Monday, 30 November 2015

Top & Bottom 5s: November 30th

Here we go again with another edition of WHL Top & Bottom 5s. I have added a twist for everyone and for all the Rebels fans.

Top 5 Shooting Percentages (doesn't include Shootouts)
1. Kelowna Rockets 13.307%
2. Lethbridge Hurricanes 12.121%
3. Kamloops Blazers 12.077%
4. Victoria Royals 11.453%
5. Seattle Thunderbirds 11.321%

7. Red Deer Rebels 11.183%


Bottom 5 Shooting Percentages
1. Kootenay Ice 7.768%
2. Swift Current Broncos 7.965%
3. Everett Silvertips 8.495%
4. Edmonton Oil Kings 8.553%
5. Vancouver Giants 8.824%

Top 5 Save Percentages (doesn't include Shootouts)
1. Everett Silvertips .933%
2. Victoria Royals .917%
3. Swift Current Broncos .914%
4. Portland Winterhawks .910%
T5. Prince Albert Raiders .908%
T5. Kelowna Rockets .908%

T10. Red Deer Rebels .905%


Bottom 5 Save Percentages
1. Medicine Hat Tigers .865%
2. Tri-City Americans .872%
3. Saskatoon Blades .877%
4. Vancouver Giants .884%
5. Edmonton Oil Kings .885%

Top 5 Goals For Per Game
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes 4.00G/PG
2. Kelowna Rockets 3.96G/PG
3. Red Deer Rebels 3.85G/PG
4. Seattle Thunderbirds 3.60G/PG
5. Brandon Wheat Kings 3.58G/PG

LEAGUE AVERAGE 3.21 Goals Per Team Per Game.

Bottom 5 Goals For Per Game
1. Kootenay Ice 2.04G/PG
2. Swift Current Broncos 2.42G/PG
3. Vancouver Giants 2.65G/PG
4. Everett Silvertips 2.70G/PG
5. Edmonton Oil Kings 2.79G/PG

Top 5 Goals Against Per Game
1. Everett Silvertips 1.83GA/PG
2. Victoria Royals 2.26GA/PG
3. Red Deer Rebels 2.74GA/PG
4. Brandon Wheat Kings 2.75GA/PG
5. Seattle Thunderbirds 2.76GA/PG

LEAGUE AVERAGE 3.20 Goals Against Per Team Per Game

Bottom 5 Goals Against Per Game
1. Medicine Hat Tigers 4.09GA/PG
2. Kootenay Ice 4.07GA/PG
3. Saskatoon Blades 4.04GA/PG
4. Tri-City Americans 4.00GA/PG
5. Vancouver Giants 3.85GA/PG

Saturday, 28 November 2015

2nd Time This Week: Game Day Blog #27

The Rebels return home to face the Regina Pats, again.
Cam Ward Bobblehead Night! Presented by Carpet One Red Deer

The Rebels return home after going 2-0 on a mini Central Division road trip. They are coming off a 6-4 win in Medicine Hat last night. Regina is coming off an exciting 4-3 Overtime win in Calgary last night. They are now 3 points back of the Moose Jaw Warriors for 3rd in the East Division with 2 games in hand.

Red Deer's Ivan Nikolishin is now on a 6 game point streak, with 6 goals and 6 assists in that time. He is 5th in WHL scoring at 39 points (17G, 22A) Conner Bleackley has points in 4 straight (2G,3A)

Adam Brooks - Regina Pats
Regina's Adam Brooks is 15th in WHL scoring, he has points in 6 of his last 8 games for a total of 14 points (4G, 10A)

The Rebels have the 3rd ranked Power Play, scoring on 27 of 109 chances (24.8%), while the Pats are ranked 21st, scoring on 15 of 111 chances (13.5%) In the 2 games played thus far Red Deer is 2 of 12 on the Power Play against Regina (16.6%) while Regina has scored 3 on 12 chances (25%).

Preston Kopeck - Red Deer Rebels
The Penalty Kill for Red Deer is another story, ranked 15th in the WHL at 79.0%. They have been scored on 22 times while killing off 105 short handed situations. Regina is again 21st in the league at 73.6%. Teams have scored 29 goals against them on 110 opportunities.

