The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings are on the road this weekend, playing the first of three straight road games tonight in Melfort. Weyburn will be entering the game on a four-game winning streak, and off to their best start since the 2015-16 season, with a record of 4-0-0-1, including two wins over the Estevan Bruins. The Mustangs, though, are also on a four-game winning streak.
The two teams play a similar style, and that could make for some exciting hockey, according to Red Wings head coach Cody Mapes.
“It could be a grind-em-out slugfest, or it could be up and down the ice and turn into a track meet, but it’ll be a couple of good hockey games,” Mapes said.
As for the players, they are riding the momentum but aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“We can’t get too high because we know we got a big weekend coming up here against Melfort,” forward Jerome Maharaj. “The room’s good, but we’re not getting too high on ourselves.”
Statistically, the two teams appear to be fairly evenly matched.
Coming into the game, Weyburn has a power play percentage of 19 percent, and their penalty kill is clipping along at a whopping 96.4 percent. The Mustangs had a power play of 13.6 percent and a penalty kill of 93.3 percent.
Offensively, the Mustangs do have a slight edge in goals, scoring 23 in their four games so far this season, while Weyburn has scored 16 in their five games. Two of those wins for the Mustangs came at the expense of the Notre Dame Hounds and La Ronge Ice Wolves, however, where they scored 16 games across the two matchups.
Goaltending is perhaps the biggest place where the Red Wings have an edge. Dazza Mitchell has proven to be one of the premier goaltenders in not just the province, but the nation. He was named the league’s Goalie of the Week two weeks in a row and has posted a goals-against average of 1.18 with a shutout and a save percentage of .964.
At the other end of the ice is James Venne. He has played all four games for the Mustangs and has a GAA of 2.25 and a save percentage of .920.
History, though, is on the side of the Mustangs. Last season, they won all four games against the Red Wings, and have won 10 of the past 12 matchups between the two clubs. The Red Wings have also had trouble winning in Melfort, with the last victory there coming more than five seasons ago.
All of that will be out the window, though, as the two teams meet tonight at the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort for the first of two games this weekend.
You can listen to both games on Great Plains Ford Red Wings Radio on BIG 106, with Nick Nielsen getting things started with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m. on both nights.
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