The Weyburn Red Wings play host to the Kindersley Klippers tonight in the sixth and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams. The Red Wings (20-13-4-0) enter the game in second place in the Viterra Division, six points back of the Estevan Bruins for first, but with three games in hand. The Klippers (15-15-3-2) are fourth in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division.
The Wings are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Melfort Mustangs last Saturday. The Wings found themselves down 4-1 with just over ten minutes left in the third, when they rallied to tie the game, before falling in the extra period.
The last game for the Klippers was Wednesday when they lost 3-2 to the Estevan Bruins.
The Red Wings have been playing .500 hockey over their past ten games, and are looking to find the spark they had through the early part of the season. Part of the success was the play of the line of Cole Woodliffe, Ben Hiltz and Cade Kowalski. The trio has been reunited and was responsible for helping jumpstart the comeback on Saturday.
The play on the back end is also key for the Red Wings. Weyburn has four defensemen off to the SJHL/MJHL Showcase next week. Aside from those four, the rest of the blueline is extremely strong, and a key reason for the successes so far this season for Weyburn.
Kindersley has had some struggles scoring this year, and are just one of four teams in the league with less than 100 goals for. Their leading scorer is Keillan Olson, who has just ten points since coming to the team from Nipawin. The majority of his points came while skating with the Hawks. There are just two players on the Kindersley roster with more than ten goals on the season: Olson, and Tanner Thompson.
Where Kindersley is best known on the scoresheet is in the penalty column. The Klippers are the second most penalized team in the SJHL, behind only the Estevan Bruins. Kindersley comes into the game with nearly 500 more penalty minutes than the Red Wings. This puts a lot of emphasis on the special teams for both teams.
Weyburn went 3-for-11 in the last two games between these squads at Crescent Point Place. By comparison, Kindersley was 1-for-7. Over the course of the season series, the Red Wings have enjoyed 26 power plays in five games, with the Klippers accumulating 121 penalty minutes in those games. For Kindersley to have success against a fast-paced Red Wings offense, who has been phenomenal on the power play, they will need to stay out of the penalty box.
The puck drops on tonight's game at 7:30 p.m. at Crescent Point Place.