Kamloops dumps visiting Kelowna in tiebreaker. . . . Two shorthanded goals in 28 seconds seal deal. . . . Blazers go to playoffs; Rockets go home

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The Kamloops Blazers scored two goals in 28 seconds on the same third-period penalty kill en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets in the seventh tiebreaker game in WHL history on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Blazers move into the playoffs. They will open against the Royals in Victoria on Friday. . . . Last night was only the second time in the seven tiebreakers that the home team has won. . . .

Kamloops had taken a 2-1 lead in the third period when Blazers F Ryley Appelt was Kamloops1penalized for tripping at 8:16. . . . F Connor Zary got an early jump off the Kamloops bench during a change, allowing him to get to the back of the Kelowna net in a hurry. He stripped the puck from G Roman Basran, came out the back side and stuffed it home for a 3-1 lead at 8:44. . . . A short time later, Kamloops F Brodi Stuart avoided an attempt by Basran to get a hip into him behind the net, skated out and scored for a 4-1 lead at 10:12. . . . The Rockets, whose offence pretty much dried up late in the season, weren’t able to get back in this one. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers’ last goal, into an empty net. . . .

The Blazers dominated the first period, especially the first 12 or 13 minutes, and held a 17-7 edge in shots. Only Kelowna G Roman Basran, a post and a crossbar kept the Blazers off the scoreboard. . . . Kamloops D Jackson Caller drilled a post from the point at 9:00; F Connory Zary glanced a bad-angle flip off the crossbar two minutes later. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand had his moments later, especially stoning F Alex Swetlikoff from the doorstep. . . .

Kelowna pushed back in the second, but Kamloops got the game’s first goal at 4:11, just six seconds after Rockets F Dallon Wilton was penalized for interference for a hit on D KelownaRocketsJeff Faith. Zary pulled the face-off win back to F Kyrell Sopotyk on the point. He ripped a wrist shot past Basran’s blocker, off a post and in. . . . The officials went to video review at 7:38 after the Blazers crashed the Kelowna net, but whatever had happened was ruled no goal. . . . The Rockets tied it at 7:56 when D Kaedan Korczak got to a shoot-in along the right boards, and slipped a pass to F Mark Liwiski. His quick backhand seemed to surprise Garand and got past him for the equalizer. . . . The Blazers thought they might have scored at 13:14 when the puck bounced off the back boards, over top of the net and into the Kelowna crease area. However, it was ruled that Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had come in contact with the puck with a high stick. . . . Kelowna got its first PP at 15:26 after Faith was hit with an interference penalty for a hit on F Nolan Foote. Other than Foote hitting a post early, the Rockets really didn’t threaten. . . . Kelowna outshot Kamloops, 13-7, in that period. . . .

The Blazers broke the 1-1 tie at 6:10 of the third period when Kelowna D Dalton Gally went down early in an attempt to cut off a pass, only to have Blazers F Kobe Mohr toedrag around him and snap a shot past Basran from the high slot. . . . Then came Zary’s shorthanded goal, followed by a Mohr penalty shot on which Basran was able to get his five-hole closed in time to prevent a goal. . . . It was left for Stuart to get his shorthanded goal and for Loewen to add the empty-netter. . . .

Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his seventh straight start in the absence of the injured Dylan Ferguson. The Blazers are 6-0-1 over that stretch. . . . Garand finished with 27 saves in this one. . . . Ferguson skated with the Blazers on Monday, but wasn’t dressed last night. The burning question in Kamloops until Friday night will be this: Does Garand get to start his first playoff game in his hometown if Ferguson is healthy? . . . G Danton Belluk, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, remains with the Blazers on an emergency basis. He backed up Garand last night. . . .

Basran, who kept the Rockets from getting blown out in the first period, self-destructed in the third when he gave up the two shorthanded goals. He was beaten four times on 34 shots in 50:12. James Porter came on to finish up after the Blazers’ fourth goal. He stopped all five shots he faced. . . .

As expected, each team added a first-round 2018 bantam draft pick to its lineup. Stankoven, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League scoring title with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, was in the Kamloops lineup. F Trevor Wong, from the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians, played for the Rockets. . . . Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in that draft; Wong was taken with the 18th selection. . . .

Attendance was announced at 5,876, and there weren’t many empty seats. It was the Blazers’ second announced sellout of the season. On Feb. 18, the Blazers beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 3-1, on Family Day. The announced crowed that day also was 5,876, but there were about 1,000 empty seats. . . .

While the Blazers head for Victoria, the Rockets’ season has ended. This means that the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup won’t appear in this spring’s playoffs. . . . The Rockets fired head coach Jason Smith after a 4-10-0 start. They hired Adam Foote to replace him and went 24-22-8, plus last night’s loss, with him in control. . . .

The WHL’s draft lottery is scheduled to be held today (Wednesday). As one of six non-playoff teams, the Rockets will be participants. The six lottery teams, with regular-season points in parenthesis, are the Swift Current Broncos (28), Winnipeg Ice (36), Regina Pats (42), Prince George Cougars (46), Kelowna Rockets (64) and Brandon Wheat Kings (70). . . . A team is able to move up only two spots in the lottery, so one of those first three teams will own the first pick. However, the Cougars hold Swift Current’s selection, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s pick. . . . When the draft is held on May 2 in Red Deer, the Blazers will hold the seventh selection.

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There have been seven tiebreakers in WHL history . . .

2018-19: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 5.

2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.

2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.

2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).

1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.

1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).

1980-81: Spokane Chiefs 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9.

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You may recall that on Feb. 15 the OHL announced that the Niagara IceDogs had been ohlfined $250,000 and also had two first-round draft picks taken away for recruiting violations. . . . Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that all of this had to do with a player emailing David Branch, the OHL commissioner, to say that the IceDogs had promised to pay him $10,000 for each season he played with them, and then reneged on the deal. . . . As Westhead reported: “A law firm hired by the Ontario Hockey League concluded that the Niagara IceDogs breached the league’s player recruitment rules by entering into a secret ‘side deal’ with a former player, according to a court decision obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars have signed D Ethan Samson to a WHL contract. He was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From North Delta, B.C., he played this season with the Delta Hockey Academy’s Elite 15 team. In 33 games, he had seven goals and 17 assists.



The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Logen Hammett to a WHL contract. From Regina, Hammett will turn 16 on April 3. This season, with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, he had four goals and 19 assists in 40 games. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Rieger Lorenz, a likely first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers. Lorenz, who will turn 15 on March 30, is from Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists in 30 games with the Edge School’s bantam prep team this season. . . . Lorenz is the fourth high-end bantam draft prospect to announce a commitment to the NCAA route in the last while, following F Matt Savoie (Denver), D Mats Lindgren (Michigan) and F Connor Levis (Michigan).


F Tanner Nagel, who finished up his WHL career with the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, made his pro debut on Tuesday night with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . Nagel was pointless in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Rapid City Rush. . . . With the Broncos, Nagel had 13 goals and 10 assists in 65 games.


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Tigers, Thunderbirds grab playoff spots. . . .Wheaties’ hopes rather dim. . . . Blazers now one point behind Rockets

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As was suggested might happen here earlier in the week, the Everett Silvertips have Everettadded F Lucas Cullen, 19, to their roster. . . . Cullen spent the season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, putting up 50 points, including 26 goals, in 49 regular-season games, then adding seven goals and three assists in seven playoff games. . . . Cullen is from Kelowna. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He played 48 games with them over three seasons, scoring four times and adding five assists.


D Ty Mueller announced via Twitter that he has made a commitment to the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks starting with the 2021-22 season. Mueller, who turned 16 on Feb. 26, is from Cochrane, Alta. He played this season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, putting up 10 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. . . . He also had one goal in two games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Mueller was selected by the Prince George Cougars in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


D Tyler Bates of the Calgary-based Edge School midget prep team, has committed to the Colorado College Tigers for the 2021-22 season. . . . Bates, 16, was picked by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 11th round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had two goals and 26 assists in 35 games with Edge School. He also had three assists in four games with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers are looking for a head coach after announcing that they won’t Winklerbe renewing Steve Mullin’s contract. Mullin spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Flyers, then took over as head coach prior to this season when Ken Pearson stepped aside to focus on his general manager’s duties. The Flyers and Pearson parted company on Feb. 19, he since has been named GM and head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. . . . This season, the Flyers finished 23-32-5 and missed the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 1981. . . . Jeff Jeanson has taken over the general manager’s duties.


The midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos are looking for a new head coach following the resignation of Ken Morrison. This season, Morrison drew a seven-game suspension following Game 1 of the playoffs. According to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, Morrison became involved in an argument with the on-ice officials after the game. “Morrison received two games for the argument itself against the officials,” D’Andrea wrote, “four games for being a repeat offender, and another game for the misconduct coming within the last 10 minutes of the game.” . . . The Mintos’ season ended on Sunday as they lost a best-of-five series in five games to the Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Assistant coach Bryan Swystun ran the Mintos’ bench in Morrison’s absence. . . . Morrison played four seasons (1982-86) in the WHL — the first three plus 15 games with the Prince Albert Raiders and the last 57 games with the Kamloops Blazers. In his final season, he scored 83 goals in 72 games, including 69 in 57 games with Kamloops. That season, he finished with 150 points.


A GoFundMe page has been launched in an attempt to help Lyle Frank and his mother.

Here’s what is on the page:

“Lyle came to the West Kootenays as a 19-year-old junior hockey player. He played his career for the junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and loved the area and people so much that he made the Kootenays his home.

“He has coached minor hockey, plays commercial league hockey and got an apprenticeship at Curlew Refrigeration because of his tremendous work ethic. Just last week, Lyle, who will be 24 on April 8, donated a kidney. He initially hoped he would be a match for his Mom, but when he wasn’t he still decided to donate.

“Lyle and his Mom will be off work for the next few months recovering. If you can find it in your heart to help this extraordinary young man, please donate to or give a cash donation at the Smokies games and BV Nitehawks games.”

The GoFundMe page is right here.

Lyle played for the KIJHL-champion Nitehawks in 2013-14 and through 2015-16. He gave a kidney through the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program, where he donates one, but only if his mother gets one from someone else in the program.

Here’s wishing the best to both of them. And, yes, Lyle is a hero!

There’s more on the KPD program right here.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors struck for the game’s first three goals en route to a 6-2 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw (38-20-8) will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round series. . . . Brandon (30-28-8) has lost four in a row. It is four points from a playoff spot with only two games remaining. . . . Moose Jaw won the season series, 5-3-1; Brandon was 4-4-1. . . . Moose Jaw went ahead 3-0 on first-period goals from F Yegor Buyalski (6), at 3:46; F Brayden Tracey (36), at 12:56; and F Tristin Langan (51), on a PP, at 14:30. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal as F Stelio Mattheos (44) scored, at 14:54 of the first period, and F Caiden Daley (9) counted at 1:41 of the third. . . . The Warriors put it away with the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . F Daemon Hunt (6), who is from Brandon, added insurance at 5:53. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk and F Cameron Sterling (1) got the empty-netters. . . . Moose Jaw got 29 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 25 shots for Brandon. . . . Tracey was unsuccessful on a first-period penalty shot with his guys ahead, 2-0.


