Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

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It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


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Will Rasmussen be back in WHL? . . . Giants, Royals prepping for tripleheader weekend. . . . Wheat Kings close on playoff spot


MacBeth

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-03, Kamloops, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, he has one goal and 15 assists in 43 games. Mulock, who is a dual German-Canadian citizen, is completing his 10th season in the DEL, his 13th overall in Germany. . . .

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season contract extension with the Sydney IceDogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 21 games. He was second in team scoring and was named the team’s MVP. This will be Toulmin’s fourth season in Australia. The AIHL regular season begins on April 20.


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There is speculation that the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings may return F Michael Rasmussen, 19, to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

The 6-foot-6 Rasmussen was selected by the Red Wings with the ninth overall pick of the tri-city2017 NHL draft.

The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 48 games. A short time ago, they sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on a conditioning stint, and he had two goals in three games.

However, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to play in the AHL because of his age. If the Red Wings want him to be playoff eligible with Grand Rapids, Rasmussen would have to be returned to Tri-City, and he could be assigned to the Griffins whenever the Americans’ season might end.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings “are contemplating” returning Rasmussen to Tri-City.

Last night, Rasmussen was pointless, and minus-1, in nine minutes 36 seconds of playing time as the Red Wings dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

That was the fourth time in six games that he has played fewer than 10 minutes.

The Americans have 12 games left in their regular season. They are third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen had injury problems in each of the past two seasons, but still put up 63 goals and 51 assists in 97 games with Tri-City. Last season, he was tremendous in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and adding 17 assists in 14 games.


The cities of Vancouver and Victoria are separated by about 115 kilometres, including the Georgia Strait.

So you wouldn’t think it would be that tough for the cities’ WHL teams to complete a 10-game season series over the course of six months without having to play a tripleheader. You know, catch a ferry and play a doubleheader, or even just pop across the strait for a singleton.

The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals have three games remaining in the season series. At this point, Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1.

The Giants have 12 games remaining, with the Royals having 11 left on their schedule, meaning time is running out.

So, hey, why not do it up in fewer than 48 hours this weekend?

That’s right. The Giants and Royals are going to face each other three times this weekend — Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria.

The Giants (39-14-3) are atop the B.C. Division, 18 points ahead of the Royals (30-24-3), who appear headed to a second-place finish. The Giants, though, are hoping to finish atop the Western Conference — they are four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand — so still have something for which to play.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has extended the contracts of general manager Dave Drinkill Saginawand head coach Chris Lazary through the 2020-21 season. . . . Drinkill is in his fourth season as Saginaw’s GM, after working with the Barrie Colts for nine seasons in various roles. . . . Lazary, 36, signed on with the Spirit as the associate coach prior to 2016-17. He took over as head coach on Nov. 18 after Troy Smith was fired. Since then, the Spirit is 25-6-3. . . . Overall, the Spirit is 36-15-5, good for third place in the 10-team Western Conference.


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Evan Vossen is out as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. He had been with the Ice Wolves since taking over from the fired Shawn Martin early in the 2016-17 season. . . . Vossen, 32, played for the Ice Wolves in 2006-07 before going on to play five seasons with the McGill U Redmen. In fact, he was the team captain when the Redmen won the 2012 national championship with him scoring the title-winning goal in OT. . . . This season, the Ice Wolves are 10-42-2 and in fourth spot in the four-team Sherwood Division. . . . Gaelan Patterson, who played four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades (2006-10) will be the Ice Wolves’ GM and head coach for the remainder of this season. Patterson, 28, joined the Ice Wolves as an assistant coach prior to this season, after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos and F Cole Reinhardt each had four points as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregulardumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . Brandon (28-22-7) has won five in a row. With this victory, Brandon moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (30-22-5) had won its previous two games. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Mattheos and Reinhardt had two goals and two assists each, as they figured in each of Brandon’s last four goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead before this game was six minutes old, thanks to goals from F Ridly Greig (12), at 0:30; Mattheos, at 4:29; and Reinhardt, on a PP, at 5:32. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (4) scored at 15:10. . . . Reinhardt got his 21st goal at 19:43 of the second period, and Mattheos got No. 39 at 1:25 of the third. . . . Mattheos, who came awfully close to landing with the Everett Silvertips at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, now has 39 goals and a career-high 49 assists in 54 games. Since Jan. 10, Mattheos has 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games. . . . Reinhardt, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, has 21 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. He has career highs in all three major offensive categories. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 27 shots for Brandon.


The Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 5-4, in a shootout. . Pats. . Regina (17-38-3) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Ice. . . . Kootenay (11-37-9) has lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . The Ice got first-period goals from F Jakin Smallwood (11) and F Jaeger White (24), then went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Connor McClennon (9) and F Brad Ginnell (13). . . . D Brady Pouteau (3) started Regina’s comeback at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Pats tied it on third-period goals by F Brett Clayton, at 8:29; F Carter Massier (3), at 10:20; and F Logan Nijhoff (6), shorthanded, at 16:59. . . . The Ice had the only four shots of OT but wasn’t able to beat G Dean McNabb, who had replaced starter Max Paddock in the second period. McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced through OT. . . . Regina won it in the shootout when F Garrett Wright, the first shooter in the fifth round, scored. . . . Regina F Ty Kolle and Kootenay F Peyton Krebs and scored in the second round. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice added D Anson McMaster to its roster from the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers, and he played in this one. He now has played five games with the Ice this season. McMaster, 16, is from Siksika, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Craven, Moar done for this season. . . . Silvertips stretch Cougars’ skid to 17. . . . Oliver leads Royals to victory


MacBeth

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11)  signed a contract for the rest of this season on Friday with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany DEL2) after obtaining his release from the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in 10 games with the Black Wings. . . . Hickmott hasn’t played a game since Oct. 14 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice the “past few weeks” with Linz. The club told Hickman last week there was no place in the lineup for him and that he was free to move to another club if he wanted. . . . Last Friday (Feb. 15) was the signing/transfer deadline for all European leagues except the KHL, whose trade deadline this season was Dec. 27.


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A few notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen continue to list F Jake Kryski as indefinite. Kryski, 20, was having the whlbest of his five WHL seasons, with 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games when he was injured. . . .

The Everett Silvertips list F Dawson Butt and F Riley Sutter as week-to-week. Besides being a point-a-game player (41 in 38), Sutter is one of the league’s top face-off men, at 54.0 per cent. . . . Butt has seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, but it’s his grinding style of play that the Silvertips miss. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets list D Matt Barberis, 20, as being out for six to eight weeks. He has one assist in 11 games since being picked up from the Vancouver Giants, but  his experience is missing from Kelowna’s back end. Of course, with less than four weeks left in the regular season, his season — and his WHL career — might be over. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have shut down D Joel Craven for the season with an undisclosed injury. Craven, 18, finishes his sophomore season with three goals and an assist in 32 games. He missed half of October and all of November with concussion-like symptoms. . . . Meanwhile, the Tigers are showing one of their top forwards, Ryan Jevne, as being out week-to-week. Jevne is their second-leading scorer, with 55 points, including 26 goals, in 57 games. . . .

D Matt Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks is shown as being out week-to-week, while it would appear that D Alex Moar of the Swift Current Broncos had his season come to an end on Monday afternoon in Brandon when he left a 3-2 OT loss to the Wheat Kings clutching a wrist. . . .

The Vancouver Giants list two key forwards — Dawson Holt and Brayden Watts — as being out week-to-week. Watts, who had one arm in a sling on Monday, has 33 points, including 12 goals, in 52 games, while Hardy has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.


The soon-to-be Winnipeg Ice has signed F Chase Bertholet to a WHL contract. Bertholet, from Thompson, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Ice acquired him from the Rebels on Nov. 30 in a deal that had F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger go to Red Deer for four players, four bantam draft picks and one conditional selection. . . . Bertholet, 15, has 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


The Calgary Hitmen have released D Andrew Viggars from their roster and he is returning to the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Viggars, who turned 19 on Jan. 3, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 39 games with Calgary. . . . This season, he has a goal and nine assists in 41 games with the Warriors. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


“Fighting isn’t what it used to be in the WHL,” writes Dan Thompson in a story that has appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s got some quotes and anecdotes here from the likes of Dustin Donaghy and Kerry Toporowski, the latter once having skated his way to 505 minutes in penalties. . . . It’s all right here and it’s a good read.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Monday that they have “mutually parted ways” Winklerwith general manager Ken Pearson. . . . He had been the Flyers’ general manager and head coach for seven seasons (2011-18), before stepping aside as head coach prior to this season. . . . Jeff Jeanson has been named the interim general manager. . . . Steve Mullin took over as the Flyers’ head coach after working as Pearson’s assistant coach. . . . When Pearson stepped aside as the Flyers’ head coach, he had more regular-season victories (519) than any coach in MJHL history. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers passed Pearson earlier this season. . . . Winkler (22-29-5) is ninth in the 11-team league, four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in EverettPrince George. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the host Cougars by that same score on Monday. . . . Everett (41-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the Western Conference by four points over the Vancouver Giants, who hold two games in hand, and leads the West Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (16-35-7) now has lost 17 in a row (0-13-4). . . . F Ethan Browne (9) gave the Cougars the lead at 5:56 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (36) pulled Everett even at 17:29 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (34) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third. . . . The Silvertips put it away on two goals from Reece Vitelli, at 17:36 and 18:28 of the third. Vitelli, who has nine goals, put the second one into an empty net. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips never had even one opportunity. . . . Everett held a 37-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 and 16-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the decision over G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Everett was without F Connor Dewar (ill) for a second straight game. . . . D Sahvan Khaira was back in Everett’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He played in his 302nd career regular-season game.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals en route to a 6-3 tri-cityvictory over the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (32-21-3) move into third place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Red Deer (29-22-5) has lost three in a row. It holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans hustled home for this one after losing 3-1 in Kamloops on Monday afternoon. The Rebels hadn’t played since Saturday, so were well-rested. . . . The Rebels finished their U.S. Division swing at 1-3-1. . . . F Brandon Hagel (33) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin tied it, on a PP, at 5:18. . . . The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Chris Douglas (13), at 13:43 of the first period, and F Brett Davis (18), on a PP, at 1:12 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (17), at 4:17, and F Sasha Mutala (16), at 5:17. . . . AuCoin (35) scored on a PP at 6:43 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Kyle Olson (21), at 16:42, and F Krystof Hrabik (15), into an empty net, at 18:20 put it away. . . . Olson also had two assists. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 36 shots to earn the victory.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice and added two assists to help the host Victoria Royals to a 6-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Victoria (30-24-3) is second in the B.C. Division, 10 points ahead of Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (24-29-5) are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Blazers and Rockets have three games remaining in their season series. Kamloops is 4-2-1; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . On Monday, the Rockets opened the doubleheader on Vancouver Island by dumping the Royals, 5-2. . . . Last night, Victoria took control with three goals, two of them from Oliver, before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Logan Doust (5) got the Royals started 44 seconds into the game. . . . Oliver made it 2-0 at 4:31 and 3-0, on a PP, at 7:52. . . . Two early second-period goals put the home boys ahead 5-0. F Phillip Schultz (14) scored, on a PP, 23 seconds in, and F Tarun Fizer (12) scored at 5:21. . . . Oliver assisted on both second-period goals, giving him his second career four-point game. . . . F Leif Mattson (20), at 11:22, and F Nolan Foote (29), on a PP, at 16:41, counted for the Rockets. . . . Victoria’s final goal came from F Kody McDonald (17) at 11:39 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 34 shots for the Royals as he earned his 111th career regular-season victory. . . . The WHL record for most career regular-season victories by a goaltender is 120, and is shared by Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92) and Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09). The Royals have only 11 games remaining, so Outhouse, 20, is running out of time if he hopes to get to 120 victories. . . . The Rockets welcomed back F Liam Kindree (broken nose) after a nine-game absence, but they remain without F Ted Brennan and D Matt Barberis. . . . The Royals were without D Jake Kustra, who sat out a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Monday’s game.


