Three organ donor games this weekend . . . Giants’ Byram won’t face discipline . . . Hitmen make four roster moves


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There are still 12 WHL teams yet to hold their second annual Organ Donation Awareness games.

Actually, the official name of the promotion — deep breath — is RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

All 17 of the WHL’s Canadian teams play host to one game a night to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There are three of these games scheduled for this weekend, with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants playing host to their games on Friday and the Brandon Wheat Kings holding their game on Saturday.

Teams wear Don Cherry-themed uniforms, with the sweaters available via auction at some point.

Games still to come:

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


According to a tweet from Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Vancouver Giants “have been Vancouvertold by the WHL that D Bowen Byram won’t receive an additional suspension for his checking-to-the-head major on Sunday.” . . . Byram was hit with the major and game misconduct at 13:48 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner. . . . The Giants won the game, 4-1, to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. . . . The Giants also lost F Brayden Watts with an undisclosed injury in that game. Ewen reports that Watts already has been ruled out for a game on Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen have made four roster moves, adding F Orca Wiesblatt and D CalgaryAndrew Viggars to their roster, while returning D Tyson Galloway and F Sean Tschigerl to their club teams. . . . Wiesblatt, 18, is from Calgary. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has earned one assist in six earlier games with Calgary this season. Last season, Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assist in 49 games with the Hitmen. . . . Viggars, 19, also is from Calgary. This season, he had one goal and nine assists in 40 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He played with the Hitmen last season, earning five assists in 39 games. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, was a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He is on his way back to the Kamloops-based major midget Thompson Blazers after getting into three games with the Hitmen. . . . Tschigerl was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Whitecourt, Alta., he has gone back to the OHA Edmonton prep team. This season, he has played in six games with the Hitmen.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Brendan Williamson, 16, to a WHL contract. SeattleWilliamson, from Abbotsford, B.C., visited Seattle over the weekend and the signing was announced Monday morning. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired Williamson’s rights in a Jan. 1 deal in which they also got F Sean Richards, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 from the Everett Silvertips for F Zack Andrusiak. . . . This season, Williamson has 12 goals and 28 assists in 29 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


ThisThat

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

——

THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 386

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


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Kootenay Ice unveils Hall of Fame on way out of Cranbrook . . . Blades stretch lead over Warriors . . . Byram’s red-hot streak continues

MacBeth

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) has been released by Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). The team’s captain, he had three goals and eight assists in 31 games.


ThisThat

Eight days after announcing that the franchise will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for Winnipeg once this season is over, the Kootenay Ice has announced the formation of a Hall of Fame.

No, it’s not April 1. No, this isn’t a script for Saturday Night Live. This isn’t MAD KootenaynewMagazine.

You can’t make this stuff up. Seriously. You just can’t.

The Ice made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday, adding that former captain Jarret Stoll, 36, who played four seasons (1998-2002) in Cranbrook, will be the first inductee. Stoll captained the Ice in its Memorial Cup-winning season (2001-02).

According to a news release, selection to the Hall of Fame “is not a number retirement; however, all inductees will be honoured with a special ceremony and banner-raising to commemorate their achievements.”

The news release doesn’t indicate where Kootenay-area fans will have to go in future seasons to view the Hall of Fame, whether it will be located in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, the Ice’s home for the next two seasons, or later in its yet-to-be built home in an area in the southwestern corner of Winnipeg.

Stoll, in his second season as a development coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, is to be honoured prior to a game with the visiting Calgary Hitmen on March 2 after which Cranbrook’s time in the WHL will be down to three home games.

“The ceremony,” reads the news release that is right here, “will include a banner raising.”

What that means is that Western Financial Place, the home of the Ice, which already has a Wall of Fame, won’t have a WHL team after March 16, but there will be one Hall of Fame banner fluttering in the rafters.

The news release also states: “All banners hanging in the rafters at Western Financial Place, including the future Ice Hall of Fame banner, will remain in Cranbrook.”

Hey, good for Stoll, who will be on hand for the evening, along with his wife, Erin, who you may know as Erin Andrews of ESPN. There isn’t any doubt that he should be the first but it’s all about the timing.

In future seasons, fans and sponsors who supported the Kootenay Ice will be able to find solace by wandering into the arena, grabbing a seat, sipping on their coffee, and looking up into the rafters. They won’t have a WHL team, but, hey, those banners. . . .

One Ice fan told Taking Note: “It is a rare occasion that I am lost for words.”

Another long-time observer of the Cranbrook hockey scene offered: “I don’t understand this for a second. . . . It is insulting and ridiculous.”

Mattmove1
While the Kootenay Ice was announcing the first inductee into its Hall of Fame, a moving fan was at the Cranbrook home of president/general manager Matt Cockell on Wednesday.

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Neil Godbout is the editor-in-chief of the Prince George Citizen. He has written a column headlined ‘Are we the next Cranbrook?’ It points out that with support for the Cougars seeming to be fading, “The Cougars are Prince George’s team. Whether they stay that way is up to Prince George.”. . . . The announced attendance on Tuesday was 2,030 when the Cougars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vancouver Giants. On Wednesday, the number was 2,083 as the Cougars fell 4-3 in OT to the Giants. . . . Godbout’s piece is right here.


D Liam Schioler of the Regina Pats will attend Queen’s U in Kingston, Ont., next season and play for the Gaels. The 6-foot-3 Schioler, 20, is from Winnipeg. An alternate captain, he is in his fourth season with the Pats. He played in his 223rd regular-season game on Wednesday night as Regina dropped a 4-3 decision to the host Calgary Cowboys (aka Calgary Hitmen) in the Corral.


The Everett Silvertips could run into something of a scheduling conflict in Angel of the EverettWinds Arena should they advance to the second round of the WHL playoffs. . . . The first round should begin on March 22 and conclude on or about March 31. . . . That would mean the second round should start about April 2 or 3. . . . The Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference, are certain to be playing in the first round, likely against the conference’s second wild-card seed. Assuming the Silvertips advance to the second round, they are likely to run head-on into the Cirque de Soleil CRYSTAL, which is to hold a total of eight performances in Angel of the Winds Arena from April 10 through April 14. . . . It could be that the Silvertips and a second-round opponent will have to do some creative scheduling.


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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

 

The Saskatoon Blades unleashed a 48-shot attack in skating to a 6-1 victory over the Saskatoonvisiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Saskatoon (32-13-8) has points in eight straight (6-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of Moose Jaw, although the Warriors do hold four games in hand. . . . Moose Jaw (28-13-8) has lost two in a row. . . . The Warriors had a 21-5 edge in first-period shots and emerged with a 2-0 lead on goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (6), at 9:46, and F Chase Wouters (10), on a PP, at 19:48. . . . F Ryan Hughes (20) made it 3-0 just 54 seconds into the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida (21) got Moose Jaw’s goal, on a PP, at 12:53 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson (10) got that one back, on a PP, at 18:11. . . . F Max Gerlach (32), on another PP, and D Brandon Schuldaus (5) — yes, on another PP — scored for Saskatoon in the third period. . . . Saskatoon was 4-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . The Blades ended up outshooting the Warriors, 48-20. . . . Davidson also had two assists, as did Crnkovic. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo left at 3:20 of the third period with a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Blades F Kirby Dach. . . . The Warriors were without F Tristin Langan, as he served a one-game suspension.


