Broncos win first WHL title since ’93 . . . Take out Silvertips in six games . . . Skinner ties shutout record; Gawdin is MVP

MacBeth

D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the University of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and six assists in 19 gams. He was the team captain. . . .

F Alexander Chirva (Moose Jaw, Kootenay, 2013-15) signed a two-year contract extension with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, he had two assists in eight games. . . .

F Vitali Karamnov (Everett, 2007-08) signed a one-year contract extension with Dynamo St. Petersburg (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). The team captain, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 38 games. . . .

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) signed a one-year contract extension with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, Oberliga). He signed with Rosenheim on Jan. 22, and put up six goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . This season, prior to signing with Rosenheim, he had three goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL); was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL); and was pointless in two games with Zilina (Slovakia, Extraliga).


ThisThat

The Swift Current Broncos scored two first-period goals, the second one with 0.6 seconds remaining, en route to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Sunday night. SCBroncosThe Broncos won the best-of-seven WHL final, for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2. . . . This was the third championship in Swift Current’s history. The Broncos won it all in 1989, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, beating the Blades in the final 29 years ago. In 1993, they won their second WHL title, but didn’t fare as well at the Memorial Cup in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. This also was the first time since 1993 that a Saskatchewan-based team has won the WHL championship. . . . This was Everett’s second trip to the WHL final. It first got that far in 2004, which was its first season — yes, it’s first season — in the WHL. That time, it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Last night, F Giorgio Estephan (13) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:41 of the first period. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi, who drew the primary assist on Estephan’s goal, made it 2-0 with his fifth goal at 19:59. . . . F Beck Malenstyn added the empty-netter with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots as he recorded his sixth shutout of these playoffs and his second in the last three games of the final. He now shares the WHL record for shutouts in one playoff with Dustin Slade (Vancouver, 2006). . . . Everett got 22 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin, the team captain, was named the playoff MVP. He finished with 32 points, including 14 goals. . . . F Brad Morrison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes led all playoff scorers with 37 points. F Morgan Geekie of the Tri-City Americans was No. 1 in goals (17) and Heponiemi was tops in assists (25). . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Reagan Vetter. . . . The attendance was 2,890.


Two of the men who coached in the WHL final may be on the move shortly.

There is speculation in NHL circles that the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks all have at least some interest in Manny Viveiros, the Broncos’ director of player personnel and head coach. All three NHL teams are, or will be, looking to fill assistant coach vacancies.

Viveiros is the WHL’s reigning coach of the year. His situation is certain to be a big story during the Memorial Cup in Regina.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that Mitch Love, who has been on Everett’s coaching staff since 2011-12, has been interviewed by the Saskatoon Blades, who are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when their season ended.

The Blades also have shown interest in Serge Lajoie, who spent the past three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears. This season, Lajoie guided the Golden Bears to the Canadian university championship.

Lajoie is looking now because Ian Herbers has returned to the U of A after being dropped by the Oilers. Herbers had been on sabbatical while with the Oilers.

Lajoie’s son, Marc, a defenceman, was selected by the Tri-City Americans with the 14th overall selection of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The four teams are set for the 100th running of the Memorial Cup tournament that opens Friday in Regina. Interestingly, none of the four teams won its league’s regular-season title.

The Regina Pats, of course, are the host team. They finished seventh in the WHL’s overall standings. The Moose Jaw Warriors were first overall, then lost out to the Swift Current Broncos in the second round. The Broncos, who were second overall, six points behind the Warriors, won the WHL title at home on Sunday night.

In the OHL, the Hamilton Bulldogs, who were second overall, beat out the No. 1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday, winning Game 6, 5-4, on Sunday. In the 68-game regular season, the Greyhounds finished 13 points ahead of the Bulldogs.

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan beat the visiting Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada, 2-1, in Game 6 on Sunday night. In the regular season, the Armada finished first overall, with 107 points, 11 more than the second-place Titan.

——

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Hamilton vs. Regina, 8 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday – Swift Current vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Sunday – Regina vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 5 p.m.

Game 4, Monday, May 21 – Swift Current vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Game 5, Tuesday, May 22 – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday, May 23 – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, May 24, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


The legendary Clare Drake, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, died on Sunday morning. He was 89. Drake was a long-time coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, and his coaching tree is as large as anyone who has ever been involved in hockey. . . . Jim Matheson, the hall-of-fame hockey writer, has more right here.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting: Kelowna favoured as 2020 MC host? . . . Broncos, Silvertips take early leads . . . Wild takes BCHL title to U.S.

Scattershooting

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, announced Thursday that his organization, in conjunction with the city, Tourism Kelowna and KelownaRocketsProspera Place, officially is in the bidding to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004, when they won it all. That season, the Rockets, under head coach Marc Habscheid, lost a seven-game Western Conference final to the Kevin Constantine-coached Everett Silvertips, who were in their first WHL season. The Silvertips then were swept from the championship final by the Medicine Hat Tigers.

What makes the Rockets’ decision to enter the 2020 fray so interesting is that it means officials from three of the five B.C. Division teams say they are preparing bids for the 2020 tournament.

Kamloops1The Kamloops Blazers announced on Nov. 9 that they will be in the chase, while the Victoria Royals also are expected to bid.

In November, I asked Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, if his organization is interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup and he gave me a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”

Around the same time, Hope told the Victoria Times Colonist that “we intend to bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup.”

Victoria and Vancouver will be the host cities for the 2019 World Junior Championship, VictoriaRoyalsand Hope sees a link between a successful WJC and the 2020 Memorial Cup. You can bet that ticket sales from the WJC will be a big part of Victoria’s bid presentation.

Any one of the other 19 WHL teams has until June 1 to make an expression of interest. Those who are still interested will make their bid presentations at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. Following the presentations, the governors will vote and a host team/city will be revealed at the conclusion of the meeting.

At this early date, I would suggest that the Rockets are the favourites, for at least three reasons. Firstly, the 2004 tournament was a fabulous show and really raised the bar for future Memorial Cups. Second, the Rockets, with super scout Lorne Frey on staff, have a history of icing competitive teams. Third, Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, carries a lot of weight at the executive level.

The Royals could upset the applecart, though, because as nice as Kelowna is in May, who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of weeks in Victoria at that time of year? They also have a recent history of being competitive, and Hope showed in January that he isn’t afraid to roll the dice at the trade deadline. It didn’t work this time, with the injury bug perhaps playing a role, but he definitely showed a willingness to pull the trigger.

Kamloops is the underdog in this three-horse race, having missed the playoffs in two of the past four seasons, and having lost out in the first round in the other two. The Blazers are rebuilding, witness their January deal with Everett in which Kamloops dealt two veterans — F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala — for two roster players in F Orrin Centazzo and D Montana Onyebuchi, two 2002-born prospects and two 2019 bantam draft picks.

By Oct. 3, however, the 2018-19 season won’t be nearly far enough along to give the voting governors a handle on the bidding teams’ expected level of competitiveness for 2019-20. That means it will be up to each team to convince the governors with a thorough scouting report.

In the end, of course, it may come down to money, meaning the team that guarantees the largest profit — and we’re talking a few million Canadian dollars here — may win the bid.

That being the case, Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, could use some of his family money to guarantee the profit, a move that just might give Kamloops an edge.

The 2018 Memorial Cup is to be held in Regina, with the 2019 tournament in Halifax.


BTW, the Blazers revealed their 2018-19 season-ticket prices this week, with premium tickets going for $657, adult for $582, senior for $478, and youth/student for $403. The premium price is up $16 from last season, with the other three each having gone up by $15. . . . The WHL, of course, is reducing its regular-season schedule from 72 to 68 games, meaning that increase is for two fewer home games than in 2017-18.


The WHL has 22 teams. What might be the over-under for the number of teams to increase season-ticket prices?


The WHL’s conference finals began on Friday night, with the host Swift Current Broncos whlskating to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and the Everett Silvertips getting past the visiting Tri-City Americans, also 3-2. . . . Game 2 in each series will be played in the same venue tonight. . . . When this season began, who had those four teams in the conference finals? . . . In Swift Current, G Stuart Skinner stopped 38 shots and F Aleksi Heponiemi broke a 2-2 tie at 11:11 of the third period. In 29 career playoff games, he has one goal and 27 assists. . . . Artyom Minulin didn’t finish the game for the Broncos, but head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, the team’s radio voice, that the third-year Russian defenceman has “a touch of the flu.” . . . In Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 24 shots and F Garrett Pilon scored twice for the Silvertips. . . . F Morgan Geekie had one of the Americans’ goals, meaning he has at least one goal in each of the club’s nine playoff games this season. Tri-City went into the game with an 8-0 record in these playoffs. . . . Everett now has won five straight games.