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Reinhardt gets Wheaties closer to playoff spot. . . . Myskiw earns first clean sheet. . . . Blichfeld first to 50 goals, 100 points


ThisThat

D Sahvan Khaira of the Everett Silvertips didn’t play against the Cougars in Prince whlGeorge on Monday as he sat out a one-game suspension that, according to the WHL, was “as a result of actions at Seattle” on Saturday night. . . . As almost always happens in these situations, the WHL didn’t make any further comment and no one else is talking. . . . However, one person who was at the game told Taking Note that Khaira had become involved in something and that “a number of police went rushing back stage” somewhere between five and 10 minutes after the three stars had been announced. . . . The Thunderbirds won the game, beating the Silvertips, 4-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle took 66 of the game’s 130 penalty minutes, with 96 of those minutes handed out in the game’s final 13 seconds. . . . Khaira, 20, began his WHL career with the Thunderbirds, playing 77 games with them before being dealt to the Swift Current Broncos. The Silvertips acquired him from the Broncos on July 30, sending F Ethan O’Rourke and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft the other way.



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“The Kootenai River Valley is fertile and beautiful, splitting two mountain ranges as it pushes across the Canadian border,” writes Erica Curless for the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “This is the home of James Porter Jr. It is also the ancestral home of his elders and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho. In some ways, Porter meanders between two worlds just like the river. He was raised with one foot, or perhaps skate, across the border in Canada and one foot in Bonners Ferry. When he’s home in Boundary County, where he lives on the tiny 12.5-acre reservation with his family, he is just a regular teenager because not many in the small farm town know or care about hockey.” . . . You will find an an interesting look at the Kelowna Rockets goaltender right here. . . . Porter stopped 26 shots on Monday afternoon as the Rockets beat the Royals, 5-2, in Victoria.


MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders opened up a 4-0 lead early in the second period and hung on PrinceAlbertfor a 4-3 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Prince Albert (47-8-3) had lost two in a row (0-1-1). The Raiders will finish atop the East Division and the Eastern Conference. . . . Moose Jaw (31-16-8) remains third in the East Division, 12 points behind the Saskatoon Blades and with three games in hand. . . . Prince Albert is 4-1-0 in the season series; Moose Jaw is 1-3-1. . . . The Raiders got two goals and two assists from F Noah Gregor. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (13) made it 1-0 at 10:14 of the first period, and Gregor upped it to 2-0 at 15:06. . . . F Sean Montgomery (24) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 18:00. . . . Gregor’s 35th goal got it to 4-0 at 4:08 of the second period. . . . The Warriors made it interesting with three third-period goals — one from F Tristian Langan (41), at 8:31, and two PP scores from freshman F Brayden Tracey, at 18:31 and 19:54. . . . Tracey now has 27 goals. . . . The Raiders had a 40-23 edge in shots, including 20-6 in the first period. . . . The Raiders again were without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, both of whom have missed five games. They also scratched D Max Martin, who was struck on the helmet by a puck on Saturday. . . . Prince Albert had F Cole Nagy in the lineup. Nagy, 17, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, and has 25 goals and 38 assists in 39 games. He played one game with the Raiders earlier in the season.


