A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The WHL’s regular season will reach a conclusion today with three games, none of which will have any bearing on the final standings.
The final matchups were finalized on Saturday night, so the first round of the playoffs will look like this . . .
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw: The Warriors, who finished atop the overall standings, open at home Friday against the Raiders, who wound up in the conference’s second wild-card spot.
Brandon at Medicine Hat: The Central Division-winning Tigers start at home on Friday against the Wheat Kings, who finished in the conference’s first wild-card spot. Brandon will morph into the Dauphin Wheat Kings as its home games will be played in Dauphin, Man.
Regina at Swift Current: The Broncos, who ended up second in the East Division, draw the third-place Pats in the first round. They’ll get started in Swift Current on Friday.
Red Deer at Lethbridge: The Hurricanes placed second in the Central Division and will start at home against the third-place Rebels on Friday.
Seattle at Everett: The Silvertips finished first in the Western Conference, so they also led the U.S. Division. They will clash with the arch-rival Seattle Thunderbirds, who ended up in the conference’s second wild-card spot. That series opens Friday in Everett. . . . The Thunderbirds will close out their regular season today in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans.
Tri-City at Kelowna: The Rockets won the B.C. Division, so will play the first wild-card team, which is the Americans. This will be the first series to get rolling as it starts Thursday in Kelowna.
Spokane at Portland: The Winterhawks placed second in the U.S. Division and will open at home on Saturday against the third-place Chiefs. They also will play this evening in Portland to wrap up their regular-season schedules.
Vancouver at Victoria: The Royals are the B.C. Division’s second-place team, so they draw the third-place Giants in a first round that is scheduled to open Friday in Victoria.
At Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4 in a shootout. . . . Brandon (40-27-5) has won three in a row. It will meet the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-5) has points in five straight (3-0-2). The Warriors will go up against the Prince Albert Raiders in the opening round. . . . Moose Jaw went 5-2-1 in the season series; Brandon was 3-5-0. . . . The Warriors led 4-0 halfway through the second period. They got two first-period goals from F Branden Klatt, who has seven, and one from F Tanner Jeannot in first period and another at 6:17 of the second. The fourth goal, scored while shorthanded, was Jeannot’s 40th of the season. . . . F Evan Weinger (31) started Brandon’s comeback at 11:42 of the second. . . . F Luka Burzan, who came over from Moose Jaw in January, made it 4-2 at 13:49. . . . F Ty Lewis (44) scored, on a PP, at 7:36 of the third period to get the home boys to within one. That goal also gave him 100 points this season. . . . Burzan’s second goal, and 15th of the season, tied the score at 18:53. . . . Burzan then scored in the sixth round of the shootout to beat his former team. . . . Brandon got two assists from F Connor Gutenberg, with Lewis adding one. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Tracey picked up two first-period assists for his first WHL points. Tracey, from Calgary, was playing in his fifth game. He was a first-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . F Brett Howden also had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs of the Warriors wasn’t able to score — he was stopped on two overtime breakaways — so finished the season with 70 goals, which means he shares the franchise’s single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum (1988-89). . . . Halbgewachs finished with 129 points, so he will lead the WHL in goals and points this season. . . . Brandon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 17 shots for Brandon. . . . At the other end, Adam Evanoff made 30 saves. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke missed his seventh straight game. D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their fourth consecutive games, and D Kale Clague sat out his second straight game. F Barrett Sheen completed a four-game suspension . . . Announced attendance: 5,621.
At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen scored in OT to give the Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Swift Current (48-18-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . Regina (40-25-7) finished with points in its last eight games (7-0-1). . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Friday in Swift Current. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 5-0-1. The Pats were 1-4-1. . . . D Aaron Hyman (3) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 17:51 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it as F Kaden Elder (18) scored at 18:57. . . . The Pats went back out front at 12:27 of the second period when F Jared Legien (23) scored, on a PP. . . . The Broncos tied it again at 14:45 with F Beck Malenstyn (17) finding the range. . . . Steenbergen, who also had an assist, won it with No. 47, at 0:32 of OT. . . . Regina was 1-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-4. . . . The Broncos got 30 saves from G Stuart Skinner, while Regina’s Ryan Kubic stopped 31. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin returned from an illness-related injury on Friday night in Regina, but was scratched from this one. . . . The Broncos also were missing F Tanner Nagel, who completed a three-game suspension, and F Andrew Fyten, who drew a TBD suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct — he hit Regina D Libor Hajek — during Friday’s game. . . . Among Regina’s scratches were G Max Paddock, Hajek, D Josh Mahura, F Sam Steel, F Koby Morrisseau and F Cam Hebig. . . . The game was delayed in the third period after Regina F Matt Bradley broke a pane of glass. Presumably the WHL will be launching a thorough investigation in the interest of player safety to see why the glass was repaired with tape and not replaced. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.
At Saskatoon, F Max Gerlach scored three times to lead the Blades to a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (35-33-4) won its last three games but didn’t make the playoffs. . . . Prince Albert (32-27-13) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and meet the first-place Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . The Blades won the season series with Prince Albert, 6-1-1; Prince Albert went 2-6-0. . . . Gerlach, who finished with 35 goals, got the Blades on the scoreboard at 8:48 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it on F Spencer Moe’s ninth goal, at 16:45. . . . Saskatoon then rattled off three straight goals. D Mark Rubinchik (4) scored at 17:45, with Gerlach scoring at 18:49 and then completing the hat trick, on a PP, at 9:21 of the second period. . . . F Curtis Miske (27) got the Raiders to within one at 10:46, but D Evan Fiala (7) got an empty-netter for Saskatoon at 17:09. . . . Prince Albert made it interesting as D Sergei Sapego scored twice, at 18:12 and 19:19. He finished with four goals this season. . . . The Blades got two assists from F Kirby Dach and one from Rubinchik. . . . D Max Martin had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 27 shots for the Raiders, four fewer than Saskatoon’s Tyler Brown. . . . Blades F Braylon Shmyr, 20, played in his 300th regular-season game — the first 138 with Brandon and the last 172 with Saskatoon. He finished with 111 goals and 129 assists. . . . F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with Prince Albert. He was first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Raiders were without D Vojtech Budik, D Braydon Pachal, F Parker Kelly (suspended) and F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Kelly drew a one-game suspension after taking a spearing major — on Dach — and game misconduct on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 9,624.
At Cranbrook, B.C., G Dustin McGovern turned aside 19 shots to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Kootenay (27-38-7) finished with points in its last five games (2-0-3). The Ice missed the playoffs. . . . Red Deer (27-32-13) lost its last two games. It will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round. . . . Kootenay went 5-1-1 against Red Deer; the Rebels were 2-4-1. . . . In their final game, the Ice’s three 20-year-olds combined for the game’s first goal on their first shift — with Colton Veloso (25) getting the goal, on assists from F Colton Kroeker and F Alex Baer. . . . The Ice got two goals from F Cam Hausinger, who finished with 21, F Kaeden Taphorn (6), shorthanded, and Baer, who got his 30th. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . McGovern’s two shutouts this season are the first two of his career. . . . Red Deer got 41 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . F Mason McCarty and F Kristian Reichel were among Red Deer’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: Unavailable.
At Medicine Hat, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tigers, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (33-33-6) snapped an eight-game losing streak. Lethbridge finished second in the Central Division and will open at home against the third-place Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat (36-28-8), which finished atop the Central Division, is to play the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. . . . Lethbridge went 4-3-0 in the season series with Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on two goals from F Tyler Preziuso, at 0:25 of the first period and shorthanded at 1:03 of the second. He has 17 goals. . . . F Zachary Cox (2) got Lethbridge to within a goal at 8:11 of the second period, and F Jordy Bellerive (46) tied it at 17:19. . . . F Logan Barlage (7) got what stood up as the winner at 1:14 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 33 stops. . . . G Jordan Hollett, who last played on Feb. 3, started for the Tigers and made 20 saves. He had missed 15 games. . . . F Mark Rassell and D Linus Nassen were scratched by Medicine Hat, each missing a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.