Please note that final is singular, so it is the Western Conference final and the other series is the Eastern Conference final. The next round will be the WHL final. OK?


The SJHL final continued Friday night, with the Nipawin Hawks beating the visiting Estevan Bruins, 3-1, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven final for the Canalta Cup. They’ll play Game 6 in Estevan on Sunday. . . . The Bruins got the game’s first goal, from F Michael McChesney at 2:24 of the first period, but weren’t able to get another one past G Declan Hobbs. D Josh McDougall pulled the Hawks even at 10:17, and F Chad McCartney got what proved to be the winner at 1:33 of the second period. D Gage Misskey also scored for Nipawin, at 19:55 of the second. . . .

In the MJHL, the Steinbach Pistons hold a 3-2 lead over the Virden Oil Capitals, who are scheduled to play host to Game 6 tonight. The Oil Capitals won the first two games in the series, only to have the Pistons roar back with three straight victories, including 4-0 in Virden on Monday and 7-1 in Steinbach on Thursday. . . . The MJHL and SJHL winners will meet for the ANAVET Cup, with a berth in the Royal Bank Cup on the line. That tournament opens in Chilliwack, B.C., on May 12. . . .

In the BCHL, the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild wrapped up its first championship on Thursday, beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 3-0, to win the Fred Page Cup in front of 3,845 fans in the Toyota Town Center. The Wild is in its third season in the BCHL. Wenatchee is the first American team to win the BCHL title since the Bellingham Blazers in 1979. . . . The Wild next will face the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints, starting in Wenatchee with games on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The winner of that series will advance to the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack. . . . The Saints won the AJHL title on Friday, beating the host Okotoks Oilers, 3-2, to take the Inter Pipeline Cup final, 4-1.

If you’re wondering how Wenatchee and Spruce Grove will handle the travel, here’s an excerpt from an AJHL news release:

“If one team sweeps the first two games (in Wenatchee), the remainder of the series will be played in Spruce Grove. If the teams split the opening two games, Game 3 will be played in Wenatchee before the series switches to Spruce Grove for the remainder of the series.”


Assistant coach Ian Herbers’ three-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers is soon to Saskatoonexpire. He took a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears — he had been their head coach — to sign with the Oilers. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports right here that Herbers, should his deal with the Oilers not be renewed, could be headed back to the Golden Bears. . . . Matheson also reports that Serge Lajoie, who replaced Herbers at the U of A, “has interviewed for the vacant (head-coaching) job with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, which sounds like he’s being proactive (in case) Herbers moves back to the Bears.” . . . The Blades are looking for a head coach after firing Dean Brockman at the end of the regular season.


USA Hockey announced Friday that David Quinn will be head coach of its junior team that will play in the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . Quinn just completed his fourth season as the head coach of the Boston University Terriers. . . . Quinn’s assistant coaches with Team USA will be Mike Hastings of Minnesota State-Mankato, David Lassonde of Dartmouth and Steve Miller of Ohio State.


The Delta Hockey Academy has added a pair of former WHLers to its coaching staff. Milan Dragicevic takes over the Bantam Prep White team, while Rick Lanz will coach the U15 team. . . . Dragicevic played with the Regina Pats, New Westminster Bruins, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Cougars (1986-90), and later spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Americans and two (2000-02) as the Vancouver Giants’ head coach. He also spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . Lanz was on the Americans’ coaching staff for one season (1997-98).


If you’re young and thinking about a career as a play-by-play man, the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks may have a spot for you. They are looking for someone to handle play-by-play and to manage their social media accounts. . . . There’s more right here.


You see it before NHL games — a player seated on a bench cracks open a small packet, waves it under his nose and grimaces, and you know he’s ready. But what is that all about, and is it performance-enhancing? . . . The incomparable Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail checks it out in an entertaining read that is right here.

Halbgewachs sparks Warriors . . . Portland’s McKenzie fills hat in P.G. . . . Chiefs get split in Victoria

MacBeth
F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga). He has 19 goals and 42 assists in 33 games. He started the season with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), with nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games. He signed with Selb on Nov. 13. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 22 goals and 18 assists in 51 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The WHL, it would seem, blundered into a landscape strewn with Lego pieces and garden rakes when it tried to get Oregon politicians to exempt the Portland Winterhawks from minimum-wage legislation. As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out, what followed was “a public relations disaster.”

Campbell continues:

“But so much of this story over the past year or so has not looked good for those who operate major junior hockey teams. The WHL and Winterhawks thought they would be able to breeze legislation through the way they had in Washington, Michigan and several provinces that would presumably buttress them against a class action lawsuit that is demanding minimum wage and back pay for junior hockey players. Until they got to Oregon, junior hockey had found lawmakers who were only too happy to carry their water and keep them in business. British Columbia exempted the WHL from its Employment Standards Act two years ago with little consultation and a fair bit of support from owners of WHL teams, three of whom donated to the ruling Liberal party in B.C. in recent years.”

Of course, this story is nowhere near its end and it’s all going to be worth watching.

Campbell’s latest on this situation is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Luke Pierce, who spent the past two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the Kootenay Ice, is in PyeongChang for the Paralympic Games as an assistant coach with Canada’s sledge hockey team. . . . Pierce was dismissed as the Ice’s head coach while the franchise was going through an ownership change. . . . Brad McLeod of the Cranbrook Townsman reports that Pierce “has served as an assistant coach with Hockey Canada for the men’s national (sledge) team since September.” . . . Ken Babey is the team’s head coach. Canada opens play at the Paralympics on Saturday against Sweden. . . . McLeod’s story is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times and added two assists to lead the Warriors to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (49-14-3) has MooseJawWarriorswon two straight. It leads the overall standings with 101 points, one more than Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (32-28-6) has lost three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Halbgewachs now has a WHL-leading 64 goals. Not since 1998-99 has a player scored more than 64 goals in a season. Calgary F Pavel Brendl led the WHL with 73 goals that season. F Sergei Varlamov scored 66 times for Swift Current in 1997-98, and F Ronald Petrovicky of Regina scored 64 times in 1997-98. . . . D Brandon Schuldaus (8) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the game. . . . Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 4:07. . . . F Taylor Ross (21) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 6:49, but F Justin Almeida (39) got that one back, while shorthanded, just 11 seconds later. . . . The Hurricanes got back to within a goal at 8:38 of the second period when F Dylan Cozens (22) scored while shorthanded. . . . Halbgewachs added another PP goal, at 9:56. . . . F Brett Howden (24) upped Moose Jaw’s lead to 5-2, on a PP, at 2:39 of the third period. . . . Halbgewachs completed his hat trick at 16:56. . . . The Warriors got two assists from each of F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook, and one each from Almeida and Howden. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-6 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 33 shots for the Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors scratched F Brayden Burke, who is fourth in the WHL’s scoring race, with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,054.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (30-25-11) has won seven in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s PrinceAlbertsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (19-40-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from F David Kope (12) at 1:15 of the first period. . . . F Regan Nagy (24) pulled the Raiders even at 10:50. . . . F Colton Kehler (29) put the visitors back on top at 17:00. . . . F Curtis Miske (23) tied it for the Raiders at 1:22 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 14 seconds later as D Max Martin scored his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Parker Kelly (28) added insurance at 13:21 of the third period. . . . F Cole Fonstad had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Edmonton was 0-1 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 13 shots for the home side. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine turned aside 26 shots. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky was among Edmonton’s scratches as he sat out a one-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 1,991.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi scored once and added two assists to lead the Broncos to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (47-14-6) has points in SCBroncosfive straight (4-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . Calgary (20-36-10) has points in its previous four games (1-0-3). . . . F Jakob Stukel gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 19:46 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Tyler Steenbergen (45), at 1:20, and F Glenn Gawdin (56), on a PP, at 17:41. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (15) got the Hitmen into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 28th goal at 2:19 of the third period. . . . Gawdin added an assist to his goal. He leads the WHL with 124 points, six more than Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-6. . . . The Broncos got 26 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . G Nick Schneider of the Hitmen stopped 35 shots as he made his 200th regular-season appearance — nine with Regina, 133 with Medicine Hat and 58 with Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Prince George, F Skyler McKenzie scored three times and added an assist as the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Cougars, 7-1. . . . Portland (42-20-5) has points in eight Portlandstraight games (7-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, four points behind Everett. . . . Prince George (23-36-8) has lost three in a row. . . . F Connor Bowie gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period with his first WHL goal. It came in his seventh game. He was selected by Portland in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired him in a deal in January. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (9) got Portland even at 8:30. . . . McKenzie scored the game’s next two goals, one on a PP and the other while shorthanded, at 10:33 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . McKenzie completed his hat trick with the game’s last goal, at 16:29 of the third period. He has 45 goals, three more than he scored last season. . . . F Lukus MacKenzie (2), F Lane Gilliss (7) and F Kieffer Bellows (39) also scored for Portland. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists, with Gilliss and Jokiharju getting one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-1. . . . G Cole Kehler recorded the victory with 18 saves. . . . F Taylor Gauthier started for the home team and allowed six goals on 31 shots in 44:00. Isaiah DiLaura finished up by stopped 21 of 22 shots in 16:00. . . . On Tuesday, the Winterhawks beat the host Cougars, 4-3. . . . Announced attendance: 2,596.


