After two weeks of play, perhaps one of the bigger surprises is that the Kelowna Rockets are the last remaining unbeaten team (2-0), as all 21 other clubs have at least one loss.
Another potential storyline in the WHL, barring some of these trends continue, is the Victoria Royals. The Royals are currently atop the standings with a 3-2 record despite giving up an average of 5-goals in each of their 5 regular season matches.
However, they’ve been able to barricade the barrage by countering that porous defence with 4-goals a game on offence.
In the not-surprised-here category, three-headed U.S. monster – Portland, Tri-City and Spokane - seems to be carrying over where it left off last season. Tri-City remains atop the U.S. Division standing despite getting blown out by Spokane 7-2 on Saturday.
The Portland Winterhawks are getting a ton of scoring from forwards Ty Rattie and Brad Ross who’ve combined for 17 points in 5 games to propel the Winterhawks to second place, while Spokane sits in third having only played two games thus far.
No combination of regional neighbours shared more glory on the ice this weekend than the Okanagan twins: Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. The pair were the runaway weekend winners by hammering the competition, in particular their coastal nemesis Vancouver Giants. The Blazers beat up on the G-men 6-2 on Friday and then carried it over in an 8-2 win against the Victoria Royals on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Rockets raced past Vancouver 6-3 on Saturday to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Vancouver Giants – The G-men lost back-to-back games against Kamloops and Kelowna, despite having all-star forward Brendan Gallagher back in the lineup for Saturday’s contest against the Rockets which resulted in a 6-3 loss.
Mark Stone, 19, Brandon Wheat Kings: The veteran right winger scored a hat-trick on Saturday as the Wheat Kings blanked the Saskatoon Blades 6-0. Stone also the WHL players in points after two weeks of play, notching 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in 5 games.
Logan Nelson, 18, Victoria Royals: The surprise rookie standout had a 5-point weekend. The had three helpers in 6-5 victory against the Prince George Cougars on Saturday, and followed it up Sunday by scoring two goals as the Royals’ suffered an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Kamloops.
The 6-foot-1 centreman now has 4 goals and 4 assists in 5 games.
The Moose Jaw Warriors strengthened their last line of defence by picking up 19-year-old goaltender Luke Siemens from the Everett Silvertips on Monday for the rights to prospect Matt Grant, and a 3rd round pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft.
Siemens suited up the ‘Tips last season and won 7 games in 23 contests with a GAA of 3.03 and save percentage of .927.
Top 10 Scorers
1. Mark Stone, Brandon Wheat Kings – 13 points
2. James Henry, Vancouver Giants – 10 points
3. Brad Ross, Portland Winterhawks - 9 points
4. Ty Rattie, Portalnd Winterhawks – 8 points
5. *Alessio Bertaggia, Brandon Wheat Kings – 8 points
6. Brett Lyon, Moose Jaw Warriors – 8 points
7. *Logan Nelson, Victoria Royals – 8 points
8. Brandon Herrod, Prince Albert Raiders – 8 points
9. Adam Hughesman, Tri-City Americans – 8 points
10. Kevin Sundher, Victoria Royals – 8 points
* Denotes rookie