F Cole Reinhardt scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the BrandonWKregularvisiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Brandon (27-22-7) has won four in a row to close within two points of the Red Deer Rebels, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Swift Current (10-40-5) has lost eight straight (0-6-2). . . . All three games between these teams in Brandon were 2-2 after regulation time. Brandon won once in OT and once in a shootout, with the Broncos winning a shootout. . . . On Monday, the Wheat Kings held a 42-14 edge in shots, including 16-2 in the third period, but Broncos G Isaac Poulter gave his guys a chance to win it. . . . F Ian Briscoe (3) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 9:55 of the first period. . . . F Jonny Hooker (3) tied it at 15:34 of the second period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 2-1 when F Owen Blocker (5) scored at 16:59. . . . Brandon forced OT on F Luka Burzan’s 34th goal, on a PP, at 7:51 of the third period. . . . Reinhardt won it with his 19th goal, at 4:01 of OT. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera stopped 12 shots. . . . Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, tweeted that the Broncos lost D Matthew Stanley, Blocker and F Carter Chorney “to a stomach bug” during the game. They also lost D Alex Moar to an apparent wrist injury in the third period.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored three times before the game was five minute old and EdmontonOilKingswent on to beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-0. . . . Edmonton (32-18-8) leads the Central Division, by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Medicine Hat (31-22-5) has lost four in a row. It is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge and two ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The season series? Edmonton is 4-0-1; Medicine Hat is 1-2-2. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw stopped 38 shots to post his first career WHL shutout. . . . Myskiw’s shutout came in his 77th regular-season appearance, 38 of them with Edmonton. This season, he is 21-11-5, 2.74, .908. . . . Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Oil Kings, tweeted that Myskiw now is 9-0-1, 2.14, .935 in starts against the Tigers, including playoffs. . . . F Scott Atkinson (9) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 2:30 of the first period. . . . F Andrew Fyten (15) made it 2-0 just 21 seconds later. . . . F Vladimir Alistrov (9), who also had two assists, upped it to 3-0 at 4:14. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (12), on a PP, and F Vince Loschiavo (27) added third-period goals for Edmonton.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 5-2 Lethbridgevictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Lethbridge (30-17-10) is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Kootenay (11-37-8) has lost five straight. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 6-0-0. . . . After this one, the Ice’s stay in Cranbrook has five games remaining, all of them in March, and then it’s off to Winnipeg. . . . F Jaeger White (23) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 17:28 of the first period, and F Davis Murray (9) made it 2-0 at 2:37 of the second. . . . The visitors went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (28), shorthanded, at 11:07; F Jordy Bellerive (26), on a PP, at 13:01; and F Jake Elmer (29), on another PP, at 13:38. . . . Cozens hadn’t scored in his previous 10 games. He also came up short on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to six games; he has nine goals in that stretch. . . . F Taylor Ross (28), on a PP, and F Nick Henry (22) added insurance at 8:07 and 17:14 of the third period, respectively. . . . Henry also had two assists. . . . Lethbridge D Caden Addison had three assists for the second time in three games. . . . The Hurricanes were 3-5 on the PP; the Ice was 0-7. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern, who last played on Jan. 6 but hasn’t been listed as injured, was on the bench backing up starter Curtis Meger. G Jesse Makaj was scratched. . . . McGovern, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, hadn’t even dressed for a game since Jan. 6. . . . Lethbridge outshot Kootenay, 48-29, including 38-19 through two periods.


G Dylan Ferguson stopped 37 shots to lead the host Kamloops Blazers to a 3-1 victory Kamloops1over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kamloops (22-28-5) is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers also are three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . . Tri-City (31-21-3) had won its previous three games. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and they are fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Blazers went ahead 1-0 as F Connor Zary scored at 10:02 of the first period. At that point, Kamloops had an 11-2 edge in shots. . . . Tri-City would outshoot the Blazers 36-18 the rest of the way but could only get one puck behind Ferguson. . . . Zary added his 18th goal — and fifth three games — at 15:38 of the first period. He’s got six goals and four assists in his past six games. . . . F Kyle Olson (20) scored for the Americans at 18:50 of the third period, with G Beck Warm on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Kamloops iced it with an empty-netter from F Brodi Stuart (16) with 13.6 seconds remaining. . . . The Blazers remain without injured forwards Ryley Appelt and Martin Lang. . . . The Americans headed for home immediately after the game because they are scheduled to meet the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash., tonight. The Rebels haven’t played since Saturday, so will have been in Kennewick enjoying some R and R.


G Dustin Wolf turned aside 30 shots to backstop the Everett Silvertips to a 4-1 victory Everettover the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Everett (40-14-3) has won 40 games for a third straight season. It leads the Western Conference by two points over the Vancouver Giants, and has a seven-point lead over the Portland Winterhawks atop the U.S. Division. . . . Prince George (16-34-7) has lost 16 in a row (0-12-4). . . . The Silvertips took a 2-0 lead on  second-period PP goals from F Max Patterson (14), at 5:05, and D Gianni Fairbrother (10), at 7:42. . . . F Tyson Upper (5) got the Cougars to within a goal at 17:18, but F Reece Vitelli (7) got that one back for Everett just 39 seconds later. . . . F Jalen Price (5) got Everett’s last goal at 2:08 of the third period. . . . Wolf now is 35-13-2, 1.76, .934. . . .  D Joel Lakusta was back in the Cougars’ lineup after not having played since Jan. 27. . . . F Connor Dewar (ill) was among Everett’s scratches. The Silvertips also were without D Sahvan Khaira, who served a one-game WHL suspension.


F Joachim Blichfeld, the WHL’s leading scorer, struck for three goals and added an assist Portlandto lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Portland (36-16-6) had points in four straight (4-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Vancouver (39-14-3) had won its previous seven games. It leads the B.C. Division, and is two points shy of the Western Conference-leading Silvertips. . . . Portland was 4-0-0 in the season series; Vancouver was 0-3-1. . . . Blichfeld scored the game’s first three goals — at 12:05 and 14:54 of the first period, and 1:00 of the second. The first one came on a PP. This was his fifth career hat trick. . . . D Dallas Hines (7) got Vancouver on the scoreboard at 7:37, but Portland F Seth Jarvis (15) restored the three-goal lead, on a PP, at 2:23 of the third period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (17), who also had two assists, got the Giants back to within two goals at 3:52. . . . F Reece Newkirk (21) gave Portland a 5-2 lead at 6:09, before F Davis Koch (23) scored for Vancouver at 18:44. . . . Blichfeld, who has put up back-to-back hat tricks, leads the WHL in goals (51) and points (102). . . . Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, notes that Blichfeld is the 24th player in  franchise history to score 50 goals in a season and just the third import player, after F Oliver Bjorkstrand, who did it twice, and F Joe Balej. . . . Kemper also points out that Blichfeld is the 35th Portland skater to reach 100 points in a season, and the second import, after Bjorkstrand who did it twice. . . . Blichfeld, who has eight points in two games, has nine more goals than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen, and he leads the points race by 14 over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas stopped 28 shots in improving to 5-0-0 in career games against Vancouver. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass, rather than have him play three games in fewer than 48 hours in his return from a knee injury. . . . The Winterhawks continue to play without D Brendan De Jong and D Matthew Quigley.


