WHL Gameday Preview: Saturday October 12th, 2019

DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: October 12, 2019, Moose Jaw Warriors 5-2-0-0 @
Prince Albert Raiders 6-0-2-0 7:00 PM (MDT)

Two of the hottest teams in the WHL clash Saturday night as the Moose Jaw Warriors pay a visit to Prince Albert to take on the Raiders. Over the past five years, these two teams have met 16 times in the regular season. Moose Jaw has been the dominant team in those games, owning a record of 10-4-1-1 over the 16 games. This will be the second game in as many nights for both teams. Moose Jaw played host to the Vancouver Giants and lost 4-1. While Prince Albert welcomed the Lethbridge Hurricanes to Prince Albert last night and won 4-2. Coming into the weekend’s action, both of the teams’ power plays have been hot to start the season. Moose Jaw is operating at 19.35%%, while Prince Albert is right behind at 18.18%. Moose Jaw is getting a big boost to their young lineup this weekend as forward Brayden Tracey was returned from the Anaheim Ducks organization.

Tracey is coming off an impressive rookie season with the Warriors that saw him score 36 goals and collect 81 points in 66 games.

Brayden Tracey (photo-Marc Smith)

It also led to him becoming the 29th overall pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2019 NHL Draft. Tracey was inserted into a lineup that is full of young forwards. He had an assist on the Warriors lone goal on Friday. With as many as six rookie forwards in the Warriors lineup, to go along with three more on the back end, Tracey will be a welcome addition to the young team.

The Warriors wouldn’t have been off to their hot start if it wasn’t for a couple of players. Carson Denomie and Ryder Korczak have paced the Warriors with 10 points each in Moose Jaw’s first seven games. Denomie was acquired last season from the Kamloops Blazers and had just 17 points all of last season.

This year Denomie has four goals and six assists to tie Korczak for the team lead in points. For Korczak he was part of a blockbuster trade with the Calgary Hitmen in the summer. Korczak along with import
defenceman Vladislav Yeryomenko, a first-round pick in 2019 (11th overall), a conditional third-round pick in 2020, and a second-round pick in 2021 from the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for defenceman Jett Woo. Korczak posted eight goals, seven assists, and 15 points in 50 regular-season games in his rookie season with the Calgary Hitmen in 2018-2019. Ryder also had five points in 11 playoff games last year with Calgary. Another new addition, Jadon Joseph, who was acquired from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a third-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth in 2022, has helped lead the young group of forwards with seven points in the first seven games.

Aliaksei Protas (photo-Lucas Chudleigh/Apollo Multimedia)

Prince Albert has turned to second-year import centre Aliaksei Protas to help with the scoring this season. The Washington Capitals third-round draft choice from this past summer’s entry
draft is looking to pick up from last year. Scoring 40 points in the regular season, Protas had a great playoff run with the Raiders. Protas also collected 12 goals and 22 points in the Raiders playoff run to winning the WHL Championship. So far this season Protas has 11 points in eight games. Protas has gotten help upfront from fellow second-year forward Ozzy Wiesblatt. Wiesblatt has scored twice and added seven assists so far this season. Last year Ozzy had 39 points, including 15 goals in his rookie season with Prince Albert. Last week the Raiders acquired forward Daniil Stepanov from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a ninth-round pick in the 2023 WHL Bantam Draft. Stepanov had eight goals and 11 assists while playing in all 68 games in his rookie season with the Warriors last year. In six games with the Raiders this year, he has two assists. The import centreman spent time on the same Under-17 team in his home country as Aliaksei Protas. To make room on the roster for Stepanov, Prince Albert laced forward Ivan Kechkin on import waivers. This will be the first time Stepanov will face his former team. Another boost to the Raiders lineup came late last week as defenceman Zack Hayes was returned to the Prince Albert from the Anaheim Ducks and the San Diego Gulls’ training camps. Hayes played in all 68 regular-season games for the Raiders, where he scored three goals and added a career-high 24 assists.

Boston Bilous-Eric Pearce (photo-Lucas Chudleigh Apollo Multimedia)

Expected in goal:
Bailey Brkin (Moose Jaw) – Brkin is now with his fourth team in the WHL after spending
time with Swift Current, Kootenay and most recently Spokane. Last season with the Chiefs
Brkin appeared in 45 games, winning 27 of them including two shut outs. So far this
season in seven games with Moose Jaw, Brkin has won five games, two shutouts and has
an impressive 2.14 GAA and a .931 SAV%
Boston Bilous (Prince Albert)-Bilous was one of four goalies the Raiders used last season.
Appearing in nine games, Bilous won five games. Bilous has played in 16 games with
Prince Albert in his career and has yet to lose in regulation with the Raiders. So far this
season Bilous has five wins in seven appearances including two shut-outs. Bilous has
posted a 1.53 GAA and a .929 SAV%

Also in action:

Calgary Hitmen @Edmonton Oil Kings 7 pm MDT

Carson Focht was the OT hero the last time these two matched up. The Hitmen are rolling having won four straight starting with that one.

Nolan Maier (photo-David Zammit)

Lethbridge Hurricanes @Saskatoon Blades 7 pm MDT

-The Blades have won back-to-back games by a 2-1 score. Nolan Maier has stopped 66-of-68 shots over those two games for Saskatoon.

Vancouver Giants @Regina Pats 7 pm MDT

-This is the final stop in the six-game East Division swing for the Giants. They are 2-3 so far and are vying for a .500 trip. The Pats have dropped seven straight.

Winnipeg ICE @Swift Current Broncos 7pm MDT

-The two teams who swapped divisions this year do battle for the first time.

Red Deer Rebels @Medicine Hat Tigers 7:30 pm MDT

Chris Douglas helped the Rebels win in overtime the last time the Tigers and Rebels played.

Kamloops Blazers @Kelowna Rockets 7:05 pm PDT

-Both teams are coming off wins on the road against U.S. Division opponents. Now they battle for two big B.C. Division points.

Kyle Olson (Photo-Chris Mast)

Victoria Royals @Spokane Chiefs 7:05 pm PDT

-The Royals are having trouble staying healthy. Jacob Herauf left Friday’s game in Kennewick with an apparent knee injury. Could he be the sixth player on the Royals growing injury list?

Prince George Cougars @Tri-City Americans 7:05 pm PDT

Taylor Gauthier turned away 44-of-45 Spokane shots on the road Friday. If he draws in, he will face another stern test in Friday OT hero Kyle Olson and the Americans.

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