At Kelowna, F Tyler Benson scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . Vancouver (34-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind VancouverVictoria. The Giants have two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (38-22-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by three points over Victoria. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Post media, the Giants had lost 26 straight games in Kelowna going into this one. . . . F Erik Gardiner (7) put the Rockets in front at 2:19 of the first period. . . . Vancouver went in front on goals from F Owen Hardy (11), at 7:44, and F Ty Ronning (56), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . The Rockets took a 3-2 lead on two PP goals from F Carsen Twarynski, at 6:33 and 19:12. He’s got 42 goals. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) got Vancouver into a 3-3 tie at 16:22. . . . Benson won it with his 24th goal, at 3:56 of OT. . . . F Brayden Watts had two assists for Vancouver. . . . The Rockets got two assists from F Kole Lind. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots for the Giants. . . . G James Porter turned aside 32 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,723.


At Victoria, the Spokane Chiefs scored four third-period goals to defeat the Royals, 5-2. . . . Spokane (39-22-5) is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland. . . . Victoria (37-SpokaneChiefs25-6) had points its previous three games (2-0-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna and three ahead of Vancouver. . . . One night earlier, the Royals beat the visiting Chiefs, 7-3. . . . F Luke Toporowski (10) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy tied it, on a PP, at 14:47. . . . The Chiefs took a 3-1 on third-period goals from F Kailer Yamamoto (21), on a PP, at 7:58, and F Eli Zummack, at 10:05. . . . Soy (35) got the Royals to within a goal, while shorthanded, at 16:02. . . . Zummack (14) and F Hudson Elynuik (29) added empty-netters. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal. D Ty Smith also had two assists for the Chiefs, with Toporowski and Zummack each getting one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 4,831.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

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

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.

Vees set CJHL attendance record . . . Merritt billet family loses home to fire . . . Andrusiak sparks Seattle comeback

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have become the first Canadian Junior Hockey League team to average more than 3,000 fans per game over an entire season. According to a news release, the Vees averaged 3,055 fans through 28 games at the 5,000-seat South Okanagan Events Centre during the just-completed regular season. . . . According to the Vees, the largest crowd (4,342) attended on Jan. 20 against the Trail Smoke Eaters. It was Pink in the Rink night, the annual anti-bullying promotion, and no crowd was smaller than 2,585. . . . Last season, the Vees’ average attendance was 2,981. . . . I didn’t count them, but according to Wikipedia there are 132 junior A teams operating under the CJHL’s umbrella.


The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials are preparing for a first-round series with the Wenatchee Wild. But the Centennials have had more than that on their minds this week. The Culbertson family, which billets three of the Centennials, lost their home to fire early Saturday morning, and the family — and the players — are just starting to put things back together. . . . Cole Wagner of the Merritt Herald has more right here, and if you go to the bottom of the story you will find a link to a GoFundMe page.


The Red Deer Rebels have added F Ethan Rowland to their roster. Rowland , 15, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Rowland, from Calgary, had one goal and four assists in 19 games with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars this season. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to entertain the Calgary Hitmen tonight (Wednesday).


The Kootenay Ice has added D Nolan Orzeck, who turned 17 on Feb. 20, to its roster. From Calgary, he has played three games with the Ice this season. He had four goals and 10 assists in 28 games with the midget Calgary Northstars. Orzeck was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’ s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Ice is at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight (Wednesday).


D Jake Harrison of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors has committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines, starting with the 2019-20 season. . . . Harrison, 18, was a fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. This season, his third with the Warriors, he has eight goals and 25 assists in 56 games. . . . The Warriors had announced on Dec. 17 that Harrison had made a commitment to the Michigan Tech Huskies for 2019-20, but he obviously has had a change of heart.


A story by Dominic Abassi of NanaimoNewsNOW indicates that the City of Nanaimo spent more than $470,000 for its Hometown Hockey weekend on Feb. 25 and 26, 2017. . . . According to Abassi’s report, “Expenses included $184,000 for ‘misc contracted services,’ $102,000 for materials and supplies, $23,000 for ‘hospitality’ and $3,500 for travel.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon/Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Calgary, F Aleksi Heponiemi drew four assists as the Swift Current Broncos dumped the Hitmen, 6-4. . . . This was Calgary’s second annual BE BRAVE Anti-Bullying Game. It SCBroncosbegan at 11 a.m. . . . Swift Current (45-14-5) has won two in a row and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold two games in hand. . . . Calgary (19-35-7) has lost two straight. . . . The Hitmen grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Jakob Stukel (31), at 9:39, and F Riley Stotts (14), at 14:17. . . . F MacKenzie Wight scored Swift Current’s first goal, his first of the season, at 17:04. Originally, he was listed as a scratch, but he went in after D Sahvan Khaira left the ice during the warmup. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (13) gave his guys a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:19. . . . The Broncos, though, scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Jacson Alexander got his first goal, at 8:16 of the second, and F Tyler Steenbergen (44) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:55. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (55) gave the visitors their first lead, on a PP, at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Carson Focht (11) pulled the home team back into a tie, while shorthanded, at 12:06. . . . That didn’t last long, as F Giorgio Estephan (28) scored, on a PP, to give the Broncos a 5-4 lead at 14:51. . . . F Beck Malenstyn (13) added insurance at 17:55. . . . The Broncos got three assists from D Colby Sissons, with Gawdin and Steenbergen each getting one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 119 points, nine more than Lethbridge F Brayden Burke. . . . F Jake Kryski and D Dakota Krebs each had two assists for Calgary. Stukel added one. . . . Swift Current was 2-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-7. The game included 22 minor penalties. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and gave up three goals on nine shots in the first period. Joel Hofer played the last two periods, stopping 18 of 19 shots. . . . The Hitmen got 28 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . F Tanner Nagel was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 16,300.


At Edmonton, F Mark Rassell scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . This was the ninth annual Hockey Hooky game, so it started at Tigers Logo Official11:30 a.m. . . . Medicine Hat (32-24-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (18-37-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Medicine Hat is 5-0-0 in the season series; Edmonton is 0-3-2. . . . Rassell opened the scoring at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (27) tied the score at 15:06, but the Tigers went back in front at 17:59 as F Jaeger White (9) scored. . . . F Carter Souch (4) pulled the home team back into a tie, on a PP, at 7:53 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the last three goals. . . . F Ryan Jevne (18) broke the tie at 11:30, with Rassell (48) adding insurance at 12:28. . . . F Josh Williams (8) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 1:15 of the third period. . . . D Dylan MacPherson had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers were 1-1 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 1-4. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Oil Kings got 31 saves from G Boston Bilous. He started for the first time since Dec. 13. He played 7:18 on Sunday in his first appearance since recovering from mononucleosis. . . . The Tigers had D Kristians Rubins (wrist) back in the lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 3. Also back was F Hayden Ostir (hand), who last played on Dec. 9. . . . Medicine Hat still is without D Linus Nassen and D Joel Craven. . . . Announced attendance: 13,261.


