected to take the ice for the Blazers before he heads off to the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He owns a 23-9-1-1 record this season in 34 appearances. He has a 2.30 goals-against average and pairs it with a .920 save percentage. Spokane is likely to counter with Czech import Lukas Parik. He has an 11-3-2-0 record in 16 appearances for the Chiefs. His goals-against average is 2.61 and he has a .917 save percentage.

Adam Beckman (Photo- Larry Brunt)

The offense for the Chiefs begins with the league-leading scorer, Adam Beckman. With his recent 13-game point streak (17G-9A), Beckman has accumulated 30 goals and 34 assists in 39 games. He’s got a linemate currently holding the longest streak in the WHL this season. At 17 games, Eli Zummack is that player (9G-19A). The streak brings his season totals to 16 goals and 33 assists in 40 games. Jack Finley rounds out the top-three for the Chiefs with 10 goals and 26 assists in 40 games. Filip Kral leads the offense from the blue line with 10 goals and 26 assists in 36 games.

Kamloops isn’t a slouch on the scoreboard as they have three scorers in the top-eight in WHL scoring. They are led by Zane Franklin, he has 23 goals and 39 assists in 40 games. Orrin Centazzo is enjoying his coming out party with 26 goals and 28 assists in 40 to sit fifth in scoring and draft-eligible forward Connor Zary has 25 goals and 28 assists in 37 games. On the blue line, Max Martin has six goals and 32 assists.

On special teams Kamloops is among the leaders on the power play and penalty kill, running at 24.2% and 88.0% respectively. Spokane is in the top half on the power play (21.0%) but struggles on the penalty kill (77.4%).

In other WHL action:

Prince George Cougars (11-22-3-4) @ Winnipeg ICE (25-15-1-0)

The Cougars are headed to game four of their six-game road trip through the East Division, the team is 1-0-1-1 thus far. This season they are 5-11-2-2 on the road. Winnipeg is fresh off a 6-0 win on home ice, fans from that game received vouchers for free tickets to tonight’s game. The ICE are 14-7-0-0 on home ice this season.

Regina Pats (13-22-3-2) @ Portland Winterhawks (29-6-2-3)

The Pats are playing their third game in the US Division, the team has a win and a loss thus far. They will play Seattle and Spokane on the weekend. Portland has points in 15 straight games (13-0-1-1) and have an incredible 16-1-1-1 home ice record this season. Their lead in the US Division sits at eight points over the Everett Silvertips.

Tri-City Americans (14-19-4-1) @ Victoria Royals (23-13-3-0)

A really tough stretch of hockey for the Americans has them on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. With 30 games left to play the team is four points behind Seattle for the second wild-card position. Victoria has played themselves into the second spot in the BC Division, four points clear of the Kelowna Rockets. The team has points in three straight and is 12-7-1-0 on home ice.

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