ICE on Fire as Second Half Begins
January 26, 2022 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release
With the season's second half underway, there has been no slowing down the WHL's Winnipeg ICE who have come away with the victory in three of four January outings, all coming on the road. Among the leaders for the club has been new recruit Jack Finley, the veteran centre and Tampa Bay Lightning draftee who since arriving in the Manitoba capital has picked up five goals and six assists through 10 appearances that includes a team-leading six points through four January contests.
Holding steady at second, the Edmonton Oil Kings have their sights set on their third league championship in the past 11 years. Offering up a reinforced lineup that now features talented centre Justin Sourdif, the Florida Panthers prospect plays with a shoot-first mentality and adds yet another option to the Oil Kings' already lethal offensive arsenal that has helped power the club to four wins in five games in January. Debuting with the Oil Kings last Tuesday, Sourdif picked up his first point with the club en route to a 4-1 win over Prince Albert.
Rising to No. 3, the Everett Silvertips have rediscovered their winning ways in the New Year, coming away with nine of a possible 12 points. Leaning on veteran experience up front, the Silvertips boast four skaters who have reached the 40-point plateau this season, a group that includes 2002-born right-wing and co-captain Jackson Berezowski who has registered at least one point in each of his past 10 outings, a stretch in which he has amassed nine goals and seven assists.
Undefeated in regulation in their past 10 appearances, the Portland Winterhawks have come away with the victory on nine occasions. Earning national attention for the first time since Week 2, the red hot Winterhawks have climbed to 49 points, good for third in the WHL's Western Conference. Among the top performers has been veteran right-wing Cross Hanas, a 2020 second-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings who has dazzled with 11 points in his last five contests including a season-best four-point night coming in his most recent outing.
Rounding out recognition from the WHL, the No. 10 ranked Kamloops Blazers have won four of six games since the calendar turned to 2022, including a 6-0 road victory over Spokane in which captain Logan Stankoven led the way with a three-point night. A dynamic presence down the middle, the diminutive pivot has collected a team-leading 11 points in his last five outings. Meanwhile, the Blazers continue to see impressive performances between the pipes where New York Rangers prospect Dylan Garand most recently earned WHL Goaltender of the Week recognition for the second time this season after coming away with a .947 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average in a pair of victories.
Leading the way in the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders hold steady at No. 4. Set to return to the ice versus Rimouski next Friday, the Islanders do so as the league's top-ranked team having earned 46 points in 31 games. And while the Islanders offer up a balanced lineup, among those drawing the most attention from the opposition is 2002-born left-wing Patrick Guay who through 31 contests has already reached new offensive heights this season to the tune of 25 goals and 22 assists for 47 points, putting him just three back of top spot in the QMJHL scoring race.
At No. 6, the Quebec Remparts are prepared for the season's second half, icing a lineup that includes a host of new additions, among them forwards Olivier Coulombe and Conor Frenette, both of whom bring invaluable experience after helping Victoriaville win it all last season. For Frenette, the overage right-wing joins the Remparts as part of a dominant season that has seen him already achieve career highs in all major offensive categories - underscored by 36 points in 30 games - that helps round out the Remparts' offensive options up front. Quebec returns against Gatineau next Friday.
Coming in ninth, the Sherbrooke Phoenix are set to return to the ice next Friday versus Drummondville. Bringing one of the most revered offensive talents in the circuit in budding left-wing Joshua Roy, the Montreal Canadiens up-and-comer owns deft play-making abilities that sees him with 17 goals and 30 assists to his name through 27 appearances this season, production outpaced by just one player league wide. Entering the season's second half, the Phoenix stand atop the QMJHL's Western Conference with a 19-7-2-1 showing, good for 41 points.
Headlining the OHL, the No. 5 ranked Kingston Frontenacs are back to their winning ways, currently riding a three-game win streak, with their most recent outing counting a 2-0 road win over Oshawa in which netminder and Ottawa Senators prospect Leevi Merilainen turned aside all 26 shots to record his second shutout of the season. Currently standing atop the OHL's East Division with a 20-9-3-0 showing, the Frontenacs are led by a dynamic offensive attack that beyond 2022 NHL Draft headliner Shane Wright includes overagers Lucas Edmonds and Jordan Frasca as well as Los Angeles Kings draftee Martin Chromiak who has collected a team-leading 11 points over his past seven appearances.
At No. 8, the Mississauga Steelheads prior to their most recent outing had picked up points in all six January contests accounting for four victories and two more games decided in the shootout. Owning an OHL-best record of 23-8-1-3 and 50 points, the Steelheads are dangerous throughout their lineup, headlined by a pair of dynamic forwards in Owen Beck and Luca Del Bel Belluz, both of whom per NHL Central Scouting can expect to hear their names called early on draft day.
In the honourable mention category, all three clubs come from the OHL. Winners of four of seven January contests entering Tuesday action, the Barrie Colts continue to see strong performances throughout their lineup, most notably from the blue line in Los Angeles Kings prospect Brandt Clarke who has collected eight points in his last seven games. For the London Knights, the squad brings two of the most dynamic talents in the league in budding right-wing and Nashville Predators draftee Luke Evangelista as well as netminder Brett Brochu who together have helped the club to a 4-2-0-0 showing on the month. Lastly, the Soo Greyhounds have shined in January, putting together a 5-2-0-1 record that included a big win on the national stage as part of the CHL on TSN that saw overage forward and OHL leading goal scorer Tye Kartye play the hero in netting a pair of tallies.
Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings - Week 13
1. Winnipeg ICE
2. Edmonton Oil Kings
3. Everett Silvertips
4. Charlottetown Islanders
5. Kingston Frontenacs
6. Quebec Remparts
7. Portland Winterhawks
8. Mississauga Steelheads
9. Sherbrooke Phoenix
10. Kamloops Blazers
HM. Barrie Colts
HM. London Knights
HM. Soo Greyhounds
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Western Hockey League Stories from January 26, 2022
- WHL Announces Postponement of WHL Regular Season Game Between Brandon and Saskatoon - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Four Winterhawks Alumni Named to Olympic Teams - Portland Winterhawks
- WHL Announces Postponement of WHL Regular Season Game Between Brandon and Saskatoon - Saskatoon Blades
- WHL Announces Postponement of WHL Regular Season Game Between Brandon and Saskatoon - WHL
- ICE on Fire as Second Half Begins - WHL
- Eight Is Enough for T-Birds - Seattle Thunderbirds
- Broncos Drop Heavy, Physical Game to Red Deer - Swift Current Broncos
- Rockets Down Royals 4-3 in a Shootout - Victoria Royals
- Comeback Spurs Rockets to Shootout Win - Kelowna Rockets
- Spokane Ends Road Trip with Tough 8-2 Loss in Seattle - Spokane Chiefs
- Rebels' Work Ethic, Goaltending Keys in Road Win over Broncos - Red Deer Rebels
- Warriors Win Fourth Straight; Topple Oil Kings 8-1 - Moose Jaw Warriors
- Oil Kings Thumped by Warriors - Edmonton Oil Kings
- Pats Blank Raiders 4-0 - Regina Pats
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