After a split with the Estevan Bruins the Ice Wolves move along to face the Weyburn Red Wings tonight at the Mel.
This game is a little shorter on intriguing storylines than the Bruins game on Friday, but could be an interesting one nonetheless.
First up for the Ice Wolves, goaltending. Adam Bartko had a tough game on Friday so it will be interesting to see if Myles Hovdebo gets the start or if Bartko will have the opportunity to bounce back. There are definitely merits to both decisions, see what Hovdebo's got against a stronger team than he usually faces... or get Bartko right back between the pipes against the team he shut-out in the first meeting of the season.
Also of curiosity is how the defensive rotation will work over the next little while. Coach Beatty seems to be happy with rotating through the younger guys on the point. Alex Vandenamelee was in for Ben Bula last game playing with Taylor Desserre, and looked great. He made some solid plays and was in a fight that got the bench pumped up. Also, Zane Morin has been out for a few games now, so look for him to get back in the line-up soon.
For the Red Wings, they're coming off a rare 1-0 shootout and shut-out win over the Melfort Mustings, in Melfort no less. Because of a tough game, and a long bus ride, the Wings will be battling fatigue for sure. Mitch Kilgore
(12-10-0-1, 3 SO, 2.88 GAA, 0.903 Sv %) showed why he's one of the best goalies in the league with 38 saves, but with the back-to-back games will he be starting against the Ice Wolves? The other option for the Red Wings is backup netminder Riley Hengen (4-1-0-0, 2.37 GAA, 0.914 Sv%) who is no slouch if you look at that stat-line.
The Red Wings are in that battle for second in the Sherwood with Estevan and Kindersley. A win would put them into sole possession of second place, so it's a big game for the Wings.
A battle to keep your eye on in this one will be the Ice Wolves top ranked powerplay against the Red Wings second ranked penalty kill. The Wolves went 2/9 on the man advantage against Estevan on Friday, and Weyburn's PK killed off all seven Melfort powerplays last night. The last time these two teams met, the Wolves went 2/4 on the powerplay and won 6-0 in Weyburn.
Let's get into the stats shall we?
Ice Wolves vs Red Wings
(21-9-0-2 - 44 pts) Record (17-14-0-1 - 35 pts)
1st in Bauer Standing 3rd in Sherwood
26.2% PP% 22.1%
77.9% PK% 83.2%
Doug Lindensmith extended his point streak to 17 games against Estevan on Friday. Second highest streak in the league this year. He also notched two points to raise his league high total to 64 points in 32 games... 2 points more than last season's total.
Marc-Andre Carre notched an assist against the Bruins to move up to 60 points on the season, the second player after Lindensmith to reach the mark.
You can't mention the previous two without their linemate, Travis Eggum. The big forward from Saskatoon tallied another goal on Friday making it 32 goals in 32 games. Is 50 out of the question?
Red Wings goalie, Mitch Kilgore leads the league in shut-outs with three. His first two came in back to back games against Nipawin and Kindersley.
Brock Appleyard leads the Red Wings with 32 points (12 G, 20 A) on the season. Though his totals aren't incredibly high, the Red Wings have a balanced attack with six players over 20 points, and their top four separated by only five points.
I'll have the play-by-play call of the game on livesports.com with the pre-game starting shortly before puck drop, which is an early 5:00 pm CST.
I'll catch ya after the game when I put up the post-game report.