The lockout may or may not be ending soon. (Spoiler: probably not.) Nevertheless, there’s some big games this weekend for Flames prospects.
After a couple games this week, the Heat are on a three-game (0-2-1) losing streak. They head to Toronto on Sunday to play the Marlies. Abbotsford will most likely be without Sven Baertschi and five other forwards who are currently out with injuries. They have struggled to score of late, but a large amount of that was because San Antonio goalie Jacob Markstrom is really good. Despite hitting the skids recently, the Heat are still comfortably in first place.
The ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies head north to play a pair of games Friday and Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska against the Aces. Alaska is among the league’s best teams, while the Grizzlies are fairly mediocre so far this season.
It’s a clash of the titans on Friday night, as the Boston College Eagles travel to Providence to visit the Friars in the only game of the weekend for either team. The Eagles are among the best teams in the United States and boast the offensive mastery of Johnny Gaudreau and the three-zone compete of Bill Arnold. The Friars have the superb netminding of Jon Gillies and the energetic play of Mark Jankowski (who may miss the game due to a sore hip).
The game can be watched via paid stream at the Friars website.
Elsewhere, John Ramage captains Wisconsin against Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday, and two Flames prospects collide as Matthew Deblouw’s Michigan State Spartans tangle with Nick Larson’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday and Saturday.
Before he comes to Calgary for World Junior selection camp next week, Tyler Wotherspoon bids farewell to his Winterhawks teammates with three games in less than 48 hours. Portland hosts Tri-City on Friday, visits Seattle on Saturday and then visits Tri-City on Sunday.
The Vancouver Giants and Brett Kulak have a similarly insane schedule. They host Coda Gordon’s Swift Current Broncos on Friday, then visit Everett on Saturday before returning home to play the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday. Whew. Gordon and the Broncos conclude their weekend on Saturday in Victoria.
The red-hot Red Deer Rebels and captain Turner Elson try to keep their streak alive during a road trip to Moose Jaw on Friday and Brandon on Saturday. Laurent Brossoit hopes to rebound from a sub-par effort earlier this week when the Oil Kings play the Hitmen in a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are likely still available for the WHL version of the Battle of Alberta on Saturday night at the Dome.
Ryan Culkin and the Quebec Remparts visit Acadie-Bathurst on Friday and Saint John on Saturday. Meanwhile, Patrick Sieloff’s Windsor Spitfires visit Sarnia on Friday and then host Oshawa on Sunday.
Karri Ramo continues to help push Avangard Omsk towards the top of the KHL standings, which are in Siberia or some such place. Anyhow, Avangard plays HC Vityaz Chekov, a team from just outside of Moscow. After this game, they’re off for two weeks for the European Cup.
Roman Cervenka may (or may not) be back from his upper-body injury on Saturday night as HC Lev Praha heads into battle against HC Slovan Bratislava, a team from Slovakia. Fun fact: Slovan’s logo is a kick-ass red, white and blue eagle.
In Sweden’s secondary league, VIK Vasteras HK (and Mikael Backlund) plays IF Troja/Ljungby on Saturday night. Troja/Ljunby plays in the south of Sweden and their logo is a sweet horse. Meanwhile, Chris Butler and Karlskrona HK play Orebo HK on Friday and the IF Malmo Redhawks on Sunday. After this week, all of the teams are off for a couple weeks, also for the European Cup.