Just over a quarter of the way through the season – and yes it’s still really early – but the main WHL storyline has continued to be the play of Medicine Hat Tigers forward Emerson Etem and his incredible scoring run. A pre-season favourite to lead the ‘Dub in points, the California native has 24 goals in 19 games and is on pace to score 90 goals.
The question, however, is this just the same type of hype that Steven Stamkos was receiving last year around this time when he was on pace to score 50 in 50, before disappearing after Christmas on losing the Maurice Richard trophy to the upstart Corey Perry?
Portland Winterhawks (11-7-1-1): Trying to make some ground on a hot Tri-City team at the top of the standings in the American Division, the Winterhawks did an excellent job of keeping pace by winning all three games last week on the road which included a 4-2 victory over Kamloops on Wednesday and then back-to-back wins over Kelowna, 6-5 shootout on Friday followed by a 3-1 win on Saturday.
Seattle Thunderbirds (5-9-0-0): The Thunderbirds have scored a league-low 35 goals in 14 games and are struggling to stay competitive in the Western Conference as they are currently dead last. Seattle got hammered 8-2 against Red Deer on Friday night and followed that up with a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings to extend their losing streak to 4 games.
Hunter Shinkaruk, 17, Medicine Hat Tigers: The left wingers scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday to top the 20-goal mark on the year. Alongside Emerson Etem, Shinkaruk adds a dangerous dimension to the Tigers offence.
Top 10 Scorers
1. (1) Emerson Etem, Medicine Hat Tigers – 24g, 17a – 41 points
2. (2) Mark Stone, Brandon Wheat Kings – 14g, 23a – 37 points
3. (3) Kevin Sundher, Victoria Royals – 13g, 23a – 36 points
4. (NR) Michael Ferland, Brandon Wheat Kings – 15g, 16a – 31 points
5. (6) Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks – 15g, 14a – 29 points
6. (4) Adam Hughesman, Tri-City Americans – 13g, 15a – 28 points
7. (5) Taylor Vause, Swift Current Broncos – 12g, 16a – 28 points
8. (NR) Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers – 19g, 8a – 27 points
9. (8) Brendan Gallagher, Vancouver Giants – 16g, 11a – 27 points
10. (NR) Jordan Weal, Regina Pats – 8g, 19a – 27 points
* Denotes rookie
() Previous week’s ranking