At Prince Albert, F Curtis Miske had a goal and two assists to lead the Raiders to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (27-25-11) has won four in a row PrinceAlbertand now is tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Should they end up tied for the last playoff spot, they would have to play a tiebreaker game. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) had won its previous two games. It is in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The season series? Prince Albert is 3-2-1; Brandon is 3-3-0. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:39 of the first period. . . . The Raiders took a 2-1 lead before period’s end as F Kody McDonald (32) tied it at 16:36, and D Vojtech Budik (11) gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 19:46. . . . F Cole Fonstad (19) upped the Raiders’ lead to two at 1:33 of the second period. . . . Lewis (36) pulled Brandon to within a goal, at 4:46, but it was all home team after that. . . . Miske (22) scored at 18:21, with F Jordy Stallard getting his 40th just 25 seconds into the third period and D Max Martin (6) completing the scoring at 9:09. . . . Fonstad and Budik each had an assist for the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert was 1-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-2. . . . The Raiders got 21 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson made 36 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 1,861.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-25-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Moose Jaw (46-13-3) had won its previous two games. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have two games in hand. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kelti Jeri-Leon (8), at 2:12, and F Taylor Ross (18), at 8:29. . . . The Warriors got to within a goal when F Tristin Langan (15) scored at 19:13 of the second period. . . . Moose Jaw then took the lead with two quick third-period goals, from D Jett Woo (9), back from a three-game suspension, at 0:30, and F Justin Almeida (35), at 1:10. . . . All told, that was three goals in 1:57 for the visitors. . . . F Egor Zudilov (10), who also had an assist, tied it for Lethbridge at 11:56. . . . F Dylan Cozens got the winner, his 20th goal of the season, at 18:26. . . . The Warriors got two assists from D Josh Brook. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell had a tremendous outing for the home team, finishing with 37 saves. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 16 shots for Moose Jaw. . . . Announced attendance: 4,255.


At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 1-0 deficit as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna (38-19-6) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-PrinceGeorge1). It leads the B.C. Division, by seven points over Victoria. . . . Prince George (21-33-8) had lost three in a row. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-2-0); Prince George is 2-3-2. . . . F Erik Gardiner (5) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:45 of the first period. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (14) tied it at 17:31. . . . The Cougars took control with three second-period goals — from D Austin Crossley (2), at 3:20; F Josh Maser (26), at 13:05; and D Joel Lakusta (7), on a PP, at 16:19. . . . The Cougars got two assists from each of F Brogan O’Brien and F Jared Bethune, and one from Lakusta. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . The Cougars got 20 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Kelowna started G Brodan Salmond, who was beaten four times on 16 shots in 36:19. James Porter came on to stop the two shots he faced in 23:51. . . . Kelowna held a 5-1 edge — yes, 5-1! — in third-period shots on goal. . . . The Rockets were without D Cal Foote, who served a one-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,273.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Ryan Hughes had five points and G Shane Farkas earned the shutout as the Portland Winterhawks blasted the Tri-City Americans, 9-0. . . . Portland Portland(38-20-4) has won three in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind Everett and three up on Spokane. . . . Tri-City (32-22-8) had won three straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, five points ahead of Seattle. Tri-City is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind Spokane. . . . Portland now has a 7-2-0 edge in the season series; Tri-City is 2-6-1. . . . Hughes, who has 14 goals, scored twice and added three assists. His third point was the 100th of his career and came in his 177th game. . . . Hughes scored his first goal at 2:32 of the first period. . . . D Keoni Texeira, who got his 100th career assist during the game, made it 2-0 at 3:46 and the rout was on. . . . F Kieffer Bellows scored twice, giving him 34, with the other goals coming from F Joachim Blichfeld (21), D Brendan De Jong (3), F Cody Glass (30) and F Reece Newkirk (6). . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Conor MacEachern and Blichfeld, with Glass, Newkirk and Texeira adding one apiece. . . . Farkas, making his third straight start, stopped 37 shots in posting his second shutout. He is 3-0-0 while stopping 87 of 90 shots in those three starts. . . . The Americans opened with G Patrick Sea, who was beaten five times on 26 shots in 34:04. Beck Warm finished up, allowing four goals on 16 shots in 25:56. . . . Portland was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-7. . . . The Winterhawks are 21-8-2 on the road. . . . Announced attendance: 2,611.


At Kent, Wash., F Zack Andrusiak scored three times, including once in OT, to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (29-24-9) had Seattlelost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and eight ahead of Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (32-21-9) is third in the B.C. Division, two points behind Victoria. . . . These teams played four times this season and all four games went to OT — each team finished 2-0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds trailed 4-1 halfway through the second period, then scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Andrusiak gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 2:22 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Popowich (7) tied the scored at 16:24. . . . The Giants then got three second-period goals — from F Tyler Benson (22), shorthanded, at 2:41; F Ty Ronning (54), on a PP, at 6:01; and F James Malm (18), at 6:55. . . . F Nikita Malukhin (5) started the Seattle comeback at 13:57. . . . Andrusiak got Seattle to within a goal, at 6:11 of the third period, and F Nolan Volcan (27) tied it at 18:53. . . . Andrusiak (27) won it on a PP — Vancouver D Matt Barberis was off for delay of game — at 0:34 of OT. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls had four assists, with Malukhin and Volcan each getting one. . . . Benson had an assist for Vancouver. . . . Seattle was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-1. . . . The Thunderbirds got 24 saves from G Liam Hughes. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck turned aside 35 shots. . . . F Krz Plummer, who turned 16 on Feb. 13, made his WHL debut with the Giants. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Plummer has seven goals and 10 assists in 32 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team. . . . Announced attendance: 4,450.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Blazers honour winningest coach . . . Van Dorp a Hall of Famer . . . Pats into third in division . . . Seattle coach unhappy

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, was honoured in Kamloops on Friday night, prior to the Blazers’ game against the Kelowna Rockets.

Hay moved into No. 1 on the all-time regular-season coaching list on Jan. 27 when the Kamloops1Blazers beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. That left Hay with 743 victories, one more than Ken Hodge, who retired from the Winterhawks after the 1992-93 season.

Hay’s Blazers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Rockets, leaving him at 746 victories.

Hay also holds the WHL record for most career playoff victories (108).

(Interestingly, Hay is No. 2 on the Blazers’ list of regular-season coaching victories. He has (281) victories with Kamloops, second to Ken Hitchcock’s 287.)

On Thursday, the Blazers posted a letter from Hay on their website. In that letter, Hay wrote that he is “honoured to have had the opportunity to become the winningest coach in the history of the WHL.”

He continued: “I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Western Hockey League as a player back in 1972. At the time, I would not have expected it to lead me where it has.”

That complete letter is right here. It includes most of what Hay had to say as he greeted his family, those gathered to honour him and the fans.

Among those on hand to honour Hay in what was a terrific ceremony were family members, along with Fred Seymour, the chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band; Ken Christian, the mayor of Kamloops; Don Moores, the Blazers’ president and CEO; and Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Among those featured in video tributes were Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Ryan Huska, Jarome Iginla, Mike Johnston, Brendan Gallagher, Ron Toigo, Tom Gaglardi, Ken Hodge and Bob Brown.

None of the Blazers five owners was in attendance, although Gaglardi and Iginla were on the big screen in video tributes.

The last time Robison was in Kamloops to honour a member of the Blazers organization? That was on March 7, 2012, when he presented Spike Wallace with a Distinguished Service Award. The next morning, the Blazers announced that “by mutual agreement Spike will be leaving the team to pursue other initiatives.” Wallace now is a cashier at a local grocery story.

Somehow I doubt that Hay will be bagging groceries anytime soon.


Wayne Van Dorp, who played two seasons with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, will be among the inductees into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 22. He played one season (1978-79) with the BCJHL’s Bellingham Blazers, before spending the next two with the Thunderbirds. He had 30 goals, 43 assists and 437 penalty minutes in 131 games. . . . Van Dorp went on to a pro career that included 125 NHL games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1987. . . . Among the items available in a silent auction that night will be a Carey Price-autographed Montreal Canadiens sweater. . . . The banquet is to be held at the Burnaby Firefighters’ banquet hall, Metrotown.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, the Regina Pats broke a 2-2 tie with three goals early in the third period and went on to beat the Warriors, 5-3. . . . Regina (30-24-6) has moved into third place in ReginaPats100the East Division, one point ahead of Brandon, which has three games in hand. . . . Moose Jaw (43-10-3) had won its previous three games. It now leads the overall standings by one point over Swift Current, with the Warriors having three games in hand. . . . The Warriors beat the host Pats, 6-3, on Wednesday night; they’ll meet again Sunday in Regina, too, when the Pats will retire the No. 15 in honour of Jock Callander. . . . Moose Jaw leads the season series, 5-1-0; Regina is 1-4-1. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 54th goal, at 15:06 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (10), on a PP, at 0:57, and F Jesse Gabrielle (10), at 11:21. . . . Moose Jaw tied it at 19:55 when F Vince Loschiavo (16) scored, on a PP. . . . Regina took control with three quick goals to start the third period. . . . F Emil Oksanen (14) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:59. . . . D Josh Mahura, who has 21 goals, then scored twice, at 6:12 and 7:34. . . . F Justin Almeida (31) got Moose Jaw’s final goal, on a PP, at 19:49. . . . Regina got two assists from F Sam Steel, with Mahura adding one. . . . F Brett Howden had three assists for the Warriors, with D Kale Clague getting two. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Regina was 2-4. . . . G Max Paddock recorded the victory with 25 saves, six fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms. . . . Regina G Ryan Kubic has missed four straight games and the Regina Leader-Post reports that he “may be suffering from a concussion.” . . . The Pats had F Koby Morriseau back after a 14-game absence. . . . D Jett Woo was back with the Warriors, after missing eight games. As well, F Barrett Sheen returned after completing a five-game suspension. . . . F Brayden Burke, who is second in the WHL scoring race, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,613.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (23-23-11) had lost its previous three games. PrinceAlbertIt is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon (30-22-5) has lost three in a row and has slipped out of third place in the East Division. It now has the conference’s first wild-card spot, one point behind Regina and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert is 2-1-1 in the season series; Brandon is 2-2-0. . . . F Brett Leason (10) got the Raiders going at 2:04, and F Regan Nagy (23) made it 2-0 at 6:47. . . . D Schael Higson (3) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 15:54. . . . After a scoreless second period, D Zack Hayes (3) restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Ty Lewis (31) got the Wheat Kings back to within a goal at 3:24. . . . D Vojtech Budik (9) gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead at 6:54, and F Kody McDonald (29) added another goal, at 15:44. . . . F Parker Kelly had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Brandon was 0-2 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 18 shots for the Raiders, while Brandon’s Logan Thompson turned aside 34 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 1,903.


