When the Plymouth Whalers host Kitchener on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena, expect no tricks on the ice.
But the game might be a treat.
For families and their kids, the game offers an opportunity to get a jump-start on Halloween. Ghosts and goblins of all ages are encouraged to come to Compuware Arena dressed in their costumes. Then - with the help of the Whalers' corporate sponsors - goodies will be passed out during the second intermission.
On the ice, Plymouth (5-3-2-1) and Kitchener (6-4-0-1) renew a bitter rivalry on Saturday that goes back nearly 20 years.
The Whalers and Rangers have met in the playoffs seven times since 1996. Last season, Kitchener eliminated Plymouth in seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals, winning the deciding game at Compuware Arena. Two years ago, Plymouth turned the trick on Kitchener in the seventh game played at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
Both teams come into this weekend with three-game winning streak. Plymouth swept through Eastern Ontario last weekend, beating Peterborough, Kingston and Oshawa for the Whalers' first three-game winning streak of the year. With renovations going on at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, the Rangers played their first eight games on the road this season. The Rangers won their first two games back at home last weekend over Oshawa and Kingston, sandwiched around a road win in Sarnia.
Like the Whalers, Kitchener has several players taken high in recent National Hockey League Entry Drafts, including defenseman Ryan Murphy (first round, 12th overall, Carolina, 2011), left wing Matt Puempel (first round, 24th overall, Ottawa, 2011), goaltender John Gibson (second round, 39th overall, Anaheim, 2011), center Radek Faksa (first round, 13th overall, Dallas, 2012) and right wing Mati Marcantuoni (fourth round, 92nd overall, Pittsburgh, 2012).
Both teams will play tough games on Friday, with the Whalers playing in London and Kitchener hosting Owen Sound.
Saturday's game will also be broadcast on the full Plymouth Whalers network. The game can be heard on 88.1FM WSDP The Park in Plymouth and can be seen live on Comcast 900 starting at 7 pm.
WHALERS STAND UP FOR MEN'S HEALTH: Whalers Nick Malysa, Colin MacDonald, Michael Whaley and Curtis Crombeen are leading the team's Movember Initiative, designed to raise awareness towards men's health issues.
Listen to Malysa in the latest edition of "Plymouth Whalers Weekly", heard Tuesday and Friday from 5:45-6 pm on 88.1FM WSDP.
In November, the Whalers will set up a donation site through Movember.com. More information will be available next week.
WHALERS RYAN HARTMAN GET PROFILED: Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Junior Hockey profiles Plymouth's Ryan Hartman, who is up for the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
Here's what Plymouth General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci says about Hartman:
"It's actually ahead of the curve and what's unique about it is he's moving to a position he hasn't played very much, which is center," says Whalers coach-GM Mike Vellucci, who was short-staffed in the middle after 19-year-old Colorado Avalanche second-rounder Mitchell Heard made the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters. "We don't have a lot of centres on our team and he's done really well. He's played a lot of minutes, all specialty teams, even strength and 4-on-4. He's getting as much ice time as anyone of my team."
"His compete level game-in, game-out is something I'm really impressed with," Vellucci adds. "He doesn't take a game or a shift off. Something that's just showing now more and more is his goal scoring, his playmaking. He's been snakebitten, but as of late, he's getting more opportunities and he's putting them in. I think he was concentrating more on his D zone because centre is new to him but once he gets used to it, he'll start putting up more points."