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.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Portland pays price for goaltender . . . Brandon, Kelowna swap d-men . . . Kootenay adds two players

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Thursday, 3 p.m. MT)

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 33.

Players: 61.

Bantam draft picks: 53.

Conditional draft picks: 11.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)

——

Who knew the price for a goaltender with 14 career regular-season victories would be so high?

The Portland Winterhawks have acquired G Joel Hofer, 18, from the Swift Current PortlandBroncos, but they had to give up six WHL bantam draft picks, including two first-rounders, in exchange.

Obviously not content with his goaltending, Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, surrendered first-round picks in the 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts, along with a third-rounder in 2019, and second-, fourth and fifth-rounders in 2020.

According to Shaun Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, the 2019 third-round pick originally belonged to the Kootenay Ice, while the fifth-rounder in 2020 originated with the Everett Silvertips.

Hofer, a Winnipegger, was a second-round selection by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL contract. Chances are that he will be in the WHL next season, too.

Hofer’s career numbers are 14-24-5, 3.55, .907.

Last season, as a WHL freshman, he got into 19 games, going 8-3-2, 2.61, .914. He made only two playoff appearances (2.60, .875), playing just 46 minutes as the Broncos won the WHL championship.

Hofer started last season backing up Logan Flodell and finished it behind Stuart Skinner after the Broncos were involved in a deadline deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes that included a swap of goaltenders.

This season, playing on the team with the WHL’s poorest record, Hofer is 6-21-3, 4.02, .904. It is that last figure, considering that he has faced more shots than any other WHL goaltender this season, that would seem to have  caught Johnston’s attention.

The Winterhawks have used two goaltenders — sophomore Shane Farkas, 19, and freshman Dante Giannuzzi, 16 — this season. Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., is 23-9-5, 2.88, .900 in 38 games, with Giannuzzi, who is from Winnipeg, at 1-2-0, 4.09, .833 in four appearances. Combined, they have a 2.97 GAA and a .897 save percentage.

Last week, the Winterhawks added G Evan Fradette, 17, to their roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. He just backstopped the team to the championship at the Mac’s midget tournament in Calgary. A fifth-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft, he hasn’t yet gotten into a game with the Winterhawks, who are on their East Division swing.

The Winterhawks opened that swing in Swift Current on Friday, beating Hofer four times on 47 shots in a 5-3 victory.

Portland took a 3-0-0 record on the trip into Wednesday night’s game with the Regina Pats. The Winterhawks also will stop in Prince Albert on Friday and Saskatoon on Saturday before heading home to face the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 19.

From a Portland perspective, this deal is all about the Winterhawks trying to get to the same level as the Silvertips. Going into Wednesday games, Everett (31-8-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland (24-11-5).

With the likes of forwards Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld in their final seasons with the Winterhawks, Johnston no doubt feels that it’s now or never.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are looking two, three and four seasons down the road. Their SCBroncoscupboard got stripped bare a year ago as Emanuel Viveiros, then the director of player personnel and head coach, loaded up for what turned into a successful championship run.

To fill the vacancy created by Hofer’s departure, the Broncos signed Riley Lamb, a 20-year-old who has played this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers.

A native of Rivers, Man., Lamb actually was traded by the Red Wings to the Terriers on Jan. 2. In the deal, Yorkton gave up G Ben Laidlaw and the junior A rights to D Parker Gavlas, 19, who is with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and D Christian Riemer, 18, who is with Swift Current.

In 26 games with Weyburn, Lamb was 9-13-3, 3.43, .912. In three games with Yorkton, he was 1-2-0, 3.38, .889. Combined, he was 10-15-3, 3.43, .910.

Lamb spent the previous two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, going 27-23-13 in 73 appearances.

In Swift Current, Lamb will partner with freshmen Isaac Poulter, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, who was a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft.

Lamb joins F Tanner Nagel and D Matt Stanley as Swift Current’s three 20-year-old players.

——

The Brandon Wheat Kings have traded D Schael Higson, who was dropped from their BrandonWKregularroster last week, to the Kelowna Rockets for D Braydyn Chizen and a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Both players are 20 years of age.

Higson, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Grande Prairie, Alta., has 79 points, including 18 goals, in 282 regular-season games, 90 of them with the Saskatoon Blades and 192 with Brandon. This season, he had three goals and 14 assists in 20 games when he was a healthy scratch prior to game in Moose Jaw against the Warriors. He then KelownaRocketswas dropped from Brandon’s roster.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Chizen is from St. Albert, Alta. He was a ninth-round pick by the Rockets in the 2013 WHL draft, and was a seventh-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2016 draft. However, the Wild never signed him and he now is a free agent.

In 211 regular-season games with the Rockets, he recorded 11 goals and 23 assists.

The Wheat Kings still have room for another 20-year-old, with only Chizen and F Linden McCorrister on their roster.

In Kelowna, Higson joins F Lane Zablocki and D Dalton Gally as the 20s.

——

The Kootenay Ice has acquired D Brenden Kwiatkowski, 18, from the Moose Jaw KootenaynewWarriors for a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Kwiatkowski, from Grande Prairie, Alta., had one assist in 22 games with the Warriors last season. This season, he has two assists in 14 games.

Meanwhile, the Ice has signed G Curtis Meger, 20, who had been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.

From Regina, Meger got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886.

This season, with Lloydminster, he was 4-14-0, 4.02, .892.

With the Ice, he joins veteran Duncan McGovern, 18, and freshman Jesse Makaj, 17, in the goaltending department. Going into Wednesday’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes, McGovern was 6-15-2, 4.81, .868, with Makaj at 2-12-5, 4.23, .881. Each of them had appeared in 23 games.

The Ice had room for a 20-year-old after trading D Dallas Hines to the Vancouver Giants. Meger joins F Jaeger White and D Martin Bodak as the Ice’s 20-year-olds.

Prior to Wednesday, the Ice, with the WHL’s second-poorest record and surrounded by speculation about what is expected to be a move to Winnipeg at season’s end, has used 41 players. That, of course, will rise to 43 once Kwiatkowski and Meger appear in a game.