F Riley Stotts broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period as the Calgary Cowboys (aka Calgary cowboysHitmen) beat the Regina Pats, 4-3, in the second game of what they are calling the Corral Series. . . . Calgary (27-19-5) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). It is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Red Deer and Calgary hold down the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, eight points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina (14-36-3) is 28 points out of a playoff spot with 15 games remaining. . . . The Hitmen are playing three games in the Corral and honouring three teams — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers — who played in the building. . . . F Kaden Elder put Calgary out front 54 seconds into the second period. . . . Regina took the lead on a pair of goals from F Ty Kolle, at 10:50 and 14:08. . . . F Mark Kastelic tied it with his 37th goal, at 15:23, and Elder’s 22nd goal, 35 seconds into the third period, provided Calgary with a 3-2 lead. . . . Kolle, who hadn’t scored in 27 games, completed his first WHL hat trick at 5:09. It came in his 122nd career game, his 28th with Regina. He now has 11 goals this season. He also had a shootout goal in the Pats’ 2-1 victory in Lethbridge on Tuesday night. . . . Stotts won this one with his 15th goal at 16:41. . . . Calgary got 33 stops from G Jack McNaughton, one fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . G Carl Stankowski, who last played on Nov. 23, was on Calgary’s bench in a backup role.


IceMH1
The Kootenay Ice had an announced attendance of 1,902 on Wednesday at their second home game since the announcement that the franchise will be moving to Winnipeg after this season.
IceMH2
Fans of the Kootenay Ice are saying their thank yous before the season ends and the team moves to Winnipeg.

The two Ryans — Chyzowski and Jevne — each scored twice to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers to a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Medicine Hat (29-18-4) has won two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Kootenay (11-33-8) has seven home games remaining before it leaves Cranbrook for Winnipeg. . . . The Tigers had a 21-3 edge in first-period shots and came out with a 2-1 lead. . . . F Brad Ginnell (12) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:24. . . . The Tigers took the lead as Chyzowski scored, on a PP, at 15:26, and D Cole Clayton (4) counted at 19:12. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (18) upped the Tigers’ lead to 3-1, on a PP, at 1:52. . . . The Ice came back to tie it on goals from F Peyton Krebs (17), on a PP, at 15:53, and F Jakin Smallwood (9) at 5:39 of the third period. . . . Jevne snapped the tie at 6:03. . . . Chyzowski added insurance with his 18th goal, on another PP, at 16:09, and Jevne put it away with his 24th goal, an empty-netter, at 19:32. . . . Jevne added two assists to his goal, with Preziuso getting two helpers and Chyzowski one. . . . Ice F River Fahey didn’t return after a first-period fight with Tigers F Trevor Longo . . . . The Tigers ended up with a 51-26 shot advantage. . . . Medicine Hat got 23 saves from G Mads Søgaard, with the Ice’s Jesse Makaj blocking 45 shots. . . . The Tigers were 3-4 on the PP; the Ice was 2-4. . . . This was the Ice’s second home game since the team’s owners announced that they will be moving the franchise to Winnipeg at season’s end. The announced attendance was 1,902, the smallest crowd of the season.


F Luke Toporowski scored twice and added an assist as the Spokane Chiefs skated to a 5-SpokaneChiefs4 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Spokane (27-17-6) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks and three ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (21-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, eight points behind the Victoria Royals and two ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . D Lassi Thomson (13) got Kelowna started at 3:38 of the first period. . . . Toporowski, who has 15 goals, tied it at 5:02 and gave his guys the lead at 15:08, on a PP. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff’s first WHL goal, on a PP, got Kelowna into a 2-2 tie at 2:37 of the second period. . . . The Chiefs went ahead 4-2 on goals from F Connor Gabruch, his first, at 4:15, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (6), at 12:55. That was Anderson-Dolan’s 99th career regular-season goal. . . . Swetlikoff scored another PP goal, this one 23 seconds into the third period, but F Jake McGrew (22) restored Spokane’s two-goal lead at 2:08. . . . F Nolan Foote (26) got a shorthanded goal at 7:14 to pull the Rockets to within a goal. . . . F Leif Mattson had four assists for the Rockets, with Swetlikoff adding one to his pair of goals. . . . Spokane D Ty Smith was back in the lineup and had two assists, after leaving early during a 6-5 shootout loss to the host Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. Smith left after absorbing a hit from Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who was given an interference major and game misconduct, but hasn’t been suspended. . . . The Rockets were without F Conner Bruggen-Cate, who served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . The Rockets had F Steel Quiring make his WHL debut while D Jackson DeSouza played his second game. Quiring, who turned 16 on Jan. 15, was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, with DeSouza a fourth-round pick in that same draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., plays for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. DeSouza, 15, is from Erie, Colo. DeSouza, who also plays for the Okanagan Rockets, made his WHL debut on Dec. 15 in a 2-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers.


D Bowen Byram scored his third OT goal of the season to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 Vancouvervictory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (35-13-3) had won three straight, including a 4-2 victory in Prince George on Tuesday night. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (16-30-6) has lost 11 in a row (0-8-3). It is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . Last night, the Giants took a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Jared Dmytriw (11), at 7:11; F Brayden Watts (12), at 8:34; and D Aidan Barfoot (3), at 12:55. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (20) started the Cougars’ comeback, on a PP, at 16:00 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (20) cut the deficit to one, on another PP, at 19:50. . . . F Reid Perepeluk tied the game with his first goal of the season, at 11:05 of the third period. . . . Perepeluk’s first goal came in his 39th game. Last season, he scored twice in 10 games. . . . Byram won it with his 21st goal of the season, 57 seconds into OT. . . . In 17 games since Jan. 1, Byram has 12 goals and 11 assists. . . . On Jan. 26, Byram scored at 2:39 of OT to give the Giants a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. On Jan. 30, he scored 33 seconds into OT to provide Vancouver with a 3-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Giants got 28 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 26 shots for the Cougars.


F Phillip Schultz scored three times to help the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Victoria (26-21-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle (20-25-6) had beaten the host Royals, 5-2, on Tuesday night. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Henri Rybinski (3) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . The Royals responded with the next three goals — from Schultz, on a PP, at 17:09; F Kaid Oliver (21), on a PP, at 3:52 of the second period; and Schultz, at 6:27. . . . F Andrej Kukuca got Seattle to within a goal at 4:44 of the third period, but F Dino Kambeitz (8) got it back for the Royals just 10 seconds later. . . . Kukuca (16) added a PP goal at 16:07. . . . Schultz completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:55. Schultz, an 18-year-old freshman from Denmark, has 11 goals and eight assists in 42 games. . . . D Scott Walford had three assists for the Royals, the fourth time in his career that he has had at least three helpers in one game. . . . Despite not appearing on the WHL’s weekly roster report that was issued on Tuesday, Seattle D Jarret Tyszka missed his second game in as many nights.


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Three more organ donation games on tap . . . Ungar, Peters have nights to remember . . . Byram lifts Giants past Blazers . . . Rybinski wins it for Thunderbirds

 

MacBeth

D Dustin Friesen (Swift Current, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has five assists in 43 games. The team captain, this is his fifth season with Ingolstadt.

F David Stieler (Swift Current, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Augsburg (Germany, DEL). Stieler, who holds dual German-Czech citizenship, had five goals and 16 assists in 42 games.

F Chad Bassen (Regina, Vancouver, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2000-04) has  signed a one-year contract extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has six goals and 14 assists in 41 games. Bassen holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. This is his 15th season in the DEL.

F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) has signed a three-year contract extension with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has 21 goals and 20 assists in 38 games. He leads his team in goals, and is second in points. He is fourth in the league’s scoring race, and is tied for the league lead in goals.


