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|
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 - ReginaPats.com|
"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.