At Swift Current, the Broncos scored four times in the first period and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (42-13-4) has won six in a row. It SCBroncosclinched a playoff berth with this victory. The Broncos also pulled to within one point of Moose Jaw, which leads the overall standings. The Warriors still hold three games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (28-24-7) has lost two straight. It leads the Central Division by three points over Lethbridge, which has two games in hand. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen (41) got the Broncos started at 10:00. F Giorgio Estephan (26) followed at 14:43, with F Beck Malenstyn scoring, on a PP, ta 15:35. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin made it 4-0 at 17:19, on a PP, with his 50th goal of the season. F Aleksi Heponiemi earned an assist on the goal, his third of the period, giving him 100 points. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (36) and Malenstyn (10) upped the lead to 6-0 in the second period. . . . The Tigers got third-period goals from F Ryan Jevne (14) and F Henry Rybinski (2). . . . Heponiemi finished with four assists, with D Artyom Minulin and Esterphan each getting two. Gawdin and Steenbergen each had one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 109 points, seven more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke and eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Swift Current was 2-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 37 shots for the Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat starter Michael Bullion was beaten six times on 15 shots in 32:24. Kaeden Lane, 16, finished up, stopping all 18 shots he faced in 27:36. . . . With G Jordan Hollett injured, the Tigers have added Lane, 16, to their roster. Lane is 16-1-0, 1.44, .946 with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team in the CSSHL. . . . The Tigers scratched three defencemen — Joel Craven, Kristians Rubins and Linus Nassen — then lost D Dylan MccPherson to injury during the game. . . . Medicine Hat also was without F Hayden Ostir, F Baxter Anderson and F Mason Shaw. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes struck four times in the first period en route to a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Letbridge (27-24-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (29-27-3) had won its previous three games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Hurricanes started 18 seconds into this one when F Jordy Bellerive (39) scored. . . . F Dylan Cozens made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later. . . . D Matthew Stanley and D Calen Addison (8) added goals before the game was six minutes old. . . . Saskatoon got two goals before the first period ended, from D Logan Christensen (4), at 11:19, and D Evan Fiala (6), at 13:49. . . . F Eric Florchuk (12) got Saskatoon to within one at 0:47 of the third period. . . . Stanley, playing in his 109th game, got his second career goal and second of the game at 5:37, restoring Lethbridge’s two-goal edge. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (28) got Saskatoon back to within a goal at 19:54. . . . Stanley and Cozens each added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . The Blades got two assists from each of Fiala and F Michael Darren, with Shmyr and Florchuk adding one apiece. . . . Saskatoon was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Logan Flodell blocked 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . Saskatoon starter Tyler Brown gave up four goals on eight shots in 5:02. Nolan Maier came on to finish up and was beaten once on 10 shots in 54:58. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph left the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 4,918.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Kootenay Ice scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . Kootenay (25-31-3) had lost its previous three games. It is third in Kootenaynewthe Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . Tri-City (29-20-8) had won two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U. S. Division, a point behind Spokane. . . . F Morgan Geekie gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the first period. . . . The home team went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Gillian Kohler (4), at 16:51 of the first, and F Kaeden Taphorn (5), at 6:44 of the second. . . . Geekie (23) tied it at 9:38. . . . Ice F Cameron Hausinger (17) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 11:20 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, at 4:44 of the third period, and F Brett Davis (22) finished the scoring at 16:21. . . . Krebs and Davis each had an assist. . . . F Jordan Topping and F Michael Rasmussen each had two assists in the loss. . . . Kootenay was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 19 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 32 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 2,577.


At Kamloops, F Dillon Dube scored twice to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Kelowna (35-18-5) leads the B.C. Division by two points over Victoria. KelownaRockets. . . Kamloops (26-28-4) has lost three in a row, and is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Dube, who has 27 goals, opened the scoring at 4:15 of the first period. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi (4) tied it at 6:48. . . . Dude snapped the tie at 12:02 of the second period. . . . D Cal Foote had two assists for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna was 1-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 28 shots for Kelowna, while Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers stopped 25. . . . These teams hadn’t met since Dec. 29. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-0-0, with three games left; the Blazers are 0-4-1. . . . F Liam Kindree returned to Kelowna’s lineup after sitting out 20 games. . . . Kamloops was without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith for a third straight game. . . . The Rockets remain without F Kole Lind and F Nolan Foote. . . . The Blazers are at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight, then have to get to Everett for a Sunday afternoon date with the Silvertips. . . . Announced attendance: 4,113.


At Victoria, F Chris Douglas broke a 3-3 tie at 12:41 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Royals, 4-3. . . . Red Deer (20-26-13) has won three in a row. It remains tied Red Deerwith Kootenay for third in the Central Division. . . . Victoria (34-21-5) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . F Matthew Phillips (44) gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scored the next three goals. . . . F Kristian Reichel (25) struck, on a PP, at 18:43. . . . F Mason McCarty (31) made it 2-1 at 9:56 of the second period and F Brandon Cutler (3) stretched the lead at 11:30. . . . D Kade Jensen (6) got the Royals to within one at 19:52, and F Lane Zablocki (13) tied it, on a PP, at 5:16 of the third. . . . Douglas won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . Phillips ran his franchise-record point streak to 20 games, during which time he has 37 points. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-4. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 33 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Royals got 23 saves from Dean McNabb. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,217.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-1. . . . Vancouver (31-18-8) has won two in a row. The Giants are Vancouverthird in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Edmonton (17-33-7) had won its previous three games. . . . F Tyler Benson (20) got the home team out to a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the game. . . . F Brayden Watts (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 3:02. . . . The Oil Kings cut the deficit to one goal when F Brett Kemp (14) scored at 1:05 of the second period. . . . Benson also had an assist. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . The Giants got 30 saves from G David Tendeck, while G Josh Dechaine stopped 21 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Giants again scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Darian Skeoch and D Alex Kannok Leipert, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,484.


At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp’s OT goal gave the Everett Silvertips a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (37-17-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads Everettthe Western Conference by four points over Portland. . . . Seattle (27-20-9) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Each team is 3-2-1 in the season series. . . . Everett grabbed a 2-0 first-period leads on goals from F Garrett Pilon, on a PP, at 2:35, and D Kevin Davis (8), at 14:10. . . . F Matthew Wedman (14) got Seattle’s first goal, at 18:59. . . . Pilon (28) restored Everett’s two-goal edge at 2:57 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it on third-period goals from D Austin Strand (18), on a PP, at 1:12, and D Turner Ottenbreit (8), at 10:06. . . . Kindopp (17) won it at 1:56 of extra time. . . . Everett got two assists from Riley Sutter and one from Davis. . . . Ottenbreit and Strand had an assist each for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-2 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-5. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 30 saves. He now has 108 regular-season victories, which is an Everett franchise record, one more than Leland Irving (2003-08). . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 38 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 16:46 of the second period for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka. The ensuing brouhaha resulted in 79 penalty minutes being doled out. . . . Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette wasn’t impressed with the work of referees Sean Raphael and Mike Langin. “They had no idea who got the 10s,” O’Dette told Andy Eide of ESPN radio in Seattle. “We lost all our guys that were on the ice and somehow (Patrick) Bajkov and (Matt) Fonteyne, two of their best players, managed to stay on the ice, which is ridiculous. We ended up with four 10s, they ended with one and I don’t understand how that can possibly happen. In the heat of the moment they had no idea what was going on, who had the 10s and who didn’t. We had a key power play and we didn’t have a whole unit and they had their top penalty-killers because they somehow got to stay in the game.” . . . Eide’s complete story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 6,409.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Kootenay at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Heponiemi leads Broncos to sweep . . . Swift Current takes 50/50, too . . . Johnston gets 300th victory . . . Dewar sparks Silvertips


MacBeth

D Stefan Ulmer (Spokane, 2007-10) has been assigned on loan by Lugano (Switzerland, NL A) to Ticino (Switzerland, NL B). The length of the loan wasn’t announced. He had three assists in 13 games with Lugano this season.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Chris Dilks (@Chris Dilks), who closely follows U.S. college hockey, tweeted Saturday afternoon that “on the NTDP line chart . . . Erik Middendorf is no longer showing a commitment to Denver.” . . . Middendorf, a 17-year-old forward, is from Scottsdale, Ariz. The Moose Jaw Warriors selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . Middendorf, who is in the U.S. National Team Development Program, committed to the U of Denver on Sept. 20, 2016. . . . He is a nephew to former NHL F Max Middendorf.