G Isaac Poulter stopped 33 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 2-0 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Swift Current (11-49-6) had lost its previous 18 games (0-15-3). This was the Broncos’ fifth regulation-time victory this season. . . . Regina (18-45-3) has lost six in a row. . . . The Pats’ loss means the bottom three teams in the final standings will be Regina, the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current. Those are the three teams that will have a shot at the first pick in the 2019 bantam draft, but the Prince George Cougars hold the Broncos’ pick and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection. When the draft lottery is held, it will feature the six non-playoff teams, but a team is only allowed to move up two spots. . . . Swift Current and Regina split the season series, 3-3-0. . . . Poulter, a 17-year-old freshman from Winnipeg, posted his first career shutout. He is 3-20-1, 4.25, .891. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (6) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:38 of the first period, and F Ethan O’Rourke (11) iced it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the third period. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 31 shots for Regina. . . . Broncos F Tanner Nagel was in the lineup despite having been hit with a charging major and game misconduct during this club’s last game, a 6-0 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday. It would seem the WHL didn’t deem the infraction to have been all that serious. . . . D Alex Moar and F Owen Blocker won’t play again this season for the Broncos, who had F Dawson Springer in the lineup for his second WHL game. Springer played this season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, whose season has ended. . . . Regina, which dressed only 16 skaters, was without F Duncan Pierce and F Logan Nijhoff, neither of whom is likely to play again this season. . . . If you keep track of such things, note that Swift Current head coach Dean Brockman wasn’t at this one. He was away on a scouting trip, so assistant coach Brandin Cote, a Swift Current native, recorded his first WHL coaching victory. (A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Shawn Mullin for that last note.)


F Brett Kemp scored three times and added an assist to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official7-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat (34-26-6) has won two in a row and has clinched a wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Red Deer (33-27-6) has lost two straight. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Medicine Hat and four ahead of Brandon, which has two games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat won the season series, 6-0-0. . . . F Jeff de Wit (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:48 of the first period, only to have F James Hamblin (33) tie it at 8:04. . . . F Zak Smith (13) put Red Deer back out front 57 seconds into the second period. . . . The Tigers took control with the next three goals, in a span of 3:29, from F Ryan Chyzowski, at 3:19, and two from Kemp, on a PP at 4:20 and at 6:48. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (11) got the Rebels to within a goal at 11:35. . . . Chyzowski (26) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 12:59, and Kemp (31) completed his first career WHL hat trick at 7:26 of the third period. . . . F Brandon Hagel (41), who also had two assists, got Red Deer’s fourth goal, at 9:03. . . . F Logan Christenssen (7) finished Medicine Hat’s scoring at 13:07. . . . Hamblin and Chyzowski added two assists apiece. . . . Medicine Hat F Elijah Brown, who was injured in a Feb. 28 practice, was back in the lineup. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozov sat out as he completed a two-game suspension. . . . The Rebels, of course, are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee). . . . Medicine Hat scratched F Bryan Lockner (ill).


F Brodi Stuart scored once and added four assists as the host Kamloops Blazers coasted Kamloops1to an 8-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (27-32-7) has won four in a row. The Blazers are fourth in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets, who got a loser point last night. Kamloops will play home-and-home with the fifth-place Prince George Cougars on Friday and Saturday, while the Rockets finish with a home-and-home set with the first-place Vancouver Giants. . . . The third-place finisher will open a first-round series in Victoria on March 22. . . . Victoria (33-29-4) has lost four straight. . . . Victoria won the season series, 5-3-1; Kamloops was 4-5-0. The Blazers won the last three games in the series. . . . Stuart went into the game with 19 goals and 14 assists in 65 games, then enjoyed his first career five-point outing. He now has 20 goals and 18 assists. . . . The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the second period on Stuart’s goal at 12:51 of the first period. Kamloops then put it away with five second-period goals. . . . F Josh Pillar finished with his seventh goals and three assists, while F Zane Franklin had two goals, giving him 28. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (26), who also had two assists, F Connor Zary (28), F Kyrell Sopotyk (12) and F Ryley Appelt (4) also scored. . . . G Dylan Garand, 16, made his fourth straight start for the Blazers, who have won all four of those games. Garand, a freshman from Victoria, is starting because Dylan Ferguson was injured in a 6-0 loss the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6. . . . On the season, Garand, who stopped 22 shots, is 10-7-2, 2.89, .904 with one shutout. . . . Victoria dressed 15 skaters, three under the maximum, and that included D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb, both of whom are APs. The Royals scratched nine skaters — D Ralph Jarratt, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Sean Gulka, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver.