While Rylan Toth allowed 4 goals last night against the Tigers, I would guess that he will be the starter again tonight. He has only lost 2 games out of his last 8 and both losses were against the Pats. He will look to have turn around game and lead the boys to victory. Look for the Pats to start Tyler Brown (5-7-0-0, 3.39GAA, .910sv%)

Tonight is Cam Ward Bobblehead night at the Centrium brought to you by Carpet One Red Deer. It is suggested you arrive early if you want one as they are limited to the first 1500 fans.  Doors open at 6PM tonight, puck drop is at 7PM. The game will be on 106.7 the Drive here in Red Deer and Phil Andrews will have the game in Regina on 620 CKRM about 25 minutes prior to puck drop with the Pre-game show.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Cats Meow: Game Day Blog #26

The Rebels traveled to Medicine Hat following Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Ice.

Red Deer Rebels (17-8-0-0) 34pts. AT Medicine Hat Tigers (7-11-2-1) 17pts.

The 1st place in the Central Division Red Deer Rebels take their 8-6-0-0 road record into Medicine Hat where the Tigers are 6-6-0-1 at the CanAlta Centre. Their new arena has not been as kind as the old Medicine Hat Arena.

Ivan Nikolishin enters tonight's contest riding a 5 game point streak. He has 6 goals and 4 assist during the streak. Add Conner Bleackley to the list of hot players as he has a 3 game point streak heading in the 'Hat. (1G,3A).

I expect that Rylan Toth will get the start tonight in the Rebels net. He is 12-6-0-0 on the season with a 2.62 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Against the Tigers he is 1-0-0-0 in 1 start with a 1.00 GAA and a SPARKLING .976 save percentage.

Medicine Hat has been struggling this season all around. Their biggest concern appears to be in net as they have a league low .865 team save percentage. The fans of Medicine Hat have been so accustomed to the great goaltending Marek Langhamer provided. Mack Shields was brought in after Austin Lotz went down with an injury and it still hasn't turned the teams fortunes around. I presume he will be the starter this evening. His record with the Tigers is 1-2-0-0 with a .854 save percentage and 4.02 GAA.
Adam Musil -

In the head to head contests Red Deer is 2-0-0-0 and Medicine Hat is 0-1-1-0. Adam Musil and Evan Polei lead the charges in Red Deer with 2 goals and an assist each. 5 players have 2 points each. On the Tigers side of the ice, Steven Owre has 1 goal and 3 assists and leading scorer Chad Butcher has 1 goal and 2 assists. 2 others have 2 points each. Don't forget Cole Sanford who was injured during the 2 games against the Rebels. He has 5 points in 6 games since his return.

Steven Owre -

Red Deer will be without Kayle Doetzel, Brayden Purtill and Josh Mahura. Medicine Hat has only 2 players on the injured list, Forward Zach Fischer (week-to-week) and Goalie Austin Lotz (indefinite). Alex Mowbray will be back in the line-up after serving his suspension.

Tonight's game is underway from Medicine Hat at 7:30 PM. The game is on 106.7 the Drive in Red Deer. Medicine Hat will have the game on 94.5 CHAT FM.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

People's Power Rankings #4

Welcome to the 4th Edition of the People's Power Rankings.

Eastern Conference

1. Red Deer Rebels - 96pts. (3-1-0) EVEN
The Rebels continue to play well, finished East Road Trip with wins against Prince Albert, Brandon and Moose Jaw. Home record is 9-1-0-0.
2. Prince Albert Raiders - 85pts. (3-0-1) UP 2
Remain at the top of the conference in points despite having a 3 game losing streak. Recently turned it around with a better last 3 games.
3. Brandon Wheat Kings - 84pts. (3-2-0) DOWN 1
Wheat Kings are better of late, had a 3 game losing streak earlier in the month for the first time this season.
4. Calgary Hitmen - 70pts. (5-0-0) UP 2
After making a pile of moves this team is finally turning the corner. 5 game win streak has them right back in the thick of the Central Division leaders. Back to form?
5. Lethbridge Hurricanes - 66pts. (2-4-0) DOWN 2
'Canes are struggling in their last 10 games. Need to find the goaltending and the offensive magic of the first 10 games.
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - 54pts. (1-3-1) DOWN 1
Definitely falling back to earth after their hot start. Point being injured is worrisome as the team is already fairly thin on offense beyond the first line.
7. Regina Pats - 51pts. (3-1-1) UP 3
Had won 3 straight before a season long 9 game road trip. Visit the Eastern Conference #1 ranked team twice this week.
8. Saskatoon Blades - 38pts.(1-3-0) DOWN 1
3 games in 3 night on the road lead to 3 losses, road game is suffering.
9. Edmonton Oil Kings - 33pts.  (1-5-0) DOWN 1
Lost 5 of 6 on BC Division Road Trip. Only win came against the lowly Vancouver Giants.
10. Medicine Hat Tigers - 22pts. (2-4-0)  UP 1
The loss of Lotz is still showing, no changes made in net since he went down. The team is just not playing up to its usual standards in their new rink.
11. Swift Current Broncos - 19pts. (0-6-0) DOWN 2
Have lost 6 straight, including all 5 games on the US Division Road Trip. Injury to Martin proves very costly.
12. Kootenay Ice - 10pts. (2-3-0) EVEN
Playing better of late, remain in the basement despite better play. Injuries to 7 line up regulars.

Western Conference

1. Kelowna Rockets - 69pts. (4-0-1) UP 1
Tyson Baillie’s seven point week was good enough for player of the week honors. Rockets have not lost in regulation since October 30th.
2. Seattle Thunderbirds - 64pts. (5-0) UP 1
The Thunderbirds are taking a six-game winning streak into a showdown with Kelowna this Wednesday night. Could this be a Western Conference final preview?
3. Victoria Royals - 56pts. (2-2-1) DOWN 2
Two straight losses to Seattle at home had to sting. Both Alex Forsberg (24) and Joe Hicketts (25) are in the top five in the league in assists.
4. Spokane Chiefs - 42pts. (4-1) UP 1
Adam Helewka’s return to the lineup has definitely helped the Chiefs. He has nine points over the last four games for Spokane.
5. Everett Silvertips - 39pts. (1-2-0-1) DOWN 1
The Silvertips have lost three games in a row by a one-goal margin.  They already have an astounding nine games that have been decided by one goal. Riley Sutter scoring his first WHL goal in front of his family in Medicine Hat was a feel good story.
6. Kamloops Blazers - 36pts. (2-0-3) UP 2
Three-on-three hockey is apparently not their cup of tea. Only blemishes on their record over their last 10 games have come in extra time.
7T. Portland Winterhawks - 29pts. (4-1) EVEN
Missed a huge opportunity in Kent on Saturday, falling to the first place T-birds. Lost key cog Alex Schoenborn to an upper body injury which hurts.
7T. Prince George Cougars - 29pts. (4-1) DOWN 1
Only loss over last two weeks was by a whopping eight goals to Kamloops. New acquisition Nick McBride has been stellar since being acquired (except the Kamloops game of course).
9. Tri-City Americans - 14pts. (3-3) EVEN
They gave up eight goals over their last two first periods combined. They need better goaltending from Evan Sarthou, whose season GAA is 3.66 and save percentage is 0.881.
10. Vancouver Giants - 7pts.(1-4-1) EVEN
It’s not even December and they are already eight points out of the last playoff spot. They have only won two of their last 17 games overall and it appears that G.M. Scott Bonner is running out of moves.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tuesday Night Spectacular! Game Day Blog #24

Regina visits Red Deer tonight and then again on Saturday!

Enmax Centrium - Red Deer, AB -

Regina Pats (10-9-2-0) 22 points AT Red Deer Rebels (16-7-0-0) 32 points.

The Rebels look to avenge an 8-5 loss to the Pats on November 13th in Regina. They lead the season series 1-0 and will play each other tonight, Saturday here in Red Deer and then not again until February 29th in Regina.

Red Deer has been the hottest team in the Eastern Conference (along with the Calgary Hitmen) over their last 10 games. The Rebels are 7-3-0-0 in that time while scoring 40 goals to the opposition's 28.
The Rebels also remain hot at home with the second best win percentage (.900) on home ice. They are 9-1-0-0.

Ivan Nikolishin remains Red Deer's top point producer at 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points. He is also a very responsible +8. Last Saturday he had a Hat Trick against the Saskatoon Blades and remains in the Top 10 in WHL scoring. 

Colton Bobyk and Haydn Fleury each have 15 points on the season and look to continue contributing from the blueline. The Rebels' Power Play is in 5th overall at 23.7% on the season, scoring 9 goals in 36 opportunities over their last 10 (25%). The Penalty Kill is currently 15th at 78.9% The Penalty Kill has allowed 7 goals in the past 10 games on 42 opportunities. (83.3%).

The Pats enter the game in 4th place in the East Division, with a 1 point lead on the Saskatoon Blades for the 1st wild card playoff spot. They are only 4 points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. Regina has gone 4-4-2-0 in their last 10 games and that includes the win over Red Deer on Nov 13th.

Tonight is the 3rd game of a 9 game road trip for the Pats, they are 4-5-1-0 on the road this season and 0-1-1-0 so far on the trip. 

