Giants, Raiders head back to P.A. . . . Game 6 scheduled for Sunday. . . . Guelph one win from title in OHL


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The Guelph Storm won its third straight game on Friday night, beating the host Ottawa ohl67’s, 4-3, to take a 3-2 lead in the OHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Guelph on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Storm got a goal and an assist from F Alexey Toropchenko, who has seven goals in his past four games. He has 13 goals in these playoffs. . . . F Tye Felhaber scored twice for Ottawa. He now leads the OHL playoffs, with 17 goals. . . . The 67’s opened the playoffs with 14 straight victories, but now have lost three in a row — for the first time this season — and are facing elimination on Sunday.



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The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2019-20 season. . . . The Cougars’ games, home and away, will again be heard on 94.3 The GOAT. . . . Fraser Rodgers will be back for his third season as the play-by-play voice. . . . Hartley Miller, The GOAT’s sports director, will be the analyst for a seventh straight season.


Sean Murray, a goaltending coach who has worked with the Portland Winterhawks, TrailVancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars, has signed on with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Murray, a coach for more than 20 years, spent five seasons (2006-11) with the Giants, and was part of their Memorial Cup title in 2007. . . . He also pent three-plus seasons with the Winterhawks and two working with the Cougars. . . . The Smoke Eaters also have hired Jeff Urekar, who had been the head coach of the major midget North East Chiefs, as assistant GM.


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced Friday that they have “parted ways” OilBaronswith Tom Keca, who had been their general manager and head coach through four seasons. . . . In a news release, David Fitzgerald, the organization’s president, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to agree on terms with Tom to extend his contract beyond this season. In light of this, we decided that it was best for the organization to move in a different direction next season.” . . . Before taking over as GM/head coach, Keca had been an assistant coach with the Oil Barons for four-plus seasons. He also spent five seasons (2000-05) on the staff as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Dave Dupas has stepped in as general manager and head coach “until further notice.” . . . Dupas has been an assistant coach with Fort McMurray for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings for four seasons. . . . This season, the Oil Barons went 32-19-9 to finish fourth in the Viterra AJHL North. They beat the Grande Prairie Storm, 3-1, in a best-of-five first-round series, then lost a best-of-seven affair to the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 4-2.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is headed back to the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. . . . The Vancouver Giants beat the Raiders, 4-3, on Friday night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now hold a 3-2 lead in the series. . . . The two teams will climb on to the same plane today and fly to Prince Albert where Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday. . . .

Prior to Game 5, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “The one thing I know for sure is that you don’t give games away. You have a chance like this, you play this like it’s Game 7. “You want to end it as quick as possible. (Friday) is our Game 7.” . . .

After Game 5, Habscheid told reporters: “If someone had told me at the start of the (season) that we’d have two games at home to try and win the league title, we’d take it.” . . .

This is the third straight WHL final to go six games. . . . Two seasons ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the host Regina Pats, 4-3 in OT, to win that series, 4-2. . . . Last season, it was the Swift Current Broncos winning Game 6, 3-0 over the visiting Everett Silvertips, to take that series, 4-2. . . .

On Friday, at 8:15 p.m. PT, with Game 5 between Vancouver and Prince Albert in the first intermission, Rogers Sportsnet had Plays of the Month on four channels, MLB’s Best on one channel and Highlights of the Night on another. Just sayin’ . . . No, Game 6 of the OHL’s championship final wasn’t on any of the channels earlier in the evening either.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants erased a 2-1 deficit with three-second period goals en route to a 4-Vancouver3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2, with Game 6 to be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. . . . Game 7, if necessary, would be played on Monday. . . . Last night, the Giants got the game’s first goal, at 7:42 of the first period, when F Brayden Watts (7) deposited a rebound off a shot by F Tristen Nielsen into an empty side. . . . The team scoring first now is 5-0 in this series. . . . The Raiders tied it at 10:44 as F Aliaksei Protas (12) scored from the slot off a rebound from a shot by F Sean Montgomery. . . . The teams then combined for five goals in the second period. . . . The visitors took their only lead at 2:45, just nine seconds after killing off a penalty. F Dante Hannoun came free in front of the Giants’ net and beat G David Tendeck for his WHL-leading 13th goal of these playoffs. . . . Vancouver tied it 50 seconds later as D Bowen Byram (8) skated into the left side of the slot and beat G Ian Scott for his first goal of the series. . . . F Davis Koch (3) put the home boys back out front, putting home a rebound at 9:24. He had gone 12 games without a goal. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (6) upped Vancouver’s lead to 4-2 at 11:13 with a shot from the top of the left circle off a play by F Dawson Holt, who gained possession of the puck with some good work along the boards and then threw out a terrific pass. . . . The Raiders got back to within a goal at 15:54 as F Noah Gregor (11) got a backhand shot through Tendeck after the Giants failed to clear their zone. . . . F Jadon Joseph had two assists for Giants, while Byram added an assist to his goal, as did Watts. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Brett Leason. . . . Leason and Byram remain tied for the playoff points lead, each with 25, two ahead of Hannoun. . . . Tendeck finished with 37 saves, including 16 in the third period as he helped keep the Raiders off the scoreboard. . . . Scott stopped 26 shots. . . . The Giants were 0-1 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-2. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back in the lineup after he missed Games 3 and 4. He was injured in the second period of Game 2 after crashing awkwardly into the end boards. With Martin back in, D Loeden Schaufler came out. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence, with Ron Dietterle and Brett Mackey working the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.