The Kelowna Rockets broke a 2-2 with three third-period goals as they beat the Rockets, KelownaRockets5-2, in Victoria. . . . Kelowna (24-28-5) had lost its previous two games. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, eight points behind Victoria and four in front of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold two games in hand. . . . Victoria (29-24-3) had won two in a row. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Victoria. . . . D Lassi Thomson (16) put the Rockets out front at 9:04 of the first period. . . . F Kody McDonald (16) tied it, on a PP, at 4:20 of the second period. . . . D Schael Higson (4), playing his 300th regular-season game, gave Kelowna the lead at 15:32. He also has played with the Saskatoon Blades and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Royals tied it when F Kaid Oliver (25) scored at 8:33 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got the game’s last three goals, from F Kyle Topping (21), at 10:07; F Mark Liwiski (8), at 16:32; and F Conner Bruggen-Cate (5), at 17:53. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 5-2-0, including 3-0-0 in Victoria. . . . The Royals lost D Jake Kustra to a charging major and game misconduct at 18:46 of the third period.


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Mondays With Murray: A Day With the Next Ambassador to Cincinnati

Today we bring you Jim Murray’s column from July 15, 1976, when he was invited by President Ford to the White House so he could accompany the President to the MLB All-Star Game.

ENJOY!

——

THURSDAY, JULY 15, 1976, SPORTS

Copyright 1976/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

A Day With the Next Ambassador to Cincinnati

   WASHINGTON — I have been to ballgames with truck drivers, stevedores, guys with tattoos and their own bowling shirts. But I never went to a game before with a guy who could pick up a phone and start a war. I’ve been with lots of guys who could start a fight, mondaysmurray2though. I’ve even been with some rich guys who owned their own plane. But never one who had his own air force.

   I’ve had police escorts before — but never friendly ones. I’ve been in lots of locker rooms. But never with anybody where the players wanted to get his autograph.

  It all began with a phone call Monday. It was from the White House. That had to be a first in my family, too. Would I like to come to Washington and be the President’s guest and fly up with Mr. Ford in Air Force One to the All-Star game in Philadelphia and back?

  We’ll, what are you going to say, “No, I gotta get a haircut that day”?

  Besides, as I told my wife, he probably needs me. I mean, I’m as ready to help my country as the next guy. “Probably a knotty problem with Angola,” I assured her. “Kissinger’s behind this.”

  “How are you flying in and where are you going to stay?” she wanted to know. “That’s top secret,” I told her. “Classified. The Communists will probably be monitoring all our calls. Don’t even tell your sister. I expect I’ll be staying at the White House. The President will want me nearby for consultation.”

  “What will the President want with you?” she wanted to know. “He already knows the infield-fly rule.”

  I made a reservation at the Hay-Adams Hotel across the street from the White House, just in case they wanted me to slip past the press. “If the White House calls, just patch them right through.” I told the desk.

  The call did come through from the White House. I was told to report to the West Lobby, from where I would be driven to Andrews Air Force Base to board Air Force One.

  The cop at the gate did a good job of pretending not to know who I was. “Your driver’s license, please. Take it out of the plastic,” he ordered. I thought for a minute I was going to get a ticket.

  The President had surrounded himself with some of the best global brains for this mission. Joe Garagiola, the old catcher, who reports that the first thing to go with an old ballplayer is the hair — then the legs. There was Ernie Banks, ‘Mr. Cub’, the Bluebird of Happiness, who could think of something nice to say about the Johnstown Flood. “Ernie thinks Nixon just had a bad homestand,” Garagiola chirped. Then, there was David Israel, sportswriter from the Washington Star; John Underwood, from Sports Illustrated; and myself, the expert on Far Eastern affairs.

  When the President summoned us to his quarters on the plane, he was dining on Coquille St. Jacques, a stomach-tester of lobster, crabmeat and cream sauce in a shell, and two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream. I don’t know if the country is in good hands, but it’s a good stomach. I had a beer.

  The conversation veered around to the mess at the Olympics. But the President stopped short of asking me what to do about it. Well short of it.

  I decided to lead into Angola gingerly. “Mr. President,” I said. “did you ever tackle Pug Rentner!” Mr. Ford, you see, was a bare-headed center from Michigan in the ’30s, and Pug Rentner has always been one of my favorite football names. Not necessarily player, just name. With a name like Pug Rentner, you don’t have to be good. I think they put Pug on the All-American team from Northwestern largely because they just wanted to have that name in there.

  “Many times, Jim,” the President told me. “But I got this eye kicked open by Jay Berwanger.” He fingered one eye. “Or was it this one?” he wondered, fingering the other. “I didn’t think Jay Berwanger ever got tackled,” I told him. Besides, if Jay Berwanger ever kicked open my eye, I would have it bronzed.

  When we landed in Philly, it was clear the President was saving me. Possibly for a briefing with Kissinger later.