Adam Brooks -
Adam Brooks leads the Pats in scoring this season, he has posted 26 points (10G, 16A) in 21 games. Chase Harrison is the leading Defenseman on the team with 3 goals and 9 assists from the back end. Lane Zablocki has the rookie scoring lead for the Pats, he has contributed 5 goals and 5 assists. 

Regina has abysmal special teams this season. Their Power Play is ranked 21st in the WHL at 13.7% they have just 13 Power play goals on 95 opportunities. They did score 3 goals against Red Deer on 8 chances back on Nov 13. The Penalty Kill is ranked last in the league at 71.6%, allowing 27 goals against on the Penalty Kill. They have been shorthanded 95 times. 

Tonight's game will be contested at the Enmax Centrium. Tune in on 106.7 the drive at 6:30 to hear Cam Moon Mike Moller and Troy Gillard with the pre-game show. Phil Andrews will have the game on 620 CKRM in Regina, his pregame show goes at 7:35PM Central Time.  

Friday, 20 November 2015

Back to the Centrium: Game Day Blog # 23

The Rebels return home after the long East Division road trip to take on the Saskatoon Blades.

Saskatoon Blades (9-7-3-0) 21 Pts. AT Red Deer Rebels (15-7-0-0) 30 Pts.

The Rebels return home to the Enmax Centrium, following a 17 day hiatus for the annual Agri-Trade. The team went 3-2 on the East Division trip, scoring wins in Prince Albert (4-0), Brandon (4-0) and Moose Jaw (4-1). Between those games were 2 losses to Saskatoon (4-2) and Regina (8-5). The Rebels are now 7-6-0-0 on the road through 13 games.

Red Deer is currently 1st in the Central Division, 4 points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Saskatoon is tied for 4th place in the East Divison with the Regina Pats. 2 points up on the Edmonton Oil Kings for the last Wild Card Playoff spot. Tonight's game will be just the second game in the last 13 days for the Blades.

Trevor Martin - @TrevorMartin30
At home the team is another story altogether. They are 8-1-0-0, outscoring the opposition 40-21. The Rebels are enjoying the home crowd which has increased to an average of 5353 on the season. This is about 686 more fans per game than after the same amount of home games last season.

Tonight's game will be the 3rd tilt between the 2 clubs this season. Red Deer is 1-1-0-0 and has an identical record as Saskatoon. Each team won their home game. Red Deer has outscored Saskatoon 9-5 in the 2 prior games.

Red Deer Rebels
Rylan Toth Reg. Season: 11-5-0-0 2.70 GAA .908 sv%    VS. Saskatoon: 0-0 11.08 GAA .667 sv%
Trevor Martin Reg. Season: 4-2-0-0 2.93 GAA .898 sv% VS. Saskatoon: 1-1 2.16 GAA .886 sv%
Saskatoon Blades
Brock Hamm Reg. Season: 6-2-2-0 3.37 GAA .894 sv% VS. Red Deer: 1-0 2.00 GAA .943 sv%
Nicm Amundrud Reg. Season: 3-4-1-0 4.23 GAA .873 sv% Vs. RD: 0-1 7.00 GAA .781 sv%

Hamm / Amundrud -
Hamm has started the last 2 games for the Blades, one of which was a win over the Rebels. 

For the Rebels, Wyatt Johnson leads the team in scoring against the Blades with 3 goals and 2 assists in the 2 games. Colton Bobyk leads Rebels defensemen with 2 goals and is a +4 against the Blades.

Ryan Graham and Cameron Hebig both have a goal and an assist against the Rebels, while Defenseman Brycen Martin added 2 assists in the 2 games.

This will be former Rebel Connor Gay's second trip back to the Centrium. The last time these teams met here, Connor was involved in an altercation with Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury. Both players ended up with 2 game suspensions for their part in the fracas.

Keep an eye on Libor Hajek, he is currently riding a 5 game point streak. He has 5 assists during his hot streak. Also hot is Brycen Martin who has 1 goal and 7 assists in his last 4 games.

Tonight's game is at 7PM, it can be seen live at the Centrium or on WHL Live or it can be heard here in Red Deer on 106.7 the drive. You can also find it online at 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Queen City: Game Day Blog #21

Looking to continue a decent road trip the Rebels travel down Highway 1 from Brandon to Regina.

Red Deer Rebels (14-6-0-0) 28 pts. AT Regina Pats (7-8-1-0) 15 pts.

