DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: October 1, 2019 Saskatoon Blades 1-2-0-0 @Red Deer Rebels 1-3-0-0 7:00PM (MDT)
In the lone game on the WHL calendar, the Saskatoon Blades travel to Red Deer to face the Rebels. Both teams are off to a slow start this season. Two weeks into the year both clubs have only one win to speak of. Saskatoon picked up their victory on opening night versus the defending WHL champions, the Prince Albert Raiders. While the Rebels picked up their only victory over division rivals, the Lethbridge Hurricanes this past Friday. Saskatoon and Red Deer are both coming off losses their last time out. Saskatoon dropped a high scoring 7-6 game to the Winnipeg Ice. Blades forward Kyle Crnkovic recorded his first WHL career hat-trick in the loss. Red Deer lost their last outing, a 5-1 home loss to division rivals the Calgary Hitmen. Rebels captain Dawson Barteaux had the lone goal. The Red Deer Rebels have been short- handed 17 times in their four games played. Meanwhile, the Blades are tied for 2nd in the league in power play efficiency at 33.3%.
The Blades are led by 19-year-old captain, forward Chase Wouters. Wouters is in his fourth full season in the WHL, all with the Blades. Having not missed a game the last two seasons, Wouters had 39 points last year including 15 goals. Tonight’s game will be a special one for Wouters as it will be his 200th career WHL game. Last week, Saskatoon made a trade, acquiring two draft picks and the rights to ’01 forward Jerzy Orchard from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for overage forward Ryan Hughes. Hughes, helped the Blades pick up their only victory on the season scoring 17 seconds into overtime opening night versus the Raiders.
Another trade prior to the season saw the Saskatoon Blades acquire 20-year-old WHL All-Star defenseman Scott Walford from the Victoria Royals in exchange for fellow 20-year-old Gary Haden. Walford hasn’t disappointed early in the season, leading the Blades in scoring with five points including three goals. The Montreal Canadiens prospect is coming off a 47 point campaign a year ago with Victoria. The Blades are still waiting on the Chicago Blackhawks to make a decision on star centre Kirby Dach, the third overall pick in this year’s NHL entry draft.
Dach suffered a concussion Sept. 10 while playing in the Traverse City prospects tournament. The Rebels are looking to build on their playoff appearance a year ago. They are looking to their captain, and Dallas Stars prospect, defenceman Barteaux. He is coming off a 7 goal, 34 point campaign last year and will be the anchor of the Rebels defence this season. In the first four games this season, Barteaux has already found the back of the net twice. The Rebels defence is very young, consisting of just three veterans in 20-year-old Ethan Sakowich, 19-year-old Barteaux and second-year player Ryan Gottfried, 18-years-old. The youth movement on the backend is thanks to a trade prior to the season. 19-year-old defenceman
Jacob Herauf was traded to the Victoria Royals in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft, a sixth-round selection in 2021 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2022. The rest of the Rebels defence is either 16 or 17-years-old. Up front the Rebels are led by former Dallas Stars prospect, Brett Davis. The Stars neglected to sign Davis this past spring, making the 20-year-old a free agent. Davis split last season between the Kootenay ICE and Rebels. Posting 50 points including 20 goals between the two teams a year ago. Davis, now with his third team after beginning his career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is in his final season in the WHL and has five points in four games so far this year.
Expected in goal:
• Nolan Maier (Saskatoon) – Maier, in his third season, is coming off an impressive season. Finishing last season with 36 wins in 53 appearances, including four shut-out, he also finished with a 2.64 GAA and a .910 SAV%. Provided he plays, this will be Maier’s 100th career WHL game.
• Ethan Anders (Red Deer)-Anders is in his third season in the WHL. Finishing last season with 28 wins in 57 appearances, Anders posted a 3.09 GAA and 0.907 SAV% including two shut-outs last season.