WHL Gameday Preview: Friday, October 4th, 2019

DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: October 4, 2019 Seattle Thunderbirds 1-2-0-0 @ Spokane Chiefs 1-1-1-0 7:05PM (PDT)

In a U.S. division match up, the Seattle Thunderbirds travel to Spokane to visit the Chiefs. Both teams are coming off a loss the last time they hit the ice. Seattle was handed a lopsided 8-1 loss Wednesday night. While Spokane, who hasn’t played in six days, fell 3-0 to the Tri-City Americans on Saturday night. Coming into the game both teams have only picked up one win so far. Both teams coincidentally picked up their lone victory versus the Kamloops Blazers. It was the opening game of the season for both the Chiefs and the Thunderbirds in their victories. Both teams have struggled on the power play early on in the year, scoring only one goal respectively. Seattle has their one goal in 11 chances, while Spokane has one in 12 chances. In the last five years these two teams have played 18 games against each other. Seattle has dominated the match up, winning 12 of the 18 games.

Matthew Wedman (photo-Brian Liesse)

This year’s Thunderbirds are led by team captain, forward, Matthew Wedman. Selected by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round, 199th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, Wedman was the team’s leading scorer from last season. He posted 40 goals and 37 assists for 77 points in 66 games and was named a Second Team Western Conference All-Star last season. Wedman, returned to the team earlier in the week from the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League. Also earlier in the week, Seattle made a trade to acquire defenseman Ryan Gottfried from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for the rights to defenseman Noah Barlage and a conditional seventh round pick in the 2022 Bantam Draft. In acquiring Gottfried the Thunderbirds added to an already big blue line. Seattle only has one defenceman under six feet tall currently on the roster (Zachary Ashton). Fellow defenceman, Simon Kubicek from the Czech Republic has been the offensive leader so far. In his second year in the WHL, Kubicek has four assists to lead the Thunderbirds in points. Another import, Andrej Kukuca from Slovakia, has two goals and three points to lead the forwards so far early in the season. Seattle has some decisions to be made in the next week, as they still have four overage players on their active roster.

Ty Smith (Photo: Portland Winterhawks/Matthew Wolfe)

After picking up one win in the first three games, the Chiefs got a big boost this week. Defenseman, and team captain, Ty Smith was reassigned by the New Jersey Devils back to Spokane. Smith attended New Jersey’s training camp for the second year and appeared in five preseason games. Smith was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year last season after recording 69 points, including 62 assists, in 57 games. Forwards Jake McGrew, and Adam Beckman have paced the Chiefs offensively early on, as they both have four points so far. McGrew has three goals and one assist, while Beckman has collected four assists. McGrew is back for his third year in the WHL- all with Spokane after attending San Jose Sharks training camp. Beckman is back for his second full season with the Chiefs, after he attended Minnesota Wild camp. Beckman and McGrew are both coming off career high point totals a year ago with the Chiefs. Over the last seven days Spokane has solved a couple issues they need to address. They made a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings, moving forward Ethan McIndoe to the Oil Kings in exchange for two draft picks. Spokane acquired a fourth-round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam draft and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Later in the week, Spokane announced that Russian defenseman Matvei Startsev had been released from the team. The moves solve both the overage and import situations the team had.

Roddy Ross (photo – Brian Liesse)

 

Expected in goal:

  • Roddy Ross (Seattle) – Ross, in his second season, is coming off a season where he posted 16 wins in 25 appearances. He also finished with a 2.76 GAA and a .919 SAV%. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Lukas Parik (Spokane)-Parik from Neratovice, Czech Republic is in his first season in the WHL. He picked up his first career win opening night, stopping 31 of 34 shots on goal. The Los Angeles Kings selected Parik in the third round of this past years NHL entry draft.

Also in action:

Vancouver Giants @Brandon Wheat Kings 7:30 pm CDT

-The Giants kick off their seven game road trip, which includes bouts with all six East Division teams.

Dylan Cozens (photo-Ben Green)

Edmonton Oil Kings @Winnipeg ICE 7:30pm CDT

-Edmonton plays the second game of their five game trip in Winnipeg. They have been in every game, but have dropped three straight – two in overtime.

Portland Winterhawks @Lethbridge Hurricanes 7pm MDT

-This is the first of six games in 10 days for the Winterhawks as they travel through Alberta and into Saskatchewan. They are the last unbeaten team in the WHL at 3-0. They will need to stop Dylan Cozens (eight points in three games) to stay undefeated.

Saskatoon Blades @Prince Albert Raiders 7pm MDT

Scott Walford has been everything the Blades expected and more. He has four goals in five games from the blue line.

Medicine Hat Tigers @Regina Pats 7pm MDT

Bryan Lockner with the Cy Young stat going right now for the Tigers with four goals and zero assists. He takes on his former team in Regina.

Bryan Lockner (Photo-Medicine Hat News)

Red Deer Rebels @Swift Current Broncos 7pm MDT

-Both wins so far this season for Swift Current have come at home in overtime. Their top line in Ben King, Ethan Regnier and Joona Kiviniemi have paced them so far.

Kelowna Rockets @Prince George Cougars 7pm PDT

-The Cougars are the only team yet to find the win column. They will have their hands full with Dillon Hamaliuk (eight points in five games) and the Rockets.

Home Forums WHL Gameday Preview: Friday, October 4th, 2019

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