ThisThat

There are three more WHL games in support of organ donation scheduled for this weekend — in Kamloops and Moose Jaw on Friday, and in Prince Albert on Saturday.

The actual promotion carries this title — RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. Each of the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams plays host to one of these games. The home team wears Don Cherry-inspired uniforms with the sweaters available via silent auction.

Most importantly, this is a fund-raiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

If you happen to be at the game in Kamloops on Friday night, look for the gang from the Kamloops chapter of the B.C. and Yukon branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Stop by and say hello!

Here are the remaining special nights:

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


The WHL issued a pair of TBD suspensions on Wednesday, one to D Braydyn Chizen of whlthe Brandon Wheat Kings and the other to F Cole Dubinsky of the Regina Pats.

Chizen was given a headshot major and a game misconduct during Brandon’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Chizen wasn’t in Brandon’s lineup last night as they beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer.

Also on Tuesday, Dubinsky was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Calgary F Hunter Campbell during the Pats’ 5-2 loss to the Hitmen.

The Pats next are scheduled to play on Friday when they entertain the Saskatoon Blades.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F James Malm scored two goals and added an assist to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 6-2 Calgaryvictory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Calgary (25-19-4) has won four in a row. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. They also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Swift Current (10-35-3) holds the 22-team league’s poorest record, five points behind the Kootenay Ice (10-32-8). The Broncos hold two games in hand. . . . The Hitmen had an 18-7 edge in first-period shots as they skated to a 4-1 lead. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:29. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:22 on a goal from F Ethan O’Rourke (9), who now is on a five-game goal-scoring streak. . . . The Hitmen went up 4-1 on goals from D Layne Toder (2), at 13:38; Malm, at 13:56; and F Luke Coleman (15), on a PP, at 19:25. . . . F Ian Briscoe (2) got the Broncos to within two at 17:39 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen put it away in the third as Malm scored his 20th goal, at 5:18, and former Broncos F Kaden Elder got his 19th, on a PP, at 10:11. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton was on the bench for this one after he had started the club’s previous 23 games. He watched as Brayden Peters made his first WHL appearance a winning one with 30 saves. . . . That included stopping Briscoe on a second-period penalty shot. . . . From Taber, Alta., Peters, 16, was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen are missing G Carl Stankowski (ankle).


G Connor Ungar stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory and record his first BrandonWKregularshutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer. . . . Brandon (21-19-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . Red Deer (28-16-3) is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Ungar was making his second WHL start for the Wheat Kings. He is on their roster because starter Jiri Patera is out with a leg injury. . . . Ungar, who turned 17 on Jan. 12, was with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers before joining the Wheat Kings. . . . Ungar’s night included 20 saves in the third period with friends and family members in the audience. . . . Brandon F Ty Thorpe got the scoring started at 11:06 of the first period. Thorpe, who is from Brandon, scored his first WHL goal in his 37th game. . . . D Braden Schneider (7) made it 2-0 at 10:35 of the second period. . . . The Wheat Kings put it away with two late third-period goals, from F Luka Burzan (28), on a PP, at 17:00, and F Caiden Daley (3), a shorthanded empty-netter, at 19:38. . . . The Rebels remain without D Alex Alexeyev.


D Bowen Byram scored 33 seconds into OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 victory Vancouverover the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (32-12-3) has points in 10 straight (9-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by 17 points over the Victoria Royals. The Giants also are five points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. Vancouver has two games in hand. . . . Kamloops (19-25-4) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers also are two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Giants are 4-0-0 in the season series; Kamloops is 0-2-2. . . . This was Game 47 for the Giants but it was their first trip to Kamloops. These teams will play four more times, with three of them in Kamloops, before season’s end. . . . Last night’s game was scoreless going to the third period. . . . Vancouver grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Lukas Svejkovsky (5), on a PP, at 1:59, and F Davis Koch (20), at 8:32. . . . Koch was playing in his 300th regular-season game — 75 with Vancouver after 225 with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He has 228 points, including 83 goals. . . . F Zane Franklin (24) got the Blazers to within a goal, at 13:37, and F Orrin Centazzo (12) tied it, on a PP, at 15:00. . . . In the OT, Byram shook off Kamloops F Connor Zary and was able to get the puck past G Dylan Ferguson and an inch or two over the goal line for his 19th goal of the season and his second OT score. Ten of Byram’s goals came in the month of January. . . . In a chippy game with some dislike in it, Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP and Kamloops was 1-4. . . .    The Giants got 29 stops from G Trent Miner, while Ferguson finished with 18 saves. . . . Kamloops lost D Jeff Faith to a kneeing major and a game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Tristen Nielsen at 1:52 of the first period. Faith served a five-game suspension earlier this month for an infraction against the host Victoria Royals on Jan. 9. . . . The Blazers had D Luke Zazula back after a seven-game absence, but D Quinn Schmiemann remains out. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is burning up the B.C. Major Midget League with the Thompson Blazers, played in his third game with Kamloops. He was the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. No, he doesn’t look out of place at this level.


F Henry Rybinski scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleRockets in Kelowna. . . . Seattle (19-22-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna (20-24-5) has points in two straight (1-0-1). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Victoria Royals, who hold three games in hand, and three points ahead of Kamloops. . . . F Mark Liwiski (5) put Kelowna out front at 8:03 of the first period, with Seattle F Matthew Wedman (22) tying it at 19:06. . . . The Rockets went back in front at 15:02 of the second period when F Kyle Crosbie (6) scored while shorthanded. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it at 19:15 on D Tyrel Bauer’s second goal of the season at 19:15. . . . Bauer, a 16-year-old freshman from Cochrane, Alta., went 43 games without a goal and now has scored in two straight outings. . . . Rybinski won it at 2:38 of OT with his second goal of the season. He had a goal and four assists in 14 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers when he asked for a trade. Since arriving in Seattle, he has a goal and 12 assists in 12 games. . . . With F Liam Kindree and F Ted Brennan injured, F Trevor Wong, 15, was in Kelowna’s lineup. Wong, from Vancouver, was the 18th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, and got into one game with the Rockets earlier in the season. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 35 shots, nine more than Seattle’s Roddy Ross.


F Riley Woods scored once and added four assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 7-2 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (25-17-5) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (30-14-5) had won its past three games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane and Portland each have won twice in the season series. . . . Woods, who enjoyed his first career five-point game, gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead with his 25th goal at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (18) pulled Portland even at 17:50. . . . The Chiefs blew it open with the game’s next six goals. . . . F Luc Smith scored twice, giving him 22 goals, with singles coming from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (5), F Jake McGrew (20), F Ethan McIndoe (10) and F Jack Finley (6). . . . F Lane Gilliss (11) scored Portland’s other goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan also had two assists, while Smith had one. . . . The Chiefs, who held a 47-21 edge in shots, were 3-7 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 0-3. . . . The Winterhawks had D John Ludvig back in their lineup after a three-game absence, but they are without F Cody Glass, who suffered a knee injury on Saturday and now has missed two games. He travelled with the team to Spokane, but won’t play for a while.


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Morrisseau’s season ends early . . . Warriors complete near-perfect trip . . . Volcan, Glass unable to finish as Portland beats Seattle


MacBeth

F Ivan Roháč (Kamloops, 2006-08) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sande (Germany, Regionalliga). Roháč last played with Humenné (Slovakia, 1. Liga) in 2015-16 when he had one assist in one game. In 2014-2015 with Liptovský Mikuláš (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had nine goals and 16 assists in 35 games. . . .

