A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The WHL came under fire from two former players who appeared in front of Oregon’s Senate Committee on Workforce on Tuesday, reports TSN’s Rick Westhead. The Portland Winterhawks are seeking an exemption from the state’s minimum wage legislation. At a hearing on that subject, former WHL players Tyler Maxwell and James McEwan argued, according to Westhead, that “the WHL is a professional league and its teams are for-profit businesses.” . . . Maxwell played four seasons (2008-12) in the WHL, the first three-plus with the Everett Silvertips and the last 47 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Maxwell, Westhead wrote, told the committee “that he was given excellent school grades in exchange for autographed pucks, and was refused an X-ray for days and forced to play in games after breaking a kneecap.” . . . Maxwell said he played with the injury for seven games. “I was still scoring so they didn’t care what shape I was in,” he said. . . . As for McEwan, according to Westhead, he testified “that he has navigated bankruptcy and battled depression without the support of his former teams or the WHL.” McEwan played two seasons each with the Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds, fighting at least 72 times over four seasons (2004-08). . . . Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, informed the Oregon State Senate via letter that it is reviewing “the statements with the WHL clubs concerned.”
Westhead’s complete story is right here.
Maxwell’s testimony is right here.
Other than a 20-minute delay at one point, the Vancouver Giants made it over the Coquihalla Highway to Kamloops in good shape on Friday.
But shortly after they arrived at the Sandman Centre, the Highway from Hell was shut down in both directions due to an accident.
Then, early in the first period of the Giants’ game with the Blazers, came word that the highway likely wouldn’t be open again until at least midnight.
During the warmup and the early minutes of the first period, Derek Holloway, the Giants’ bus driver, was glued to his phone and also getting highway updates from a friendly blogger seated next to him. Holloway also was in close contact with Giants general manager Glen Hanlon, who hadn’t travelled with the team.
The highway has been closed on numerous occasions of late due to accidents, and upon hearing that it wasn’t likely to reopen before midnight, Hanlon quickly gave Holloway the OK to park the bus and for the Giants to spend the night in a hotel.
The Giants and Blazers will both be on the Coquihalla today, though, as they are scheduled to play in Langley tonight.
F Liam Stewart, who played four seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, has had his 2017-18 ended by a concussion. The 23-year-old Stewart, who has been playing for the Guildford Flames of the Elite Ice Hockey League, had been sidelined for almost two months due to the brain injury. He posted on Twitter that he “tried coming back against Sheffield but the symptoms came right back.” . . . The result, he wrote, is that “I’ve decided to do what’s best for my health and well-being and hang up my skates for the rest of the season.” . . . He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games with the Flames. . . . Stewart’s decision means that he won’t be playing for Great Britain at the IIHF World Chamionship, Division 1 Group A, in Budapest, Hungary, April 22-28.
Stan Butler, the head coach of the North Bay Battalion, joined the OHL’s 700-victory club on Friday with a 2-1 victory over the host Mississauga Steelheads. . . . Butler has 630 victories with the Battalion (Brampton and North Bay) and 70 with the Oshawa Generals. He also spent one season in the WHL, with the Prince George Cougars, winning 28 games in 1996-97.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Regina at Medicine Hat
Brandon at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
At Swift Current, the Prince Albert Raiders scored twice in a shootout to beat the Broncos, 5-4. . . . Prince Albert (28-25-11) has won five straight and now holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Swift Current (45-14-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . The Broncos actually led this one 4-1 midway through the second period. . . . The home side took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kaden Elder (14), on a PP, at 3:49, and F Giorgio Estephan, at 14:45. . . . D Sergio Sapego (3) got the visitors on the scoreboard at 4:07 of the second period. . . . The Broncos took a 4-1 lead right after that, on goals from F Matteo Gennaro (39), at 5:38, and Estephan (30) at 6:52. . . . D Brayden Pachal (5) cut the Prince Albert deficit to a pair at 13:36. . . . The Raiders tied it on third-period goals from D Vojtech Budik (12), on a PP, at 16:29, and F Jordy Stallard (41), at 18:54, with the extra attacker on the ice. . . . Gennaro scored in the shootout to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead, but the Raiders won it on goals from F Regan Nagy and F Parker Kelly. . . . Stallard added two assists to his goal for the Raiders, with F Cole Fonstad also getting two assists and Sapego one. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos, with Gennaro getting one. . . . Prince Albert was 2-6 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-5. . . . G Ian Scott started for the Raiders, but he left after giving up three goals on 13 shots in 25:38. Curtis Meger finished up by stopping 22 of 23 shots in 38:21. . . . G Stuart Skinner made 34 saves for the Broncos. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.
