November 14, 2009 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Saskatoon Blades
The Saskatoon Blades, having earned points in the last ten games, host the Prince George Cougars tonight at Credit Union Centre. Game time is 7:05 pm.
This is the lone meeting of the season between the Blades and Cougars. Last season the teams battled in the northern BC city with the Blades coming away with a 7-3 victory. Gaelan Patterson (Saskatoon, SK), Darian Dziurzynski (Lloydminster, AB), and Sam Klassen (Watrous, SK) each had three point nights to lead the team to the victory.
The Blades (17-3-0-3, 37 points, 1st in East Division, 1st in Eastern Conference) return to Saskatoon tonight following a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on the road last evening. Stefan Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) had a goal and two assists, Jyri Niemi (Hameenkyro, Finland) had a goal and an assist, while Walker Wintoneak (Flin Flon, MB) and Derek Hulak (Saskatoon, SK) each had a goal in the victory. Steven Stanford (Calgary, AB) had a busy evening making 44 saves on 47 shots for the victory between the pipes.
Hulak, the Blades' scoring leader, is tied for 7th in the WHL with 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points. Wintoneak is second on the Blades with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. Patterson, with 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points, is third on the team. Elliott, tops amongst Blades' defensemen, sits in a four-way tie for second in WHL defensemen scoring 9 goals and 13 assists for 22 points.
Wintoneak is first in goals on the Blades with 13 so far this season.
The Boys in Blue continue to feature two players atop the WHL penalty minutes category in Randy McNaught (Nanaimo, BC) and Dziurzynski, who have 79 and 69 penalty minutes apiece.
Elliott (+20), Klassen (+19), Wintoneak (+19), Hulak (+19), and Patterson (+18) currently occupy the 2nd through 6th placements in the WHL plus/minus category.
Between the pipes, Adam Morrison is 9-3-0-3 with a 2.42 goals against average (5th in the WHL), and a.918 save percentage (T-4th in the WHL) in 15 appearances this season. Stanford is 8-2-0-0 with a 2.20 goals against average (2nd in the WHL) and a.918 save percentage (T-4th in the WHL) in 10 appearances this season.
The Blades' power play is working at a 12.7% efficiency rate this season for a ranking of 21st in the WHL. Overall the penalty killing group has killed off 87.5% of chances, good enough for 2nd in the WHL.
Prince George Cougars
The Cougars (3-16-1-1, 5th in BC Division, 10th in Western Conference) will be wrapping up a 7-game road trip with tonight's game. The team has gone 0-4-1-1 while on the trip which has taken them through the entire East Division. Last night, the Cougars dropped a 9-2 decision to the Prince Albert Raiders.
Slovak import Marek Viedensky leads the team in scoring with 2 goals and 13 assists for 15 points. Rookie defenseman Jesse Forsberg, a product of Waldheim, Saskatchewan, is second on the team with a goal and 12 assists for 13 points on the season.
Veteran forward James Dobrowolski leads the team in goals scored with 6 on the season.
Captain Art Bidlevskii, a third-year Cougar, is tops on the team with 49 penalty minutes.
Viedensky has a +3 rating this season to lead the team in that category.
In goal, Hudson Stremmel, a recent addition to the team from the NCAA Colorado College Tigers, sports a 0-5-1-0 record in 6 appearances with a 4.31 goals against average and a.899 save percentage. Alex Wright is 1-1-0-1 with a 5.47 goals against average and a.852 save percentage in 5 appearances this season.
The Cougars' power play is ranked 19th in the WHL, having converted on 14.3% of opportunities with the man power advantage. The penalty kill unit is ranked 22nd in the WHL, working at a 65.5% clip this season.
During the second intermission of tonight's game, two lucky fans will have the opportunity to compete in the second edition of the Home Depot "Race Around the World Contest". Lucky contestants will be vying to move on to the next round in hopes of winning tickets to the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships. In-stand giveaways tonight include "Dance for Your Dinner", "The Cadbury Sweetest Section", and "Fan of the Game".
Tickets for tonight's Blades-Cougars matchup can be purchased online at ticketmaster.ca, by calling 938-7800, or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet.