Wheat Kings end Blades’ run . . . Heponiemi returns in big way . . . Silvertips back on top in U.S.

A LITTLE OF THIS …

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, wasn’t back with the team in time to work the bench on Saturday night as they beat the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-2.

Hunter spent most of the past month as an assistant coach with the Canadian national MooseJawWarriorsjunior team that won the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He is expected back on the bench Wednesday when the Warriors are scheduled to play host to the Hitmen.

In his absence, assistant coach Mark O’Leary served as head coach.

With O’Leary in charge, the Warriors went 8-1-1, losing 5-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 15 and dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to the host Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 27.

Since that loss, the Warriors have posted six straight regulation-time victories. They now lead the WHL’s overall standings by eight points over Swift Current.

Of course, Hunter also worked as an assistant coach with Team Canada last season. While he was away, O’Leary took over and the Warriors were 7-3-2 with him in charge.

In two stints as acting head coach, then, O’Leary is 15-4-3, which is rather good in any league.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added D Trevor Longo, 17, to their roster. From North Vancouver, B.C., Longo was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. He was pointless in four games with the Tigers earlier this season, and has three assists in 17 games with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Meanwhile, the Kootenay Ice has returned F Holden Kodak, 16, to the Yale Hockey Academy where is plays for the midget prep team in the CSSHL. From Cloverdale, B.C., he was an 11th-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. Kodak was pointless in two games with the Ice.


F Wyatt Sloboshan, who spent the past three-plus seasons in the WHL, has been added the roster of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Sloboshan, 20, didn’t return to the Regina Pats after the Christmas break. . . . Sloboshan, from Vanscoy, Sask., had four goals and 11 assists in 36 games with Regina this season. . . . He also has played with the Saskatoon Blades — he was their captain when last season started — and the Spokane Chiefs. The Swift Current Broncos selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft, although he never played for them. . . . in 219 regular-season WHL games, he has 44 goals and 77 assists.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the last two minutes of the third period to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-3. . . . Brandon (27-12-1) has won two in a row. It is third in BrandonWKregularthe East Division, and the overall standings, six points behind Swift Current. . . . Saskatoon (21-18-3) had won its previous seven games and 10 of 11. It is tied with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff spots. . . . Brandon went out front 1-0 when F Ty Lewis scored, while shorthanded, at 9:58 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (21) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 17:56. . . . However, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the period’s last 90 seconds to take a 3-1 lead. F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored at 18:30 and F Tanner Kaspick (12) followed at 19:13. . . . The Blades fought back and tied it on two goals from F Chase Wouters, at 15:42 of the second and 11:12 of the third. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Lewis broke the tie with his 23rd goal of the season at 18:04, and F Stelio Mattheos (29) got the empty-netter at 18:51. . . . The Wheat Kings got two assists from F Evan Weinger and one each from Mattheos, Lewis and Kaspick. . . . D Jackson Caller had three assists for Saskatoon and Shmyr had one. . . . Saskatoon was 0-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-5. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 15 shots to earn the victory over Ryan Kubic, who turned aside 25 shots. . . . Kubic was making his first appearance since Dec. 16. . . . The Blades, who were outshot 12-3 in the third period, were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, including a 4-2 victory over visiting Kootenay on Saturday. The Wheat Kings didn’t play on Saturday. . . . Saskatoon D Libor Hajek didn’t make the trek to Brandon, the coaching staff no doubt deciding to give him some rest. He played for Czech Republic at the WJC and was back in Saskatoon in time to play in Saturday’s victory over Kootenay. . . . Announced attendance: 3,051.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi had four points, all via the PP, as the Broncos beat the Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . Swift Current (29-10-3) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It SCBroncosremains second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (10-22-9) has lost eight in a row (0-4-4). . . . The Broncos didn’t have F Tyler Steenbergen, the hero of Canada’s victory at the World Junior Championship, back in their lineup, but Heponiemi returned from his stint with Finland to score once and set up three otyhers. . . . He opened the scoring at 5:14 of the first period. . . . F Kristian Reichel (15), in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, scored for Red Deer, on a PP, at 7:55. . . . F Matteo Gennaro broke the tie, scoring twice, at 8:21 and 15:07. He’s got 28 goals and has scored twice in three straight games. He has 14 goals and 15 assists in 17 games since moving over from Calgary. . . . Broncos D Artyom Minulin scored his club’s other two goals, at 18:56 of the first period and 6:11 of the third. He’s got seven goals. . . . D Colby Sissons drew three assists for the winners, with F Glenn Gawdin getting two and Gennaro one. . . . The Broncos were 4-6 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-5. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 19 shots for the Broncos. . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb surrendered four goals on 17 shots in the first period. Ethan Anders played the final two periods, stopping 13 of 14 shots. . . . The Rebels were playing their third game in three cities in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1. . . . The Broncos went 2-0-1 in their three-game weekend, with the first game on the road and the last two at home. . . . Announced attendance: 2,557.