At Saskatoon, F Jake Elmer scored the game’s last two goals as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Blades, 5-3. . . . Lethbridge (32-25-6) has won three straight. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (31-30-3) has lost three in a row. It is two points from a playoff spot. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (34) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 9:58 of the first period. . . . F Taylor Ross, who now has 20 goals, scored two second-period goals, at 0:49 and 2:11, to give Lethbridge a 2-1 edge. . . . F Bradly Goethals (15) got Saskatoon back even at 9:42. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (44) scored shorthanded at 7:32 of the third period to put the Hurricanes ahead. . . . F Eric Florchuk (14) got the Blades back into a tie at 10:26. . . . Elmer snapped the tie at 14:11, then added an empty-netter at 18:51. He now has 17 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from D Calen Addison, with Elmer and Bellerive adding one each. . . . Goethals added an assist to his goal. . . . Lethbridge was 1-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-6. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 43 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades got 27 stops from G Nolan Maier. . . . D Dawson Davidson was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after a brief absence. . . . Announced attendance: 3,988.
At Brandon, F Ty Lewis scored three times to lead the Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Brandon (34-25-5) moved into third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Moose Jaw (47-14-3) leads the overall standings, by one point over Swift Current. . . . Lewis opened the scoring, on a PP, at 7:48 of the first period. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (38), who assisted on that first goal, made it 2-0 at 11:33. . . . Lewis added his second goal at 14:51. . . . F Barrett Sheen (5) scored for Moose Jaw at 15:30 of the first and F Justin Almeida (37) got the visitors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:35 of the third. . . . Lewis completed his hat trick at 12:49. He’s got 39 goals. He also has seven goals over his past three games. . . . Brandon was 1-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Logan Thompson was outstanding for Brandon, with 41 saves. . . . G Brody Willms was beaten twice on six shots in 11:33, before he was replaced by Adam Evanoff, who went 46:39 and turned aside 13 of 15 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,656.
At Edmonton, F Colton Kehler scored 18 seconds into OT to give the Oil Kings a 4-3 victor over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (19-37-8) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It is last in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (19-35-9) has lost four straight (0-2-2). . . . Calgary led this one 3-0 in the second period. . . . F Zach Huber (1) got it started at 11:16 of the first period. The Hitmen then got second-period goals from F Jake Kryski (15), at 1:20, and F Jakob Stukel (32), at 4:25. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky (28) got the comeback started, shorthanded, at 9:09 of the second. . . . F Kobe Mohr (9) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal, on a PP, at 2:17 of the third period. . . . F Tomas Soustal (18) tied it at 19:25. . . . Kehler won it on a PP with his 27th goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen had a chance to go ahead 4-2 at 18:56 of the third period when F Luke Coleman was awarded a penalty. But he wasn’t able to score. . . . Edmonton was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 stops from G Josh Dechaine. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 25 shots for Calgary. . . . Earlier in the day, the Oil Kings announced that they have added F Jake Neighbours to their roster for the remainder of the season, but he was a scratch from this one. From Airdrie, Alta., he was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he had 26 goals and 31 assists in 33 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. In three earlier games with the Oil Kings, he had one assist. . . . Announced attendance: 10,431.
At Red Deer, F Mason McCarty scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Rebels a 5-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Red Deer (24-28-13) had won three in a row. It is third in the Central Division and now leads Kootenay (25-37-4) by seven points. The Ice, with six games left, has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . Red Deer took a 1-0 lead when F Alex Morozoff (6) scored, on a PP, at 8:30 of the first period. . . . F Colton Kroeker (13) tied it at 10:59. . . . Red Deer took a 3-1 lead on second-period goals from McCarty (35), at 3:52, and F Reese Johnson (21), at 14:16. . . . The Ice tied it as F Michael King (8) scored at 16:23 of the second and F Colton Veloso (24) found the range any 15:29 of the third. . . . F Chris Douglas (9) put Red Deer out front, 4-3, at 16:43, only to have F Brett Davis (24) pull Kootenay even at 19:02. . . . The Rebels got two assists from F Brandon Hagel and one from McCarty. . . . F Peyton Krebs had two assists for the Ice. . . . Red Deer was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-2. . . . G Riley Lamb recorded the victory with 27 saves. . . . Kootenay got 13 stops from Matt Berlin. . . . Red Deer was credited with two shots in the third period and three in OT. . . . The Rebels were without D Alex Alexeyev (hand), who left in the third period of their previous game and didn’t return. He could be gone for up to six weeks. . . . Announced attendance: 4,324.
At Kamloops, F Luc Smith scored twice to help the Blazers to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (29-32-5) has won two in a row but remains six points from a playoff spot. . . . Vancouver (32-22-9) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . F Ryley Appelt (4) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period, and F Connor Zary; (8) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 5:42 of the second period. . . . Smith upped it to 3-0 at 0:40 of the third period. . . . Vancouver got its goal from F Ty Ronning (55) at 7:34. . . . Smith (19) scored at 13:05 of the third, and D Brady Reagan (2) closed it out at 15:07. . . . F Jermaine Loewen had two assists for the winners, and Smith and Reagan each added one. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Blazers got 30 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who was sharp again. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots at the other end. . . . Kamloops continues to play without D Luke Zazula, whose return this season is in doubt. They also scratched D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . The Giants continue to play without D Dylan Plouffe, F Owen Hardy and F Milos Roman. . . . Announced attendance: 3,479.
