WHL Gameday Preview: Monday, October 14th

DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: October 14, 2019 Saskatoon Blades 6-3-0-1 @
Regina Pats 4-1-1-0 2:00PM (MDT)
In a Canadian Thanksgiving Day game the Saskatoon Blades pay a visit to Calgary to face-off with the Hitmen. Saskatoon is coming in red hot riding a three game winning streak including their most recent victory, a 2-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes two nights ago. Calgary is coming off their first regulation loss of the season. They fell Saturday night in Edmonton 6-4 to the Oil Kings. A key to today’s game will be Saskatoon’s ability to stay out of the penalty box.

Riley McKay (photo-Andy Devlin)

Calgary’s power play is currently operating at an incredible 36.84% on the season, converting 7/19 opportunities. Saskatoon has been almost perfect on the road so far this season. In five games the Blades only defeat came at the hands of the Red Deer Rebels on October 1, 2019.
In the past eight meetings between these two teams, they own identical 4-3-1 records against each other.
The Blades have been led by 19-year-old captain, forward Chase Wouters. In his fourth full season in the WHL, Wouters has not missed a game the last two seasons. Wouters had 39 points last year including 15 goals. As the Blades first round pick in 2015, Wouters had a special moment earlier in the season; He skated in his 200th career WHL game, all with the Blades.
He’s currently third in team scoring through ten games with seven points. Right in front of Wouters in scoring is overage forward, Riley McKay. The Swan River, MB native is currently in his fourth WHL season as well.

Unlike his captain, Riley McKay spent the first two years of his WHL career with the Spokane Chiefs. Last season with the Blades, Mckay posted career highs in all offensive categories. Scoring 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 68 games. McKay has gotten off to a nice start this year, collecting eight points in nine games.

Leading the team in scoring this season is, Montreal Canadiens 2017 draft choice, defenceman Scott Walford. The overage defenceman is in his first season with the Blades, he spent the first four years of his
career with the Victoria Royals. Coming off a career high 47 points last season, Walford has
nine points in ten games this season.

Egor Zamula (Portland Winterhawks/Ben Ludeman)

One player the Blades would love to have back in their lineup is Kirby Dach. Dach played for the Blades during the 2018-19 season, notching 73 points (25G-48A) in 62 games played. Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks third overall at the 2019 NHL Draft last June, Dach is currently on a conditioning stint with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL after suffering a concussion during Blackhawks prospect camp in September.
Calgary has been getting their offence from up and down the lineup. Leading the way are two NHL prospects, defenceman Egor Zamula and forward Carson Focht. Zamula, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, is coming off a 56 point campaign last season with Calgary. Egor, who scored a total of ten times last season with the Hitmen, has already scored four times and added five assists in just six games this year. Focht, Vancouver Canucks fifth round draft choice from the 2019 NHL draft, leads the forward group in scoring. Just like Zamula, Carson has scored four goals and added five assists. Focht really came into his own last season with Calgary. He had 64 points, including 26 goals in 68 games his first full season with Calgary.

Orca Wiesblatt (photo-Tyler Lowey)

One pleasant surprise this season has to be the play of forward Orca Wiesblatt. Playing for his hometown
team, Wiesblatt is in his third season with the Hitmen and has six points. Last year, Wiesblatt skated in only 12 games, registering only three assists. Orca is one of four hockey playing brothers. Ozzy is currently with the Prince Albert Raiders, Ocean is with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers and Oasiz, the youngest brother, was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers in this summer’s WHL Bantam draft. Captain Mark Kastelic, scored his first goal of the season Saturday night versus the Oil Kings. Kastelic was playing in just his second game of the season, as he was recently returned to Calgary. Kastelic was reassigned to
the club after spending training camp with the Ottawa Senators and their affiliate, the Belleville Senators of the AHL. The 20-year-old Kastelic scored 47 times last season which made him the

WHL third leading goal scorer from last season, he also tied for the team lead in points (77) with
James Malm.

Brett Kemp-Nolan Maier (photo-Andy Devlin)

Expected in goal:
Nolan Maier (Saskatoon) – Maier, currently in his third season, is coming off an impressive season. Finishing last season with 36 wins in 53 appearances, to go along with a 2.64 GAA and a .910 SAV%. Maier, who this season played in his 100th career WHL game, has played in eight games so far, winning four of them. He currently has a 2.33 GAA and a .923 SAV%.
Jack McNaughton (Calgary) – Coming off his first loss of the season McNaughton hasn’t looked back after last season’s rookie success. He finished his last year with an impressive 25 wins in 46 games played. Winning three out of four games so far this season, McNaughton has posted a 2.99GAA and a .886SAV% in his three wins.

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