The Los Angeles Ramblers played in the Western International Hockey League in 1946-47, flying to road games in Trail, Nelson, Kimberley and Spokane. Greg Nesteroff has more on the Ramblers right here, and if you care at all about hockey history you don’t want to miss this story.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Regina, F Aleksi Heponiemi had a goal and two assists to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-1 victory over the Pats. . . . Swift Current (35-12-4) had won two in a row. It SCBroncosis second in the overall standings, seven points behind Moose Jaw. The Broncos are 4-0-0 in the season series with the Pats, including a 3-1 victory on home ice on Saturday afternoon. . . . Regina (25-22-5) has lost two in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Broncos scored the game’s first three goals. . . . F Beck Malenstyn (5) and F Matteo Gennaro (31), who were acquired in a pre-Christmas deal with Calgary, got the first two. Malenstyn scored at 18:45 of the first period. Gennaro counted at 9:00 of the second. . . . Heponiemi (24) added a PP goal at 5:31 of the third. . . . D Cale Fleury (9) got Regina’s goal at 16:02 of the third. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin (40) closed out the scoring, on a PP, at 16:02. . . . Gennaro also had an assist. . . . Heponiemi now has 93 points, three shy of F Brayden Burke of Moose Jaw, who leads the scoring derby. . . . Swift Current was 2-4 on the PP; Regina was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 41 shots for Swift Current, while G Ryan Kubic turned aside 31 at the other end. . . . Swift Current scratched F Kaden Elder, F Kole Gable and D Sahvan Khaira. . . . To complete Swift Current’s grand weekend, Jamie LeBlanc’s wife won the 50/50 draw. He is the Broncos’ athletic trainer. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Red Deer, F Jordy Bellerive tied the game in the third period and won it in OT as the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the Rebels, 2-1. . . . Lethbridge (23-21-6) had lost its previous four games (0-2-2). The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat and three in front of Kootenay. . . . Red Deer (12-25-12) had won its previous two games. . . . F Reese Johnson (17) put the home side ahead 1-0, while shorthanded, at 10:16 of the second period. . . . Bellerive tied it at 9:42 of the third period and won it with his 33rd goal of the season at 2:57 of OT. . . . Each team was 0-5 on the PP. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 42 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,382.


At Everett, F Connor Dewar scored the game’s last two goals as the Silvertips beat the Spokane Chiefs, 6-5, in overtime. . . . Everett (32-16-3) has points in 10 straight games (9-0-Everett1). The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by one point over Kelowna. . . . The Silvertips were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having split with Seattle, winning 3-1 at home and losing 3-2 in a shootout on the road. . . . Spokane (26-19-5) has points in six straight (4-0-2). It is tied with Tri-City for the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . The Chiefs scored two goals early in the third period — F Kailer Yamamoto (9), on a PP, at 2:16, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (27), at 4:38 — to take a 5-3 lead. . . . Everett got to within a goal when D Wyatte Wylie (5) scored at 5:08. . . . Dewar tied it at 19:36, then won it with his 27th goal at 1:10 of OT. Wylie had the primary assist on the winner for a three-point evening. . . . Dewar enjoyed a five-goal weekend. . . . F Jake McGrew had given Spokane a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:15 of the first period. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (30) pulled Everett event at 15:07. . . . F Luke Toporowski (4) put the Chiefs back out front at 17:22. . . . F Spencer Gerth scored for Everett at 2:52 of the second period, but Anderson-Dolan put the Chiefs back out front at 5:58. . . . Wylie, on a PP, tied it at 10:30. . . . The Silvertips got two assists from F Patrick Bajkov, who now has 262 career points, tying F Zach Hamill (2003-08) for the franchise record. . . . F Garrett Pilon also had two assists for Everett, with Dewar adding one. . . . Yamamoto also had three assists, with Ty Smith getting two, and Anderson-Dolan one. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Everett was 1-3. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 37 shots for the Silvertips. . . . The Chiefs got 42 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Announced attendance: 4,187.


At Portland, Mike Johnston got his 300th regular-season coaching victory as the Winterhawks beat the Kamloops Blazers, 4-2. . . . Johnston is the 23rd coach in WHL Portlandhistory to get 300 victories. . . . Portland (29-17-4) had lost two games — 5-2 and 3-1 — in Kamloops earlier in the weekend. It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (23-24-3) had won its previous five games. It is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The teams played in Kamloops on Friday and Saturday nights. They left for Portland immediately after Saturday’s game. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks had a 3-0 lead early in the third period on goals from D Henri Jokiharju (8), on a PP, at 4:46 of the second; F Jake Gricius (12), on a PP, at 14:32; and D Keoni Texeira (7), at 3:28 of the third. . . . Portland lost F Joachim Blichfeld to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 4:12 of the third period. That was for a hit on Kamloops D Nolan Kneen, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . The Blazers scored twice on the ensuing power play, with F Luc Smith (15) and F Quinn Benjafield (18) getting the goals. . . . Portland iced it when F Mason Mannek (8) got the empty-netter at 19:43. . . . Blichfeld, Gricius, Texeira and Jokiharju each added an assist. . . . Kamloops was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 2-4. . . . G Cole Kehler earned the victory with 33 saves, five more than Max Palaga of the Blazers. . . . Portland again was without F Kieffer Bellows and F Cody Glass. . . . D Matthew Quigley of the Winterhawks completed a two-game suspension from a Friday night hit on F/D Tylor Ludwar of the Blazers. Ludwar was injured on the play and now has missed two games. . . . Announced attendance: 7,818.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Riley Sawchuk scored twice to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (25-16-7) has points in five straight TriCity30games (3-0-2). The Americans and Spokane are tied for fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Seattle. . . . Seattle (26-18-6) was playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours, having split a home-and-home series with Everett. The Thunderbirds are third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Portland. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 1-0 lead on F Matthew Wedman’s 11th goal at 3:43 of the second period. . . . The Americans scored three times in the third period. . . . Sawchuk tied the score at 7:16, and F Morgan Geekie (17) gave the home side the lead, on a PP, at 12:50. . . . Sawchuk (8) added an empty-netter at 18:51. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (23) got Seattle to within a goal at 19:32. . . . Tri-City was 1-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . G Patrick Tea stopped 29 shots for the Americans. . . . G Dorrin Luding turned aside 32 at the other end. . . . Announced attendance: 2,848.


At Victoria, the Royals erased a 1-0 deficit with four goals en route to a 7-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Victoria (30-17-4) has won three in a row, including a 4-1 victory VictoriaRoyalsover Calgary on Saturday night. . . . Calgary (15-28-6) is 0-2-0 on a seven-game road trip. . . . F Luke Coleman (11) scored while shorthanded to give the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 3:38 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Noah Gregor (17) tied it at 16:57, then drew the primary assist one minute later as D Kade Jensen (3) broke the tie. . . . F Lane Zablocki (12) made it 3-1 at 2:30 of the second period with his first goal since being acquired from Lethbridge. . . . The Royals went ahead 4-1 at 6:14 when F Tyler Soy (23) scored on a PP. . . . Calgary got to within two goals, at 10:46, when F Tristen Nielsen (9) scored. . . . The Royals put it away with the next three goals — from F Braydon Buziak (4), F Andrei Grishakov (16) and F Dante Hannoun (21). . . . F Jakob Stukel (23) had Calgary’s third goal. . . . Soy, Hannoun and Zablocki had an assist each for the winners. . . . Coleman also had an assist for Calgary. . . . Victoria was 2-8 on the PP; Calgary was 0-3. . . . Victoria G Dean McNabb stopped 28 shots. . . . Calgary starter Nick Schneider stopped 15 of 19 shots in 26:14. Matthew Armitage finished up with 18 saves on 21 shots in 33:45. . . . Announced attendance: 5,785.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Red Deer at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Hockey loses writing legend . . . It’s twins for the Hurricanes . . . Halbgewachs is first sniper to 50 . . . Bellerive, Topping, Volcan fill their hats

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Many observers are in agreement that the newspaper business is headed for an abyss.