F Ondřej Najman (Spokane, 2016-17) a signed one-year contract extension with Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga). In 31 games, he has one goal and three assists in 31 games. In eight games while on loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had three goals and one assist. . . .

F Pavel Kousal (Spokane, 2016-17) signed a one-year contract extension with Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has four assists in 28 games. On loan to Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had four goals in eight games. . . .

F Dávid Šoltés (Prince George, 2013-15) has been traded by Košice to Banská Bystrica (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for Ján Sýkora. With Košice, Šoltés had seven goals and eight assists in 31 games. . . .

D Stefan Warg (Seattle, Prince Albert, 2008-10) has been traded by Malmö to Örebro (both Sweden, SHL) for Marcus Björk. After the trade, Warg signed a contract extension through the 2021-22 season wth Örebro. With Malmö, he had six assists in 33 games. . . .
D Tomáš Slovák (Kelowna, 2001-03) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga) after requesting and receiving his release from Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). He had one goal and three assists in 39 games.


ThisThat

F Koby Morrisseau of the Regina Pats has had a second season end because of Patsconcussion-related issues. Morrisseau last played on Oct. 28 when he was injured in a game against the Swift Current Broncos. . . . John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “He’s symptom-free but there have just been too many times. He needs to take a break. He needs to take the risk out of the equation.” . . . In 2016-17, his freshman season in the WHL, Morrisseau, then with the Spokane Chiefs, twice was diagnosed with two concussions and didn’t play after Dec. 13. . . . Spokane had selected him with the ninth-overall pick of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Harder’s story is right here.


Nakehko Lamothe, a player with the MacEwan U Griffins, died in Calgary following a Friday night game against the SAIT Trojans. Lamothe wasn’t feeling well after the game and was taken to Foothills Hospital where he died. He was 23. . . . A cause of death hasn’t been released. . . . Lamothe, from the Bigstone Cree Nation in Alberta, was a fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2010 bantam draft. However, he never played with the Chiefs. . . . He was in his third season with the Griffins. . . . There is more on this story right here.


A former Dauphin Kings defenceman comes home . . .


Jamie Corbett is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Corbett, from Headingley, Man., replaces Matt Summers. According to a news release from the team, “There were multiple reasons Summers couldn’t continue, among them the inability to legally work in Canada and failure to acquire basic certifications . . .” Corbett is a former assistant coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, who most recently was coaching the midget AAA Interlake Lightning. . . . Summers, 32, is from Savage, Minn. He was in his first season with the Blizzard. He also played for the Blizzard (2003-06).


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Brandon Wheat Kings scored twice in a shootout to beat the Regina Pats, 3-2. . . . BrandonWKregularBrandon (20-19-6) is two points behind the Calgary Hitmen, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Regina (13-33-3) had beaten the visiting Wheat Kings, 4-0, on Friday night. . . . D Kyle Walker gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 3:53 of the first period. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (11) tied it, on a PP, at 6:02. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (15) put Brandon ahead at 4:11 of the second period. . . . Walker tied it with his second goal of the game, at 16:35 of the third period. Walker’s first two goals of the season came in his 46th game of the season — 32 with Regina after 14 with the Everett Silvertips. Last season, he had one goal in 50 games with the Silvertips. . . . Brandon won it when its first two shooters — F Ben McCartney and F Stelio Mattheos — both scored. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 26 shots for the Pats, five fewer than Brandon’s Ethan Kruger. . . . The Wheat Kings scratched G Jiri Patera, who left Friday’s game with an apparent leg injury. They didn’t list a backup goaltender.


The Swift Current Broncos erased a 4-2 third-period deficit and beat the host Saskatoon SCBroncosBlades, 5-4 in OT. . . . Swift Current (10-34-3) had lost its previous four games. . . . Saskatoon (29-13-7) had won three in a row. It is second in the East Division, three points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . One night earlier, the Blades posted a 5-2 victory in Swift Current. . . . The Blades are 5-0-1 in the season series. . . . F Gary Haden, who scored four times on Friday, opened the scoring for Saskatoon with his 21st of the season at 0:38 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Nagel tied it at 3:27. . . . D Dawson Davidson (9), on a PP, gave the home side the lead at 19:01. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (8) ran his goal streak to four games with the Broncos’ first shorthanded goal of the season, at 6:04 of the second period. . . . The Blades went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (15), on a PP, at 9:44, and F Cyle McNabb (5), at 17:12. McNabb has four goals in six games with the Blades since being acquired from the Kootenay Ice. . . . Nagel (10) got the Broncos to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:21 of the third. . . . F Owen Blocker tied it with his third goal of the season, at 18:25. . . . The Broncos won it when F Joona Kiviniemi (12) scored with 3.4 seconds left in OT. . . . Swift Current got 48 saves out of G Riley Lamb, including 16 in the third period five in OT. . . . McNabb had one goal and two assists in 34 games with Vancouver, when the Giants dealt  him to Kootenay. He had one assists in three games with the Ice when he was moved to Saskatoon. . . . The Broncos scratched D Matthew Stanley and F Carter Chorney, both of whom were ill.


F Justin Almeida scored twice and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-MooseJawWarriors1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Moose Jaw (27-11-8) has points in seven straight games, as it completed its road trip at 6-0-1. It is third in the East Divison, three points behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). It now is tied for the second in the Central Division, along with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Almeida gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 7:46 of the first period, and F Brayden Tracey (19) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:45 of the second. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal at 7:35 of the third period as F Baxter Anderson (3) scored. . . . Almeida, who has 18 goals, iced it with an empty-netter at 19:06. . . . The Warriors got 26 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett stopped 25 shots.


The host Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George Red DeerCougars, 5-1. . . . Red Deer (28-15-3) now is atop the Central Division by one point. . . . Prince George (16-26-2) has lost six in a row (0-4-2) and is four points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Arshdeep Bains (5) put Red Deer ahead at 4:23 of the first period, only to have Prince George’s Josh Curtis (8) tie it at 11:14. . . . F Brandon Hagel broke the tie at 13:12 of the second period, and F Cam Hausinger (16), who also had two assists,  made it 3-1 at 18:35. . . . The Rebels put it away with third-period goals from Hagel (30) and F Brett Davis (15). . . . Hagel  has 74 points in 45 games. He is one shy of his career high in goals from 2016-17 when he scored 31 times in 65 games. . . . Hagel also had a penalty shot in the second period but was unsuccessful. . . . F Josh Maser of the Cougars sat out the second of a three-game suspension.


F Noah Gregor scored three times to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-3 victory over PrinceAlbertthe Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Prince Albert (41-6-2) went 4-1-1 on a road swing into B.C. It leads the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (10-31-8) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Gregor, 20, has 30 goals for the first time in his WHL career. . . . This season, Gregor has 30 goals and 33 assists in 44 games. In 238 career regular-season games, he has 268 points, including 116 goals. . . . The Raiders took a quick 2-0 lead on goals from F Dante Hannoun, at 0:58, and F Parker Kelly (23), shorthanded, at 4:02. . . . F Brad Ginnell (11) pulled the Ice to within a goal at 9:32. . . . Gregor got that one back 12 seconds into the second period. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (8) scored, shorthanded, for the ice at 7:30, but the Raiders blew it open with the next four goals — with Gregor getting two, one of them shorthanded. The others came from F Spencer Moe (7), who also had two assists, and Hannoun (24), who had one assist. . . . F Connor McClennon (6) had the Ice’s last goal. . . . Kelly added three assists for his second career four-point game. . . . Interestingly, Kootenay was 0-3 on the PP and Prince Albert was 0-2, but the Raiders scored twice while shorthanded and the Ice did it once. . . . Ice F Jaeger White, 20, played in his 200th regular-season game — 68 with Lethbridge, 13 with Brandon, three with Everett, 68 with Medicine Hat and 48 with Kootenay.


The Kamloops Blazers scored two shootout goals to beat the visiting Victoria Royals, 3-2. . Kamloops1. . Kamloops (19-24-3) has won four in a row. It now is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, but also is just one point behind the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division. . . . Victoria (24-20-2) is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of Kelowna. . . . Should Kamloops finish third in the division, it likely would set up a first-round series with Victoria, which leads the season series, 5-1-1. . . . F Jermaine Loewen gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period. . . . The Royals took a 2-1 lead on goals from D Scott Walford (7), on a PP at 17:40 of the second period, and D Ralph Jarratt (4), at 0:32 of the third. . . . Loewen tied it with 45.3 seconds left in the third period, tapping in a loose puck that was in the crease after a shot by F Zane Franklin. . . . The Blazers got shootout goals from F Connor Zary and Franklin to win it. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson, who was terrific in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday, was sharp again, this time with 33 saves. . . . BTW, Friday’s shutout was the first on home ice in Ferguson’s career. . . . Victoria G Brock Gould stopped 30 shots. . . . The Blazers remain without D Luke Zazula (shutout) and D Quinn Schmiemann (concussion).


D Bowen Byram broke a 1-1 tie at 14:00 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat Vancouverthe Rockets, 2-1, in Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (31-12-2) has won eight in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 14 points over Victoria. . . . Kelowna (19-24-4) has lost two straight. It is third in the B.C. Division, now just one point ahead of Kamloops, which has a game in hand. . . . The Giants are 4-0-0 against the Rockets this season, including 3-0-0 in Kelowna. . . . D Dallas Hines (6) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:14 of the first period. . . . F Nolan Foote (25) got Kelowna into a tie 15 seconds into the second period. . . . Byram’s 17th goal, on a PP, stood up as the winner. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner stopped 18 shots and earned the secondary assist on the winning goal. . . . Kelowna got 37 stops from G Roman Basran. . . . F Brayden Watts (ill) was among Vancouver’s scratches. . . . The two teams will play again today in Langley, B.C.


F Seth Jarvis scored on a penalty shot in OT to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 Portlandvictory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (29-13-5) has won two in a row. It leads the season series, 5-2-0; Seattle is 2-4-1. . . . Portland is a comfortable second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Everett and 10 in front of Tri-City and Spokane. . . . Seattle (17-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1) and now is one point out of a wild-card spot. . . . Both teams lost key forwards to injury. Seattle F Nolan Volcan left in the second period with an apparent arm or wrist injury, while Portland F Cody Glass was helped off the ice in the third period, unable to put any weight on his left leg. . . . The Winterhawks had taken a 2-0 lead on goals from F Lane Gilliss (10), at 16:48 of the first period, and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (3), at 16:41 of the second. . . . Seattle tied it with two goals in the last 20 seconds of the third period, D Simon Kubicek (8) scoring at 19:40 and F Matthew Wedman (19) at 19:58. . . . Jarvis won it with his 13th goal, on a penalty shot, at 2:19 of OT. . . . According to Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, the last Portland player to win an OT game on a penalty shot was D Caleb Jones on Dec. 27, 2015 against the Tri-City Americans. The host Winterhawks won that one, 5-4, when Jones scored at 2:19 of OT. Yes, Jarvis also scored at 2:19. . . . Portland had a 41-23 edge in shots. It was 35-11 after two periods. . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius finished with 38 saves, 17 more than Portland’s Joel Hofer.


G Beck Warm stopped 47 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 3-1 victory over the tri-citySpokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (25-18-3) had lost two in a row. It moved into a tie for third with Spokane in the U.S. Division. . . . Spokane (24-17-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It had been beaten 3-0 by the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . The Chiefs got the game’s first goal, from F Adam Beckman (19), at 15:59 of the first period. . . . F Sasha Mutala (12) tied it at 6:45 of the second period, and F Riley Sawchuk (15) broke the tie at 17:09. . . . Tri-City F Kyle Olson (15) added insurance at 16:03 of the third. . . . Spokane had a 48-31 edge in shots, including 19-8 in the first period and 17-6 in the third.


The Everett Silvertips set a franchise record with six second-period goals en route to a 9-Everett1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Everett (35-12-2) has won two straight and now leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . Lethbridge (25-14-8) had won its previous two games. The Hurricanes are tied for second in the Central Division, with Medicine and Edmonton, one point behind Red Deer. . . . Lethbridge completes its three-game U.S. tour with a game today in Portland, its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Silvertips jumped into a 5-0 lead before the second period was half over, as they got two goals from F Zack Andrusiak and singles from D Artyom Minulin (1), F Connor Dewar (31) and F Reece Vitelli (6). . . . F Justin Hall (3) scored for Lethbridge at 9:38 of the second. . . . Andrusiak, who has 34 goals, completed his sixth career hat trick — his fourth this season — at 12:47. It was his first three-goal game with Everett, which acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 1. . . . F Bryce Kindopp and D Gianni Fairbrother (7) also scored before the period ended, giving the Silvertips a franchise record for the most goals in one period. The Silvertips had scored five goals in a period on four occasions, most recently on Dec. 27, 2017, in an 11-0 victory over the Giants in Victoria. . . . Kindopp completed the scoring with his 25th goal at 0:14 of the third period. . . . Everett was 5-9 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-3. . . . Everett tied the franchise record for most PP goals in one game. . . . Andrusiak also had an assist, for a four-point night, while Kindopp added an assist to his two goals, Dewar also had two assists as well as the goal, and D Jake Christiansen had three assists. . . . G Bryan Thomson got the start for Lethbridge, his first since being added to the roster after Liam Hughes left the Hurricanes earlier in the week. Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, had been playing for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Thomson finished with 28 saves on 32 shots, with Carl Tetachuk playing most of the second period and stopping 14 of 19. . . . Everett got 25 saves from G Dustin Wolf.


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Rockets lose forward to retirement . . . Warriors win second game in B.C. . . . Red-hot Byram sparks Giants’ victory

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The Kelowna Rockets announced on Wednesday morning that F Erik Gardiner has retired.

Gardiner, an alternate captain, was in his third season with the Rockets. The Regina Pats KelownaRocketsselected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

The Rockets acquired Gardiner and D James Hilsendager from Regina on Nov. 30, 2016, for D Jonathan Smart.

This season, Gardiner had five goals and 18 assists in 39 games. In 114 career regular-season games — four with Regina and 110 with Kelowna — he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

Gardiner, 19, is from Humboldt. He played minor hockey in the Saskatchewan community and also played 25 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos in 2016-17. Yes, he lost friends in the April 6 crash involving the Broncos’ bus.

“Due to health and personal reasons, I thought it was time to step away,” Gardiner said in a news release. “I want to focus on different things and take care of myself.”

Gardiner was limited to 31 games in 2017-18, losing a chunk in the middle of the season after being struck on the head while blocking a shot during a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Oct. 27. The impact of the shot actually broke his visor, but Gardiner returned and drew the primary assist on the winning goal.

Here’s what Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, wrote on his blog at the time:

“With many in the building gasping as Gardiner went down in considerable pain and the replay was shown on the video screen, Gardiner took off his helmet, rubbed his head a few times before eventually making his way to his feet. Surprisingly, Gardiner stayed in the game, blocked another key shot on an Americans’ power play in overtime and then set up Carsen Twarynski for the game winner.”

