There’s a whole lotta hockey going on this weekend at various levels of play, and a great deal of it has relevance for Calgary Flames fans. For the benefit of those who would like to watch, listen or otherwise follow these games, here’s a quick glimpse at what’s on tap this weekend.
ABBOTSFORD VS. CHICAGO
The undefeated Abbotsford Heat (2-0-0-0) tangle with their bitter rivals the Chicago Wolves (2-0-0-0), the AHL affiliate of the hated Vancouver Canucks, twice this weekend (Friday and Saturday at 7pm PT, 8pm MT). The Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre may be standing room only, as games with the Baby Canucks are usually a hot ticket, a rarity for the building. And Saturday night’s game is actually being broadcast on Sportsnet One, with Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer calling the action (while both games can be watched online via AHL Live or heard via TeamRadio.ca).
The Wolves are led by Nathan Longpre (2 goals) and goalie Eddie Lack (1.44 GAA, 1 shutout), while the Heat are bolstered by Sven Baertschi and Dustin Sylvester (4 points each) and goalie Danny Taylor (2.00 GAA). The Heat won the season series by a 4-3-0-1 margin last season and will face the Wolves eight times this season.
Boston College (home of Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau) lost their first game since January 21 last weekend against Northeastern University. But the Eagles will be on their revenge tour this weekend when they return to action. First, they face the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Minutemen on Friday at 5pm MT. Then they get their rematch with Northeastern on Saturday at 5pm MT. A free live stream for Saturday’s game is available via Northeastern’s website.
Providence College (home of Jon Gillies and Mark "Big" Jankowski) plays a pair of games with the non-conference Miami University RedHawks on Friday at 5:35pm and Saturday at 5:05pm. Miami’s arguably a step down from the Boston University squad that beat Providence College on Saturday, but they did make an appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament, so they’re actually a pretty solid team overall.
Fresh off being named to Team QMJHL for the Subway Super Series, defender Ryan Culkin and the Quebec Remparts head onto the road this weekend. They play the Victoriaville Tigres on Friday night (5pm MT) and visit the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Sunday afternoon (2pm MT). As of this writing, the Remparts have only lost once this season.
Patrick Sieloff and the Windsor Spitfires actually finish off three back-to-back(-to-back) games this weekend. After playing Thursday night at home against Erie (5:05pm MT), they visit Brampton on Saturday (5:30pm MT) and Erie on Sunday (5pm MT). At least none of these are afternoon games.
Meanwhile, in the Dub, there are many games involving Flames kids:
– Laurent Brossoit’s Edmonton Oil Kings play Moose Jaw on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday (both at 7pm MT).
-Tyler Wotherspoon’s Portland Winterhawks play Seattle on Saturday (8pm MT).
– Turner Elson’s Red Deer Rebels play Kootenay on Friday (7:30pm MT) and on Sunday (6pm MT) in a home-and-home encounter.
– Coda Gordon’s Swift Current Broncos have a three games in three days schedule: Friday against Saskatoon, Saturday against Tri-City and Sunday against Prince Albert (all at 7pm). Upside: none of them are afternoon games, and they never have to leave the province.
– Finally, Brett Kulak’s Vancouver Giants have a light schedule, only hosting the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday night (at 8pm MT). The Giants/Hitmen game can be heard on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
HIFK Helsinki plays twice, against Lukko on Friday and Pelicans on Saturday. Joni Ortio continues his excellent play and may start both games. Pelicans will be an interesting test for HIFK, as they were the league finalists last season.
Avangard Omsk plays on Saturday against HC Severstal. Severstal boasts the likes of Niclas Bergfors and team captain Vevgeni Ketov on their roster (along with a 6 regulation win, 5 regulation loss and 4 extra-time loss record), while Avangard Omsk has Karri Ramo, captain Alexander Frolov and lockout refugees Sergei Kostitsyn and Nikita Nikitin. Ramo recently won his 10th game of the year, and his club now has 6 regulation wins, 5 extra-time wins, 6 regulation losses and 1 extra-time losses. KHL records are weird.
VIK Vasteras HK plays on Saturday against Karlskrona HK. I have heard of none of the players on Karlskrona, so I would imagine Vasteras is better given they have two NHL players on their team.