Western Hockey League action returns to Sportsnet in Canada and NHL Network in the United States, with a 7:30 p.m. MST/9:30 p.m. EST match-up as the Red Deer Rebels host the Victoria Royals.
• Red Deer Rebels: 19-12-2-1, 41 pts/34 gp — 94 GF, 94 GA, 8-1-1-0 in the last 10 games
• Victoria Royals: 17-13-0-1, 35 pts/31 gp — 94 GF, 101 GA, 6-3-0-1 in the last 10 games
Red Deer looks to break a two-game losing streak after dropping a 5-4 decision to Brandon before losing a 2-1 game to Calgary on Wednesday. Prior to the loss against the Wheat Kings, the Rebels had won their previous nine games of the season, from November 17 until December 7.
Victoria looks to continue its two-game winning streak, with the most recent victory coming on Tuesday in a 6-2 win over Seattle. Jamie Crooks, Logan Fisher and Austin Carroll had a goal each, and Alex Gogolev scored twice in the win. Patrik Polivka stopped 29 of 31 shots faced in the victory.
Left wingers Tyson Ness and Turner Elson lead the Rebels with 22 points each, while Ness also leads the team in goals (10) and is on a five-game point streak, scoring three goals and four assists in a stretch dating back to December 1.
Also for the Rebels, left winger Joel Hamilton’s 18 assists are the most on the team, while four Red Deer players have two shorthanded goals each this year.
Leading the way for Victoria is left winger Alex Gogolev, who has 36 points in 31 games. Gogolev is tied with center Logan Nelson for the team lead in assists (23), while left winger Jamie Crooks leads the Royals with 15 goals.
Tonight’s game is the first of a pair of match-ups between the teams this season, with another game coming on February 15 in Red Deer. The Rebels and Royals split the season series last year, with both games being played in Victoria.
John Persson and Alex Petrovic led the Rebels in points against the Royals last season, but have both since moved on to the American Hockey League. Center Brandon Magee had three goals for the Royals in the season series last year, while Steven Hodges had two goals; both remain with Victoria this season.
Red Deer had a combined 77 shots in both games, winning the first by a score of 7-4 before dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to Victoria the following evening.
Tonight’s game is one of nine on the Western Hockey League schedule for the evening. In addition to Sportsnet and NHL Network, the game will be available on WHL Live. It can also be heard online here or here. Ticket information is available through Ticketmaster.