Today’s Gameday Preview: Friday March 1st, 2019

DUBNetwork Feature game of the night: Thunderbirds @ Blazers 7 PM PST

A busy schedule in the WHL with playoff implications in nearly every game, we feature Seattle in Kamloops!

The Kamloops Blazers take the ice tonight at home against the team directly to the North of them in the standings, the Seattle Thunderbirds. These squads have already laced up against each other three times this season, with Kamloops leading the season series by a 2-1 margin. This game tonight is massive in terms of playoff hopes. With a Kamloops win in regulation the Blazers move into reach of the final Wild Card spot in the West. With a Seattle win in regulation, the T-Birds would move even further away from the only team that could knock them out of the post-season and onto the golf course.

The Seattle Thunderbirds (24-28-5-2) are flying in with three wins in their last five games, posting a 5-4-0-1 in their last ten games. In terms of standings a victory tonight in regulation for Seattle puts them that much closer to edging into the playoffs. In their last game, the T-Birds skated into a shootout loss against the Portland Winterhawks after nobody could find the back of the net in the skill competition.

The Kamloops Blazers (23-29-3-2) come into this one painting a bit of a different picture. With three losses in their last five games, they truly are playing with fire when it comes to playoff hopes. The Blazers are in desperate need of some points, and if they don’t come against the Thunderbirds tonight, they will be up against Vancouver for back-to-back games over the weekend that will be that much tougher to get some points out of.

Net presence

Roddy Ross (SEA): 11-4-0-2, 2.75 GAA, .918 sv% Has points in his last 4 starts for the Thunderbirds.

Dylan Ferguson (KAM): 17-22-4-2, 2.87GAA, .912 sv% Has not had back-to-back wins since January 19-26th when he won 4 straight.

Feature players

Orrin Centazzo (KAM): 15-29–44 Broke out of a recent slump with 2 goals on Wednesday against the Tri-City Americans.

Noah Philp (SEA): 21-41–62 Has 12 points on his 9-game point streak. 55.1% winner of face-offs.

Other games on the schedule

Lethbridge Hurricanes (33-18-5-5) @ Moose Jaw Warriors (34-17-6-2)

The Hurricanes are coming in hot after defeating the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night. They have the most to lose in this game with Moose Jaw holding down third in the East division.

Red Deer Rebels (31-24-4-1) @ Prince Albert Raiders (49-8-2-2)

The Raiders will take another shot at hitting 50 wins. Red Deer is one of the teams to have beaten the Raiders this year and are desperately looking for points to stay in the playoff race. Prince Albert can clinch the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy with a win.

Regina Pats (18-40-1-2) @ Saskatoon Blades (39-14-8-0)

Neither team can move up or down in the standings with a win or a loss, Saskatoon would hit the 40 win mark for the first time since the year they hosted the Memorial Cup (2012-13, 44 wins)

Brandon Wheat Kings (29-23-3-4) @ Calgary Hitmen (32-22-5-1)

Both teams are in the hunt for the playoffs, with Calgary searching for a divisional playoff spot and Brandon just on the outside looking in for a wild card spot. Brandon begins a lengthy trip through the Central Division.

Swift Current Broncos (10-44-3-2) @ Kootenay ICE (11-39-7-3)

The two teams are in the basement of the standings. There is a small chance Swift Current could pass Kootenay to get out of last place, they’ll need a win to kick start that.

Medicine Hat Tigers (31-24-3-2) @ Edmonton Oil Kings (35-18-4-4)

The Tigers have chosen the worst possible time to hit the skids as they are mired in a six game win-less slide. Winners of four straight the Oil Kings are looking to keep their division title hopes alive with a win.

Spokane Chiefs (33-19-2-5) @ Portland Winterhawks (37-17-3-3)

Both teams have locked in a birth in the WHL playoffs, now it is a matter of where they will stand to start. Spokane trails Portland by seven points with nine games left to play, one more than Portland who are eight points back of Everett for the division lead.

Kelowna Rockets (26-29-4-1) @ Vancouver Giants (41-14-2-2)

The Giants are just two points out of the first overall seed in the Western Conference while the Rockets are hanging on for dear life to the third spot in the BC Division, their lead is five points over the Kamloops Blazers.

Prince George Cougars (17-37-5-3) @ Victoria Royals (31-25-2-2)

The Cougars are out of the playoff picture and Victoria has been in second in the BC Division for the majority of the season. It would do the Royals some good to continue to play well over their remaining schedule.

Tri-City Americans (33-23-2-1) @ Everett Silvertips (42-14-2-2)

Everett is trying to remain the top seed in the Western Conference, a win would keep them out in front of the Giants. Tri-City is four points behind the Chiefs for third in the US Division and a potential match up with the Portland Winterhawks. The Americans have lost their last two games.

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