  We went down to the locker room, where Johnny Bench and Pete Rose were surprised to see me in the Presidential party. “What in the world is he doing with you?” Pete blurted. “Well,” I told him, “He’s looking for a vice-president, isn’t he? Anyway, I may be ambassador to Cincinnati.” I told Pete to be sure not to clap him on the back or to show him how to slide. Steve Garvey wanted to meet the President’s son, Jack. I handled the introductions smoothly.

  We were hustled up to the box of the Phillies’ owner, Ruly Carpenter, where we sat behind bullet-proof glass for the game. The President joined us after he threw out the first ball.

  I had to admire the way he steered the conversation away from me. You would never have guessed that I had been flown into Washington for anything more important than a ballgame. Statesmen don’t rush things.

  Finally, it came. In the seventh inning, the President leaned back. “Jim,” he said, “tell me something.” (“Here it comes.” I thought. “Probably, India, at first, and then the whole Far East.”) The President pointed. “Who’s that at shortstop? He’s in a Dodger uniform.” I looked. “That, Mr. President, is Billy Russell. One of the fastest runners in the league. Hard to double up.”

  Billy Russell promptly hit into a double play. He was out at first by 45 feet.

  Ernie Banks was not waiting to be asked. “Look at that Cedeno,” he told the President, pointing at the batter. “With that stance, he’s never going to hit the ball out of the infield.” Cesar Cedeno promptly hit a ball 600 or 700 feet over the left-field fence. “Yah!” shouted Garagiola. “You change his stance, Ernie, and he hits singles to right field! Bah!” The President laughed uproariously. “I hope he gets better advice from his Cabinet,” someone offered.

  The next day was to be the President’s 63rd birthday. So, on the way home, we all gathered in Air Force One to cut a big cake and sip champagne. Ernie Banks forgot the words to “Happy Birthday To You.”

  At the door, the President shook hands with all of us and thanked us for coming. “Jim,” he said to me. “I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk more.”

  “I’m in the book, Mr. President,” I told him.

  After all, he knows where to reach me.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116

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What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org.

Scattershooting while wondering why winter chose to show up in February . . . Dickson checks out MeTV . . . Bingo game turns nasty

Scattershooting

Headline of the week, and it isn’t close, from Global News in Winnipeg: Customers continue to line up at drive-thru as Winnipeg A&W burns to the ground.


Einstein


Scott Ostler, in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle: Today’s quiz, and I won’t give you the answer — Which celeb golfer, playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am several years ago, was caught illegally moving his ball in the rough and explained to his caddie: “I cheat in business, I cheat on my wife, and I cheat at golf”?



An observation from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Tim Tebow, 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds; Pat Mahomes, 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds; Donald Trump, 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds. Someone is fibbing.”


As I was watching the CFL free-agent frenzy on Tuesday, I kept asking myself: Did these teams find some sunken treasure? Did they uncover the secret of Oak Island? Did they win a lottery? What happened to the poor, poor CFL?


If you’re wondering how Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, spent Sunday evening, here’s a hint: “As you might guess, I will not be watching the NBA All-Star Game. I have something much more important to do on Sunday night; I plan to alphabetize all the checks I have written over the past 5 years. There is no reason to do that; it serves no purpose; yet it is more compelling than watching the NBA All-Star Game.”


Peanutbutter


After INRIX Global Ranking rated Boston as having the worst traffic problems in in the U.S., Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong notes: “No wonder! There seems to be a parade, marathon or some other sideshow every month.”

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Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the home of the Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats, has banned peanuts and Cracker Jack due to concerns about allergies. “So,” Chong writes, “the seventh-inning stretch will call for revised lyrics: ‘Buy me some donuts and cinnamon buns.’ ”


A report from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “An update on the guy arrested at New York’s JFK airport for smuggling in South American finches, prized for their birdsong. He might do time in Sing Sing.”

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Currie, again: “A friend was in Paris recently, and said the Louvre museum was so big she had trouble finding her way out. I said there must be 50 ways to leave your Louvre.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Schnauzers rioting outside Madison Square Garden following Westminster Dog Show defeat.


By now, you are aware that the Kootenay Ice will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for Winnipeg once this WHL season comes to an end. Now I’m told that another B.C.-based WHL team may be on the move. The Vancouver Giants, I’m told, are seriously considering going back to Pacific Coliseum after spending three seasons in the Langley Events Centre. . . . Someone else says that Giants majority owner Ron Toigo “is making a noise. . . . Think it’s more of a negotiating ploy.”


“I spend too much time watching TV news channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC,” Brad Dickson writes. “Lately I’ve grown so sick of the political rancor and finger-pointing that permeates these networks that I vowed to stay away and watch nothing but MeTV for one entire day. Last Thursday I viewed the classic TV network almost nonstop from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.” . . . After he was all done, Dickson posted this fabulous piece right here. Enjoy!


An excerpt from the latest filing by Patti Dawn Swansson: “Another receiver who won’t be doing his thing in Pegtown is Duron Carter, now the problem child of the B.C. Lions. ‘I am looking forward to making a fresh start on the West Coast,’ he told news snoops. By my count, Carter has had six ‘fresh’ starts in seven years: Two in Montreal and one each in Indianapolis, Saskatchewan, the Republic of Tranna and now Lotus Land. His ass-clown act lasts about as long as food on Chris Walby’s dinner plate. Carter’s hands are never the problem, of course. It’s his yap. Can’t see that changing, even if Lotus Land is the natural habitat of more flakes per capita than anywhere else in the country.” . . . It’s all right here.


“Police were called when two women, 86 and 79, came to blows over seating arrangements during Bingo night at a retirement home in Rideau Lakes, Ont.,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Because it was Canada, both returned to action after serving five minutes for fighting.”


Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot knows when the brand new Alliance of American Football will have arrived. “When one of its franchises can hold a city hostage over a new stadium deal,” he writes.


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Trials and tribulations of WHL scout . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark Portland win . . . Some Saturday highlights, too


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With four weeks left in the WHL’s regular season, four teams have clinched playoff spots — the Prince Albert Raiders, Everett Silvertips, Vancouver Giants and Portland whlWinterhawks.

However, not one of the eight first-round playoff matchups has been set in stone.

The Raiders, for example, will finish atop the Eastern Conference, so will draw the second wild-card team. That slot will go to any one of seven teams.

The winner of the Central Division will get the first wild-card team, which obviously has yet to be decided. As for the division pennant winner, well, all five teams remain in the chase.

Although it’s not official, at least not mathematically, the Saskatoon Blades will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades are headed for a second-place finish in the East Division, with the Warriors in third.

In the Western Conference, only one team is assured of where it will finish — when it’s over, the Giants will be atop the B.C. Division.

Vancouver also is tied with Everett atop the conference standings, and the Giants hold a game in hand.

The Victoria Royals almost certainly will finish second in the B.C. Division — they are 20 points behind Vancouver and 10 points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets — but other than that it’s a roll of the dice.

Portland is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Silvertips and 10 ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

The Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Seattle Thunderbirds, Kelowna, and the Kamloops Blazers don’t yet know in which spots they will wind up.

The Prince George Cougars aren’t officially out of it, but they are 12 points from a playoff spot, riding a 15-game losing skid (0-11-4) and have only 12 games remaining.


So . . . you think you’d like to scout for a WHL team, do you?

Here’s an early Sunday evening posting on Facebook from Mike Fraser, the Everett EverettSilvertips’ head scout . . .

“The 10 things I’ve learned in my 12 hours (so far) at Saskatoon airport:

“1. Travelling in winter isn’t always made easier by flying instead of driving.

“2. When you are accommodating and agree to a 6:15 pm flight to help appease people going to Puerto Vallarta, the Flying Gods don’t necessarily have to make your 6:15 flight on time either (I’m now delayed two more hours).

“3. If your flight starts getting delayed in 5- or 10-minute increments starting 3-or-so hours before departure time, that’s a bad sign and start looking at other options.

“4. Trying to cancel a hotel room in Red Deer because you’re stuck in Saskatoon doesn’t mean the hotel in Red Deer won’t charge you.

“5. Guys need to stop texting while standing at a urinal….that’s just weird, and gross.

“6. I’ve now had 12 of my last 13 trips delayed, a dynasty not even Tom Brady can touch.

“7. Starbucks closes very early at Saskatoon airport.

“8. No matter how many times I see the Jets highlights from last night, they still lost.

“9. I’ve learned that one woman likes to tell her boyfriend when they can sleep together based on her “cycles.” No I didn’t ask, she told an entire section of us while on a very loud and apparently open phone call.

“10. I still refuse to drink Pilsner.

“Cheers my friends, here’s to hoping I get home tonight.”

Later Sunday, Fraser posted: “And we’re now cancelled . . . let’s try again tomorrow?”

To be continued . . .


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

Behind three goals and an assist from F Joachim Blichfeld, the Portland Winterhawks Portlandclinched a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (35-16-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips, who have a game in hand. . . . The Winterhawks, who will be in the playoffs for a 10th straight season, have 11 games remaining, but only three of them are at home. . . . Seattle (23-28-6) had won its previous two games. It is in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . The Thunderbirds went 2-1-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . With three games remaining, Portland leads the season series (6-2-0); Seattle is (2-5-1). . . . F Josh Paterson (21) broke a 1-1 tie at 16:26 of the first period, and Blichfeld took it from there, scoring Portland’s last three goals. . . . Blichfeld, who recorded his fourth career hat trick, leads the WHL in goals (48) and points (98), in 57 games. His third goal of the game was the 100th regular-season goal. . . . F Cody Glass, playing his second game in two nights after missing eight games with a knee injury, had the primary assist on each of Blichfeld’s goals. Glass has 68 points, including 54 assists, in 36 games. . . . Blichfeld scored once on the PP, once while shorthanded and once at even strength. . . . The Winterhawks were 2-3 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 1-2. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman scored his 32nd goal, on a PP, to run his goal-scoring streak to six games. . . . The Winterhawks had a 52-36 edge in shots. . . . G Josh Hofer stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius turned aside 47 shots. . . . Portland head coach Mike Johnston posted his 350th regular-season coaching victory. He is 19th on the WHL’s all-time list. . . . The Winterhawks will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours this afternoon when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan had a goal and four assists, and F Stelio Mattheos had three goals and an assist, as the host Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 6-3. . . . Brandon (26-22-7) has won three in a row and now is four points from the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot that is held by the Red Deer Rebels. . . . That second spot will mean a first-round clash with Prince Albert (46-8-3), which had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Raiders have lost two in a row for the first time this season. . . . On Friday, the Wheat Kings went into Prince Albert and won, 5-4 in OT. . . . G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason remain out of the Raiders’ lineup. . . . Brandon was 3-9 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-4. . . . Brandon got a goal and two assists from F Cole Reinhardt, while F Justin Nachbaur scored twice for the Raiders.


F Tate Popple scored twice, and F Brayden Tracey had a goal and two assists, helping the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (31-15-8) had lost its previous two games. The Warriors are second in the East Division and headed for a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (16-38-3) hasn’t lost 40 games in regulation-time since 2004-05 when it finished 12-50-10. . . . Regina F Austin Pratt was credited with his 22nd goal when the Warriors scored an own goal with a delayed penalty about to be called on the Pats. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft. He has 62 points, including 25 goals, in 54 games. . . . The Warriors were credited with a 47-19 edge in faceoffs. . . . It was Hall of Fame weekend in Moose Jaw as F Shawn Limpright and F Brian Sutherby, both of whom played four seasons (1998-2002) there, were inducted into the Warriors’ shrine.


The Saskatoon Blades solidified their hold on second place in the East Division with a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Saskatoon (37-13-8) has points in 13 straight games (11-0-2). It is second in the division, 13 points behind the Prince Albert Raiders and 12 up on the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold four games in hand. . . . Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are headed for a first-round playoff meeting. They will meet twice more this regular season — on March 5 in Moose Jaw and March 10 in Saskatoon. The Blades lead the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Lethbridge (29-16-10) had won its previous two games. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Four of Lethbridge’s last four games will be against Medicine Hat, starting with a home-and-home on Friday (Lethbridge) and Saturday (Medicine Hat).


F Mark Kastelic scored three goals to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (30-21-5) has won two in a row. . . . The Hitmen beat the visiting Tigers, 3-1, on Friday night. . . . Calgary is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Medicine Hat and three behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen continued to hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat (31-21-5) has lost three straight. . . . On Saturday, the Hitmen erased a 3-2 third-period deficit with the game’s last three goals. Kastelic had opened the game’s scoring with his 40th goal of the season in the first period. He added a pair of third-period PP goals, equalizing at 9:06 and adding insurance at 16:18. . . . In between, D Vladilsav Yeryomenko’s third goal, at 12:02, turned into the winner.


G David Tendeck stopped 22 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (39-13-3) has won seven in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals, who have 13 games remaining. . . . The Giants haven’t enjoyed a 40-victory regular season since 2011-12 when they finished 40-26-6. . . . Vancouver also is tied with the Everett Silvertips (39-14-3) for top spot in the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (23-28-5) has lost two in a row. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, 10 points behind Victoria and four ahead of the Kelowna Blazers, who hold two games in hand. . . . The Rockets left Sunday on their final multi-game road trip of the season; they’ll play a doubleheader in Victoria this afternoon and Tuesday night, then meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. . . . The Rockets have three games left with Vancouver, two of them in Langley, B.C., and two with the Portland Winterhawks, both in Kelowna. . . . Tendeck has three shutouts this season, matching his total from last season.


G Joel Hofer turned aside 25 shots as his Portland Winterhawks blanked the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 2-0. . . . Portland (34-16-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). After beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2, on Sunday, the Winterhawks, who are second in the U.S. Division, are five points behind the Everett Silvertips. Portland and Everett only have one game remaining with each other. . . . Red Deer (29-21-5) has lost two in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels are 1-2-1 on a U.S. Division swing that ends Tuesday night with a visit to the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich (10) scored the game’s first goal, just 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Portland’s second goal was an empty-netter off the stick of F Cody Glass (14). Glass was playing in his first game after suffering a knee injury on Jan. 26. He missed eight games. . . . Hofer has four career shutouts, two with the Swift Current Broncos and two since his trade to Portland.


F Kody McDonald scored two goals in regulation time and one in a shootout as the Victoria Royals beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. . . . One night earlier, the Royals won, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . Victoria (29-23-3) has won two in a row. It is second in the B.C. Division, 20 points behind the Vancouver Giants and 10 in front of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (16-33-7) has lost 15 in a row (0-11-4). The Cougars are 12 points from a playoff spot with 12 games remaining. They are fifth in the B.C. Division, 12 points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Prince George also is 13 points from a wild-cardspot. . . . McDonald, 20, played the first 232 games of his WHL career with the Cougars, who dealt him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him from the Raiders earlier this season. . . . McDonald, who has 15 goals, gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 0:51 of the third period, then forced OT with a goal at 17:03. . . . He won the game when he closed out the third round of the shootout with a goal. . . . F Carson Miller, who was part of the Prince Albert-Victoria deal that included McDonald, also had two goals for the Royals, with F Josh Maser scoring twice for the Cougars. Those were Miller’s first goals with Victoria since the trade.


G Roddy Ross stopped 46 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . If you’re new here, Seattle plays its home games in Kent. . . . Seattle (23-27-6) is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . Everett (39-14-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett also is tied with the Vancouver Giants for top spot in the Western Conference. The Giants (39-13-3) have a game in hand. . . . Everett and Seattle combined for 110 penalty minutes, 96 of them in the game’s final 13 seconds. . . . You’re right. These teams don’t like each other, and they still have to play each other three more times. . . . This also could be a first-round playoff matchup. Everett leads the season series, 6-1-0; Seattle is 1-5-1. . . . F Matthew Wedman had a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds on Saturday. He’s got 62 points, 31 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . This was Everett’s third game in fewer than 48 hours. They dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Thursday night, in a game that was rescheduled from Wednesday, then beat the Rockets, 3-1, in Kelowna on Friday. . . . The Silvertips will make it five games in six days by playing a doubleheader in Prince George on Monday afternoon and Tuesday night.


F Kyle Olson scored three times and added an assist to help the Tri-City Americans to a 7-5 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (31-20-3) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane and with a game in hand. . . . Spokane (30-19-6) has lost two straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, eight points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each had a goal and two assists for Tri-City. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and and assist from freshman F Adam Beckman. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, Beckman has 48 points, 25 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm may have been five times, but he still came up with 45 saves.


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