WHL Gameday Preview: Friday, September 20th, 2019

DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: Brandon Wheat Kings @Winnipeg ICE 7:30PM CDT

The WHL has officially returned. What better way to start the season than in Winnipeg for the first WHL regular season game since 1984 when the Winnipeg Warriors played their last game there before moving to Moose Jaw.

Matthew Savoie- Photo courtesy of Rob Wallator.

This also sets up to be a nice rivalry between the two Manitoba-based teams. They play Friday in Brandon and Saturday in Winnipeg with those being the first of 10 games between the two squads.

The ICE will get their first meaningful game action look at the top-two picks in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Matthew Savoie and Conor Geekie as both look to take to the ice. 16-year-old rookie defenseman Carson Lambos is another high pick looking to make his impact felt at a young age.

The ICE are depleted in net with Jesse Makaj and Duncan McGovern both out week-to-week. That necessitated a trade with Regina where they brought in Dean McNabb. He played in 29 games between Victoria and Regina and is the most experienced goalie on the roster. Peyton Krebs remains at Vegas Golden Knights camp while nursing his injury.

The Wheat Kings also have a player at Golden Knights camp in first-year import Marcus Kallionkieli. He is their reportedly rehabbing an injury.

Besides him, they have their entire expected roster available. 20-year-old forward Connor Gutenberg was announced as team captain today and leads a talented forward group with Luka Burzan, Ben McCartney and Ridly Greig among many others. They also sport a Lambos brother with 18-year-old d-man Jonny Lambos set to battle his brother.

Luke Burzan – Facebook/BrandonWheatKings

Expected in goal:

  • Dean McNabb (Winnipeg) – He hasn’t put up incredible WHL numbers but in Victoria was given few starts. Even in Regina he had to split duties with Max Paddock. Given the helm while Makaj and McGovern are out, it will be interesting to see if he can find his groove.
  • Jiri Patera (Brandon) – The overage import goalie put up a 3.31 GAA and 0.906 save percentage in 48 games with the Wheat Kings last season. Now with a year of WHL experience, Brandon is leaning on Patera to lead back to the playoffs. A great start to the season would do wonders to build some confidence and cement his status as a “two-spotter.”

Other action:

Medicine Hat Tigers @ Lethbridge Hurricanes 7pm MDT

-Hurricanes without Logan Barlage (two-game suspension) and Koletrane Wilson (one-game suspension) and possibly two others to injuries. They will need goalie Carl Tetachuk to hold the fort under fire from a talented James Hamblin led Tigers attack.

Saskatoon Blades @ Prince Albert Raiders 7pm MDT

-These two teams battled it out in the second round of the playoffs. Lots of big names off the rosters missing from those teams. This could be a place where either team’s younger players shine.

Moose Jaw Warriors @ Regina Pats 7pm MDT

-Warriors facing early season injury woes. New goalie Bailey Brkin will be tested. Can he show his experience and steal a road game?

Spokane Chiefs @ Kamloops Blazers 7pm PDT

-While Logan Stankoven was the WHL’s preseason darling, he now faces meaningful WHL play and will surely be targeted by the Chiefs veteran defenseman llike Filip Kral and Noah King. This will be a good early test for the runaway rookie of the year pick.

Vancouver Giants @ Prince George Cougars 7pm PDT

-Giants still have five overagers on their roster. The two games in P.G. this weekend will be a good place fro those five to make their case to stay among the three Vancouver can keep.

Tri-City Americans @ Everett Silvertips 7:35 pm PDT

Another playoff rematch. Everett has some forwards out but still will look to pepper Beck Warm and the Americans with shots like they did in their five-game first round series win.

 

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