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Rockets looking for trade partner. . . . Raiders one win from WHL final. . . . Giants into championship series


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F Dan DaSilva (Portland, 2002-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He led his club in scoring this season, putting up 47 points, 22 of them goals, in 52 games. . . .

D Drydn Dow (Tri-City, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite) and will receive a scholarship from the University of Dundee. In 58 games, he had nine goals and 29 assists. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert, Kelowna, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Utica Comets (AHL), he had two goals and one assist in 21 games, and 26 goals and 27 assists in 36 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). He led Kalamazoo in plus/minus at +26. . . .

F Garry Nunn (Vancouver, Edmonton, 2007-10) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Olten (Switzerland, Swiss League). This season, with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had 15 goals and 15 assists in 37 games.


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With the WHL’s bantam draft scheduled for Thursday in Red Deer, the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsare open for business. . . . The Rockets didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season. They are the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. If you’re a hockey fan, you know that’s not a good combination. . . . Therefore, Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, knows he has some work to do to put together a roster that will be capable of competing for a championship. . . . With that in mind, he has said he is more than willing to trade away the fifth-overall selection in the bantam draft. . . . “I want at least one high-end guy for that pick,” Hamilton told Wayne Moore of castanet.net earlier this week, “and probably more than one.” . . . The WHL features 22 teams. The Rockets were 19th in goals for this season and 18th in goals against. So there is ample room for improvement. . . . Hamilton also served up something of a warning to the WHL’s other 21 teams, telling Moore that “if someone wants to deal with us, they’re going to have to start dealing with us this weekend. Once we hit (Thursday) morning, we won’t be making the trade if it hasn’t happened by then. Strategically, teams would love to catch us on the morning of the draft and get us to make a decision that’s in haste.” That, Hamilton said, isn’t going to happen. . . . Moore’s story is right here.


Dan Kordic’s stint as an assistant coach with the Kamloops Blazers is over after one Kamloops1season. The team issued a two-sentence news release on Friday morning stating that Kordic “has decided not to return to the hockey club for the 2019-20 season.” . . . Kordic, 48, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1987-91) with the Medicine Hat Tigers before going on to a pro career that included 197 regular-season NHL games, all with the Philadelphia Flyers. . . . He spent two seasons on the coaching staff of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, working with head coach Serge Lajoie. . . . When Lajoie signed on as the Blazers’ head coach last summer, Kordic accompanied him. . . . The Blazers and Lajoie went their separate ways on April 11, so one supposes that it’s no surprise that Kordic also has moved on. . . . Earlier this week, Lajoie was named the head coach of the midget prep team at OHA Edmonton.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Jaxon Dube, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., he turned 16 on April 24. . . . This season, he had five goals and seven assists in 30 games with the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders.


I should have known better than to trust the number on the news release that announced Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was to be inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. . . . That news release claimed that Ridley had called 3,931 games in which the Tigers have played. . . . It turns out that number is 3,935. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, has been chronicling Ridley’s broadcasting feats for a number of years now, going back to his days in the sports department at the Medicine Hat News. Steinke says the number is 3,935, and that’s more than good enough for me. . . . By the way, kudos to Steinke for continuing to follow the WHL playoffs on his own hook. He lives in Saskatoon but that hasn’t stopped him from being a regular visitor to other cities for playoff action. He was in Prince Albert last night, so now has been there in person for all five games in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final. . . . You are able to check out his stuff at his blog, Stanks’ Sermon, that is right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders are one victory away from advancing to the WHL final for the first time since the spring of 1985 when they went on to win the Memorial Cup. . . . The Raiders, playing at home on Friday night, dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-0, to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . How big is this in Prince Albert? The Raiders last appeared in the conference final in 2005. In the 13 seasons between then and now, they lost six times in the first round and missed the playoffs in the other seven seasons. . . . Since the turn of the century, the Raiders, prior to this season, had missed the playoffs 10 times, were ousted in the first round on eight occasions and lost in the conference final once. . . .