The Rebels will look to remain in the Central division drivers seat as they take on the Pats in Regina. Red Deer is currently 2-1 on this East Division swing, the final two games being this weekend against the Pats and the Warriors. Red Deer has a 6-5-0-0 record on the road this season, bolstered by wins in Brandon and Prince Albert over the last week. Red Deer is two points clear of the Prince Albert Raiders in the East Conference (PA has a game in hand). The Rebels were the top ranked team in the BMO CHL from the WHL at #5, followed closely by Victoria Royals at #6.

The Regina Pats enter the contest in 6th in the East division, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. They have lost 2 straight, coming off a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Victoria Royals last Saturday. Regina sports a 4-4-0-0 record at home this season. The Pats are 3 points out of a wild card spot with a couple of games in hand on the teams in front.

Preston Kopeck - Ottawa Citizen
A guy who we haven't heard too much from lately is Preston Kopeck. The 20 year old forward, brought in from the Portland Winterhawks on Dec 10, 2013 in the Matt Dumba trade. Preston is currently riding a 3 game point streak (0g, 3a) and has quietly put up 11 points (2g, 9a) on the season. Kopeck has been wearing an 'A' on his sweater and is looked at as a leader on this Memorial Cup hosting team. He has 6 penalty minutes this season and is even in the plus minus department. Look for Preston to continue his hard hitting and dishing the puck to linemates every chance he gets.

Rookie Brandon Hagel has been impressive this season. Despite a 4 game pointless streak, snapped on Wednesday in Brandon against the tough Wheat Kings, Brandon has put up 11 points on 3 goals and 8 assists. This is good for a tie for 7th in team scoring. Brandon has improved in every game he has played, and has only taken 1 penalty this year. He is a very responsible +5 on the year.

I had a chance to ask Phil Andrews of 620 CKRM in Regina for a little on the Pats as well as about a familiar name with fans of the Rebels.

"The Pats are the third youngest team in the WHL and are still trying to find consistency through 16 games of the season. It's been a stretch of win one then lose one for the club so far and they sit a game under .500. Goal scoring has been hard to come by at times and that's a main focus heading into the weekend." says Phil Andrews.

A name that is a reminder of one of Brent Sutter's only "bad" trades is that of Jake Leschyshyn. He was sent to the Pats with a conditional 4th round pick in exchange for Connor Gay (now with the Blades) as well as a 2nd round pick in 2015 (Eli Zummack) a 1st round pick in 2016 and a 7th round pick in 2017.  Below is what Phil Andrews had to say about Jake.
Jake Leschyshyn -

"As for Jake Leschyshyn, he has a quality you wish every player had. An incredible work ethic. That combined with his skating ability and skill will ensure he grows into an impact player in the WHL. Fresh off representing Team Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Jake is hoping to transfer his play and scoring touch at that tournament back herein Regina."

There you have it folks, tonight's tilt will likely see Tyler Brown make the start for the Pats. He is 2-5-0-0 this season and has a 3.64 GAA to go with a .902 save percentage. It is unsure who will start tonight for the Rebels but if I was a betting man I would say that Rylan Toth, he of the 141:17 shut out streak will make his 16th appearance between the pipes for Red Deer.

Tonight's game will be brought to you live on 106.7fm the Drive in Red Deer as well as on 620 CKRM in Regina. Puck drop is 6pm (MTN) in Red Deer and 7 pm (CST) in Regina. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Tough Test: Game Day Blog #20

The expected Number 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference battle it out on Remembrance Day.

Red Deer Rebels (13-6-0-0) 16 Pts. AT Brandon Wheat Kings (11-5-0-2) 24 Pts.

Red Deer is off to a 1-1 start on their East Division road swing during the annual Agri-Trade in the Centrium. The team lost 4-2 in Saskatoon on Saturday night after a huge 4-0 win in Prince Albert the night before. Red Deer is tied with the Prince Albert Raiders with 26 points, good for 1st in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Not far behind (2 points) sit the Brandon Wheat Kings. They are expected to be the Kings of the East this year despite the fact Red Deer will be Memorial Cup hosts.

Red Deer had Haydn Fleury, Conner Bleackley and Ivan Nikolishin playing in the WHL vs. Russia Super Series over the last two nights.

Brandon had Kale Clague, Jayce Hawlryluk, injured John Quenneville and Nolan Patrick on the roster for Canada, while Ivan Provorov suited up for Russia.