At Regina, the Pats scored 37 seconds into the game and then added three third-period goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Regina (21-19-3) and Saskatoon are tied ReginaPats100for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . Prince Albert (15-18-8) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Raiders are seven points behind Regina and Saskatoon. . . . F Robbie Holmes (10) scored Regina’s first goal. . . . In the third period, the Pats opened up a 4-0 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn, at 3:12; F Bryan Lockner (7), at 9:56; and Leschychyn (14), into an empty net, at 13:32. Yes, 13:32. . . . F Parker Kelly (18) scored Prince Albert’s goal, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Leschyshyn added an assist to his two goals. . . . Prince Albert was 1-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-6. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 28 shots for the winners, seven fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The first two games were played at home. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle, acquired by Regina from Prince George on Friday, officially has been assigned to the Pats by the NHL’s Boston Bruins, but he didn’t play on Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 6,310.


At Calgary, F Marek Skvrne broke a 1-1 tie at 10:42 of the third period as the Kelowna Rockets beat the Hitmen, 3-1. . . . Kelowna (25-12-3) leads the Western Conference by two KelownaRocketspoints over Vancouver. . . . Calgary now is 13-22-6. . . . F Mark Kastelic (14) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:54 of the first period. . . . D James Hilsendager (6), on a PP, got the Rockets into a 1-1 tie at 16:32 of the second period. . . . Skvrne, a freshman from Czech Republic, scored his second goal of the season and it proved to be the winner. He now has two goals and an assist in 37 games. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate (9) got the empty-netter, at 19:45. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-8. . . . The Rockets got 21 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots at the other end. . . . The Hitmen went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Carson Focht and F Dakota Krebs, who were part of a Saturday trade in which D Jake Bean went to the Tri-City Americans, both were in Calgary’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,687.


At Everett, F Patrick Bajkov had a goal and four assists to lead the Silvertips to a 9-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Everett (24-16-2) had lost its previous two games. It Everettmoved back into first place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland and Tri-City. . . . Victoria (23-16-4) had won its past two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, a point behind Vancouver. . . . Everett got out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Connor Dewar at 0:24 and F Bryce Kindopp at 11:40. . . . The Royals tied it as D Jared Freadrich (10) scored, on a PP, at 12:30, and D Chaz Reddekopp (6) counted 52 seconds into the second period. . . . F Kyle Walker’s first goal, at 7:10, put Everett back out front, but Victoria F tyler Soy (19) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:12. . . . The Silvertips then scored the next six goals, with Kindopp (13), F Sean Richards (16) and Dewar (16) making it 6-3 before the second period ended. . . . F Matt Fonteyne added two third-period goals — he’s got 22 — and Bakjov got No. 21. All three of those goals came via the PP. . . . F Andrei Grishakov (13) scored Victoria’s last goal, on a PP. . . . Bajkov’s goal was the 100th of his career. He is in his fifth season with Everett; the goal came in game No. 312. . . . Everett got three assists from D Kevin Davis, two each from Fonteyne and D Wyatte Wylie, and one from Richards. . . . Reddekopp, Freadrich and Soy had an assist each for Victoria. . . . Soy’s assist was the 151st of his career, tying the Victoria/Chilliwack record that had been set by F Brandon Magee. . . . The Royals took 91 of the game’s 136 penalty minutes. . . . Everett was 5-9 on the PP; Victoria was 2-6. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . The Victoria duo of starter Dean McNabb and Griffen Outhouse combined to stop 50 of 59 shots. . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The Royals played at home Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday, while the Silvertips were in Victoria and then at home. The Royals, who beat visiting Everett 5-0 on Friday, went 2-0-0, while the Silvertips were 1-2-0. . . . Announced attendance: 3,958.


At Kamloops, F Parker AuCoin had a goal and two assists as the Tri-City Americans skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Tri-City (22-12-5) has won two in a row. It is TriCity30tied with Portland for second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (17-20-3) is 1-1-1 in its last three and now is eight points out of a playoff spot. The Blazers were playing their first game without F Garrett Pilon, their leading scorer, who was traded, along with D Ondrej Vala, to Everett earlier in the day. . . . The Americans got out to a 3-0 lead. . . . AuCoin (11) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:42 of the first period. . . . D Tyler Jette, playing in his first WHL game, made it 2-0 at 5:03 of the second period, and F Jordan Topping (21) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 14:56. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (11) scored for Kamloops at 18:22. . . . F Sasha Mutala (6) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Tri-City F Max James, 20, had two assists and was the game’s second star. He is from Kamloops and this likely was the last WHL game he will play in his hometown as the Americans aren’t scheduled there again this season. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 32 shots for the Americans, while the Blazers got 23 stops from Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Americans completed a three-game weekend that began with two games in Prince George. They wound up 2-1-0. . . . The Americans were without F Kyle Olson (hamstring), F Morgan Geekie, who took a high hit on Saturday in Prince George, D Juuso Valimaki (undisclosed injury), F Michael Rasmussen (wrist) and D Jake Bean, who was acquired Saturday from Calgary, so brought in D Tom Cadieux, 15, and Jette, 19. . . . Cadieux, from Saskatoon, was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He has three goals and eight assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Jette, from Farmington, Minn., was with the Americans in training camp prior to 2016-17 but suffered a concussion and sat out the season. He recently returned to playing, now with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders with whom he has one assist in four games. . . . Announced attendance: 3,215.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TWEET OF THE DAY

They celebrated memories in Vernon, B.C., on Saturday night as the BCHL’s Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings played the final hockey game in the Civic Centre. The 80-year-old facility is scheduled for demolition. . . . That’s old friend Mark Ferner, the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach, looking every bit the part of Toe Blake in the tweet below.

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