Meanwhile, in Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-2, to win the Western Conference final, 4-1. . . . That moves the Giants into the WHL final. The Giants last appeared in the championship series in 2007 when they lost Game 7 to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Memorial Cup was played in Vancouver that year and the Giants won it as the host team, beating the Tigers, 3-1, in the final.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Aliaksei Protas scored three goals and set up another to lead the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertto a 4-0 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . . Protas, a freshman from Vitebsk, Belarus, who turned 18 on Jan. 6, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 61 regular-season games. He now has eight goals and four assists in 15 playoff outings. . . . Protas never once scored two or more goals in a game during the regular season; he has done it twice in the playoffs. . . . Protas scored his first goal, on a PP, at 11:31, then made it 2-0 at 17:03. . . . F Brett Leason (5) gave his guys a 3-0 lead at 5:22 of the third period. . . . Portas completed his hat trick at 19:35, one second after the expiration of an Edmonton minor penaltys. . . . D Sergei Sapego and D Kaiden Guhle each had two assists, while Leason added one to his goal. . . . The Raiders were 1-3 on the PP; the Oil Kings didn’t have even one opportunity. . . . G Ian Scott earned the shutout, his third of these playoffs, with 24 saves. . . . In these playoffs, Scott now is 11-4, 1.83, .929. He finished the regular season at 38-8-3, 1.83, .932. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 stops from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . The Oil Kings inserted F Carter Souch into the lineup and took out F Zach Russell. . . . Edmonton has lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 4 and 6 when they lost at home to the Victoria Royals (3-2) and Lethbridge Hurricanes (5-2).


The Vancouver Giants advanced to the WHL final with a 3-2 victory over the Spokane VancouverChiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants won the series, 4-1, and will meet either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Prince Albert Raiders in the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The Raiders lead that series, 3-2. . . . The Giants were shorthanded when D Bowen Byram (7) gave them a 1-0 lead at 16:42 of the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (2) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . The Chiefs halved the deficit at 4:22 of the third period when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (5) scored, on a PP. . . . But the Giants got that one back just 21 seconds later on a goal from F Brayden Watts (5). . . . F Ethan McIndoe (6) pulled the Chiefs to within one at 18:13 with G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Sourdif and Byram added an assist apiece, while F Eli Zummack had two helpers for Spokane. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 27 shots for the Giants. In the playoffs, he is 7-2, 2.04, .925. He went the distance in all five games with Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from Brkin. . . . The Chiefs again scratched two veterans — F Luc Smith, who didn’t play after being injured a couple of minutes into Game 1, and D Filip Kral, who has missed two straight games. . . . The key to Vancouver’s series victory may have come in its holding Anderson-Dolan to two goals and an assist, and D Ty Smith to one assist in the five games.


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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 from beside the Christmas tree . . . Vandekamp marks a milestone . . . Three tied for first in Central Division

Scattershooting

On the fifth day of our annual Christmas countdown, we’ve got Bing Crosby and David Bowie with The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth). It’s right here.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “Two nuns have been accused of embezzling about $500,000 from St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., to support their gambling craze. Apparently they put too much money down on the Cardinals this season and not enough on the Saints.”


Whenever I see a reference made to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ merchandise store, it brings a smile to my face. They named it The Crushed Can, something that keeps the old barn’s memory alive. Thank you to whomever was responsible. Well done!


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If computers aren’t human, why do they always want to do updates when it’s inconvenient to the user?


The below tweet is from Friday night’s WHL game in Kent, Wash. It begs the question: Why aren’t all of these scouts doctors?


Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “I’m still digesting the news that North Carolina gave dismissed football coach Larry (The Hat) Fedora a $12-million buyout. What a deal. But colleges don’t have enough money to pay athletes.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: L.A. adds lanes for cyclists to recover from getting hit by cars.


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The World Chess Championship in London was decided in the 13th match, after the first 12 ended in draws. According to Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “Norwegian Magnus Carlsen won it just before judges were going to decide the match using penalty kicks.”

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One more from Chong: “Sesame Street has introduced Lisa, the first homeless Muppet. Really? So does living in a garbage can like Oscar the Grouch count as bona fide housing?”