At Edmonton, F Jake Kryski had a goal and two assists to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (24-36-11) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Edmonton (21-42-8) had won its previous two games. . . . The teams will meet again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen took control with three first-period goals and another in the last minute of the second. . . . F Jakob Stukel started it, on a PP, at 7:55, with D Dom Schmiemann (1) making it 2-0 one minute later. . . . F Mark Kastelic upped it to 3-0 at 19:43. . . . F Luke Coleman (15) made it 4-0 at 19:21 of the second period. . . . Edmonton got its goal from F David Kope (14) at 4:47 of the third period. . . . Kastelic (23), on a PP, Stukel (37) and Kryski (16) finished Calgary’s scoring. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from each of F Hunter Campbell and F Riley Stotts. . . . Calgary was 2-9 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots for Calgary. . . . Edmonton starter Josh Dechaine gave up three goals on 15 shots in the first period. Boston Bilous finished up, stopping 22 of 26 shots in 40:00. . . . Announced attendance: 15,271.
At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (34-27-10) will finish in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot and will face the first-place Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Portland (44-22-5) had won its previous two games. It will finish second in the U.S. Division. . . . The Winterhawks won the season series with Seattle, 8-1-3; the Thunderbirds were 4-7-1, but this was the first time the Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks in regulation time. . . . Seattle’s first three goals all came from defencemen. . . . Reece Harsch (10) got the first one, at 3:41 of the first period, with Austin Strand (25) scoring, on a PP, at 15:50. Turner Ottenbreit (9) made it 3-0 at 15:53 of the second period. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (12) scored Portland’s goal, on a PP, at 11:37 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (35), on a PP, and F Donovan Neuls (22) had Seattle’s other goals. . . . F Matthew Wedman and Neuls each had two assists for Seattle, with Andrusiak, Ottenbreit and Strand getting one apiece. . . . Seattle was 2-9 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler blocked 25 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 6,160.
At Prince George, F Nick Chyzowski, playing his final WHL game, scored in a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 6-5 victory over the Cougars. . . . Kamloops (30-37-5) had lost its previous five games. . . . Prince George finished 29-37-6. . . . Neither team made the playoffs. . . . The Blazers went 6-3-1 in the season series; the Cougars were 4-5-1. . . . F Brogan o’Brien, playing on St. Patrick’s Day, gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 6:10 of the first period. . . . The Blazers went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Brodi Stuart 916), at 3:37 of the second period, and D Devan Harrison (1), at 4:42. . . . The Cougars went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Reid Perepeluk (2), at 6:31, and F Connor Bowie (2), at 10:38. . . . The Blazers took a 5-3 lead with three goals before the period ended, from F Connor Zary, at 11:39, F Luc Smith (21), at 15:31, and Zary (11), on a PP, at 19:33. . . . D Cam MacPhee, back from a one-game suspension, got the Cougars to within one at 19:56. . . . O’Brien tied it 5-5 with his 17th goal at 12:56 of the third period. . . . Zary and Chyzowski both scored in the shootout, while the Cougars were blanked. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . G Max Palaga stopped 29 shots for Kamloops, two fewer than Taylor Gauthier of the Cougars. . . . Kamloops D Brady Reagan played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . Cougars D Joel Lakusta sat out the second game of a three-game sentence. His suspension will carry over to next season. . . . Announced attendance: 5,106.
