TONIGHT AT 7:30 PM AT CRESCENT POINT PLACE
story by Play-By-Play Voice of the Red Wings, Steven Wilson, of DiscoverWeyburn.com
Weyburn Red Wings (13-11-0-2, 2nd Viterra) vs. Estevan Bruins (19-7-0-1, 1st Viterra)
Crescent Point Place, Weyburn, SK
The Weyburn Red Wings will be looking to put a streak together, when they host the Estevan Bruins tonight at Crescent Point Place. The challenge will be finding a way to stop the top scoring team in the league from putting the puck in the net.
Weyburn is coming into the game with points in their last two games, and a 3-1 win over the Melville Millionaires Wednesday night. For the Bruins, they are riding a three game winning streak, where they are averaging more than three goals a game, including an 8-6 victory over the Battlefords North Stars.
To say the Bruins are an offensive powerhouse could very well be an understatement. The team is averaging 5.6 goals per game in each of their 19 wins on the season. Additionally, they haven’t scored fewer than four goals in a win all season long. Defensively, though, the Bruins could use a little work. If a team can shut down the weapons up front, like Matt McNeil, Lynnden Pastachak and Kaelan Holt, it is possible to pick up one-sided wins the other way. In each of their losses this season, the Bruins have given up an average of 5.3 goals. In total, the Bruins average 3.7 goals against.
For the Red Wings, their concerns have been having bounces go their way. They have outshot, and in many cases outplayed their opponents, but have come out on the wrong side of very close games. They managed to break a 4 game losing skid on Wednesday with a win over the Millionaires. The defensive capabilities of the Red Wings are known throughout the league, as they have been able to hold their opponents to exactly three goals per game on the season. Offensively, though, the Wings have struggled at times, averaging 2.9 goals per game. If the Red Wings can shut down the powerful offense of the Bruins, they very well could have the bounces go their way to pick up the win.
The teams have met twice so far this season, with the record split at a win each. The first game was a 6-1 win for the Bruins in Weyburn, while less than a week later, Weyburn returned the favour with a 6-3 victory in Estevan. The two teams, no matter where they are in the standings each year, play each other hard, making for entertaining games. The season record last year was split at four wins apiece, and it looks like that may continue this year.
Discipline is a key factor coming into the game tonight. The two teams set the highwater mark for most penalty minutes in a game earlier this season, when they combined for 146 minutes back on September 30th. Estevan has since eclipsed that mark when they combined with Kindersley for 189 minutes just a few weeks ago. Estevan is the second most penalized team in the league this year, and opponents have made them pay for it. The Bruins have the 8th ranked penalty kill in the league, just ahead of the Red Wings, at 78.7 per cent, having given up 29 power play goals so far this year. The Bruins have also drawn more penalties than anyone else on the season, and their power play is ranked in the middle of the pack, with a percentage of 20.3, scoring 32 power play goals.
Weyburn’s special teams haven’t been the strongest point of their game so far this season. The power play has only been able to convert on 17 of their 112 opportunities so far this season. The penalty kill hasn’t been much better, giving up 26 power play goal so far this season.
The keys to the game for both teams are in direct contrast for each other. For the Bruins, they need to score first, and score often. They have yet to lose a game in regulation when leading after the opening 20 minutes, and have been especially strong on the road, with only three losses in 14 games. For the Red Wings, the key is to shut down the speed of the Bruins, slow the game down, and maintain possession. If they are able to generate scoring opportunities of their own while keeping the puck on their sticks, in the end, it will come to goaltending where the Wings have the advantage.
Game Day Preview brought to you by Tim Hortons.