One night later, Gardiner was in the lineup again, picking up two primary assists in a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kelowna.

However, he didn’t play again until Feb. 9 as he tried to overcome post-concussion symptoms.

In mid-April, Gardiner spoke about his Humboldt connections with Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier. That story is right here.

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The GSL Group, which owns the WHL’s Victoria Royals, has purchased the Delta Hockey Academy from the Delta, B.C., School District, for $1. The academy is based out of Planet Ice in North Delta, a facility owned by the GSL Group, which was founded by Graham Lee. . . . Sandor Gyarmati of the Delta Optimist has the story right here.

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The junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C., have signed Dean McAmmond as their head coach, replacing the fired John Van Horlick. . . . Van Horlick was dismissed last week, with assistant coaches Liam Mconie and Graham Watkins running the team for a bit. They remain on staff to work with McAmmond, a former WHL and NHL forward. Joey Guerra also remains on staff. . . . Dallas Keller, the Knights’ general manager, told the Vernon Morning Star that Van Horlick will be staying with the organization as a scout and consultant. . . . That story is right here.

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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Kootenay Ice erased a 2-1 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 4-3 victory Kootenaynewover the Pats in Regina. . . . Kootenay (10-29-7) has won two in a row. Of its 10 victories, six are on home ice and four came in Saskatchewan. With the victory, the Ice moved ahead of the Pats by one point. . . . The Ice went into Tuesday’s game in Swift Current, where it beat the Broncos, 2-0, having won twice since Nov. 1. . . . Regina (12-31-2) has lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . D Brady Poteau (2) gave the Pats a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:03 of the first period. . . . The Ice tied it on a goal by F Austin Schellenberg (3) at 12:08. . . . The Pats went back in front at 1:58 of the second period as F Sebastian Streu (5) scored, on a PP. . . . The Ice took a 4-2 lead on goals from F Jakin Smallwood (6), on a PP, at 4:32; D Valtteri Kakkonen (1), at 11:09; and F Davis Murray (7), at 1:38 of the third. . . . Regina F Duncan Pierce (6) made  it a one-goal game at 6:11 but the Pats weren’t able to get another goal. . . . Kakkonen, a freshman from Finland, scored his first goal in his 36th game. . . . Regina was 2-9 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-5. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who was making his first appearance since joining the team from the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Meger, 20, is from Regina. Last season, he got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886. . . . The Ice scratched F Jaeger White, who may have been injured while blocking a shot late in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. White scored the game’s first goal and added an assist in that victory.

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F James Hamblin’s shootout goal gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Tigers Logo OfficialEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (24-16-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Edmonton (24-14-8) has points in four straight and now is atop the Central Division by two points over idle Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton leads the season series, 3-0-1; Medicine Hat is 1-1-2. Yes, three of the four games have gone to extra time. . . . The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point out of third. . . . D Ethan Cap (5) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period, with the Tigers tying it on a goal by F Corson Hopwo (2), at 10:43. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (3) put the Oil Kings back in front at 19:57. . . . The Tigers tied it, again, at 4:35 of the third as F Ryan Jevne got his 21st goal. . . . Edmonton went in front, again, at 12:45 as F Josh Williams (10) scored, on a PP. That was his first goal with Edmonton since coming over from Medicine Hat in a Jan. 10 deal. . . . The Tigers forced OT when F Ryan Chyzowski (15) struck with 34.3 seconds left in regulation time. Chyzowski hadn’t played since Jan. 5 when he suffered a skate cut near a knee. . . . Hamblin, who had two assists, was the first shooter in the shootout and the only one to score. . . . Each team took one minor penalty. . . . The Tigers lost G Mads Søgaard with 5:16 left in the second period. He left after being involved in a collision with Jevne. . . . The Tigers were trailing 2-1 at the time. Jordan Hollett came on to stop 12 of 13 shots and record the victory. . . . D Matthew Robertson returned for the Oil Kings. He hadn’t played since Dec. 29.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Rockets, 5-1, in MooseJawWarriorsKelowna. . . . Moose Jaw (23-11-7) has won two in a row as it has opened its B.C. Division trek with back-to-back victories. It is third in the East Division, five points behind idle Saskatoon and with four games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kelowna (17-22-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points ahead of Prince George. . . . Last season, the Rockets finished atop the B.C. Division, at 43-22-7, so have already equalled that loss total. . . . Things aren’t about to get any easier for the Rockets, either, as they are scheduled to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Friday, then hurry home to face the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . The Warriors won the faceoff battle, 37-22. . . . F Carson Denomie (2) got the Warriors started at 4:08 of the first period. It was his first goal since Moose Jaw acquired him from Kamloops last week. . . . F Justin Almeida (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:08 of the second period. . . . D Jett Woo (8) upped it to 3-0 at 19:36. . . . The Warriors got third-period goals from F Drae Gardiner (1) and F Daniil Stepanov (5) before F Kyle Topping (16) scored for the Rockets. . . . D Josh Brook drew three assists, giving him five in the first two games of the B.C. Division trip. He has nine goals and 35 assists in 32 games. . . . G Brodan Salmond earned the victory with 18 saves. He spent the previous two seasons with the Rockets, but was released over the summer. This season, he is 13-4-4, 2.84, .900. . . . Kelowna’s lone scratch was D Matt Barberis, who has yet to play since being acquired from the Vancouver Giants. With the departures of D Libor Zabransky (released) and F Erik Gardiner (retired), the Rockets have only 21 players on their roster.

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The Prince Albert Raiders broke a 2-2 tie with four goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the PrinceAlbertCougars in Prince George. . . . The Raiders (38-5-1) have won three in a row and lead the East Division by 19 points over Saskatoon. This was the start of a B.C. Division tour that continues Friday in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (16-23-3) had won their previous two games. They hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, a point ahead of idle Seattle. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from F Sean Montgomery (19) and F Parker Kelly (21). . . . The Cougars tied it on goals from F Jackson Leppard (9), at 16:46 of the first period, and F Mike MacLean (4), at 2:40 of the second. . . . Prince Albert F Aliaksei Protas (8) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 10:51. . . . The visitors put it away with three third-period goals, from F Cole Fonstad (17), F Justin Nachbaur (11) and F Noah Gregor (27). . . . G Taylor Gauthier, making his seventh straight start for the Cougars, stopped 43 shots. . . . The Raiders got 23 stops from G Ian Scott, who now is 26-4-1, 1.78, .937. . . . F Ilijah Colina returned to the Cougars’ lineup after last playing on Dec. 30.

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D Bowen Byram’s goal in OT gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City VancouverAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Vancouver (27-12-2) has won four in a row and leads the B.C. Division by 11 points over idle Victoria. . . . Tri-City (21-16-3) has lost two straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth. . . . The Americans jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (13) and F Sasha Mutala (11). . . . Vancouver went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Jadon Joseph, F Davis Koch (14) and D Bowen Byram. . . . F Kyle Olson (11) got Tri-City into a 3-3 tie at 14:59. . . . Joseph gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead with his 15th goal with 0.6 left in the second. . . . The Americans tied it at 1:56 of the third period when F Parker AuCoin (23) scored on a penalty shot. . . . Byram, who also had an assist, won it with his 15th goal of the season, at 2:39 of OT. . . . Byram has points in seven straight games, with six goals and eight assists over that stretch. In 41 games, he now has 15 goals and 27 assists. . . . Joseph added an assist to his two goals, while Koch had two assists and now has three straight three-point outings. He has 14 goals and 30 assists in 41 games.