If you’re looking for an entertaining read, check out Patti Dawn Swansson’s blog The River City Renegade.

You’ll find stuff like this . . .

Canadian Football League outfits are dumping coaches, scouts and management at an alarming rate. We haven’t seen this kind of cost cutting since the suits at Postmedia lost their minds. I don’t know if the CFL is still a professional sports league or a thrift store.”

And this . . .

“Steve Simmons of Postmedia Tranna calls Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play fossil Bob Cole the ‘voice of a lifetime’ and ‘the Hockey Sinatra.’ Oh, please. Apparently he never heard Danny Gallivan call a game. No one did it like Gallivan. His voice was electric. His vocabulary immense. I still get chills when I hear his call of Guy Lafleur’s tying goal in Game 7 of the 1979 Stanley Cup semifinal. ‘Lafleur, coming out rather gingerly on the right side . . .’ Rather gingerly. Who says that? Only Gallivan. Bob Cole is the Hockey Sinatra like I’m Celine Dion.”

The River City Renegade’s latest piece is right here.


2018 . . .

 

Selfie


After Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, suggest that he would like to limit defensive shifts, Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com offered this suggestion: “Uh, here’s a solution: Teach players to bunt.”


If you haven’t read this already, you are going to want to give it some of your time. It’s a story about Charles Barkley — yes, that Sir Charles — and his unlikely friend, Lin Wang. This is a wonderful story and it’s right here.


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Jack Finarelli, who can be found at sportscurmudgeon.com, has come bad news for fans of the Baltimore Orioles: “The fact is that the Orioles are going to stink like a bloated rhino carcass in the hot sun on the veldt for at least a couple of years. Maybe those 115 losses in 2018 represented the nadir of this losing cycle; maybe not.”


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Mike Vandekamp was behind a junior team bench for the 1,500th time on Saturday night when his Cowichan Capitals met the host Salmon Arm Silverbacks in a BCHL game.

Vandekamp has quite a coaching history, having made stops in his hometown of Fort St. CowichanJohn, B.C., as well as Grande Prairie, Alta., and the B.C. hockey havens of Prince George, Vernon, Merritt, Nanaimo and Duncan, the latter being the home base for the Capitals.

These days he’s the GM and head coach of the Capitals, who are 10-20-5 and tied for fourth in the five-team Island Division. He’s in his first season as the Capitals’ GM and head coach, and here’s hoping he gets some time to turn things around there.

And how did No. 1,500 go? The Capitals won, 6-3.

Vandekamp actually posted one of my all-time favourite tweets on March 2. He had started the season with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, but was dumped after an ownership change. So when the BCHL playoffs got started, Vandekamp was on the outside looking in, but, hey, he had a nice view from a beach in Hawaii. Still, like all those coaches who have the hockey disease, he could think of a million arenas in which he would rather have been.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four times in the third period en route to a 6-4 victory Lethbridgeover the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge (18-9-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1), is 9-1-2 in its past 12, and is tied with the Red Deer Rebels (20-10-2) and Edmonton Oil Kings (18-12-6) atop the Central Division. . . . Calgary (15-15-4) had points in each of its previous six (5-0-1). . . . The Hitmen scored three times in the second period, taking a 3-2 lead when F Kaden Elder (14) scored, on a PP, at 13:40. . . . F Dylan Cozens (8) got Lethbridge into a tie at 5:29 of the third period, only to have F Riley Stotts (10) shoot Calgary back in front at 8:25. . . . Lethbridge D Ty Prefontaine (1) tied it at 8:49, and F Logan Barlage (9) snapped the tie at 9:49. F Jordy Bellerive (16) provided insurance with his second goal of the game, at 18:53. . . . That was Bellerive’s 100th career regular-season goal and it came in his 239th game. He also had an assist in this one, and now has 39 points, including 23 assist, in 33 games. . . . It was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for Calgary, which went 1-1-1.


F Dylan Guenther, the first selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, scored twice to help EdmontonOilKingsthe Edmonton Ice to a 7-4 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Edmonton (18-12-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1) and goes into the break in a tie atop the Central Division with the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Ice (8-22-6) is 14 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Guenther, a 15-year-old from Edmonton, has three goals and an assist in seven games with the Oil Kings. . . . A goal from F Brett Kemp and two from Guenther gave the home side a 3-1 lead in the first period. . . . F River Fahey (2) got the Ice to within a goal at 15:54. . . . Kemp, who has 22 goals, scored at 3:01 of the second, for a 4-2 lead, only to have D Martin Bodak (6) score for Kootenay at 4:14. . . . The Oil Kings put it away with three third-period goals, from F Vince Loschiavo (16), F David Kope (7) and F Scott Atkinson (5), the latter into an empty net. . . . Kootenay F Peyton Krebs, the team captain, took a game misconduct at 19:50 of the third period. . . . Kemp also had an assist, for a three-point evening. F Carter Souch had three assists for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield for a second straight game.


