DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: December 7, 2019, Kamloops Blazers 18-9-0-1 @ Winnipeg ICE 16-11-1-0 7:30 PM (CST)
It’s a battle of two teams that have been red hot as of late. Both have won three out of their last four games. Kamloops is coming into tonight’s game winners of their last two straight games, which includes last night’s 5-4 shoot-out win over the Brandon Wheat Kings. Winnipeg is just as hot, with the return of captain Peyton Krebs; the ICE are coming into tonight’s game-winning their last three games. Winnipeg’s latest victory came last night as they picked up a 3-2 overtime win over the Regina Pats thanks to a goal from Krebs. Tonight’s game is a special one for the ICE; in support of the Manitoba Children’s Hospital Foundation, it is their annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Fans are encouraged to throw teddy bears on the ice after the ICE score their first goal of the game. Tonight’s matchup is the one and only meeting between the two clubs in Winnipeg.
The Blazers have put together a great season so far and find themselves sitting in first place in the B.C. Division. The ICE have found a home at the ICE Cave. After dropping their first three contests here, they have won nine of their last ten and six straight in Winnipeg.
The B.C. Division leading Blazers are being led by two forwards, Connor Zary and Zane Franklin
this season. Zary, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, is currently fifth in WHL in points with 39 in 27 games played. Of those 39 points, 19 of them are goals which put the forward third in the league in that category. Zary has spent his entire WHL career with Kamloops. He has played in over 150 games in his career, with his best season last year where he posted 67 points in 63 games.
Tied with Zary in scoring is overage forward Franklin. In his first season with the Blazers
last year, Franklin was a point-a-game player, collecting 68 points in as many games. Franklin
has played in one more game than Zary but has 39 points in those 28 games including 16
Not to be outdone, Ryan Hughes is right behind them in team scoring with 35 points in 27 games. Acquired earlier in the year in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades, the overage forward has come in and added another scoring threat to an already dangerous Blazers squad. Last year, between the Portland Winterhawks and the Saskatoon Blades, the Edmonton, Alberta native posted his career-high in points with 69 points in 61 games combined between the two teams.
The Blazers will send two players to their Under-20 National camps in preparation for the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic. Forward Martin Lang will attend the Czech Republic’s camp and defenseman Inaki Baragano will attend Switzerland’s Camp.
Lang is in his second season with the Blazers and has six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in 27 games this season.
The defenseman Baragano is in his first season with the Blazers and has three goals, two assists, and five points in 27 games.
A couple of weeks ago the ICE got a massive boost to their lineup as captain
Krebs made his long-awaited return to Winnipeg’s lineup. Krebs had been out all year as he
recovered and rehabbed from his partially torn Achilles injury that he suffered in the summer.
Krebs had been rehabbing with the Vegas Golden Knights who selected Krebs 17th overall in
the 2019 Draft. Last season Krebs posted 68 points in 64 games to lead the ICE in scoring.
While Krebs has been absent, the ICE has been led by the play of rookie forward Michal
Teply, a 2019 first-round import draft selection from the Czech Republic, is producing at a
point a game pace so far this season. He has 12 goals and 16 assists in 28 games this season.
Teply was not only drafted in the WHL this past off-season, but he was also selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fourth round of the NHL draft.
First-year ICE member Isaac Johnson is second in Winnipeg’s top three scorers this season as the overage forward has 25 points in 28 games including nine goals.
Connor McClennon rounds out Winnipeg’s top three scorers as he has 24 points in 28 games his season. Reece Harsch leads all ICE defenceman in scoring, he has 13 points in 28 games this season. The ICE are also sending some players to their Under-20 National camps in preparation for the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.
Expected in goal:
Dylan Garand (Kamloops) – Garand is in his second full season, last year he appeared in 27
games, winning 11. Garand posted a 2.94 GAA and a .902 SAV% in those games. He was also
the winning goalie in the 2019 tie-break game vs the Kelowna Rockets. This season, Garand
has appeared in 25 games, winning 16 of those games, while posting a 2.33GAA and
.922SAV% and one shutout.
Jesse Makaj (Winnipeg) – Makaj is one of four goalies to see action this season for the Ice.
Dean McNabb, Gage Alexander, and Liam Hughes have all been between the pipes for the ICE
this season. Makaj is in his second full season with the ICE, he played in 39 games last season posting five wins and a 4.41 GAA and a .878 SAV% in those games. This season in 17 games, Makaj has nine wins and a 3.81 GAA and a .868 SAV%.
Also in action:
Prince Albert Raiders @Moose Jaw Warriors 7 pm CST
-Warriors look to halt an eight-game losing streak against the East Division leading Raiders.
Red Deer Rebels @Regina Pats 7 pm CST
-Red Deer has found some magic of late and is riding a three-game winning streak.
Kelowna Rockets @Saskatoon Blades 7 pm CST
–Michael Farren returns to take on his former team in the Blades.
Lethbridge Hurricanes @Swift Current Broncos 7 pm CST
-It’s a matchup with the team that has scored the most goals this season (Lethbridge 119) and the team that has given up the most (Swift Current 118).
Calgary Hitmen @Edmonton Oil Kings 7 pm MST
-The Oil Kings have owned their division rival so far with a 5-0-1-0 record. If the Hitmen want to get back on track, tonight would be a good start.
Prince George Cougars @Portland Winterhawks 6 pm PST
-Game 3 of their four straight games vs one another and Portland’s Teddy Bear Toss night. The Winterhawks have won both vs PG so far.
Everett Silvertips @Medicine Hat Tigers 7:30 pm MST
-The Tigers just made a big trade earlier today. They will likely be short-handed as they await the arrival of Dylan Plouffe and Luks Svejkovsky.
Tri-City Americans @Spokane Chiefs 7:05 pm PST
-The road team is 3-0 so far in this season series. We will see if the trend continues tonight.
Seattle Thunderbirds @Victoria Royals 7:05 pm PST
-Payton Mount was the hero in his hometown last night. Now the Royals try to respond.