I spoke with Gregg Drinnan briefly last night and it was determined that all the player would be flying from Kamloops to Calgary and then on to Brandon in time for tonight's game. For the guys from Red Deer that would represent 5 games in 6 nights.

Last year the Rebels were just 1-3-0-0 against the Wheat Kings. They are also just 3-6-1-0 over the last 10 games when facing off against Brandon.

Red Deer ranks 4th in the WHL in goals for per game at 3.68. The Wheat Kings are right behind in 5th at 3.67. The offenses for both teams are powerful and Brandon has 4 players registering a point per game plus. Red Deer has 3.

On the other side of the ice, the teams are very different. Brandon allows the 3rd fewest goals per game at 2.67 while Red Deer allows 2.84 good for 6th least. Rookie goaltender Logan Thompson has played lights out for the Wheaties, going 5-1-0-0 in 7 games this season with a .918 sv% and only a 2.07 Goals Against Average. Likely starter Jordan Papirny is 6-4-0-2 with a .889 sv% and 2.73 Goals Against Average in 12 games.

Rylan Toth -
I would suspect that Rylan Toth will be back between the pipes for the Rebels tonight. In his last game he shut out the conference leaders 4-0. He is now 9-4-0-0 on the season with a 2.84 Goals Against Average and .903 sv%

Today's game is an early one, 106.7 the drive will have the pregame show at 2:50PM from Brandon Manitoba. Puck drop is at 3PM.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

3rd WHL People's Power Rankings

Courtesy - @hawkeyblog
Eastern Conference Power Rankings

1. Red Deer Rebels (3-2) 105 pts. Have won 8 of last 10, hottest team in the East. Beat Previous number 1 (PA) 4-0 on the road. Still looking to upgrade goaltending? UP 2
2. Brandon Wheat Kings (3-3) 97 pts. Home losses to VIC, EDM and CGY raise an eyebrow. Went 3-2 on recent US road trip. DOWN 1
3. Lethbridge Hurricanes (4-3) 90 pts. Hanging up with the conference heavyweights despite playing fewer games. Ended longest road trip of the year at .500. UP 1
4. Prince Albert Raiders (2-3-1) 75 pts. Poor showing this weekend with 2 home losses, outscored 10-4. They are still 6-3-1-0 in their last 10, tops in the East Division. DOWN 3
5. Moose Jaw Warriors (3-2-1) 73 pts. A bit up and down of late, still in the better half within the conference. Riding points leader Brayden Point (16g, 23a). EVEN
6. Calgary Hitmen (2-4) 54 pts. Losers of 3 straight, and some trades made in the last few weeks has this team in a bit of disarray. Virtanen staying in NHL hurts. EVEN
7. Saskatoon Blades (2-4) 48 pts. Playing .500 hockey but have cooled WAY off since a very hot pre-season. Did beat Red Deer at home. EVEN
8T. Edmonton Oil Kings (4-2-1) 43 pts. Winners of 4 of their last 5 games, includes 2 vs. Hitmen. Slow start to the year and penalties hurting them here. UP 3
8T. Swift Current Broncos (3-2) 43 pts. Missing DeBrusk but still able to post wins in 3 of last 4 games. Beat Brandon over the last weekend. EVEN
10. Regina Pats (1-3) 28 pts. Traded their starting goaltender, have yet to replace him. DOWN 1
11. Medicine Hat Tigers (1-1-2) 23 pts. A lot of turnover and injuries means their continued struggles surprise no one. Suffered back to back Overtime losses vs Red Deer and Kootenay. DOWN 1
12. Kootenay Ice (2-2-1) 10 pts. A couple of recent wins keep them to within shouting distance of the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Western Conference Power Rankings
1. Victoria Royals (6-0-1) 66 pts. Going into the WHL's East Division and winning all 6 games is not easy. Is it time to take the surprising Royals seriously as a title contender? UP 2
2. Kelowna Rockets (4-1) 65 pts. Nick Merkley appears to have rounded into form with 6 points in two games versus Portland. DOWN 1
3. Seattle ThunderBirds (3-4) 56 pts. Defense and goaltending appear to be weaknesses in an othereise great team. Blowing 2 straight 3rd period 3-1 leads is not a great sign. DOWN 1
4. Everett Silvertips (3-2) 48 pts. Five straight 1 goal games. It's clear the defense and goaltending will always keep them in a gave, but their lack of offense will always keep you in it too. UP 1
5. Spokane Chiefs (4-2) 38 pts. Kailer Yamamoto had 9 points over 4 games and appears primed for a break out season. UP 2
6. Prince George Cougars (2-3) 35 pts. Cougars need more from Jansen Harkins, who somehow only has 1 goal this season. The Winnipeg Jets' 2nd rounder has the talent but where are the points? EVEN
7. Portland Winterhawks (2-3) 31 pts. Lower in the rankings than deserved? The team's strengths of defense, goaltending and penalty killing were put to the test last weekend vs. Kelowna. EVEN
8. Kamloops Blazers (5-0) 24 pts. Deven Sideroff and Collin Shirley capped off a great week by being named to the WHL select team that takes on Russia. UP 2
9. Tri-City Americans (2-3) 15 pts. Injury bug is going again in Kennewick this season. They are down to 5 healthy defensemen including Brandon Carlo, who was hurt during a fight vs Portland DOWN 1
10. Vancouver Giants (0-5) 8 pts. Trades galore as GM Scott Bonner tries to fix what's wrong with his team. More players have left the team and trades have been made to no avail. DOWN 1