F Kyle Olson’s second goal of the game, a shorthanded snipe in OT, gave the Tri-City tri-cityAmericans a 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Americans (17-12-2) have won three straight. . . . The Winterhawks (19-11-4) have points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . On Saturday, the Americans had scored three late goals, including a tying score with the extra attacker on the ice, to erase a 2-0 deficit and beat the visiting Winterhawks, 3-2 in OT. . . . Last night, Portland D Jared Freadrich (4) forced OT when he scored with the extra attacker on the ice and just 34 seconds left in the third. . . . Olson won it with his eighth goal of the season at 4:37 of extra time. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 1:06 of the second period. He also had two assists and now leads the WHL in goals and points (65), one more than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings. Leason is with Canada’s national junior team, while Fix-Wolansky has sat out Edmonton’s past two games. . . . Olson tied it at 6:40 and teammate Riley Sawchuk, who had two goals and two assists, gave the Americans the lead at 9:01. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) pulled Portland into a tie at 9:54. . . . Sawchuk, who has 11 goals, gave Tri-City a 3-2 lead at 12:58 of the third period. . . . This was the first four-point game of Sawchuk’s WHL career; in fact, he had never had three points in a game. This was his 159th regular-season game, all with Tri-City. . . .


F Eli Zummack scored in OT to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 6-5 victory over the Seattle SpokaneChiefsThunderbirds. . . . Spokane (19-11-4) has won three in a row. . . . Seattle (11-16-4) has lost three straight. . . . Spokane has won the first five meetings of the season. . . . Seattle went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. That included a 5-3 loss to visiting Spokane on Friday. . . . Zummack also scored the OT winner in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Dec. 8. . . . Last night, Zummack, who also had two assists, won it with his 11th goal at 1:47 of OT. . . . The lone assist went to F Adam Beckman, who finished with two goals — he’s got 17 — and two assists. Beckman, a 17-year-old rookie from Saskatoon, was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. This season, he’s got 28 points, including 11 assists, in 34 games. . . . Beckman, was in on each of his side’s last three goals, gave the Chiefs a 4-3 lead at 1:04 of the third period. . . . F Matthew Wedman (11) got Seattle into a tie at 8:07. . . . Spokane went back in front at 10:23 when D Noah King (3) scored. . . . The Thunderbirds forced extra time at 17:11 as F Dillon Hamaliuk (11) scored on a PP. . . . Seattle was 2-2 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . Spokane lost D Bobby Russell to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 6:02 of the second period after a hit on Seattle F Tyler Carpendale. . . . Seattle again was without F Noah Philp.


F Brayden Watts scored twice, including the winner late in the third period, as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the Prince George Cougars, 2-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (22-8-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Prince George (11-19-3) has lost five straight. . . . The Cougars are five games into an 11-game road trip that will pick up after the Christmas break. They are 0-5-0 in those first five outings. . . . The Giants got 30 saves from G David Tendeck, 17 of them in the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (7) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 4:02 of the first period. . . . Watts tied it, on a PP, at 9:23 of the second. He won it with his seventh goal, on another PP, with 49.5 seconds left in the third period. . . . D Bowen Byram and F Davis Koch drew assists on both goals. . . . Vancouver was 2-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . The Cougars got 32 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Prince George last played at home on Dec. 2, and won’t appear there again until Jan. 11. They will return from the break to play six more road games — in Kent, Wash., and Everett on Dec. 28 and 29, in Kamloops and Kelowna on Dec. 30 and Jan. 4, and then back into the U.S. Division against Tri-City and Spokane on Jan. 8 and 9. . . . Vancouver was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it went 1-2-0. . . .

Prior to the game, linesman Nathan Van Oosten was presented with a WHL Milestone Award by Kevin Muench, the senior director of officiating. The award celebrates outstanding achievements by those associated with the WHL. Van Oosten is in his 13th season as a WHL linesman, and has worked in three championship finals and two Memorial Cups. He also has been on the ice for one World Junior Championship, two World Championships and one Olympic Winter Games.