If that, indeed, is the case, it is a tragedy that generations to come won’t ever enjoy the thrill of waiting for their daily newspaper to be delivered in order to read the likes of Red Fisher, who died Friday at the age of 91.

When I was a youngster, I delivered the Winnipeg Tribune. It arrived in our town via a train, which came in three nights a week. That meant I delivered two papers at a time. First, though, I would camp under a street light and read Jack Matheson. Later, in the mid-1970s, I was fortunate enough to spend five years working for Matty, which is how I came to meet the legendary Jim Coleman, who was the national columnist for Southam, which owned a number of Canada’s major dailies.

Coleman was one of the greats, and so was Fisher.

Back in the day, newspapers entered into exchanges with other newspapers. We would send you a copy of our product; you would reciprocate. That’s how I came to read Fisher on a regular basis.

As Michael Farber, no slouch himself, wrote on Friday for the Montreal Gazette, Fisher’s “career touched seven decades.” Think about that for a moment or two.

Think about this, too — the first Montreal Canadiens game that Fisher covered, as Farber pointed out, “was the Richard Riot, that singular marriage of hockey, sociology and, ultimately, mythology that has marked Quebec for generations.”

Take a minute today and think about Fisher and all that he stood for as a journalist who was there when teams and writers travelled via train and was still writing when Twitter arrived.

He really did see it all, and he wrote it all, too.

Do yourself a favour at some point today. Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and read Farber’s story celebrating the life and career of Red Fisher. It is right here.


I continue to hear from people wondering if I’m back writing again, or if it’s all over. So please don’t be afraid to tell your friends and neighbours that I’m back up and pass along the address. Thank you.


Danny Flynn made his debut as a WHL head coach on Friday night as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped a 5-3 decision to the Swift Current Broncos.

With Mike Johnston, Portland’s general manager and head coach, on a scouting trip, PortlandFlynn took over. Johnston, who apparently was at the bantam AAA John Reid Memorial tournament in St. Albert, Alta., on Friday,

is expected to rejoin the Winterhawks back for tonight’s game in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants.

Of course, it’s not like Flynn doesn’t have any experience as a head coach. For starters, he was in the Memorial Cup last season as head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. He also has been head coach of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls and Soo Greyhounds, and the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.

Flynn and Johnston both are from Dartmouth, N.S., which had a lot to do with Flynn’s joining the Winterhawks as an assistant coach prior to this season.

Evan Richardson, the play-by-play voice of the Winterhawks, pointed out via Twitter that Flynn is the fourth person to serve as a head coach in all three major junior leagues, joining Mike Kelly (Brandon, Windsor/North Bay, Saint John), Ron Harris (Spokane, Windsor, Saint-Jean) and Joe Canale (Medicine Hat, Sarnia, Shawinigan/Chicoutimi/Beauport/Sherbrooke).


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed twin brothers Adam and Justin Hall, both of whom were selected in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. . . . The twins, 16, are from Edmonton. Justin was a seventh-round selection; Adam was taken in the eighth round. . . . This season, they are playing for the midget AAA CAC Edmonton Canadians. Justin has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games, while Adam has seven goals and 13 assists in 27 games.

While there have been a number of brother acts in the WHL, twins are a whole lot rarer. Of course, the Taphorn brothers — Kaeden and Keenan — are with the Kootenay Ice. The 17-year-olds are from Yorkton, Sask.

Know of any other twin acts? Email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Hartley Miller, in his weekly Hart Attack column, wonders if winning is enough to draw hockey fans to an arena these days. He notes that the Prince George Spruce Kings are in the hunt for first overall in the BCHL, but their attendance is off about 10 per cent over last season and is the poorest it has been since 2010-11. . . . Miller points out, too, that the Spruce Kings are running a “Friday night promotion where they practically give away their product.” If you go to Save-On-Food, you are able to purchase the Friday Family Special — four tickets, including two adult, four soft drinks and four popcorn for $19.72. The regular price would be $68. . . . Now that’s a promotion. . . . Miller’s column is right here.


On Thursday, Jim Matheson, the Hockey Hall-of-Famer who covers the Edmonton Oilers for Postmedia, tweeted that he has been hearing that the annual Young Stars preseason tournament in Penticton, B.C., might be done.

The 2017 tournament was the eighth annual, but according to Matheson “many NHL scouts” have been saying that it “was disappointing for (the) calibre of kids taking part.”

However, Andrew Jakubeit, a former WHL on-ice official who now is the mayor of Penticton, told infonews.ca that all of this is news to him.

Jakubeit, who also is the event’s chairman, said that “we are still working with the (Vancouver) Canucks to finalize the details of the Young Stars tournament. It is our intention to host the event again this year.”


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


If you enjoy stopping by here, and even if you don’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause by visiting my old site, taking note.ca, and clicking on the DONATE button. Thank you, in advance.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Regina, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored twice, giving him 50 goals in 47 games, to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-3 victory over the Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (37-7-3) has won MooseJawWarriorstwo in a row and continues to lead the overall standings by eight points over Swift Current. . . . Regina (24-20-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Warriors took control with four first-period goals, two of them via the PP, as they outshot their hosts, 22-8. . . . Halbgewachs got it started, on a PP, at 5:46. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (14) made it 2-0 at 7:30, and D Dmitri Zaitsev (5) scored, on a PP, at 14:37. . . . F Tanner Jeannot (32) upped it to 4-0 at 19:34. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (4) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 5:59 of the second period, but the Warriors got that one back when Halbgewachs got No. 50 at 3:35 of the third. . . . Halbgewachs joins F Theo Fleury and Kent Hayes as the only players in Warriors history to enjoy two 50-goal seasons. Halbgewachs finished last season with 50 goals in 71 games. Fleury had 61 in 1986-87 and 68 the following season. Hayes had 56 goals in 1984-85 and 50 in 1985-86. . . . The Pats’ last two goals came from D Josh Mahura, who has 16, at 8:53 and 19:09. . . . F Brayden Burke and D Kale Clague each had two assists for the Warriors, with Loschiavo adding one. . . . Mahura also had an assist to go with his two goals. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Regina was 2-4. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 42 saves, 21 of them in the third period when his guys were outshot 23-5. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 32 shots for the Pats. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn was among Regina’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Calgary, G Dylan Ferguson turned aside 32 shots to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 2-1 Kamloops1victory over the Hitmen. . . . Kamloops (19-23-3) had lost its previous three games. It is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Calgary (14-26-6) is 13 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Don Hay of the Blazers now has 739 regular-season victories as a WHL head coach, three short of the all-time record that has belonged to Ken Hodge since the end of the 1992-93 season. . . . Ferguson was particularly busy in the third period when he stopped 19 shots. . . . The Blazers got their goals in the second period, from F Luc Smith (12), at 17:29, and F Quinn Benjafield (13), at 18:54. . . . D Vladislav Yeryomenko (11) scored for Calgary, on a PP, at 16:58 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . The Hitmen got 34 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 6,196.


At Red Deer, D Vojtech Budik scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . Prince Albert (17-20-8) is five points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (10-24-11) has lost 12 in a row (0-6-6) and has fallen into the league’s basement. . . . Budik, who has six goals, scored at 1:50 and 11:00, the latter via the PP, of the first period, then drew an assist on D Jeremy Masella’s fourth goal at 16:01. . . . F Jordy Stallard (31) made it 4-0, on a PP, at 4:55 of the second period. . . . D Alex Alexeyev (6) scored for Red Deer, on a PP, at 19:06. . . . The Raiders got their last goal from F Parker Kelly (19), shorthanded, at 7:00 of the third period. . . . Kelly also drew two assists. . . . The Raiders were 2-3 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-5. . . . Prince Albert got 29 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . Red Deer starter Ethan Anders allowed two goals on seven shots in 11:00. Riley Lamb came on in relief to stop 24 of 27 shots in 49:00. . . . Announced attendance: 3,987.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Brendan Semchuk and F Colton Kehler each scored two first-period goals to get the Edmonton Oil Kings started towards a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . EdmontonOilKings. . Edmonton (13-26-6) had lost its previous two games. . . . Kootenay (20-23-3), which opened a seven-game homestand, had won its past two games. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . Semchuk opened the scoring at 3:37 with his first goal since being acquired from Vancouver at the trade deadline. . . . Kehler, who has 20 goals, made it 3-0 with goals at 4:27 and 8:19, the latter via the PP. . . . Semchuk got his 10th goal at 14:54. . . . F Sebastian Streu (6) got the Ice’s goal, on a PP, at 4:43 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Carter Souch (2) closed out the scoring at 13:49. . . . F Tomas Soustal had two assists for Edmonton, with Kehler adding one. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-2 on the PP; the Ice was 1-6. . . . Edmonton got 43 saves from G Todd Scott, 20 of those in the second period. . . . G Matt Berlin allowed five goals on 19 shots in his first start for the Ice since being acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline. He hadn’t played since Dec. 29 due to an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 2,431.


