After a fairly full slate of games this weekend, there are five games on today’s schedule, including eight teams playing their third game in three days. The two freshest teams will be in the spotlight as the earliest game on the day.
DUBNetwork Game of the Day: Red Deer Rebels @ Saskatoon Blades 2PM Central Time.
Friday night was party time in the Bridge City as the Saskatoon Blades (40-14-8-0) hit 40 wins for the first
time since the 2012-13 season. They did so in convincing fashion over the Regina Pats, securing a 4-0 victory and a shutout for Nolan Maier in the process. The team has fallen on hard times over the past few seasons but with a new coach at the helm and a power group of players the Blades surpassed expectations and locked up 40 wins in their 62nd game.
The Red Deer Rebels (31-24-4-2) has not had a lot to party about in the second half of the WHL season. The team has struggled to score goals and that meant an entire month’s worth of time before they were able to secure a regulation time win. The US Division road trip was not good for the team but they have since turned things around a little bit, hitting the East Division swing running with a 2-0-0-1 record, the shootout loss coming at the hands of top ranked Prince Albert.
With three scorers in the top-30 the Blades have found their offense, already surpassing last season’s 237 goals in ten less games. Interestingly, 20-year-old Dawson Davidson leads the team in scoring and the Blades are the only team in the WHL that has a defenseman heading up the scoring. He’s 19th overall in points with 70, with Kirby Dach and Max Gerlach just a few points behind.
On the Red Deer side of the ice, they have just one scorer in the top-70 but he is perched in the top-5. Brandon Hagel has 92 points and could become the first 100-point scorer for the Red Deer Rebels since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did it in the 2010-11 season. Beyond Hagel though there is a massive gap in points with Cameron Hausinger and Brett Davis next at 47 and 46 points respectively.
Between the Pipes
Ethan Anders (RD): 26-18-4-1 Has allowed 18 goals in his last 6 games. 2-3-0-1 over that span.
Nolan Maier (SAS): 32-10-6-0. 7-1-0-0 in his last 8 starts. Collected his first shutout since Decemeber 8th on Friday.
Other action around the DUB:
Kootenay Ice (12-40-7-3) @ Calgary Hitmen (34-22-5-1)
The ICE are eliminated from the playoffs, while the Hitmen are playing their game in hand on the Hurricanes and Oil Kings. They are 6 points behind the Hurricanes and 8 behind the Oil Kings.
Kamloops Blazers (23-31-4-2) @ Vancouver Giants (43-14-2-2)
The Blazers find themselves in between a rock and a hard place, the team needs points desperately but they are playing a team that is looking to get itself the number one seed in the Western Conference. Kamloops is 6 points behind both Seattle and Kelowna. Vancouver has a game in hand over Everett and is just 2 points behind them.
Portland Winterhawks (38-13-3-3) @ Kelowna Rockets (26-30-5-1)
Kelowna is 6 points clear of Kamloops for third in the division and needs to put together some points while the Winterhawks are just 5 points ahead for the number two seed in the US division.
Tri-City Americans (33-24-3-1) @ Seattle Thunderbirds (25-28-6-2)
The Americans have fallen 7 points behind the Spokane Chiefs for the third spot in the US Division. Meanwhile the Thunderbirds need to collect points to distance themselves from the Kamloops Blazers, they currently hold down the final wild card position in the Western Conference.