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Scattershooting on Sunday, after a flat World Series . . . Will you pay to watch Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Blazers complete dominating weekend sweep

Scattershooting

Jack Finarelli, who writes daily at sportscurmudgeon.com, with a tip for all of us: “The latest news related to the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson challenge match that will be on pay-per-view is that the only way you will be able to see it is on pay-per-view.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that no tickets will be available for the event; the only folks on the course with Woods and Mickelson will be those who are there to provide the TV coverage, sponsors and guests of the sponsors.  So, just in case you were thinking of heading out to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend and trying to score tix to the event at Shadow Creek Golf Club, stay home.”



The neatest statistic from this season’s World Series is this one and it isn’t close. . . . Game 3 between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Kings went 18 innings and took seven hours 20 minutes to complete on Friday night. It took longer to play that one game than it did to play the entire 1939 World Series when the New York Yankees swept the Cincinnati Reds with the four games taking a combined 7:05.



Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: Toronto-based Postmedia columnist Steve Simmons is at it again. “Where does Auston Matthews fit in with this question: Best wrist shot in Leafs history? I’m figuring Wendel Clark and Lanny McDonald are 1-2. Matthews has the most deceptive shot. Over time he may wind up ahead of Clark and McDonald.” Please give us a break from this crap.


Hutchinson also passes along this one . . . From the Twitter account of @wrestlingbubble: “A woman at the grocery store asked me what self-checkup meant, so I told her grocery stores are on the honour system now, and she should just pay what she thinks is fair.”



“Now,” comedy writer Alex Kaseberg says of Boston pitcher Chris Sale, “I don’t want to say Sale is skinny, but if the Red Sox wore pinstripes, he would wear a pinstripe.”


From Vancouver comedy writer Torben Rolfsen: “John Tortorella says he misses ‘the hate’ in today’s NHL. He should go on Twitter.”


The readerboard at Beerhaus Las Vegas recently carried this message: “Marty, I just got back from 2078. Canucks still haven’t won a Cup.”



RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com has a question: “With hurricanes being named after both genders, shouldn’t we call them himicanes and hericanes?”


“SI.com reports Jon Gruden is on a three-year rebuild so the Raiders win the Super Bowl in 2020,” Currie writes. “Why not use his old formula? Have Tony Dungy build the team, then take over.”



Well, that World Series was definitely a letdown. I really expected more out of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were clearly inferior to the Boston Red Sox in all areas of the game. . . . Who knew the Dodgers wouldn’t seem to get any kind of lift from the 18-inning victory in Game 3? . . . But it was only fitting that Manny (The Hustler) Machado should make the series’ last out.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Aaron Hyman set up three goals and was plus-4 as the host Regina Pats skated to a 7-Patsvictory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Regina (4-11-0) had lost five in a row. This was the Pats’ first victory on home ice in nine starts — yes, they are 1-8-0. . . . The Broncos (1-14-0) have lost seven in a row. They are scheduled to entertain the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. At 0-4-0, Swift Current is the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have won at home. . . . In Regina, the Pats took a 1-0 lead in the first period and stretched it to 4-0 before the second was seven minutes old. . . . F Austin Pratt and F Sergei Alkhimov each scored twice for Regina. Pratt has seven goals; Alkhimov has four. . . . Regina held a 40-22 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos are 13 points out of a playoff spot, while the Pats are seven points back. . . . Regina went 1-2-0 as it played three games in fewer than 48 hours.


F Kirby Dach scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Saskatoon (9-5-1) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Calgary (4-9-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Dach has 27 points, 10 of them goals, in 16 games. . . . The Blades had 2-1 and 3-2 leads. . . . Calgary tied it, 3-3, at 4:02 of the third period when F Zach Huber (4) scored. . . . F Kristian Røykås Marthinsen (5), a freshman from Norway, snapped the tie at 12:43 and Dach added the empty-netter at 19:50. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldaus played in his 200th regular-season game. A 20-year-old from Calgary, he has played 90 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, 71 with the Red Deer Rebels, 28 with the Moose Jaw Warriors and 11 with the Blades. . . . Saskatoon was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. It went 1-1-1.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky continued to pile up the points as the host Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdoubled the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . Edmonton (9-7-1) has won four in a row. . . . Lethbridge (7-5-3) had points in its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Oil Kings went 3-0-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Fix-Wolansky finished with a goal, his 11th, and three assists. In 17 games, he has put up 32 points, including a WHL-leading 21 assists. He is second in the scoring race, three points behind F Brett Leason of the idle Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Edmonton F David Kope (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 8:05 of the first period. That was the first of five straight goals for the Oil Kings as they took control. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (7) scored twice — once while shorthanded and once on the PP — while F Jake Neighbours (5) scored twice and added an assist.


