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.

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