At Portland, F Aleksi Heponiemi had three assists as he ran his point streak to 26 games in the Swift Current Broncos’ 5-3 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Swift Current (33-10-SCBroncos3) has points in eight straight (7-0-1) and is 2-0-0 on its U.S. Division trek. The Broncos are second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Portland (26-15-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, two points behind Everett. . . . G Giorgio Estephan (20) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 4:45 of the first period. That was the 300th regular-season point of his career. He later added two assists and now has 302 points in 301 games, the first 297 of those with Lethbridge. . . . F Skyler McKenzie (35) got Portland into a 1-1 tie at 14:11. He’s got five goals in his past three games and 14 goals in 13 games. . . . D Colby Sissons put the Broncos back out front at 7:50 of the second period, only to have F Alex Overheard (11) tie it, on a PP, at 15:20. . . . The Broncos took a 4-2 lead on third-period goals from F Beck Malenstyn (4), at 1:05, and Sissons (11), on a PP, at 11:21. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld (15) cut into the lead at 17:55, but the Broncos iced it on an empty-netter from F Tanner Nagel (5) at 19:56. . . . Portland got two assists from D Dennis Cholowski, with Blichfeld and McKenzie adding one each. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Stuart Skinner. At the other end, Cole Kehler blocked 21 shots. . . . Cody Glass, Kieffer Bellows and Ryan Hughes (ill) were Portland’s scratches, each of them a top-six forward. . . . Portland did get back F Lane Gilliss and F Jake Gracious from injury-related absences. . . . The Winterhawks have added F Jaydon Dureau to their roster. An eighth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Dureau has 27 goals and 31 assists in 28 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians this season. . . . Still, Portland only has 10 healthy forwards on its roster, so Dureau slotted in on Portland’s fourth line with defencemen John Ludvig and Conor MacEachern. Yes, the Winterhawks are running short of forwards, which may have something to do with GM/head coach Mike Johnston missing this game while on a scouting/recruiting assignment. . . . F Matteo Gennaro was among Swift Current’s scratches after having a run-in with a goal post during the Broncos’ 3-2 OT victory over the host Tri-City Americans on Wednesday. . . . Announced attendance: 5,300.


At Prince George, F Jordy Bellerive scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Lethbridge (22-19-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). LethbridgeIt is second in the Central Divison, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Prince George (17-23-7) has lost three in a row and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . Bellerive, who has a career-high 29 goals in 44 games, picked up his first WHL hat trick. He scored 27 goals in 70 games last season. This season, he also career highs in assists (34) and points (63). . . . F Owen Blocker (2) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 5:32 of the first period. . . . The Cougars tied it at 8:14 as F Josh Curtis scored. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next three goals, all in the second period. . . . Bellerive scored at 1:46, with F Brad Morrison (16) counting at 4:08 and F Jake Elmer (13) at 4:33. . . . Morrison, who also had an assist, is from Prince George and played the first 260 regular-season games of his WHL career with the Cougars. They traded him to Vancouver prior to the start of this season, and he dealt to Lethbridge earlier this month. . . . Curtis (7) cut into the lead at 14:46. . . . Bellerive completed his hat trick with goals at 15:20 of the second period and 17:09 of the third. . . . Lethbridge got three assists from D Igor Merezhko. . . . D Joel Lakusta had two assists for the Cougars. . . . Lethbridge was 0-4 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . G Taylor Gauthier started for the Cougars. He gave up four goals on 13 shots in 24:33 before being lifted in favour of Isaiah DiLaura, who stopped 13 of 15 shots in 35:27. . . . Announced attendance: 5,138.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Jordan Topping completed a three-goal night with a PP goal in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .Tri-City TriCity30(23-16-6) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It and Seattle are tied for third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Portland. . . . Brandon (28-13-4) has lost three straight (0-1-2) and is 0-1-1 on its swing into the U.S. Division. Still, the Wheat Kings are third in the overall standings. . . . The Americans took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Topping, on a PP, at 10:07, and F Isaac Johnson (12) at 11:26. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on PP goals from F Baron Thompson (13) at 3:01 of the second period and F Stelio Mattheos (31) at 7:19 of the third. . . . Topping put Tri-City back out front at 12:28. . . . Brandon forced OT when F Evan Weinger (20) scored at 19:18 with the extra attacker on the ice. . . . Topping won it with his 26th goal at 2:49 of extra time. . . . Tri-City got three assists from D Dylan Coghlan and two from F Morgan Geekie. . . . F Ty Lewis had two helpers for Brandon, with Mattheos and Thompson getting one each. . . . Brandon was 2-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 2-3. . . . The Americans got 35 saves from G Patrick Dea, who was making his 150th regular-season appearance. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 32 shots for Brandon. . . . The Americans had F Max James back from a four-game absence, the first three of which were due to a WHL suspension, but remain without D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, F Kyle Olson and D Roman Kalinichenko. Rasmussen, who had pre-Christmas wrist surgery, is back skating, but he’s wearing a non-contact sweater and isn’t shooting the puck especially hard. . . . Earlier in the day, the Wheat Kings named D James Shearer, who is from Brandon, as the team captain. He takes over from F Tanner Kaspick, who was traded to the Victoria Royals on Jan. 10. . . . Announced attendance: 3,463.


At Langley, B.C., F Tanner Kaspick scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Victoria Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (27-16-4) has won VictoriaRoyalsfour straight and is second in the B.C. Divison, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Vancouver. . . . Vancouver (25-14-7) has points in 10 straight (7-0-3). . . . F Ty Ronning gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 5:23 of the first period. . . . Victoria went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Dante Hannoun (19), on a PP, at 17:20 of the first and F Jeff de Wit (9), at 4:48 of the second. . . . Ronning, who has 42 goals, tied it at 11:11. . . . Victoria went back out front at 1:00 of the third period on F Tyler Soy’s 21st goal. . . . The Giants tied it again on D Dylan Plouffe’s eighth goal, at 7:51. . . . F Tyler Benson and F Owen Hardy each had two assists for Vancouver. . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 40 shots through OT for the Royals. At the other end, David Tendeck made 22 saves. . . . The Giants remain without Slovakian F Milos Roman, who last played on Jan. 9. He has eight goals and 21 assists in 34 games. On Friday, the CHL announced that Roman, a freshman, won’t be playing in the Top Prospects Game on Thursday in Guelph. He was replaced by F Liam Foudy of the OHL’s London Knights. . . . The Giants did have D Darian Skeoch in the lineup after he sat since Jan. 9 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,637.


At Kent, Wash., F Nolan Volcan scored three goals to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 7-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle (23-16-6) has won three in a row and is Seattletied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Kelowna (28-14-3) leads the Western Conference by one point over Victoria and Everett. . . . Seattle scored the game’s first three goals. F Zack Andrusiak (20) got it started 59 seconds into the first period. Volcan made it 2-0 at 8:01. . . . F Noah Philp (9) upped it to 3-0 at 6:07 of the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (20) got the Rockets on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 10:20. . . . The Thunderbirds reply with three more goals, from Volcan, at 12:00, D Turner Ottenbreit (6), at 13:40, and F Blake Bargar (9), at 6:43 of the third period. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (13) got Kelowna’s second goal at 10:34. . . . Volcan, who has 23 goals, completed his hat trick, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . Seattle got three assists from each of D Jarret Tyszka and F Sami Moilanen. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-6 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 27 shots for Seattle. . . . The Rockets opened with G Brodan Salmond, who was beaten five times on 16 shots in 33:40. Cole Tisdale, 15, came on in his WHL debut and stopped 15 of 17 shots in 26:20. . . . Announced attendance: 6,057.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Portland vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Brandon at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

This actually was from Thursday, but it holds up with the Tigers not playing on Friday . . .