At Portland, F Zack Andrusiak, who had two goals and two assists in regulation time, scored a shootout goal that gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (30-24-9) has won two in a row to remain six points ahead of Kamloops in the chase for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Thunderbirds hold three games in hand. . . . Portland (38-20-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of Spokane. . . . Andrusiak gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 14:27 of the first period, but Portland F Ty Kolle (6) tied it at 17:17. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead with the only goals of the second period, from Andrusiak (29), at 2:13, and F Donovan Neuls (21), at 8:19. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 4-3 third-period leads on goals from F Cody Glass (31), on a PP, at 9:47; F Joachim Blichfeld (22), at 9:53; and F Ryan Hughes (15), at 12:31. . . . Seattle forced OT when F Noah Philp (13) scored at 15:58. . . . Andrusiak and Philp scored shootout goals for Seattle, with Glass scoring for Portland. . . . Philp also had two assists, with Neuls getting one. . . . Philp has 45 points, including 13 goals, in 63 games with Seattle this season. In 132 games with Kootenay, prior to this season, he had 41 points, 14 of them goals. . . . Andrusiak has 63 points, including 29 goals, in 63 games. He went into this season with six goals and five assists in 67 games — 52 with Seattle, eight with Prince Albert and seven with Tri-City. . . . Portland got two assists from D Henri Jokiharju and one from Glass. . . . The Winterhawks were 1-1 on the PP; Seattle was 0-3. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 36 shots through OT for Seattle. . . . The Winterhawks got 29 saves from G Cole Kehler. He started after watching G Shane Farkas go the distance in the previous three games. . . . Seattle had F Sami Moilanen back in the lineup after a 14-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 6,124.
At Prince George, D Ryan Schoettler’s goal in OT gave the Cougars a 2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (23-33-8) has won three straight games. . . . Victoria (35-24-6) has lost four in a row (0-3-1), but the loser point was enough for it to clinch a playoff spot for the seventh consecutive season — or each season since the franchise relocated from Chilliwack. It is second in the B.C. Division, six points behind Kelowna. . . . Prince George D Joel Lakusta (8) scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 5:00 of the third period. . . . Victoria tied it at 8:07 when F Noah Gregor scored his 26th goal, on a PP. . . . Schoettler won it with his seventh goal of the season, at 4:04 of extra time. . . . Victoria had F Tyler Soy and F Matthew Phillips back in the lineup, after both sat out Wednesday’s 5-1 loss in Kamloops. . . . Phillips drew an assist on Gregor’s goal, giving him 101 points this season. That ties the Chilliwack/Victoria franchise record that was set by F Mark Santorelli in 2007-08. . . . Victoria was 1-4 on the PP; Prince George was 1-9. . . . The Cougars got 32 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . At the other end, G Griffen Outhouse, who also sat out the game in Kamloops, stopped 36 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,035.
At Kennewick, Wash., F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s goal in OT gave the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (37-21-5) has won four in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, six points ahead of Tri-City. . . . Tri-City (32-22-9) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . Spokane jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ethan McIndoe (21), on a PP, at 9:03 of the first period. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk (4) upped it to 2-0 just 36 seconds later. . . . The Americans scored the next three goals, with F Jordan Topping (36) counting at 12:29, F Morgan Geekie (24) scoring at 19:10, and D Dylan Coghlan (17) adding the third goal at 5:00 of the second period. . . . The Chiefs tied it on D Filip Kral’s seventh goal, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Tri-City F Morgan Geekie (25) gave his guys the lead 50 seconds into the third period. . . . Spokane F Jake McGrew (17) tied it at 5:35. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 35th goal at 3:51 of OT. . . . D Nolan Reid and F Hudson Elynuik each had two assists for the Chiefs, with Anderson-Dolan adding one. . . . Topping added an assist to his goal. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 36 shots for the Chiefs, three more than Tai-City’s Patrick Dea. . . . Announced attendance: 4,345.
At Everett, the Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Everett (42-18-5) leads the Western Conference standings, by seven points over Kelowna. . . . Kelowna (38-21-6) has lost three in a row. . . . The Rockets led 2-0 on goals from F Carsen Twarynski (39), at 12:51 of the first period, and F Kole Lind (36), at 5:17 of the second. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (32) scored Everett’s first goal at 18:41. . . . The Silvertips tied it on F Patrick Bajkov’s 29th goal at 11:39 of the third period. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar broke the tie at 16:51, then added insurance with his 34th goal, on a PP, at 19:11. . . . F Garrett Pilon drew two assists for Everett, with Fonteyne getting one. . . . Bajkov’s goal was the 108th of his career and gave him the franchise record. That’s one more than F Tyler Maxwell scored with Everett. . . . The Silvertips were 1-4 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-1. . . . G Carter Hart recorded a 22-save victory. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 36 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 5,778.
SATURDAY (all times local):
Saskatoon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Regina at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kamloops vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.
Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.