Friday, 6 November 2015

Agri-Trade Road Trip: Game Day 18

The Rebels look to begin a 5 games in 8 days trip through most of the WHL's East Division.

Red Deer Rebels (12-5-0-0) 24 points AT Prince Albert Raiders (12-3-1-1) 26 points

Red Deer is coming off a come from behind 4-3 victory at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds. It was Red Deer's first time coming back from a deficit after 40 minutes. They are now riding a 2 game win streak and are 7-3-0-0 over their last 10 games. The win put Red Deer into a tie with Brandon for 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference.

Prince Albert also had a come from behind victory, they were down 2-1 in their last game, against Calgary and stormed back with 2 goals in the final 1:11 of the third period to win 3-2. This brought the team back to the winning side of the ledger following a loss and an overtime loss. Prince Albert is 8-1-1-0 in their last 10 and are a surprising 1st overall in the WHL.

The Rebels will look to get off to a quick start on the Prince Albert netminders. The team is 10-0-0-0 when having a lead after the 1st period. Hopefully Red Deer can continue to score first from guys like Grayson Pawlenchuk, who has 2 first goals of the game on the season, the team has 7. The first period is something they will look to improve upon as they have scored 18 goals but also allowed 18 goals.

Red Deer will look to get even more out of their imports this coming weekend as Ivan Nikolishin scored the eventual game winner in Tuesday's come from behind win. He leads the team in scoring, with 11 goals and 15 assists (26pts.) this is good for 6th in WHL scoring 6 behind leader, Brayden Point. Michael Spacek was held scoreless for the 3rd time this season but still has 22 points on the year (8 goals, 14 assists).

Kayle Doetzel  -
Not often talked about or "seen" on the ice is Kayle Doetzel ('95, undrafted). He is among the league leaders as an overager with a +10 plus/minus rating. He has 4 assists on the season, and he has this epic fight from Tuesday night against Jared Hauf. Kayle likes to throw the body around and make it generally difficult for the opposition to get the puck in the tough areas. He always works hard for his team mates and has few mistakes in his own end.

Prince Albert has taken over as the surprise team of the season, taking the crown so to speak from Lethbridge. No one saw this coming. They have had some excellent goaltending from Ian Scott and Rylan Parenteau (2015 Draft Eligible). I would suspect Parenteau to get the start over third string, Curtis Meager. Meager lost all 3 games he started in the preseason and does not have any WHL experience. Parenteau is 7-2-1-1 in 12 games this season. He sports a .910 save percentage and has a 2.98 goals against average.

Reid Gardiner - PA Herald
A large part of the Raiders success this season comes from 4th year Raider Reid Gardiner( '96, undrafted). He has scored 12 goals and 16 assists in 17 games this year. This is good for 3rd overall in WHL scoring. He is a + 14 and just passed 150 points in his WHL career. He now has 156. Prince Albert has 5 scorers over 14 points on the year, where they really get you is in the 3rd period, where they outscore the opposition 26-15. They have a sparkling .920 save percentage in the 3rd period and have started the period with a lead in 9 of their 17 games.

The game starts at 6PM local time, Cam Moon will have the pregame show starting at 5:50. Listen in on 106.7 the drive. Some friends and I will be making the trip this morning to watch our guys live, hopefully we can make it on to the radio. Good luck to the boys while they are away from the cozy confines of the Enmax Centrium for Agri-Trade.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Statement regarding tweets

I felt the need to write a blog regarding some tweets I made in an exchange with a scout who will remain nameless on my blog. The tweets were regarding the play of Haydn Fleury. I will explain my reason for the tweets below.