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Keast first female for SJHL . . . Byram writes record in Vancouver . . . Gauthier, Wolf can’t be beaten

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The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves had a young woman — Taylor Keast — dressed and on their bench for a game on Friday night.

Keast was there in support of starting goaltender Jordan Frey.

All Frey did was stop 46 shots, including 21 in the third period, to record a 3-2 victory larongeover the visiting Kindersley Klippers.

With Thursday (Jan. 10) being the junior A trading deadline, as it was in the WHL, the Ice Wolves ran into a goaltending shortage. They dealt Daniel Davidson to the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars and added Brendan Benoit from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. However, Benoit was in transit so wasn’t available for Friday’s game. (Benoit was on the bench backing up Frey for Game 2 of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday, which was won by the Klippers, 5-2.)

Keast, 17, who plays for a midget team in La Ronge, is believed to be the first female to be in uniform for an SJHL game of any kind in the league’s history. The SJHL has been around, in one form or another, since 1950-51.

“It was pretty cool, I’ve grown up here, so when I was a little kid, I used to want to play for the Ice Wolves,” Keast told Braden Malsbury of mbcradio.com, who is La Ronge’s play-by-play voice. “It was fun, it was a really good experience.”

Shannon Szabados, a veteran of Canada’s national women’s team, made a total of 213 regular-season (2002-07) appearances in the AJHL — split among the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Bonnyville Pontiacs and Fort Saskatchewan Traders.

Szabados, who is from Edmonton, also got into one WHL regular-season game, playing 50 seconds with the Tri-City Americans during a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants at Pacific Coliseum on Sept. 22, 2002.

Szabados went in for starter Tyler Weiman at 4:10 of the third period. She didn’t face a shot, and left at 5:00 as Weiman re-entered the game.

Szabados, now 32, is playing with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts.

Last season, Isabella (Izzy) Palumbo, then 15, started for the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League on Jan. 20. At that point, the Rockets had two victories and one of those was a forfeit.

So head coach Jason Stephens gave Palumbo the start for a home game on Jan. 20, and she responded with 41 saves in a 7-4 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Before last season was done, Palumbo had gotten into three games with Golden, going 1-1-0, 6.00, .866.

Palumbo is listed with the Rockets this season as an AP, but hasn’t played.

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Gilles Courteau has been the QMJHL commissioner for 33 years, and he doesn’t think the time has come for major junior teams to treat players as something other than student-athletes.

“A player should never be considered as an employee,” Courteau told Douglas Gelevan of qmjhlCBC News. “We don’t want to give (players the) additional responsibility of an employee. We want him to play in the QMJHL and concentrate on hockey and school. Nothing else.”

This comes as major junior hockey deals with a class-action lawsuit that suggests, among other things, that players should be paid at least the minimum wage that is applicable in each jurisdiction.

Courteau feels that paying players in such a fashion might even lead to players dropping out of school.

He told Gelevan that he could see players saying: “We’re not going to school anymore because we’re working. We’re playing hockey, we’re getting money, we’re getting a paycheque on a weekly basis, we will think about school when we’re done playing major junior.”

Courteau added: “No. This is not what we want to do.”

The complete story, which touches on other topics, too, including the trading of players, is right here.

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D Libor Zabransky no longer is with the Kelowna Rockets. Regan Bartel, the radio voice KelownaRocketsof the Rockets, tweeted prior to Saturday night’s game against the host Prince George Cougars that Kelowna head coach “Adam Foote tells me d-man Libor Zabransky is no longer with the team. The 18-year-old has joined the Fargo Force of the USHL.” . . . Zabransky, from Czech Republic, had two goals and seven assists in 35 games this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and 17 assists in 72 games. . . . Zabransky’s departure means the Rockets are left with one import on their roster — Finnish freshman Lassi Thomson.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings opened up a 3-1 second-period lead and went on to score a 3-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (17-17-6) had lost its previous three games. It now is six points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-11-7) has lost four straight (0-3-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (17) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:42 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (24) got Brandon even by scoring on a penalty shot at 19:32. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (29) broke the tie at 1:14 of the second period, with F Baron Thompson (2) scoring the eventual winner, on a PP, at 16:57. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (14) pulled the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third period. That was his first goal since being acquired from Swift Current on Thursday. . . . Of note to number geeks: The Warriors had a 29-21 edge in shots and faceoffs. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from G Jiri Patera.

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F Parker Kelly scored twice and added an assist to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-3 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (37-5-1) have won two in a row. They are 19-3-0 at home, and lead the East Division by 17 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (21-17-4) had won their previous six games. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Medicine Hat and six in front of Brandon. . . . The Raiders ended Portland’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (9), on a PP, and D Brayden Pachal (11) — and was never headed. . . . F Riley Stotts got the Hitmen to within 2-1 at 8:21 of the second, but the Raiders stretched the lead to 4-1 as F Cole Fonstad (16) scored at 9:35 and F Dante Hannoun (20) counted at 10:40. . . . F Luke Coleman (12) scored while shorthanded for Calgary, at 13:15, only to have Prince Albert F Brett Leason (30) get that one back at 16:52. . . . Kelly, who has 20 goals, scored twice in the third period, while Stotts got his second of the game and 14th of the season for Calgary. . . . The Raiders had a 41-24 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the first period. . . . F Jake Kryski was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . D Loeden Schaufler and F Bryce Bader, deadline-day acquisitions, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . The Raiders will begin a trip through the B.C. Division in Prince George on Wednesday.

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F Brandon Hagel scored three goals and added two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 9-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Red Deer (25-13-3) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It went 3-0-0 on a trip into the East Division, with victories in Swift Current (3-2) and Brandon (5-3) as it played three times in four nights. . . . The Rebels are tied with Edmonton for second in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge. . . .  Regina (12-30-2) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first three goals and led 5-1 halfway through the second period. . . . The Pats got to within two in the third period, but the Rebels responded with three late goals. . . . Hagel, who has 26 goals, completed his fifth career hat trick at 14:03 of the third period for a 7-4 lead. . . . The Rebels also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (22), F Reese Johnson (19), F Brett Davis (14), F Josh Tarzwell (6), F Zak Smith (9) and F Oleg Zaytsev (8). . . . Davis and Tarzwell added two assists each for three-point outings. . . . Regina’s goals came from F Sebastian Streu (4), F Garrett Wright (3), F Duncan Pierce (5) and D Brady Pouteau (1). . . . The Pats celebrated Barret Jackman Bobblehead Night and, yes, the former captain was in the house.

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F Mason Mannek scored Portland’s last two goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 5-4 Portlandvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Portland (26-12-5) when 5-1-0 on its East Division trip. It is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . Saskatoon (26-13-6) had points in its of its previous three games (2-0-1) and had been 7-0-2 in its past nine home games. The Blades appear headed for a second-place finish in the East Division. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (5), at 6:21, and F Max Gerlach, at 18:11. . . . F Seth Jarvis (12) pulled Portland to within a goal at 19:18. . . . F Kirby Dach (17) gave the Blades a 3-1 lead at 3:24 of the second period. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired by Portland from Saskatoon on Thursday, then scored back-to-back PP goals, at 5:13 and 8:52, for a 3-3 tie. . . . Mannek followed at 16:19 by giving Portland a 4-3 lead. . . . Saskatoon tied it at 17:30 of the third when Gerlach scored his 26th goal. . . . Mannek, who has 11 goals, broke the tie at 17:30. He also had an assist to tack on to his first career multi-goal game. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas celebrated his 20th birthday with 35 saves as he won for the 25th time this season. . . . The Winterhawks again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion), while Saskatoon remains without D Nolan Kneen (undisclosed injury).