F Owen Williams scored off a 2-on-1 at 1:32 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 6-5 Seattlevictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (29-29-8) has clinched the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth, meaning all five U.S. Division teams will be in the playoffs for a second straight season. The Thunderbirds will play the conference’s top seed, either the Vancouver Giants or Everett Silvertips, in the first round. Seattle will open that series on the road on March 22. . . . Tri-City (34-26-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It will finish in the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Seattle went 4-2-2 in the season series; Tri-City was 4-3-1. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 4-2 lead eight minutes into the third period, then watched as the Americans scored three times to take the lead. . . . Seattle forced OT at 16:04 when F Nolan Volcan completed a hat trick with his 26th goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko had given the Americans a 1-0 lead 31 seconds into the second period. . . . Yes, the first period was scoreless. . . . Seattle took a 2-1 lead on goals from Volcan, at 3:53, and F Matthew Wedman, on a PP, at 13:09. . . . Tri-City tied it at 15:02 when F Krystof Hrabik got No. 20. . . . Seattle took the 4-2 lead as Wedman (39) scored, on a PP, at 0:28 of the third period, and Volcan counted at 4:59. . . . Tri-City went ahead 5-4 on goals from F Parker AuCoin (41), on a PP, at 8:18; F Sasha Mutala (20), at 9:15; and Yaremko (27), on a PP, at 15:23. . . . The Thunderbirds got four assists from F Henri Rybinski. He’s got seven goals and 24 assists in 31 games since being acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Wedman added one assist to his two goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of Hrabik and AuCoin, with Yaremko getting one.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who has scored in nine straight games, snapped 34 seconds into SpokaneChiefsOT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 6-5 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Spokane (38-21-7) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks, each with two games remaining. . . . Spokane will finish home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans, while Portland goes home-and-home with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna (26-32-8) has lost three in a row (0-1-2) and now is only one point ahead of the fourth-place Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division, each with two games remaining. . . . The Chiefs went 3-0-1 in the season series; the Rockets finished 1-2-1. . . . Spokane led this one 5-2 with fewer than 10 minutes left in the third period. . . . F Nolan Foote (36) got Kelowna to within two goals at 10:49. . . . The Rockets tied it on goals from D Kaedan Korczak (4), at 17:31, and F Kyle Topping (23), on a PP, at 19:20. . . . The Chiefs got the game’s first goal at 0:12 of the first period when F Jack Finley, who is from Kelowna, scored his ninth goal. . . . Foote tied it at 3:54. . . . Anderson-Dolan, who has 20 goals, gave Spokane a 2-1 lead at 8:39, and F Luke Toporowski (20) added to the lead at 17:26. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (15) made it 4-1 at 3:11 of the second period. . . . F Michael Farren (3) scored for Kelowna at 1:58 of the third, only to have D Nolan Reid (16) reply for the Chiefs at 10:03. . . . Anderson-Dolan now shares the club record for longest goal-scoring streak with F Adam Helewka (2014-15), F Marian Cesar (1997-98), F Brent Gilchrist (1986-87) and F Terry Perkins (1985-86). . . . Korczak added three assists to his goal, while Foote had an assist so finished with three points. . . . F Luc Smith and D Filip Kral were among Spokane’s scratches. . . . The Rockets are without D Lassi Thomson, who is in concussion protocol. He hasn’t played since taking a hit from Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen in the Blazers’ 2-1 shootout victory on home ice on Friday night. . . . Kelowna also was without F Mark Liwiski, as he completed a three-game suspension.


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