First of all I would like to offer Haydn an apology for the content of the tweets, which I know he was privy to last night. While I will stand behind my statements, this is not the full story of how I regard Haydn as a player with the Red Deer Rebels or as a draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.

While I am not a scout, or a person who is actually in the media, I do watch an awful lot of hockey. I do believe that Haydn has APPEARED lazy in the defensive end, and has not been what I would expect of a Power Play quarterback. These are my opinions and while you or anyone else may not agree, these are my own thoughts. I will go on to say that Haydn is an excellent skater and can set the tone of a hockey game when he chooses, I just wish he would choose it more often. I don't claim to know how he is in the dressing room or his team mates but the team must feel he is worthy of the "A" on his sweater. I don't make those choices nor will I question the choice of the team.

Haydn has played well enough in his career to earn invitations and play for Canada's national team, be selected 7th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes, ahead of his team mate, Conner Bleackley in the same draft. Clearly he is a gifted athlete. I don't know how it feels to be sent back from an NHL Camp, which I am sure has put pressure on himself to achieve better.

Out of all of this I have learned that twitter may not be the best place to discuss players, I don't want anyone on the team to think anything differently of me because of things I have observed as a fan of the Rebels and of the game. Hopefully Haydn understands that while I don't personally always enjoy the way he plays the game, I know he is a good player and from what I can tell a really great person. Best of luck to you the rest of this season Haydn and the Rebels, as well as your future with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Paul Figler

Sunday, 1 November 2015

New Digs: Game Day #16

The Rebels travel to Medicine Hat to take on the Tigers at the "New" Canalta Centre

Red Deer Rebels (10-5-0-0) 20 points AT Medicine Hat Tigers (5-6-1-0) 11 points

Red Deer suffered a loss to the Spokane Chiefs at home on Friday night. Spokane got out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period, Rylan Toth was puled for the 3rd time in 6 games and Red Deer was able to shut the door for the rest of the game, unfortunately they could only sneak 1 goal past Tyler Verhelst and the team lost its first game on home ice this season 3-1. The Rebels remain in a tie for first place in the Central Division with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In the only other game between the two teams this season, the Rebels skated to a 3-1 home ice victory. Preston Kopeck scored the game winning goal against the team from his home town and Rylan Toth had a shut out going until 3:19 left in the 3rd period. Ty Stanton had the only goal for the Tigers. Red Deer went 1 for 2 on the power play while the penalty kill was successful on all 4 opportunities.  Last season Red Deer was 2-3-1-0 against the Tigers, and also 1-4-0-0 in the playoffs.

Red Deer is 3-4-0-0 on the road this season while Medicine Hat is 4-3-0-0 in the new arena.

David Quenneville -
Tonight could see the return of David Quenneville and Cole Sanford, both whom have been out with injuries. Quenneville was last in action on October 24th while Sanford has been out since October 17th. Sanford had 12 points (4G, 8A) in his 9 games before his injury. The Tigers will have Clayton Kirichenko, whom they acquired from the Vancouver Giants this week in their lineup as well.

Red Deer remains without Josh Mahura, it appears his injury is severe enough to keep him out of the line up for the duration of the regular season. Jeff de Wit and Evan Polei both made their returns to the Rebels line up on Friday following minor injuries that took them out of games last week.

This Medicine Hat team is not one to be overlooked. They have recently added Austin Lotz in goal to help shore up a team that is allowing 3.92 goals per game. Red Deer did have an opportunity to play against Lotz as a Tiger and got 3 pucks past him.

The Tigers high powered offense is lead by Steven Owre, he has 6 goals and 10 assists in 12 games to lead the team.  Rookie Max Gerlach has already put up 5 goals and 4 assists in his first 12 games of the season, which places him 8th among all rookies in the WHL this season. The Tigers score an average of 3.58 goals per game this year. They also shoot the puck a ton, 35.25 shots per game, good for 2nd in the WHL.
Brandon Hagel -

Red Deer will counter with their own high powered offense, both Michael Spacek and Ivan Nikolisihin are in the top 11 scorers. Nikolishin leads the way with 10 goals and 12 assists and Spacek, considered a rookie at 18 in the WHL as its his first season, has popped 7 goals in the net and added 14 assists. Another rookie playing well is Brandon Hagel who has 10 points (2G, 8A) after being picked up just as the season got underway.

Tonight's game has a 6PM start at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat, AB. Cam Moon will be live on 106.7 the drive at 5:50.