The Red Deer Rebels got out to a 6-2 lead before the second period was 12 minutes old Red Deerand went on to an 8-5 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Rebels (10-4-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (4-7-3) has lost two straight. . . . Red Deer F Reese Johnson scored twice early in the first period — at 1:11 and 2:29 — for a 2-0 lead. . . . The Ice pulled even when F Brad Ginnell (3), at 4:06, and F Cam Hausinger (5), at 4:42, quickly replied. . . . F Blake Sydlowski (1) put Red Deer ahead at 7:59, and the visitors took control with three second-period goals. . . . The Ice got to within 6-5 early in the third period, scoring three PP goals, but F Jeff de Wit (9) upped Red Deer’s lead to 7-5 at 10:59 and Johnson (8) completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:58. . . . D Alex Alexeyev had a goal (7) and two assists for Red Deer, with F Brandon Hagel drawing three assists. . . . Ginnell added two assists to his goal. . . . The Ice had a 41-26 edge in shots. . . . The Ice has played two home games since a committee hoping to keep the franchise from moving to Winnipeg held a town hall meeting on Thursday. The announced attendance at those games was 2,208, for a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and 2,094 yesterday. . . . The Ice’s next home game is scheduled for Friday when the Oil Kings make their third and final visit of the season.


G Trent Miner stopped 37 shots through OT and wasn’t beaten in the shootout as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants improved to 11-3-2. . . . Brandon (6-3-5) has lost five straight (0-2-3). The Wheat Kings are 0-2-2 on a seven-game road trip that continues Tuesday in Prince George. . . . Miner is from Souris, Man., and played one season with the bantam AAA Wheat Kings and two with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. . . . This season, Miner is 4-0-1, 1.41, .953. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts, the last shooter in the third round, scored the only goal of the shootout. . . . Three of the game’s four ‘real’ goals came via the PP, with Vancouver getting two of those. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (5) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period; Vancouver F Milos Roman (7) tied it at 13:26. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 at 12:29 of the second as F Caiden Daley (2) scored the game’s only even-strength goal. . . . Watts  (4) tied it at 10:30 of the third. . . . The Giants won 42 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . Vancouver continues to play without D Bailey Dhaliwal, D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Joel Sexsmith and F James Malm, all of whom are out with injuries. The Giants play once between now and Nov. 10, so hope to have some bodies back before then.


The Kamloops Blazers completed a weekend sweep with a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops1Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (6-6-1) has won four in a row. . . . Portland (7-6-1) has lost three straight. . . . This was the final game of the season series with each team winning twice on the road. . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-2 in Kent, Wash., on Friday, then won 6-2 in Portland on Saturday. . . . The Winterhawks also played three games in fewer than 48 hours, but they went 0-3-0. They lost 4-1 in Spokane on Friday. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 32 shots and then, like a number of other WHL players, left for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that runs from Nov. 3 through Nov. 10 in Quispamsis and Saint, John, N.B. . . . Garand, who backs up Dylan Ferguson, is 1-1-1, 2.52, .916 in five appearances. . . . The Blazers took control with the game’s first three goals — two in the second period and one in the third. F Josh Pillar and F Kobe Mohr each had a goal and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Jared Freadrich, who drew a one-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Saturday’s game. He hit D Luke Zazula on the play in question.


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Scattershooting on a rainy Sunday . . . Rasmussen on Wings’ roster . . . Raiders win fifth straight . . . It’s a milestone for Mayer

Scattershooting

Brad Rock of the Deseret News proved that he’s ready for NBA training camps with this:

“The NBA season is nearly here, but there’s nothing to see until the playoffs.

“Well, maybe a few things.

“Last season went like this: Kawhi Leonard dissed Gregg Popovich, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face, Dwane Casey was fired before being named Coach of the Year, and Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

“Next they’ll be telling us a player is dating a Kardashian.

“Never mind. That’s not news.”

——

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post:

“The hockey community as a whole should dispense with the dopey double talk and fully embrace the concept of player safety. Severe sanctions should be imposed for fighting. The pugilism is especially appalling at the major-junior level, with people paying money to watch barely compensated teenagers punch each other in the head. Hockey should have evolved far beyond that by now, but so many coaches, general managers and administrators are woefully stuck in the 1970s.”

——

You may have heard that HBO has decided boxing no longer will be a part of its programming. Larry Merchant, a long-time boxing insider with HBO, put it like this: “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired. So long, champ.”