At Kennewick, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs built a 3-1 lead and hung on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . Spokane (40-25-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It will finish third in the U.S. Division and meet the second-place Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Tri-City (37-25-9) had a five-game winning streak snapped. It will finish in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and meet the Kelowna Rockets, who won the B.C. Division, in the first round. . . . The Chiefs won the season series with the Americans, 7-3-2; the Americans were 5-3-4. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead when he scored No. 40, on a PP, at 17:14 of the first period. . . . Tri-City F Jordan Topping (38) tied it, on a PP, at 10:35 of the second. . . . F Riley Woods (25) put the Chiefs out front just nine seconds later, and D Filip Kral (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:10. . . . Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen (31) scored at 13:21 to make it a one-goal lead, but Chiefs F Jake McGrew (18) got that one back at 18:24. . . . F Morgan Geekie’s 30th goal, at 19:24, moved the Americans back to within a goal before time ran out. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from F Eli Zummack and one each from McGrew, Woods and Kral. . . . D Juuso Valimaki had two helpers for Tri-City, with one each going to Geekie and Topping. . . . Tri-City was 1-1 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 18 saves. . . . At the other end, Beck Warm blocked 25 shots. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto was scratched for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,003.
At Kelowna, F Leif Mattson and F Dillon Dube each had two goals and two assists as the Rockets romped to an 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (43-22-7) finished with points in six straight games (5-0-1). It will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Vancouver (36-27-9) has lost two straight as it goes into a first-round series with the Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets went 5-2-1 in the season series with the Giants, who were 3-4-1. . . . Kelowna scored the game’s first three goals, from D Libor Zabransky (2), at 14:43 of the first period, Mattson, at 6:16 of the second period, and Dube, at 10:50. . . . F Milos Roman (10) scored Vancouver’s goal at 16:03. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (7), F Kyle Topping (22), Dube (38), Mattson (25) and F Kole Lind finished Kelowna’s scoring. . . . Dube hit the 100-goal mark for his career in the process. . . . The Rockets also got two assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Marek Skvrne, with Topping, Lind and Ballhorn getting one apiece. . . . Kelowna was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G James Porter stopped 21 shots for Kelowna, while Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 36. . . . The Giants scratched their two best forwards — Tyler Benson and Ty Ronning — along with F Brayden Watts and D Bowen Byram, among others. . . . Kelowna sat F Carsen Twarynski. . . . Announced attendance: 5,759.
At Victoria, F Patrick Bajkov scored three times and added a record-setting assist as the Everett Silvertips whipped the Royals, 8-1. . . . Everett (47-20-5) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (39-27-6) has lost two straight. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the franchise’s sixth U.S. Division flag, will finish atop the Western Conference and meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Victoria, second in the B.C. Division, will face the Vancouver Giants. . . . Bajkov drew an assist on his club’s eighth goal to set a franchise record for career assists, with 176, one more than F Zach Hamill. . . . Bajkov’s four-point night also left him with 100 points, 33, of them goals, the first time in franchise history that an Everett skater has reached the century mark. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (24) and F Connor Dewar (38) had two goals each for Everett, with F Matt Fonteyne (35), who had four assists, adding one. . . . F Matthew Phillips (48) scored for the Royals, at 5:55 of the second period. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis had three assists, and Dewar had one. . . . Everett was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-5. . . . Everett G Carter Hart, who will be named the WHL’s top goaltender for a third straight season, finished 31-6-4, 1.60, .947. He also put up seven shutouts, giving him 26 in his career. That tied Tyson Sexsmith, who played for Vancouver, for the WHL’s career record. . . . G Kelly Guard holds the WHL record for lowest single-season GAA (1.56), set with the Kelowna Rockets in 2003-04. . . . Last night, Hart stopped 13 of 14 shots over 40 minutes, before Dustin Wolf came on to finish up, stopping all five shots he faced in the third period. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Dean McNabb. . . . D Scott Walford was among Victoria’s scratches. He left Friday’s game with an apparent arm injury. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki drew a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major — he hit Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas — and game misconduct in the first period of Friday’s game. . . . Fasko-Rudas was scratched from Saturday’s game. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.
SUNDAY (all times local):
Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.
Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.
Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m
END OF REGULAR SEASON