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The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory Seattleover the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . Seattle (15-21-4) has won three straight. It went 4-2-0 on an East Division trip that ended with four games in five nights. The Thunderbirds hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Prince George. . . . Swift Current (8-30-3) has lost two in a row. . . . This was a meeting between the WHL’s last two championship organizations, the Thunderbirds having won in the spring of 2017 and the Broncos last season. Of course, this season they have combined to win 23 of 81 games, which shows that there sometimes is a steep price to be paid for winning championships. . . . Seattle got goals from F Sean Richards, D Jarret Tyszka (4) and F Tyler Carpendale (14) to go ahead 3-0 early in the second period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (6) got the Broncos on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:07 of the second p[eriod, but Richards, who has 13 goals, counted at 12:03 for a 4-1 lead. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley sandwiched a pair of third-period goals around one by Seattle F Andrej Kukuca (12) to round out the scoring. . . . Stanley has three goals this season. . . . G Cole Schwebius earned the victory for Seattle with 31 stops. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back in the lineup. He served a three-game suspension then was scratched for two games. . . . F Tyler Smithies, who was acquired from Moose Jaw on Thursday, made his Swift Current debut. However, F Tyler Lees, who came over from the Victoria Royals on Monday, is out with an undisclosed injury.

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F Jordy Bellerive’s shorthanded empty-net goal turned into the winner as the host LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (23-11-8) is atop the Central Division, leading by one point over Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Hurricanes are to visit Edmonton today. . . . Kootenay (8-29-7) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . All five goals were scored in the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (15) gave the Ice the lead at 3:08. . . . Lethbridge got the next three goals, from F Logan Barlage (11), at 5:23; F Dylan Cozens (25), at 7:56; and Bellerive (22), into an empty net at 18:33. . . . Bellerive’s goal turned into the game-winner when F Brandon Machado (3) scored, on a PP, for the Ice at 19:15. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge, one more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon on Thursday, was in Kootenay’s lineup.

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F Vince Loschiavo scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton (23-14-7) has won two in a row and is tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-4) had won five straight at home. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. It also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead at 12:48 of the first period on a goal by F Tyler Preziuso (17). . . . Edmonton tied it at 11:19 of the second period when F David Kope (9) scored. . . . Loschiavo won it with his 20th goal of the season — his seventh winner — at 2:11 of OT. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-8 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Mads Søgaard in his first start since he played for Denmark at the WJC. . . . Medicine Hat F Brett Kemp and Edmonton F Josh Williams, who were swapped for each other on Thursday, were in the starting lineups.

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G Taylor Gauthier earned the shutout with 20 saves as the host Prince George Cougars PrinceGeorgebeat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Prince George (16-22-3) has won two in a row. It had beaten the visiting Rockets, 7-2, on Friday night. . . . The Cougars are fourth in the B.C. Division, and have moved into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . Kelowna (17-21-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand, and three ahead of Prince George. . . . F Josh Maser (16) got the home side off on the right foot with a goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . F Josh Curtis (7) added insurance at 1:08 of the second. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk put it away with two third-period goals, giving him 15 this season. . . . F Ethan Browne drew three assists. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old from Calgary, has three career shutouts, all of them in this, his sophomore season. He now is 12-15-2, 2.94, .905.

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The Spokane Chiefs had eight players with goals and 15 with at least one point as they SpokaneChiefsdumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-3. . . . Spokane (24-13-4) has won four straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (21-16-2) is eight points behind Spokane, but also is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth, nine points up on Prince George. . . . The Chiefs led 3-1 after the first period and then outscored the Americans 4-1 in the second. . . . The Spokane goals came from F Eli Zummack (12), F Luc Smith (18), F Cordel Larson (6), F Michael King (1), F Adam Beckman (18), D Nolan Reid (7), F Jake McGrew (18) and F Riley Woods (24). . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan had three assists for Spokane. . . . Tri-City got goals from F Riley Sawchuk (12), F Paycen Bjorklund (2) and F Parker AuCoin (22). . . . The Chiefs outshot the visitors, 48-26, including 20-7 in the second period. . . . The Americans scratched F Blake Stevenson, who turned 18 on Saturday, and D Aaron Hyman. . . . If you were wondering, Spokane head coach Dan Lambert turned 49 on Saturday. I know. I know. He doesn’t look a day over 35.

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D Bowen Byram scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 7-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (25-12-2) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by seven points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (15-22-3) has lost four in a row, all of them on a road trip that concluded with this one. It is 0-12-1 in its last 13 road games. . . . The Blazers also have fallen into last place in the 10-team Western Conference, one point behind Seattle and two behind Prince George, which has moved into the second wild-card spot. . . . This was the Giants’ first home game since Dec. 16. In between, they experienced the Christmas break and a Central Division trip on which they went 2-4-0. . . . Vancouver is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, with all three games in Langley. Over their final 29 games, Vancouver will play Kamloops five times. . . . The Giants took a 3-2 lead into the second period where they exploded for four straight goals, with Byram drawing an assist on three of them. . . . Byram, who will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft, set a franchise record for points by a defenceman in one game. According to the Giants, the record had been shared by Jonathan Bloom (2005-09), Neal Manning (2007-12), Cody Franson (2004-07), Paul Albers (2004-06) and Kevin Connauton (2009-10). . . . Byram gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period, only to have F Jermaine Loewen tie it at 3:30. . . . The Giants went ahead 3-1 on goals from Byram (12), at 9:05, and F Milos Roman (18), on a PP, at 11:59. . . . F Travis Walton (1) got the Blazers to within a goal at 17:02. . . . The Giants took over in the second period on goals from F Justin Sourdif (10), F Tristen Nielsen (5), F Brayden Watts (10) and F Davis Koch (12). . . . The Blazers got their last two goals, both in the third period, from F Kobe Mohr (5), on a PP, and Loewen (14). . . . Roman added three assists to his goal, with Nielsen and Koch getting two assists each. . . . The Blazers were without three defencemen. Jeff Faith served Game 2 of a five-game suspension. Joonas Sillanpää drew a one-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct in a 4-1 loss to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday. Quinn Schiemann was scratched. . . . So the Blazers had two defencemen make their WHL debuts. Ethan Brandwood, 16, is from Victoria and is the captain of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s South Island Royals. He was a seventh-round pick by the Blazers in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Trevor Thurston, 16, was a fourth-round selection in that same draft. From North Delta, B.C., he plays for the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

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G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to help the Everett Silvertips beat the Royals, 4-0, in EverettVictoria. . . . Everett (33-9-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . Victoria (22-16-1) had won its previous four games. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Vancouver. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (31) scored the game’s first goal, at 1:36 of the second period. . . . Everett put it away with third-period scores by F Justyn Gurney (1), at 8:10, and F Reece Vitelli (5), at 10:35. . . . Wolf now has four shutouts this season and eight in his career. On the season, he is 29-9-1, 1.82, .930. . . . In 60 career regular-season appearances, Wolf is 42-15-1, 1.96, .929. . . . Everett F Bryce Kindopp had one assist to run his point streak to 12 games. He has 18 points, including 11 goals, over that stretch. . . . F Kody McDonald of the Royals played in his 300th regular-season game; it was his fifth game since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders for whom he played 63 games. The other 232 were played with the Prince George Cougars. He has 177 points, including 84 goals.

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