G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice posted his 50th regular-season WHL victory on Saturday night, stopping 33 shots as the Ice beat the host Kelowna Rockets, 5-4.
The Ice, which has yet to play a home game, has a WHL-leading record of 11-1.
Hauser, an 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., is 9-0-0, 2.09, .927 this season.
The red-hot start to his season follows an off-season incident that resulted in a broken ankle.
“I was running and I just stumbled on it and rolled it up pretty bad but I didn’t think much of it,” Hauser told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press during training camp.“And so a few days afterwards, it started swelling pretty badly and started hurting quite a bit and I got it looked at, got some X-rays and (they) found a break.”
He underwent surgery and spent some time in an air boot before getting back to walking and skating.
Hauser now has played in 57 regular-season games over three seasons with the Ice, going 50-3-2, 2.17, .914.
That’s right . . . he is 50-3-2. He actually won his first 19 decisions and was 20-0-2 when he suffered his first regulation-time loss.
He went 7-0-1 in the 2020-21 development season, then was 34-3-1 last season.
That 2020-21 loss came in Regina when the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Ice, 5-4 in OT, on a goal by D Braden Schneider at 1:56.
Hauser’s first regulation-time setback occurred in Saskatoon on Jan. 22 when the Blades posted a 7-2 victory, scoring seven times on 24 shots. On Feb. 21, he was in goal for a 6-3 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton. And he and the Ice were beaten, 3-1, by the host Moose Jaw Warriors on April 2. The Warriors won that one with two goals in the third period’s final 30 seconds.
Hauser, whose first 19 career decisions all were victories, also was the goaltender of record in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 28.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He was eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft but wasn’t selected.
You might think an NHL team might take a chance on him at some point in the 2023 draft. Wouldn’t it be worth using a mid- or late-round selection on Hauser? After all, it seems that all he does is win.
The Ice concludes its season-opening road trip on Friday in Brandon, then plays its home-opener on Saturday against, yes, those same Wheat Kings.
The Edmonton Oil Kings won the WHL championship last spring, beating the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games in the final. On Tuesday, the two teams got together on a trade that had the playing rights to D Luke Prokop, 20, move from Edmonton to Seattle. . . . In return, the Oil Kings got three conditional draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023, and first- and third-rounders in 2025. According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, “All draft picks are conditional on Prokop returning to the WHL.” . . . The Oil Kings acquired Prokop, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, from the Calgary Hitmen early last season and played a big role in the championship season, putting up 35 points, 11 of them goals, in 58 games with Edmonton. He added four goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games. . . . The Nashville Predators selected Prokop in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft and have signed him. At present, he is with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals with whom he is pointless (and minus-5) in three games. . . . The Thunderbirds are carrying two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jared Davidson and F Kyle Crnkovic — so wouldn’t have to make a move should Nashville choose to send Prokop back to the WHL. . . . The Thunderbirds already are seen as a title contender, so Prokop definitely would fit right in there. They are 8-0-0 to this point in the season as they head into Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars.
Dan Russell, the former voice of the WHL on Shaw-TV, is among the 2023 inductees to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Russell is best-known as the host of Sportstalk, a nightly radio show that held listeners throughout B.C. for 30 years. The inductees will enter the hall during an induction gala in June, with a specific date yet to be announced. . . . At one point in his career, Russell was the radio voice of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He also called the play of WHL games on Shaw TV. . . . He has written a book — Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sporstalk. . . . Yes, there are a number of WHL-related anecdotes told between the covers. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on that story right here.
IT’S STILL HERE — You may recall that Rick Bowness, in his first season as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, missed four road games last week after testing positive for COVID-19. He returned for the Jets’ home-opener, a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and had planned on being behind the bench for a Monday night visit by the St. Louis Blues. But he took ill early in the day, as he was experiencing dizzy spells, so was at home resting as the Jets, with associate coach Scott Arniel running the bench, beat the Blues, 3-0. . . . The Jets leave Wednesday on a three-game road swing and it will be interesting to see if Bowness is well enough to go along.
Ted Wyman, in the Winnipeg Sun: “Bowness tried to get through his media availability on Monday but appeared to be having difficulty, at one point stopping, mid-sentence to try to shake something off.”
F Ben King of the Red Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, suffered an undisclosed injury in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. The Rebels announced on Tuesday that King, 20, will be out “for approximately six to eight weeks.” . . . King, who attended training camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, has five goals and five assists in five games this season. . . .
F Dallyn Peekeekoot has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team announced Monday that he left “to pursue education endeavours.” Peekeekoot, an 18-year-old from Saskatchewan’s Ahtahkakoop First Nation, had two assists in 11 games. Last season, he finished with four goals and two assists in 62 games, the same numbers he had put up in 15 games in the 2020-21 development season. . . . The Raiders played three games in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. He didn’t play in a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday, was pointless in a 3-0 loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday and then was scratched again on Sunday as the Raiders dropped a 6-2 decision to the Calgary Hitmen. . . .
The Tri-City Americans acquired D Nicco Camazzola, 19, from the Vancouver Giants on Monday, sending a 2024 fifth-round WHL draft pick the other way. He had one assist in games with the Giants this season. In 91 games over four seasons, all with the Giants, had put up nine points, including three goals. . . . His father, Tony, and uncle Jim, both are former WHL players. Tony, a defenceman, played 130 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings over three seasons (1979-82). Jim, a forward, spent three seasons (1982-85) in the WHL, spending time with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Seattle Breakers and New Westminster Bruins. . . .
G Nicholas Cristiano, 18, who began the season with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has signed with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. The Rockets released Cristiano after G Talyn Boyko, 20, was returned by the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The Warriors followed the signing by placing G Cayden Hamming, 18, on injured reserve.
THINKING OUT LOUD — Who is taking things better on social media these days, fans of the Vancouver Canucks or followers of the New York Yankees? . . . On Monday night, when F Phil Kessel of the Vegas Golden Knights tied an NHL record by playing in his 989th consecutive game, the attendance in Las Vegas was 17,989. Hmmm. . . . Kessel now owns the record by himself after playing against the host San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. . . . If you were wondering, the World Series doesn’t open until Friday in Houston. By waiting until Friday, MLB and TV can push the series between the Astros and Philadelphia Phillies over two weekends should it go seven games.
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