There’s a whole lotta hockey going on, folks. For your reading pleasure, here’s a rundown of what’s what.
The Calgary Flames (0-2-1) renew acquaintances with their neighbours to the north, the dastardly Edmonton Oilers (2-1-0), on Saturday night as part of Hockey Night in Canada. The Flames represent all that is good and true with the world, while the Oilers are smelly and aren’t that good at the hockey. Want proof? This will be the 211th meeting between these two hockey clubs, and the hockey team from Calgary is 104-84-22 overall.
AHL & ECHL
The Abbotsford Heat (21-12-3-4) hit the road, big-time, as they trek all the damn way to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Charlotte Checkers (25-13-2-3) on Friday and Saturday. The Checkers are the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and boast a roster featuring former Flame Brett Sutter. The Heat are riding a four-game winning streak and will be getting Roman Horak into their line-up at some point this weekend, travel-dependent.
Down in the ECHL, the Utah Grizzlies (15-18-2-3) head down to Northern California to take on the Stockton Thunder (21-15-4-3) on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. The Thunder are the ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. Mitch Wahl recently represented the Grizzlies in the ECHL All-Star Game, but was also recently thrown out of a game for abuse of an official.
All of Calgary’s major-junior prospects are playing twice, except for Michael Ferland, as the Saskatoon Blades (23-21-0-3) face Moose Jaw (14-25-3-6) on Sunday.
Riding a six-game winning streak, the Swift Current Broncos (23-21-0-3) and Coda Gordon host Regina (18-26-2-2) on Friday and Moose Jaw on Saturday. Turner Elson’s Red Deer Rebels (25-20-3-2) used to be white-hot but have hit the skids of late. They host Brandon (17-27-2-2) on Friday and Lethbridge (22-21-1-6) on Saturday.
Portland (37-7-1-2) is very good. Tyler Wotherspoon is having a great year. The Winterhawks hit the road this weekend, visiting Spokane (30-16-2-0) on Friday and Tri-City (28-17-1-2) on Saturday. Vancouver (12-36-0-0) is almost at good at being bad as Portland is good at being good. They visit the Victoria Royals (25-17-1-2) on Friday and Saturday. Laurent Brossoit attempts to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings (33-11-2-3) to the first seed in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. They host Brandon on Saturday and Lethbridge on Sunday, and I’d expect Brossoit to start at least one of those games. He’s 9-2-0 since getting cut by Team Canada.
Way out in Quebec, the Remparts (27-16-1-2) play twice, giving Ryan Culkin a chance to continue a very good post-draft year. Unfortunately, the Remparts will visit Halifax ( 38-4-2-1) on Saturday and Moncton (29-16-1-0) on Sunday. The Remparts got hammered, absolutely wrecked by the Mooseheads last week, losing 11-2. Yes, they lost by nine goals. Hopefully they can keep it closer this week.
And finally, Patrick Sieloff’s Windsor Spitfires (19-20-1-6) hit the road for visits with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (25-19-2-1) on Friday and the Sudbury Wolves (21-17-4-5) on Sunday. The Spits are presently four points out of a playoff spot.
Okay, you’re here to find out when Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold play with Boston College (14-5-2) this week. Good. They play the Maine Black Bears (5-14-4), the worst team in their conference, on Friday and Saturday. BC is four points up on second-place New Hampshire and this weekend could allow the Eagles to pad their lead a little bit.
Despite them not being a tremendously great hockey team, the Providence College Friars (10-9-3) have put together a pretty good year. They are tied in conference play with Boston University (12-9-0), who they play on Friday and Saturday. A lot of the credit should go to young Jon Gillies, who has been fantastic as a freshman starter in the NCAA. Mark Jankowski is also coming along nicely, just not as impressively as Gillies quite yet.
Elsewhere, Wisconsin (9-8-5) and John Ramage takes on the lowly Alaska Anchorage (3-14-5), Notre Dame (15-9-0) and Nick Larson take on Ferris State (12-9-3) and Michigan State (6-15-3) and Matthew Deblouw tangle with non-conference opponents Ferris State.
It’s a titanic battle with playoff implications on Saturday night! Avangard Omsk (#1 in the East) take on Ak Bars Kazan (#2 in the East) on Saturday night. I’d imagine Karri Ramo will be in net for Avangard.
Elsewhere, HIFK Helinski (19-8-8) plays Karpat (19-14-11) on Saturday. Markus Granlund is on a scoring streak, while Joni Ortio is tied for the league-lead in wins adn sports an impressive .920 SV%.