A Punch for Team Canada? . . . Hitmen welcome Nielsen back . . . Flodell stones Blazers . . . Neuls leads Thunderbirds


Could Ernie (Punch) McLean help out as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championship that is to be shared between Victoria and Vancouver?

Hey, why not?

McLean told Rick Dhaliwal of NEWS 1130 and Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver that, according to Dhaliwal, he “is planning to apply . . . because it is being held in Vancouver.”

“The worse thing they can say is no,” McLean told Dhaliwal. “I want to help these kids.”

McLean has WJC experience, having been Team Canada’s coach in 1978 (Montreal) and 1979 (Sweden). Canada wound up third in Montreal and fifth in Sweden.

McLean, 85, is the fifth-winningest coach in WHL regular-season, having run the Esteven Bruins and New Westminster Bruins.

D Kade Jensen of the Victoria Royals will sit for four games after taking a cross-checking whlmajor and game misconduct at the end of a 5-4 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Saturday night. Jensen hit Kamloops D Luke Zazula during the play in question. . . . On Dec. 10, Jensen drew a three-game suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a game with the host Prince George Cougars. . . . He also drew one- and two-game suspensions in 2015-16. . . . Jensen will miss tonight’s game in Portland and also will sit out games against host Vancouver (Friday and Jan. 26) and in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . The Royals are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna and two behind Vancouver.

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At Calgary, F Tristen Nielsen returned from a 20-game absence to help the Hitmen to a 6-5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (14-25-6) had lost its previous four Calgarygames. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, seven points behind Kootenay. . . . Saskatoon (22-21-3) has lost two in a row and holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Nielsen, who was out with a wrist injury, had a goal and an assist. He also came up short on a second-period penalty shot. . . . F Braylon Shmyr gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:34 of the first period. . . . F Riley Stotts (11) got Calgary into a tie, at 13:16. . . . The Blades went back out front when F Brandon Machado scored his first WHL goal, at 3:28 of the second period. . . . Calgary took a 3-2 lead on second-period goals from F Jakob Stukel (21), at 4:08, and Nielsen (8), at 11:26. . . . Shmyr (24) got Saskatoon back into a tie, on a PP, at 15:49. . . . Calgary took control with the next three goals. . . . D Vladislav Yeryomenko (10) counted, on a PP, at 17:38 of the second. F Hunter Campbell (4) added a goal at 9:20 of the third period, and F Jake Kryski (10) made it 6-3 at 10:02. . . . Saskatoon made it interesting when F Chase Wouters (12) scored, on a PP, at 13:21, and F Max Gerlach got his 20th goal, at 16:53. . . . Kryski and Stotts each had two assists for Calgary, with Stukel adding one. . . . The Blades got three assists from D Jackson Caller, two from Wouters, and one from Shmyr. . . . Saskatoon was 3-5 on the PP; Calgary was 1-4. . . . Calgary got 22 stops from G Nick Schneider. At the other end, Nolan Maier made 23 saves. . . . F Mark Kastelic was among Calgary’s scratches, while Saskatoon scratched D Mark Rubinchik. Both have undisclosed injuries. . . . All told, the two teams combined to scratch nine injured players. . . . Announced attendance: 4,868.

At Kamloops, G Logan Flodell stopped 37 shots to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . Lethbridge (21-19-3) has won four in a row. It is second in Lethbridgethe Central Division, seven points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kamloops (18-23-3) has lost three in a row and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Lethbridge got out to a 3-0 lead on goals from F Taylor Ross (13), at 1:23 of the first period, F Brad Morrison (15), at 17:45, and F Zane Franklin, at 12:36 of the second period. . . . Morrison’s goal was the 100th of his career. . . . Kamloops got close on two third-period goals from F Jermaine Loewen, at 12:06 and 9:21, the latter on a PP. . . . Loewen has 20 goals in 38 games this season. He went into the season with 14 goals in 170 games. He also has five goals over his past three games. . . . Franklin put it away with his second goal of the game, and 13th of the season, into an empty net at 18:38. . . . Franklin added an assist to his two goals, with Morrison adding two assists to his one score. . . . Lethbridge also got two assists from F Jordy Bellerive. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . Flodell’s evening included one particular 10-bell save in the third period, when he got across and caught a puck with his blocker hand, taking what appeared to be a sure goal away from F Quinn Benjafield. . . . The Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . Announced attendance: 3,472.

At Prince George, F Donovan Neuls scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Seattle (21-16-6) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). It Seattlenow holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Spokane. . . . Add a victory to the above tweet that was posted before the game. . . . Prince George (17-21-7) is fourth in the B.C. Division, six points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Max Kryski (4) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. . . . Seattle took control by scoring the next four goals. . . . F Donovan Neuls tied it at 8:37, with F Nolan Volcan (19) giving Seattle the lead at 19:29. . . . D Austin Strand (15) added insurance at 8:26 of the second period and Neuls (16) scored at 9:00. . . . F Jackson Leppard (11) got Prince George’s other goal, on a PP, at 18:30. . . . F Blake Bargar (8) got Seattle’s last goal, into an empty net, at 18:54. . . . Strand added an assist to his goal. . . . Volcan’s goal has him with 45 points in 43 games, one more than he had in 64 games last season. . . . Prince George was 1-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-3. . . . G Dorrin Luding, who is from Prince George, earned the victory, with 28 saves. . . . The Cougars got 29 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . With G Liam Hughes out with an undisclosed injury, Seattle brought in Cole Schwebius, 16, to back up Luding. From Kelowna, Schwebius plays for the major midget Okanagan Rockets. Seattle selected him in the 10th round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Before the game, the Cougars added F Edge Lambert, 16, to their roster. He was a seventh-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 13 goals and 13 assists in 28 games with his hometown midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. . . . Lambert didn’t play last night, but is expected to be in the lineup in tonight’s rematch. . . . Announced attendance: 2,474.

WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Portland, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Brandon at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


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