——

Paul Gosar is a Republican candidate in Arizona who has six siblings endorsing his opponent. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “And you think your Thanksgiving family dinner might be awkward.”

——

The Saskatoon Blades are two games into a stretch of four games in five nights and six in eight nights, with the last five of those on the road. I guess I was rather naive to think that kind of scheduling would disappear when the WHL cut its regular-season schedule from 72 games to 68.

——

“Richard Mietz of Germany broke a Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a guy dressed as a landmark,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It was a monumental achievement.”

——

It would seem that Currie is a big fan of marathons. After Jamie Buckland of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a man dressed as a French maid, Currie noted: “Not only that, he dusted the competition.”

——

Who knew there were such records? Other than Currie, that is?

——

Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express passes along this one from a fake John Gruden account on Twitter: “I’ll tell ya what. Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football is like music to my ears, man. He reminds me of that one West Virginia song. Take Mahomes country road.”

——

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “I’m looking for a smartphone that tells you to get off the stupid phone and get a life.”


ThisThat

If you were an early visitor to this site after I posted on Saturday night, you will have seen a lead item that was critical of the WHL for its focus on video at the expense of what whlI referred to as “old-fashioned news releases.”

I also posted a tweet in which there was a link to a season-opening interview with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Shortly after that post went live, I heard from Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, pointing out that the WHL did post an old-fashioned news release on its website, one that included most, if not all, of what Robison touched on in his video appearance.

Apologies to all involved for my having missed that news release, which was posted on Sept. 20.

A couple of things from that news release, which you are able to find right here . . .

On the trading of young players: “The WHL has adopted new restrictions on the trading of 15- and 16-year-old players. Effective this season, a 15- or 16-year-old player who has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement cannot be traded under any circumstance.”

The trading of first-year import players, which has been prohibited prior to now, apparently will be allowed between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trade deadline. But there isn’t any mention of this in the news release.

On new disciplinary standards: “The WHL has taken further steps to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

“In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety Seven Point Plan, Kevin Acheson was appointed the WHL Director, Player Safety and is responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games. In addition, new standards have been implemented with a particular focus on repeat offenders and checks to the head.”

There also was a paragraph further down that I was thrilled to see. It had to do with a promotion the WHL was involved with last season and will do again in 2018-19: “The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2018-19 season, including the second run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.”

Last season, the WHL’s 17 Canadian franchises took part in this promotion and raised $265,500 on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


The Saskatoon Blades played without F Brad Goethals, 20, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Raiders in Prince Albert on Sunday night. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Goethals has left the team. . . . A native of Ile Des Chenes, Man., Goethals had one goal in three games this season after recording 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season. . . . Without Goethals, the Blades are down to a pair of 20-year-olds — F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson.


The Tri-City Americans are going to be without F Michael Rasmussen for a while, perhaps even for the remainder of the WHL season. Rasmussen, 19, will be on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster when they open the NHL’s regular season against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. . . . Rasmussen, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, is from Vancouver. The Red Wings selected him with the ninth overall pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 58 games with the Americans. In 161 regular-season WHL games, he has 81 goals and 76 assists.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders struck for three goals in 16 seconds en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders broke open a scoreless game with second-period goals from F Justin Nachbaur (7:30), F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7:39) and F Parker Kelly (3) as they ran their record to 5-0-0. . . . That established a club record for fastest three goals and was four seconds off the WHL record. The Raiders’ record of 22 seconds had been set by F Wayde Bucsis, F Mike Modano and F Pat Elyniuk on Feb. 25, 1987 in Brandon. . . . The Blades went into the game at 3-0-0. . . . 

F Brayden Watts tied the game at 19:15 of the third period and then won it in a shootout as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . Watts also had two assists. . . .

F Tristin Langan scored twice to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Langan, 20, has two goals and four assists in four games. . . . The Pats now are 0-4-0. . . . G Brodan Salmond, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, stopped 31 shots in winning his first start with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brandon Schuldhaus back in the lineup after he served a three-game suspension left over from last season. . . .

F Brandon Hagel had a goal and three assists, and D Dawson Barteaux had four assists as the Red Deer Rebels beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev, a Russian freshman, won the game 31 seconds into OT. Hagel and Barteaux drew assists on the winner. . . . Hagel, 20, has 10 points, including seven assists, in five games. . . . Calgary F Tristen Nielsen took a boarding major and game misconduct at 2:04 of the second period for a hit on Red Deer D Carson Sass.


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If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Saturday night: