Hitmen, Oil Kings one win from moving on. . . . Giants, Silvertips, Chiefs into next round. . . . Royals have edge on Blazers


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The Kamloops Blazers are trying to venture where no WHL team has gone.

The Blazers were in Victoria on Saturday night, where they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Kamloops1Royals, who now hold a 3-2 lead the best-of-seven first-round series.

The Blazers are in the playoffs because they beat the Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker in Kamloops on March 19.

That was the seventh tiebreaker in WHL history. No team advancing from a tiebreaker into the playoffs has ever gone on to win three games. In fact, before this season, the six teams that moved into the playoffs by winning tiebreakers combined to win three games — two by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the spring of 2014, and one by the Swift Current Broncos in 1990.

Here’s a look. . . .

In the spring of 1981, the Spokane Flyers made it into the playoffs with a 10-9 victory, in OT, over the New Westminster Bruins. The game was played in Trail, B.C., because of a labour dispute at Queen’s Park Arena, the home of the Bruins. The Flyers moved into the first round, only to be swept from a best-of-seven series by the Victoria Cougars.

The Calgary Wranglers got into the playoffs in 1984 by going into Saskatoon and beating the Blades, 8-7 in OT. The Wranglers promptly were swept from a best-of-seven series by the Regina Pats.

In 1990, the Swift Current got past the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-4, in a tiebreaker. Regina then took out Swift Current, winning a best-of-five series, 3-1.

The Oil Kings advanced in 2009 by beating the Raiders, 2-1 in OT, in Prince Albert. The Calgary Hitmen then swept the Oil Kings from a best-of-seven series.

The Raiders were back in a tiebreaker in 2014, this team beating the host Red Deer Rebels, 5-3. Edmonton then took out the Raiders, 4-0, in a first-round series.

In 2016, the Oil Kings skated out of Medicine Hat with a 6-4 victory over the Tigers. The Oil Kings then lost a first-round series to Brandon, 4-2.

Let’s not forget, too, that a case can be made for the Blazers getting into the tiebreaker because of a loser point.

On March 15, the host Blazers were trailing the Prince George Cougars, 4-2, with fewer than seven minutes left in the third period. F Kyrell Sopotyk scored on a PP to get Kamloops to within a goal.

Then, at 19:04, F Connor Zary dove after a loose puck in the Prince George crease and knocked it into the net to tie the game and force OT. The Cougars won the game on a goal by F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, but it was the loser point that arrived on Zary’s stick that got the Blazers into a tie with Kelowna and ultimately forced the tiebreaker game.

And now the Blazers find themselves two victories away from a berth in the second round of the playoffs. They can get there by beating the Royals in Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday night, and again in Game 7 in Victoria on Wednesday.



D Matthew Stanley, who played out his junior eligibility with the Swift Current Broncos this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . . In 180 regular-season WHL games — 145 with the Broncos and 35 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes — Stanley had five goals and 13 assists.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There will be two Battles of Alberta in the WHL playoffs today as the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Hitmen in Calgary, and the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Last night, in Lethbridge, the Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, to take a 3-2 lead. . . . The Oil Kings hold a 3-2 edge on the Tigers. . . .

Three of the series in the Western Conference ended last night. The Vancouver Giants beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., to win that series, 4-2. . . . The Giants will open the second round at home on Friday against either the Kamloops Blazers or Victoria Royals. Victoria leads that series, 3-2, after a 6-3 home-ice victory last night. They’ll play Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday. . . .

The Everett Silvertips dumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 9-1, to win that series, 4-1, while the host Spokane Chiefs were beating the Portland Winterhawks, 4-1. Spokane won that series, 4-1. . . . Everett, which finished atop the U.S. Division, set a single-game franchise playoff records for goals. It will face the second-place Chiefs in the next round with that series opening in Everett on April 6 and 7. . . . With the Cirque du Soleil in Everett for an April run, this series will follow a 2-3-2 format. . . .

Home teams now are 21-18 in the first round. . . . F Bryce Kindopp of Everett and F Davis Koch of Vancouver lead the playoff scoring race, each with nine points. . . . Kindopp put up five goals and four assists against Tri-City; Koch had a goal and a league-leading eight assists against Seattle. . . . Vancouver F Jadon Joseph leads the league in goals, with six.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Mark Kastelic, back from a two-game absence that was due to a brain injury, scored Calgarytwice and added an assist to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 6-5 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for today in Calgary. If needed, Game 7 will be played in Lethbridge on Tuesday. . . . With the world men’s curling championship in the Enmax Centre, the Hurricanes have moved home games to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s teams. . . . The Hitmen got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on PP goals from F Luke Coleman (3), at 7:05, and Kastelic (2), at 16:18. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (1) scored for Lethbridge at 17:11, but F Josh Prokop (3) got that one back for Calgary 36 seconds into the second period. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (4) pulled the Hurricanes back to within one at 2:59, only to have D Vladislav Yeryomenko (2) restore Calgary’s two-goal lead at 4:45. . . . The Hurricanes did get even on PP goals from F Nick Henry, at 8:44, and F Logan Barlage (2), at 12:04, but Calgary got two goals before the period ended — from F Cael Zimmerman (1), at 17:51, and Kastelic (3), at 19:36. . . . Leschyshyn (5) added another PP goal, at 15:31 of the third period, but the Hurricanes weren’t able to get one more. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from D Dakota Krebs. . . . Bellerive added two assists to his goal, and D Caden Addison had three assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-8 on the PP; Calgary was 2-4. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 29 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge starter Carl Tetachuk surrendered four goals on 24 shots in 24:45, before Bryan Thomson came on to finish the second period. He was beaten twice on six shots. Tetachuk came back for the third period and stopped all 12 shots he faced.


F Bryce Kindopp scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips Everettdumped the Tri-City Americans, 9-1. . . . The Silvertips won the series, 4-1, and will meet the Spokane Chiefs in the second round.  The Chiefs eliminated the Portland Winterhawks last night. . . . The Chiefs and Silvertips will open in Everett with games on April 6 and 7. . . . Everett took control of this one with three goals in the second half of the first period. . . . Kindopp (3) got it started at 11:59; F Zack Andrusiak (3) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:15; and F Martin Fasko-Rudas (4) upped it to 3-0 at 18:53. . . . The Silvertips went on to build up an 8-0 lead as Kindopp added two more goals, Andrusiak added another, and F Connor Dewar (3) and F Gage Goncalves (2) added one each. . . . After F Kyle Olson (1) scored, on a PP, for Tri-City, D Ronan Seeley (1) closed out Everett’s scoring. . . . Dewar added three assists and Goncalves had two. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 1-4.


F Jadon Joseph scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle VancouverThunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Giants, who won 3-2 in Langley, B.C., on Friday, took the series, 4-2. It was the franchise’s first series victory since 2010. . . . Vancouver will meet the winner of the series between the Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals in the next round. That series is to open in Langley on Friday. . . . D Bowen Byram (3) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 11:01 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (1) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 7:14. . . . Joseph, who scored six goals in the series, upped the lead to 4-0 by scoring at 15:08 and 18:13 of the second period, the latter on a PP. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (2) got Vancouver’s fifth goal at 2:40 of the third period. Nielsen also was awarded a penalty shot in the second period. No, he didn’t score. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (4) scored for Seattle at 15:32. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . The Giants got 33 saves from G David Tendeck, including 13 in the third period when Seattle held a 14-3 edge in shots. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 28 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back after he served a two-game suspension. F Sean Richards, who has been suspended indefinitely, missed his second game. . . . The Giants continue to play without F Aidan Barfoot and F Justin Sourdif, both of whom were injured during this series.


F Phillip Schultz scored three times to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-3 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday. If needed, Game 7 would be played in Victoria on Wednesday. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (1), who hadn’t played regularly in the series until the last two periods of Game 5, gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 1:27 of the first period. . . . Kamloops tied it at 13:54 on a goal by F Ryley Appelt (1). . . . The Royals followed that with three straight goals. . . . Schultz (1) scored, on a PP, at 17:42. . . . D Noah Lamb’s first WHL goal made it 3-1 at 6:36 of the second period. . . . Schultz (2) made it 4-1 at 15:30. . . . F Logan Stankoven’s first WHL goal got the Blazers to within two goals at 10:48, but Victoria F Tanner Sidaway (1) got an empty-netter at 18:07. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (3) scored at 18:31, and Schultz completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:20. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 27 shots for Victoria. . . . Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 14 shots in 35:30. He was relieved by Dylan Garand, who stopped all nine shots he faced. . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . The Blazers had access to their complete roster for the first time in this series with F Brodi Stuart back from a one-game suspension. . . . D Matt Smith, who was hurt on a hit by Stuart in Game 3, was scratched again. . . . The Royals were without F Kody McDonald, who has been suspended indefinitely. . . . Victoria had D Mitchell Prowse in the lineup for the first time since Game 1, and F Alex Bolshakov made his playoff debut. A fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Bolshakov is from Seattle and played the past two seasons with the U16 Everett Jr. Silvertips. He was pointless in five regular-season games with the Royals.


F Luke Toporowski scored two first-period goals to get the Spokane Chiefs started SpokaneChiefstowards a 4-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1. . . . Spokane will meet the Everett Silvertips in the second round. They’ll open in Everett on April 6 and 7, then play in Spokane on April 10 and 12. . . . F Cody Glass (knee) returned to Portland’s lineup after last having played on Feb. 23, and he opened the scoring, while shorthanded, at 4:04 of the first period. . . . Toporowski, now with four goals in these playoffs, erased Portland’s lead with goals at 4:52, on a PP, at 17:52. . . . F Riley Woods added insurance for the Chiefs with his third and fourth goals of the series at 1:28 and 3:13 of the third period. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP and finished with six goals in 11 opportunities in the five games. . . . Portland was 0-4. . . . The Chiefs got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 31 shots for Portland. . . . Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, had been 6-0 in first-round series in his WHL career.


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Cancer claims Clark at 56. . . . Don’t take Cents’ record just yet. . . . More WHL teams clinch playoff spots


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DonnClark

Donn Clark, who was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour on Friday night, died in Saskatoon on Saturday. He was two days shy of his 57th birthday.

From Kelvington, Sask., he was one of three brothers to play in the WHL — he, Wendel and Kerry all played for the Saskatoon Blades. Wendel represented his older brother in Prince Albert on Friday.

Donn got into one game with the Great Falls Americans in 1979-80, then played nine games with the Blades in 1980-81. He played all of 1981-82 with Saskatoon. In 1982-83 he played in three games with the Blades, one with the Nanaimo Islanders and 31 with the Raiders.

He began his WHL coaching career as an assistant with the Tacoma Rockets (1991-93). He was the head coach of the Raiders on two occasions (1993-95, 2000-02), and also ran the Blades’ bench (1995-98).

Clark, who had been battling cancer, worked as the Raiders’ general manager and director of hockey operations (2001-08).


The WHL is crediting the Prince Albert Raiders with the record for most victories (50) in a 68-game schedule.

That would break the record of 49 that had been held by the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials.

Allow me to suggest, however, that this is comparing apples to oranges, and that the centsRaiders haven’t broken the Centennials’ record . . . at least, not yet.

This isn’t meant to taking anything away from the accomplishments of this season’s Raiders, not in the least.

But the Centennials didn’t have the opportunity to play overtime or go to a shootout in order to decide games back in their day. They finished that season at 49-16-3, with the ‘3’ being ties.

This season, the Raiders are 50-9-4, with the ‘4’ representing overtime and shootout losses. The victory total includes three OT victories and one in a shootout. That means they have won 46 games in regulation.

I would suggest, then, that if you are going to compare the victory totals of these two teams, the Centennials record of 49 victories still stands.

Perhaps it’s time to start a new section of the record book. Better yet, split it into BLP and ALP — Before Loser Points and After Loser Points — because this is what happens when you start deciding regular-season games in OT and skill competitions, and making some games worth more than others by awarding loser points.

So . . . it says here that if you played for the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials, you still hold the record for most victories in a 68-game WHL regular season.

Unless, that is, the Raiders win four of their remaining five games in regulation time. Their next three games are against the Swift Current Broncos (10-45-6), who have the WHL’s poorest record. To date, the Raiders are 4-0-1 against the Broncos and have a 24-15 edge in goals.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 12 games as the Lethbridge Hurricanes skated Lethbridgeto a 4-1 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Lethbridge (35-18-10) has won three in a row. It went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip that ended with this one. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (18-42-3) has lost four straight. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-1 in the season series; Regina was 1-3-0. . . . The Hurricanes jumped into a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (26), at 3:30; F Jordy Bellerive (29), at 4:23; and F Dylan Cozens (32), at 12:51. . . . F Austin Pratt (24) scored Regina’s goal, on a PP, at 14:23. . . . Elmer kept his streak alive with his 36th goal of the season at 14:55. . . . Elmer, who began his career with the Pats before being moved to the Kootenay Ice and then Lethbridge, has 73 points in 63 games. He went into this season with 25 goals and 28 assists in 136 games. . . . Elmer has 16 goals in his scoring streak. The WHL record is 18 games. F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins scored 27 goals in those 18 games, from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984. . . . Henry next is scheduled to play on Wednesday when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit Lethbridge. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 38 shots for the Hurricanes, four more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . F Sebastian Streu was back in Regina’s lineup after missing three games.


F Tristin Langan scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau as the MooseJawWarriorshost Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw (35-18-8) has lost its previous two games. It is likely to finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round. . . . Prince Albert (50-9-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It leads the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips and needs one point to wrap up first place. . . . F Justin Almeida (26) gave Moose Jaw the lead at 18:23 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it 44 seconds later when F Dante Hannoun (28) scored. . . . After a scoreless second period, Langan opened the third with two goals, giving him 47. He scored at 5:41 and 11:58, the second goal giving him 100 points. He is the second WHLer to get there this season, behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld. . . . Langan’s second goal was his 10th game-winner of the season. . . . F Brayden Tracey (32) stretched Moose Jaw’s lead to 4-1, at 13:36, before F Justin Nachbaur (17) scored for the visitors, at 19:50. . . . Almeida also had two assists, and now has 93 points. . . . Langan is tied for the WHL lead in GWG, with Tracey and F Bryce Kindopp of the Everett Silvertips. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 27 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-2-0; the Warriors were 2-3-1. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Max Martin, while F Parker Kelly sat out as he completed a three-game suspension.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored seven straight goals en route to a 7-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (37-18-8) has won six in a row and leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. With the victory, the Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2015-16. . . . Brandon (29-24-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is two points behind the Red Deer Rebels, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are 0-2-1 on a six-game road swing into the Central Division. They are out of their home arena because the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played there. . . . Edmonton was 3-1-0 in the season series; Brandon was 1-2-1. . . . The Oil Kings took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Andrew Fyten (39), at 6:09, and F Andrei Pavlenko (9), at 19:32 — and never looked back. . . . F Carter Souch (10), F David Kope (14) and D Wyatt McLeod (4) added second-period goals for Edmonton, with F Vince Loschiavo (31) and F Quinn Benjafield (13) making it 7-0 in the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (8) scored for Brandon at 7:56 of the third. . . . D Parker Gavlas had three assists, while Souch added two assists to his goal. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had two assists, giving him 63 this season. That ties the franchise record that was set by F Dylan Wruck in 2012-13. . . . Edmonton outshot Brandon, 45-29. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored in OT to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-5) has lost its previous seven games. It holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, five points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (10-45-6) has lost 14 straight (0-11-3). . . . The Tigers won the season series, 4-0-0; the Broncos were 0-3-1. . . . F Ethan Regnier (10) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 13:24 of the first period. . . . The Tigers got even at 14:20 as F Nick McCarry (3) scored. . . . The Broncos went back in front at 3:41 of the second period on F Tanner Nagel’s 13th goal. . . . Swift Current nursed that lead until 19:01 of the third period when Medicine Hat D Linus Nassen (6) scored to force OT. . . . Chyzowski won it with his 22nd goal at 1:07 of the extra period. . . . Medicine Hat had a 49-23 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos got 46 saves from G Riley Lamb. . . . G Mads Søgaard blocked 21 shots to earn the victory. . . . Medicine Hat again was without F Ryan Jevne, F Elijah Brown and F Brett Kemp.


Stoll
The Hall of Fame banner honouring Jarret Stoll hangs from the Western Financial Place rafters in Cranbrook and will remain there even after the Kootenay Ice moves to Winnipeg at season’s end.

F James Malm scored three times to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the CalgaryKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Calgary (34-22-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . . Kootenay (12-40-10) has lost at least 40 times in regulation for the third time in four seasons, after not having done it even once in its first 17 seasons in Cranbrook. . . . These teams will play again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . Malm opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first period. . . . Ice D Marco Creta (3) tied it at 9:54. . . . Malm put Calgary back out front at 10:33, only to have Ice F Brad Ginnell (16) equalize at 12:59. . . . Malm completed his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 3:14 of the second period. He’s got 31 goals this season. . . . F Josh Prokop (7) added insurance at 14:28 of the third period, and F Mark Kastelic (45) closed the scoring at 19:25. . . . Prior to the game, the Ice, which will leave Cranbrook for Winnipeg at season’s end, honoured former captain Jarret Stoll as the first inductee into its Hall of Fame. . . . The announced attendance was 2,738, the second-largest crowd of the team’s last season in Cranbrook. Only opening night (2,862) was larger. . . . The Ice has three home games remaining in its stay in Cranbrook. . . . Before the game, the Hitmen announced that they have returned F Orca Wiesblatt to the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has three assists in 12 games with the Hitmen this season.


The Vancouver Giants snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 2:30 early in the Vancouversecond period en route to a 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (43-14-4) has points in five straight. It is two points behind the Everett Silvertips in the race to finish atop the Western Conference. . . . Kamloops (23-31-6) has lost two in a row and now is six points behind the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division and six points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. This was a bad night for the Blazers, as Seattle and Kelowna both lost in OT so increased their breathing room with the loser points. . . . The Blazers and Giants will play today in Langley, B.C., then meet again Wednesday back in Kamloops. . . . The Giants are 6-0-0 in the season series; the Blazers are 0-4-2. . . . Kamloops lost D Jackson Caller on a play that led to the game’s first goal. A shot by Vancouver F Justin Sourdif struck Caller in the lower face area. As he crumpled to the ice, the puck went to F Jared Dmytriw. He slipped it to F Aidan Barfoot, who tucked it in for his fourth goal of the season. Caller skated off, leaving a trail of blood from the slot to the Kamloops bench. He didn’t return. . . . Caller lost one tooth. Two others were displaced, but a dentist pushed them back into their proper position. . . . F Brodi Stuart (17) tied it for Kamloops at 4:22, but D Bowen Byram (23) put the Giants back out front, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . The Blazers pulled even at 4:41 of the second period as F Jermaine Loewen scored when a shot by F Connor Zary hit him in the chin and bounced into the net. . . . The Giants then scored the three quick goals — by F Davis Koch (26), at 5:54; F Tristen Nielsen (12), at 7:23; and F Milos Roman (25), at 8:24. . . . Loewen (23) cut the Blazers’ deficit to two at 19:35 of the second period, and the home side got to within a goal at 5:08 of the third when F Ryley Appelt (2) scored. . . . But the Blazers weren’t able to beat Vancouver G Trent Miner again. He stopped 26 shots, including 14 in the third period. . . . Sourdif finished with three assists. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 16 shots in 27:23 before giving way to Dylan Garand, who last played on Jan. 27. Garand gave up a goal on the second shot he faced, as he finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.


F Jaydon Dureau’s OT goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 victory over the Rockets Portlandin Kelowna. . . . Portland (38-18-6) is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division and a first-round series with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (26-30-6) is third in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . The Winterhawks and Rockets will play again this afternoon in Kelowna. . . . Portland leads the season series 3-0-0; Kelowna is 0-2-1. . . . F Jake Gricius (23) opened the scoring for Portland, on a PP, at 1:06 of the first period. . . . Kelowna didn’t tie it until 14:55 of the third period when F Alex Swetlikoff (5) scored. . . . Dureau won it with his 12th goal, at 1:22 of OT. . . . G Shane Farkas blocked 28 shots for Portland, four more than Kelowna’s Roman Basran.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-SpokaneChiefsCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (35-19-7) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks and seven ahead of the Americans. . . . Tri-City (33-24-4) has lost four in a row, but has clinched a playoff spot. . . . With two games left in the season series, Tri-City is 6-3-1; Spokane is 4-5-1. . . . The Chiefs grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Noah King (5), at 3:34, and F Adam Beckman (27), on a PP, at 6:00. . . . The Americans pulled even in the second period as F Nolan Yaremko (25) scored, on a PP, at 5:50, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) got one at 7:07. . . . Spokane went out front 4-2 in the third period on goals from D Nolan Reid (15), at 13:23, and F Michael King (3), just 10 seconds later. . . . Tri-City tied it was F Riley Sawchuk (18) scored, on a PP, at 18:43, and F Kyle Olson (21) counted with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 14th goal of the season at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 30 saves from G Reece Klassen, while workhorse Beck Warm, who has started 56 of the Americans’ 61 games, stopped 31 shots.


F Phillip Schultz broke a 2-2 tie with two early third-period goals as the Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsbeat the visiting Prince George Cougars, 5-2. . . . Victoria (33-25-4) has points in four in a row (3-0-1) and has clinched second place in the B.C. Division. This is the eighth straight season in which the Royals have qualified for the playoffs. . . . Prince George (17-39-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Victoria won the season series, 8-1-0; Prince George was 1-6-2. . . . The Royals had beaten the Cougars, 4-3, on Friday. . . . Last night, a pair of first-period PP goals — from D Ralph Jarratt (6), at 7:42, and F Carson Miller (13), at 10:55 — staked the home boys to a 2-0 lead. . . . The Cougars tied it in the second period on goals from F Josh Maser (28), at 4:54, and D Jack Sander (2), at 9:03. . . . Schultz, who has 18 goals, broke the tie 14 seconds into the third period, then added some insurance at 5:49. . . . Victoria F Igor Martynov (10) got the empty-netter at 16:41. . . . Martynov and Miller had two assists each, with Schultz adding one. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 32 shots for the Royals, five more than the Cougars’ Taylor Gauthier.


F Bryce Kindopp scored with 0.4 showing on the clock in OT to give the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (44-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks, and is atop the Western Conference by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (25-28-8) has points in four in a row (2-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . With one game remaining, Everett is 7-1-1 in the season series; Seattle is 2-5-2. . . . Kindopp, who has 38 goals,  now is tied for the WHL lead in game-winners. Kindopp and F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, have 10 each. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 32 shots in recording his seventh shutout of this season and the 11th of his career. . . . This season, Wolf is 39-13-3, 1.72, .935.His career numbers are 52-19-3, 1.85, .933. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 12-4-3, 2.71, .921. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension.


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Ex-WHLer talks about concussion battle. . . . Raiders one point from clinching top spot. . . . Kindopp spoils Warm’s amazing game

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F Jesse Gabrielle’s season might be over, sidelined by what he says is his third concussion of the season.

Gabrielle suffered the first concussion this season while with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. He began the regular season with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators, but was injured after playing 25 games. He came back with the Wichita Thunder, but suffered a third concussion in January.

Gabrielle, 21, finished last season with the WHL’s Regina Pats. He also played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars.

In conversation with Hartley Miller for his Cat Scan podcast, Gabrielle said that he has been advised to shut it down for this season.

“Head injuries nowadays are a big deal and they need to be taken serious care of. I’ve had three concussions this season. It’s something that definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have to make sure you rest and don’t come back before it’s properly healed.”

As for brain injuries in the WHL, Gabrielle, a native of Moosomin, Sask., offered: “I had one diagnosed but I know that . . . I probably had three guaranteed in the WHL. But I didn’t really say anything.”

He remembers having one in his draft season, 2014-15, and not saying anything.

“It’s my draft year and I tried skating through it, I guess . . . I didn’t really want anyone to know that I had a concussion at the time.”

He remembers being hit by D Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“Provorov lined me up,” Gabrielle said. “I don’t think it was a dirty hit; it just really jarred me. I didn’t want to say anything. You don’t want to be out a week or two with a concussion in your draft year. It’s something that players probably hide more than they should. I’m fresh out of the league but I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing now. Guys weren’t saying anything when I was in the league, that’s for sure.”

Asked what he’s dealing with now as he tries to recover from this third concussion, Gabrielle replied: “It’s annoying . . . it’s really tough. Some days are worse than others. For me, it’s a lot of pain behind the eyes . . . a lot of pressure behind the eyes. . . . sensitivity to light. Screens, TV,  even a sunny day. It’s tough to go outside sometimes.

“You’re alone a lot of the time. Our team is on the road and I stayed back just because I don’t really want to be doing too much activity.”

Gabrielle pointed out that a brain injury isn’t like a lot of other hockey injuries.

“It’s not like a shoulder where you can tape it up and go play,” he said. “You don’t really know how it’s healing up. You’re just going day by day. It’s kind of a frustrating experience . . . because one day you can be feeling really good. You try biking and you want to poke your eyes out because the pressure behind your eyes is so intense.”

He also mentioned having migraines and having to go into a dark room to deal with those.

In dealing with this latest brain injury, he also noticed something else one day.

“It happened three times in a day . . . one of the scarier days since got my third concussion,” he said. “I was in mid-conversation with someone and I would just forget what I was saying.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly. If you’re a player with a history of concussions or think you might have one, be safe about it. Don’t risk your brain. You only have one.”

The complete podcast is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders inducted Donn Clark, a former player, general manager and head coach, into their Wall of Honour on Friday night prior to a game against the Red Deer Rebels.

Unfortunately, Clark wasn’t able to attend.

“He’s at the final stages of battling cancer, and he’s done it proudly,” Kerry Clark, one of the three brothers to have played in the WHL, told Trevor Redden of panow.com. “He’s held his head high and he’s never complained. Every battle, he’s hit it head first all the time and that’s just the way he is.” . . . Redden’s story is right here.

With Donn unable to attend, Wendel, the third of the brothers, represented him in Prince Albert.


The NHL’s Colorado Avalanche has signed F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Henry, from Portage la Prairie, Man., was selected by Colorado in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Henry, 19, has 24 goals and 59 assists in 62 games this season. He played the first 25 games with the Regina Pats, before being dealt to the Hurricanes. In Lethbridge, he has nine goals and 34 assists in 37 games. . . . The Everett Silvertips selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, but later dealt him to Regina.



The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Hendrik De Klerk, 16, to a WHL contract. He was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Swift Current, De Klerk had six goals and 31 assists in 44 games as a freshman with the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires.


F Kaden Bohlsen of the USHL’s Fargo Force has made a commitment to attend the U of Nebraska-Omaha and play for the Mavericks starting in 2020-21. Bohlsen, from Willmar, Minn., turned 18 on Jan. 10. He started this season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, putting up six goals and seven assists in 25 games. With the Force, he has three goals and an assist in 17 games. . . . He was a ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-0 victory over Lethbridgethe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Lethbridge (34-18-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (34-18-8) has lost two straight and is destined to finish third in the East Division. . . . Tetachuk’s second career shutout came six days after the first one. . . . The Hurricanes opened a 1-0 lead at 6:59 of the first period as F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 11 games with a shorthanded marker. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (35) made it 2-0 just 43 seconds into the third period, and F Jackson Shepard (4) upped it to 3-0 at 15:53. . . . F Nick Henry, who signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche earlier in the day, had a goal, his 25th, and an assist. . . . F Dylan Cozens (31) also scored. . . . Elmer and Leschyshyn each had two assists. . . . The Warriors had F Kaeden Taphorn back in the lineup after a 10-game absence.


The Prince Albert Raiders closed to within one point of clinching the Scotty Munro PrinceAlbertMemorial Trophy with a 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . With one more point, Prince Albert (50-8-4) will wrap up first place overall. The Raiders last won 50 games in 1991-92 when they finished 50-20 with two ties. The franchise record for victories in a season is 58, set in 1984-85. . . . The Raiders have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Red Deer (31-24-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Calgary Hitmen. Red Deer also holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Noah Gregor (38) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:29 of the third period. . . . Red Deer tied it at 14:21 as F Brandon Hagel (38) scored the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . . In the shootout, the Raiders got goals from Gregor, F Dante Hannoun and F Brett Leason, with F Cam Hausinger scoring for the Rebels. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 23 saves. . . . Red Deer got 39 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Raiders were without D Max Martin for a fifth straight game. . . . Prince Albert F Parker Kelly sat out the second game of a three-game suspension.


G Nolan Maier turned aside 19 shots to help the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-0 victory Saskatoonover the Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (40-14-8) has won three in a row. The Blades have won 40 games for the first time since they finished 2012-13 at 44-22-6. That also is the last time they qualified for the playoffs prior to this season. . . . The Blades are going to finish second in the East Division and meet the third-place Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . Regina (18-41-3) has lost three straight. . . . Saskatoon is 5-1-0 in the season series; Regina is 1-4-1. . . . Maier has three shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . Saskatoon got first-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (21), shorthanded at 2:10, and F Max Gerlach (38), at 19:46. . . . F Ryan Hughes (27) and F Kyle Crnkovic (11) added second-period scores. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 31 shots for Regina.


F Riley Stotts scored in OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the visiting CalgaryBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . Calgary (33-22-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and four ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon (29-23-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers, who are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card berth. . . . The Hitmen got the game’s first goal, from F James Malm (28), at 3:48 of the second period. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Connor Gutenberg (14), at 8:03, and F Caiden Daley (7), at 14:23. . . . Calgary forced OT on F Mark Kastelic’s 44th goal, on a PP, at 7:59 of the third period. . . . Stotts won it with his 19th goal, at 2:09 of extra time. . . . G Jack McNaughton recorded the victory with 19 saves, 20 fewer than Brandon’s Jiri Patera.


Ice
After beating the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-3, on Friday night, the Kootenay Ice has four home games remaining before leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for a new home in Winnipeg.

F Connor McClennon scored twice as the Kootenay Ice beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-Kootenaynew3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (12-39-10) had lost its previous nine games (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos now have lost 13 straight (0-11-2). . . . These two teams have combined for 13 regulation-time victories in 120 regular-season games — nine by the Ice and four by the Broncos. . . . F Brandon Machado (4) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 2:44 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 2:49 of the second period on F Matthew Culling’s 10th goal. . . . The Ice responded with the next three goals — from F Jaeger White (26), at 4:44 of the second period, F Brad Ginnell (15), at 16:31, and McClennon, at 1:49 of the third. . . . Swift Current got to within a goal as F Carter Chorney (14) scored at 7:41 and F Eric Houk (3) counted at 10:43. . . . McClennon iced it with an empty-netter at 18:08. He’s got 11 goals. . . . The Ice got 24 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 43 shots for the Broncos. . . . The Ice has four home games left in Cranbrook before it relocates to Winnipeg.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky, who was playing in his 200th regular-season game, scored twice to EdmontonOilKingshelp the host Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Edmonton (36-18-8) has won five in a row. It is atop the Central Division, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Medicine Hat (31-25-5) has lost seven in a row. It is in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton is 5-0-1 in the season series; Medicine Hat is 1-3-2. . . . D Matthew Robertson (7) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 8:08 of the first period. . . . The Tigers tied it at 9:38 of the second as F Ryan Chyzowski (21) scored on a PP. . . . Fix-Wolansky snapped the tie at 12:05 and F Vince Loschiavo (30) made it 3-1 at 13:22. . . . F Hayden Ostir (10) pulled Medicine Hat to within a goal at 7:27 of the third period. . . . Fix-Wolansky iced it with his 33rd goal, an empty-netter, at 19:51. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 31 saves, 10 fewer than the Tigers’ Mads Søgaard. . . . With F Ryan Jevne, F Brett Kemp and F Elijah Brown all out, the Tigers had F Caleb Willms, 17, and F Noah Danielson, 16,  in their lineup. Willms, from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, played one game with the Tigers earlier in the season. Danielson, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut. He plays for the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs.


G Roddy Ross stopped 42 shots and F Noah Philp had a goal and two assists to lead the SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds to a 6-4 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Seattle (25-28-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Kamloops (23-30-6) now is five points from a playoff spot. . . . This game was one of those four-pointers. Had Kamloops won, the Blazers would have been one point behind Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, with a game in hand. Instead, the Blazers fell five points off the pace. . . . Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers do have two games in hand. . . . Over the next eight days, the Blazers will play three times against the Vancouver Giants and twice against the Rockets. . . . Seattle scurried home after last night’s game because it has to face the host Everett Silvertips tonight. Everett was at home to the Tri-City Americans on Friday. . . . Seattle jumped out front 2-0 on first-period goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 8:02, and Philp (22), at 10:30. . . . F Kobe Mohr (7) got Kamloops’ first goal at 13:18. . . . Wedman upped Seattle’s lead to 3-1 with  his 35th goal, at 3:25 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it on goals from F Josh Pillar (6), on a PP, at 11:41, and F Orrin Centazzo (16), at 12:19. . . . Seattle went back in front at 14:04, on a PP, as F Andrej Kukuca (24) scored. . . . F Connor Zary (19) brought Kamloops even again at 18:25. . . . F Henri Rypinski (6) broke the tie for Seattle, on a PP, at 6:46, and F Nolan Volcan (21) added insurance at 10:03. . . . Wedman now is riding an 11-game point streak, while Philp is on a 10-game tear. . . . Kamloops had a season-high 46 shots on goal, while surrendering 31. . . . D Simon Kubicek returned to Seattle’s lineup after not having played since Feb. 8. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly served the second game of a four-game suspension. . . . The Blazers had F Ryley Appelt back for the first time since Jan. 27.


G Bailey Brkin turned aside 50 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the SpokaneChiefsWinterhawks in Portland. . . . Spokane (34-19-7) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the West Division, six points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (37-18-6) is second, five points up on the Chiefs, who have a game in hand. . . . Spokane went 3-2-1 in the season series; the Winterhawks were 3-3-0. . . . The Chiefs took control with the game’s first four goals. . . . F Jake McGrew (25) got it started, on a PP, at 6:04 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (19) scored at 10:02 of the second and F Riley Woods, who also had two assists, scored his 29th at 17:00. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (13) made it 4-0 at 1:24 of the third period. . . . D John Ludvig (5) scored for Portland at 2:25, but F Eli Zummack (15) got that one back for Spokane, on a PP, at 10:50. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (52) got Portland’s last goal, on a PP, at 18:48. . . . The Winterhawks had an 18-9 edge in shots in the first period, and it was 21-7 in the third. The Chiefs had the edge, 19-13, in the second. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral had three assists. . . . The Winterhawks had D Brendan De Jong back after he missed six games, but they scratched F Cody Glass.


F Milos Roman scored once and added three assists as his Vancouver Giants dumped the VancouverKelowna Rockets, 7-4, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (42-14-4) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The Giants will finish atop the B.C. Division, and they are two points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (26-30-5) had won its previous two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 6-0-1; Kelowna is 1-6-0. . . . Roman enjoyed the second four-point game of his career. . . . The Rockets actually held a 4-3 lead early in the second period before surrendering the game’s last four goals. . . . F Nolan Foote gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:44 of the first period. . . . D Nicholas Draffin tied it with his first WHL goal at 2:54. . . . Kelowna went back out front at 3:12 as F Mark Liwiski (10) scored. . . . Vancouver D Dallas Hines (8) tied it at 11:16. . . . Foote (33) gave Kelowna a 3-2 lead at 16:45. . . . The Giants pulled even, again, at 1:15 of the second period as D Alex Kannok Leipert (3) scored. . . . The Rockets took their fourth lead of the game at 4:47 as F Alex Swetlikoff (4) scored. . . . It was all Giants after that. . . . F Jadon Joseph (18) tied it at 12:24, and Roman’s 24th goal, on a PP, gave Vancouver a 5-4 lead at 14:33. . . . D Davis Koch (25), who also had two assists, and F Tristen Nielsen (11) added insurance before the third period ended. . . . Joseph also added two assists to his goal. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots. . . . F Dawson Holt returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing 14 games.


F Kody McDonald scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Victoria Royals to a 4-VictoriaRoyals3 victory over his first WHL team, the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (32-25-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is headed for a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . Prince George (17-38-8) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Victoria went 7-1-0 in the season series; Prince George was 1-5-2. . . . McDonald got the scoring started at 3:47 of the first period, and F Phillip Schultz (16) made it 2-0 at 6:16. . . . F Josh Maser (27) got the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 11:20. . . . Victoria F Tarun Fizer, celebrating his 18th birthday, made it 3-1, on a PP, at 16:03. . . . McDonald got the lead to 4-1 with his 20th goal at 4:26 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got close on third-period goals from Matej Taman (8), at 2:05, and F Reid Perepeluk (2), at 19:26. . . . McDonald played 232 regular-season games over parts of five seasons (2013-18) with the Cougars. . . . The Royals got 32 saves from G Griffen Outshouse. . . . The Cougars have added F Liam Ryan, who turned 19 on Jan. 2, to their roster after his BCHL team, the Surrey Eagles, had its season end. Ryan, from New Westminster, B.C., had five goals and four assists in 22 games with the Eagles. The Cougars selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. Ryan didn’t play in this one. . . . The Royals are without F Kaid Oliver, who is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. He leads them in goals (27) and points (49).


G Bryce Kindopp scored with 48.6 seconds left in the third period as the Everett Silvertips Everettovercame a career-high 60-save effort by G Beck Warm in beating the visiting Tri-City Americans, 2-1. . . . Everett (43-14-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks. Everett also leads the Western Conference, by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Tri-City (33-24-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans do hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips lead the season series, 4-3-0. . . . Everett unleashed a season-high 62 shots, which is the most shots the Americans have allowed in a game this season. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Yaremko (24) scored at 7:25 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (38) got Everett into a tie when he scored at 9:40 of the third period, on the team’s 57th shot. . . . Kindopp, who drew an assist on Andrusiak’s goal, won it with his 37th goal of the season. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots in winning his 38th game of the season, a franchise record. The previous record of 37 was set by Leland Irving in 2005-06. . . . This season, Wolf is 38-13-3, 1.75, .934. . . . The Silvertips had F Connor Dewar and F Dawson Butt back in the lineup.


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Colina cites personal reasons in leaving P.G. . . . Tracey, Warriors rolling . . . Oil Kings win in P.A. . . . Farkas, Klassen record shutouts

Ice4
On Friday night, the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since the WHL and the team’s owners announced on Tuesday that the franchise will be relocating to Winnipeg at the end of this season. Scroll down for more photos from the game in Cranbrook, which the Ice won, 3-2, over the Swift Current Broncos.

MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has been recalled by Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) from Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). With Dinamo, he was pointless in 15 games. He had four goals and seven assists in 14 games with Liepaja. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has been traded by Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for Petr Štindl. With Hradec Králove, Bezúch had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in three games. . . .

F Roman Pšurný (Medicine Hat, 2004-06) has been assigned on loan to Brno (Czech Republic Extraliga) by Přerov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). In 45 games, he had 11 goals and 25 assists with Přerov. He is eligible to play the rest of this season with both clubs. . . .

D Jordan Rowley (Kamloops, Prince Albert, 2005-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga) after requesting and receiving his release from Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga) on Thursday. In 24 games, he had one goal and four assists. He played last season for Pelicans, recording two goals and seven assists in 45 games.


ThisThat

F Ilijah Colina has left the Prince George Cougars for what the teams says is “personal PrinceGeorgereasons.” . . . In a news release, the team says Colina’s decision is “fully supported by the Cougars organization.” . . . This season, Colina, who turns 19 on Feb. 18, has six goals and six assists in 39 games. From North Delta, B.C., he has 55 points, including 18 goals, in 151 career regular-season games. He played 83 games with the Portland Winterhawks, before being acquired by the Cougars. Colina was part of a Jan. 10, 2018 deal in which Portland got D Dennis Cholowski and the rights to G Ty Taylor. The Cougars landed Colina and F Connor Bowie, along with a 2020 first-round bantam draft pick, second-rounders in 2018 and 2019, a third-rounder in 2020, and a conditional sixth-rounder in 2019. . . .

With Colina gone, the Cougars have added F Craig Armstrong to their roster. Armstrong, from Airdrie, Alta., was the ninth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.. He plays at the Edge school in Calgary, where he has 12 goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the prep team. . . . Armstrong was with the Cougars on Friday night in Kamloops, but didn’t play against the Blazers.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored the game’s first three goals and later added an assist to lead the MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (28-11-8) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, three points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . This was Moose Jaw’s first home game after a seven-game road swing (6-0-1), and the Warriors now will play their next five games away from home. . . . Medicine Hat (27-18-4) has lost two in a row. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. Medicine Hat also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 51 points, including 22 goals, in 47 games. This was his second hat trick of the season. . . . Tracey opened the scoring at 8:52 of the first period, then completed his hat trick in the second period with goals at 4:57 and 8:40. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (12), F Kjell Kjemhus (1) and F Justin Almeida (19) also scored for Moose Jaw. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (16) scored the Tigers’ goal, at 10:36 of the third period. . . . Kjemhus got his first goal in 22 games with the Warriors after coming over in a deal with the Prince George Cougars. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 33 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Tigers had F Cole Sillinger in their lineup for the third time this season. Sillinger, 15, is from Regina. He was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky and D Conner McDonald each scored twice to help the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Edmonton (28-15-8) has won three in a row and now leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince Albert (41-7-2) now is 20-4-0 at home. The lead the East Division by 17 points over the Saskatoon Blades. This was the Raiders’ first home game since Jan. 12. They were 4-1-1 on a road swing in the interim. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 12:41 of the first period. . . . Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Jalen Luypen (7), at 7:59, and McDonald, at 9:13. . . . Fonstad tied it with his 20th goal, at 16:28, and D Brayden Pachal (13) gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead at 17:49. . . . Edmonton took control with the next four goals, two of them late in the second, and both from Fix-Wolansky, at 18:25, on a PP, and 19:21. He’s got 27 goals. . . . McDonald added his 14th goal at 5:09 of the third and F Vince Loschiavo, who was playing in his 301st regular-season game, got his 22nd goal into an empty net at 16:36. . . . Edmonton got 39 saved from G Todd Scott. . . . The Oil Kings sent Prince Albert starter Ian Scott to the bench after scoring five times on 27 shots in 45:09. . . . D Matthew Robertson was among Edmonton’s scratches.


F Gary Haden scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-1 victory over the Pats Saskatoonin Regina. . . . Saskatoon (30-13-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). it is second in the East Division, three points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (13-35-3) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Saskatoon had a 17-3 edge in shots in the first period but only F Max Gerlach (28) was able to beat Regina G Max Paddock. . . . Haden made it 2-0 at 7:35 of the second period. . . . The Pats outshot the visitors 22-14 in the second period and got one goal, that from F Sergei Alkhimov (11), at 15:31. . . . Haden iced it with an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third. He’s got 23 goals. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 34 shots for the Blades, five fewer than Paddock. . . . D Ryker Evans was back in Regina’s lineup after missing 23 games, but the Pats were without G Dean McNabb and F Duncan Pierce. . . . With McNabb, out, Regina had Carter Woodside backing up Paddock. Woodside, who plays with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, was a sixth-round pick by the Kootenay Ice in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. Regina acquired him from Kootenay on Aug. 20, giving up a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats began serving a four-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct he incurred on Tuesday in Calgary. F Hunter Campbell of the Hitmen, who was on the receiving end, was scratched from last night’s game in Calgary.


F Luka Burzan scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory over the centsCalgary Centennials (aka the Calgary Hitmen) in a game played at the Calgary Corral. . . . Brandon (22-19-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is four points behind Calgary, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Calgary (25-19-5) has lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . Calgary took a 1-0 lead as F Tye Carriere (5) scored at 1:53 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Caiden Daley (4) tied it 15 seconds later. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (31) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 5:58 of the second period. . . . Calgary followed with goals from F Luke Coleman, on a PP, at 6:37, and F Mark Kastelic, at 15:15. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it when F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored, on a PP, at 17:17. . . . Kastelic (34), who also had an assist, put the Centennials ahead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . Brandon then took the lead on two goals from F Ben McCartney, who has 15, at 2:21 and 14:15. . . . Coleman forced OT when he scored his 17th goal at 18:18. . . . Burzan won it with his 29th goal just 16 seconds into OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal, including the only helper on the winner. . . . Brandon got three assists from D Zach Wytinck, with McCartney adding one to his brace of goals. . . . Both teams are without their starting goaltenders, Brandon’s Jiri Patera with a leg injury and Calgary’s Carl Stankowski with an ankle problem. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from Ethan Kruger, with Jack McNaughton stopping 32 shots for Calgary. . . . The Wheat Kings were without D Braydyn Chizen, who is two games into a four-game suspension for a headshot major he took Tuesday in Edmonton.


Ice1
There were messages for the players as the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since a move to to Winnipeg was made official on Tuesday . . .
Ice2
. . . and there was a message to the many billet families who have taken in players over the 21 seasons in which the Ice has called Cranbrook home . . .
Ice3
. . . and, yes, there was a message for the owners of the Ice, too.

F Jaeger White broke a 2-2 tie late in the third period to give the Winnipeg Ice (aka KootenaynewKootenay Ice) a 3-2 victory in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (11-32-8) has lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Broncos (10-36-3) have lost two in a row. . . . The Ice took a 1-0 lead when F Connor McClennon scored at 9:12 of the first period. . . . F Owen Blocker (4) pulled the Broncos even at 15:10, and D Christian Riemer (1) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 12:10 of the second. . . . Riemer, an 18-year-old freshman from Regina, got his first goal in his 38th game of the season. . . . McLennon (8) tied it at 8:18 of the third period, and White got the winner at 19:08. He’s got 21 goals this season. . . . G Jesse Makaj stopped 24 shots for the Ice, four fewer than the Broncos’ Isaac Poulter. . . . F Tanner Nagel, the team captain, was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . The was the Ice’s first home game since the WHL announced on Tuesday that the franchise will relocate to Winnipeg when this season ends.


F Jake Leschyshyn, F Nick Henry and D Igor Merezhko each scored twice to lead the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (26-15-8) had lost its previous two games. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Rebels. . . . Red Deer (28-17-3) has lost two straight. . . . Leschyshyn and Henry, mid-season acquisitions from the Regina Pats, made it 2-0 with goals at 5:39 and 16:49 of the first period. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (7) scored for Red Deer at 2:03 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn (29) scored again at 5:20, with Henry (20) counting at 9:46. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (9) got Red Deer closer at 14:57. . . . Merezhko, who now has three goals, iced it with third-period goals at 3:12 and 14:40, the latter a shorthanded empty-netter. . . . Henry also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-6. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel went to the dressing favouring a hand after a scrap with Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive at 6:43 of the second period, but he later returned. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.


F Kyrell Sopotyk scored twice, the second one into an empty net, to help the host Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kamloops (20-25-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Blazers are tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers and Rockets are to meet in Kelowna tonight. . . . Prince George (16-28-5) has lost eight straight (0-6-2) and now trails Kamloops by seven points. . . . Sopotyk gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the first period, with F Orrin Centazzo (13) upping it to 2-0 at 19:35. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (18) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 3:09 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) got that one back for Kamloops at 10:31 of the third period. . . . Sopotyk, who has nine goals, got the empty-netter at 18:34. . . . The Cougars were 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . Both goaltenders were sharp, with Dylan Ferguson making 26 saves for Kamloops and Taylor Gauthier stopping 40 for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers had D Quinn Schmiemann back after a four-game absence. He was injured on Jan. 20 on a hit by Prince George F Josh Maser, who was given a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Kamloops was without D Jeff Faith, who drew a two-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct against the visiting Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, played his fourth game of the season with Kamloops. He didn’t pick up any points, but the Cougars took two minor penalties on him.


G Shane Farkas stopped 24 shots and F Reece Newkirk had two goals as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks dumped the visiting Vancouver Giants, 3-0. . . . Portland (31-14-5) is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver (32-13-3) had points in each of its previous 10 games (9-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Portland is 3-0-0 against Vancouver this season. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored the game’s first goal, his WHL-leading 43rd, at 8:48 of the second period. . . . Newkirk made it 2-0 at 4:42 of the third, and added an empty-netter, his 20th goal of the season, at 19:16. . . . Blichfeld also had an assist. He leads the WHL in points, with 90, nine more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Blichfeld’s 43 goals are five more than Langan.


F Zack Andrusiak scored a goal and added three assists as the visiting Everett Silvertips Everettbeat his old team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (36-12-2) has won three in a row. It leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (19-23-6) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). The Thunderbirds are tied with the Kamloops Blazers for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips and Thunderbirds will meet again tonight, this time in Everett. . . . The Silvertips are 5-0-0 in the season series. . . . Everett acquired Andrusiak from Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that included F Sean Richards going the other way. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (13) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the second period. . . . Everett took a 3-1 lead on three PP goals from F Bryce Kindopp — at 16:37 of the second period and 0:26 and 6:42 of the third. . . . Kindopp, who has 28 goals, enjoyed his first career hat trick. . . . F Matthew Wedman (23) got Seattle to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:11. . . . F Dawson Butt (7), at 14:11, and Andrusiak (35), at 15:23, put it away. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-5. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Seattle remains without F Nolan Volcan, the team captain. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Kai Uchacz in their lineup for the first time. A 15-year-old from De Winton, Alta., Uchacz was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. Uchacz will return to Okotoks after weekend games.


G Reece Klassen stopped 25 shots and F Adam Beckman had two goals as the host SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Spokane (26-17-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, 10 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and and four ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (20-25-5) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Victoria Royals and one ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who are to visit Kelowna tonight. . . . The Rockets have been blanked five times this season. . . . Klassen, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 2, posted his first career shutout. It came in his fourth appearance with the Chiefs. . . . F Jake McGrew (21) scored the game’s first goal, at 8:02 of the first period, with Beckman making it 2-0 at 15:55 of the second. . . . D Nolan Reid (9) upped it to 3-0 at 1:54 of the third period. . . . Beckman, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, rounded out the scoring with his 21st goal at 3:50. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, he’s got 39 points in 48 games. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 13 of 15 shots, but left with an apparent injury after giving up the second goal. Roman Basran finished up, stopping 15 of 17 shots in 23:11.


The Victoria Royals grabbed a 3-1 first-period lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Victoria (25-20-2) is second in the B.C. Division, seven points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City (25-19-3) holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Victoria went ahead 1-0 at 2:58 of the first period on a goal by F Igor Martynov (8), only to have the Americans tie it at 10:50 when F Krystof Hrabik (11) scored. . . . D Ralph Jarratt gave (5) Victoria a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 15:07, and F Logan Doust (3) made it 3-1 at 17:55. . . . Tri-City got to within a goal at 7:32 of the third period as F Kyle Olson (16) scored on a PP. . . . The Royals locked it up on goals from F D-Jay Jerome (19), at 8:35, and F Tarun Fizer (11), into an empty net, at 15:51. . . . Victoria had D Jake Kustra back in the lineup after he had been out since Jan. 10. . . . These teams meet again tonight in Victoria.


Tweetoftheday

CHL, WHL facing another lawsuit . . . Kaluski has career night vs. Raiders . . . Silvertips within five points of top spot


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MacBeth

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) has exercised the out clause in his contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) and signed a contract for the rest of this season with Davos (Switzerland, NL A). Kundrátek started this season with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL), earning three assists in 25 games. He signed with Třinec on Dec. 5, and had one goal and one assist in six games.

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ThisThat

“Notice of a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League, Hockey Canada and the Western Hockey League has been filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia,” reports Gord Holder of the Ottawa Citizen, “claiming the leagues failed to enforce protocols for handling concussions and failed to provide players, parents and billet families with relevant health information about concussions.

“The representative plaintiff for the claim, filed Wednesday, is James Johnathon McEwan, a 31-year-old native of Kelowna, B.C., who played an enforcer’s role during four WHL seasons between 2004 and 2008.”

McEwan, now 31, played with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets, spending two seasons with each team.

Holder’s complete story is right here.

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The Tri-City Americans have dropped F Isaac Johnson, who will turn 20 on Jan. 19, from tri-citytheir roster. Johnson, from Andover, Minn., was a point-a-game player, with 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games. He was their fifth-leading scorer, with 32 points. . . . According to Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, Johnson has retired for personal reasons. . . . Last season, as a freshman, he had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games. . . . Before joining the Americans, he played with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, recording 14 goals and 14 assists in 47 games. . . . Johnson last played for the Americans in a 3-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Friday. He was scratched from a 4-1 loss in Everett on Saturday and didn’t play in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

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Josh Horton of the Everett Herald has reported that F Peter Melcher has been waived by the Everett Silvertips and wasn’t claimed by any of the CHL’s teams. Melcher, 17, is a native of Czech Republic, although he played in Slovakia for the four seasons prior to this one. . . . The Silvertips selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. He played for Slovakia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August, then attended Everett’s training camp. However, he was injured (concussion, neck) during the preseason and hasn’t played since. . . . Melcher will be eligible to re-enter the CHL’s 2019 import draft.

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The Kelowna Rockets have deleted F Jack Cowell, 19, allowing him to join the Fort Garry/Fort Rouge Twins of the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Cowell, who is from Winnipeg, had two goals and three assists in 26 games with the Rockets this season. On Dec. 1, he was traded to the Kootenay Ice for a third-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. However, he refused to report to the Ice and the trade was voided. . . . In 182 regular-season WHL games, all with Kelowna, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.

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Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.

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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen scored three shootout goals and beat the Warriors, 3-2 in Moose Jaw. Calgary. . . Calgary (20-16-4) has won five in a row. It is fifth in the Central Division, three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (21-9-7) has lost two straight. It is settling into third place in the East Division, eight points behind the Saskatoon Blades and 11 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Tristin Langan (31) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the second period. . . . F kaden Elder (17) tied it at 16:23. . . . Moose Jaw went ahead 2-1 as F Keenan Taphorn (10) scored at 8:16 of the third. . . . Calgary D Dakota Krebs forced OT with his fourth goal, at 17:25. . . . F Justin Almeida and F Brayden Tracey scored for the Warriors in the four-round shootout, but the Hitmen got goals from F James Malm, F Carson Focht and F Josh Prokop to win it. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 33 shots for Calgary, two fewer than Moose Jaw’s Adam Evanoff. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter was back behind the Warriors’ bench after his stint with Canada’s national junior team. Under associate coach Mark O’Leary, the Warriors were 6-2-1. . . . The Warriors were without F Tate Popple (undisclosed injury) for a third game.

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F Jaxan Kaluski, playing in his 100th regular-season game, scored three times times to Seattlelead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Seattle (13-21-4) is 2-2-0 on its six-game East Division trip. The Thunderbirds are last in the Western Conference, but have closed to within three points of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the second wild-card berth. . . . Prince Albert (35-5-1) now is 18-3-0 on home ice. It also has lost three of its past five games, including three of four at home. The Raiders still lead the East Division by 14 points over the Saskatoon Blades. But their lead atop the overall standings is down to five points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kaluski, a 19-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., scored his first WHL hat trick. He went into the game with two goals in 37 outings, then scored three times in 37:06. . . . Last season, he scored three times — twice in 22 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors and once in 24 games with Seattle. Going into last night, he had five goals in 99 career regular-season games. . . . Kaluski opened the scoring at 1:23 of the second period. . . . D Jeremy Masella (2) tied it at 2:08. . . . Kaluski then gave his guys a 3-1 lead with goals at 7:54 and 17:06. . . . F Matthew Wedman (14) clinched it with an empty-netter at 19:44. . . . Seattle got 32 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 2-0-0 since being added to the roster from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks on Jan. 1. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly was eligible to return from a three-game suspension but was scratched.

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The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-2 Portlandvictory over the host Regina Pats. . . . Portland (25-11-5) has won six in a row and has points in 10 straight (6-0-3). It also is 4-0-0 on its six-game East Division trip. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Regina (12-28-2) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Portland got that 3-0 lead on goals from F Jake Gricius (18), at 8:15 of the first period, D Clay Hanus (5), at 19:40, and F Joachim Blichfeld, with his WHL-leading 38th, at 0:56 of the second. . . . F Austin Pratt (16) cut Regina’s deficit to two, at 18:42. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich (6) restored the three-goal lead at 2:51 of the third period. . . . D Liam Schioler (4) pulled Regina back to within two at 8:15. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (10) put it away with the empty-netter, at 17:44. . . . Gricius also had two assists for the fifth three-point night of his career. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas stopped 24 shots as he made his 39th start of the season. . . . G Joel Hofer, acquired earlier in the day from the Swift Current Broncos for six WHL bantam draft picks, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back from a suspension, but again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion). . . . With G Max Paddock ill, Matthew Pesenti, a 17-year-old who plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, was on Regina’s bench in support of Dean McNabb, who made 30 saves.

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F Zak Smith broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 Red Deervictory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Red Deer (23-13-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Rebels are tied for second with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Swift Current slipped to 8-29-3. . . . F Carter Chorney (11) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 1:56 of the first period. . . . Red Deer went ahead on goals from D Dawson Barteaux (5), on a PP, at 9:19, and F Brandon Hagel (23), at 8:15 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (11) tied it at 9:18 of the third period. . . . Smith broke the tie at 13:02 with his eighth goal of the season. . . . Red Deer had a 37-23 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the second period. . . . G Riley Lamb, signed by the Broncos earlier in the day and added to the roster from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, was on the bench as Isaac Poulter stopped 34 shots. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in the lineup after he played for Russia at the WJC. In fact, he is the only WHL player who can lay claim to having won a medal at this year’s tournament after Russia finished third. . . . F Kye Buchanan, 17, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. They added him to their roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . F Tyler Lees, acquired Monday from the Victoria Royals, wasn’t in Swift Current’s lineup.

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F Jake Elmer’s goal late in the third period gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory Lethbridgeover the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Lethbridge (22-10-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2) and now leads the Central Division by three points over the Red Deer Rebels and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Kootenay (8-28-7) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1). . . . The Ice went ahead 1-0 at 4:19 of the first period as F Connor McClennon scored his fifth goal of the season. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Dylan Cozens (24), at 7:13, and F Jordy Bellerive (21), at 12:26. . . . Bellerive has points in 11 straight games, totalling 10 goals and 11 assists over that stretch. On the season, he has 21 goals and 31 assists in 40 games. . . . Elmer’s 19th goal, at 16:33, won it. . . . The Hurricanes outshot the Ice, 54-22, including 24-12 in the first period and 23-4 in the third. . . . Kootenay G Jesse Makaj made 51 saves. . . . G Curtis Meger, signed earlier in the day, was on the Ice bench as the backup.

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F Bryce Kindopp’s two goals helped the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 4-2 victory over the EverettKelowna Rockets. . . . Everett (32-8-2) has won three in a row. The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by 11 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna (17-19-4) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Victoria Royals and five ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Rockets went ahead 1-0 at 2:57 of the first period on a PP goal by D Lassi Thomson. . . . Kindopp tied it at 19:49. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (29) broke the tie, on a PP, at 9:44 of the second period. . . . Thomson pulled the Rockets even with his ninth goal, at 19:58. . . . The Silvertips won it with two third-period goals. . . . Kindopp (21) broke the tie at 11:56, and D Gianni Fairbrother (6) got the empty-netter at 19:50. . . . Dewar also had two assists. . . . G James Porter stopped 40 shots for the Rockets, who were outshot 44-24, including 17-6 in the second period. . . .  Everett G Dustin Wolf earned the victory. He now is 28-8-1, 1.81, .929. . . . D Schael Higson, acquired earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings, was in Kelowna’s lineup.

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The Spokane Chiefs scored two PP goals on as many opportunities as they doubled the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Spokane (23-13-4) has won three in a row and is third in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Portland Winterhawks and six ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (14-22-3) had won its previous two games. This was the last game of the Cougars’ road trip from hell, and they finished 3-8-0. They are two points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars last played at home on Dec. 2. They will entertain the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday. . . . Last night, the Chiefs went ahead 2-0 on first-period PP goals from D Nolan Reid (6) and D Ty Smith (4). . . . D Joel Lakusta (5) cut the deficit to a goal 31 seconds into the second period. . . . F Luc Smith (17) gave Spokane a 3-1 lead at 12:56 of the third period. . . . F Josh Maser (13) scored for the Cougars at 18:50. . . . F Jake McGrew (17) got the empty-netter for Spokane at 19:48. . . . Spokane was credited with winning 34 of the game’s 52 faceoffs.

——

F Kody McDonald scored twice as the Victoria Royals beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, VictoriaRoyals5-3. . . . Victoria (21-15-1) has won three in a row. This was the Royals’ first home game since Dec. 15. They were out of their home arena because some of the WJC was being played there. . . . The Royals are second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (15-20-3) has lost two straight and is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, nine points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kamloops is 0-10-1 in its last 11 road games. That follows a 6-1-0 run on the road. . . . McDonald scored his first goals for Victoria after coming over from the Prince Albert Raiders on Jan. 3. . . . The Royals took control by scoring the game’s first four goals. They led 4-0 early in the third period. . . . D Jameson Murray (2) got it started at 11:19 of the first period, and McDonald upped it to 2-0 at 17:57. . . . McDonald’s eighth goal of the season, on a PP, increased the lead to 3-0 at 10:23 of the second. . . . F Brandon Cutler (10) made it 4-0 at 8:00 of the third. . . . F Martin Lang (8) got the Blazes on the scoreboard at 12:05, only to have F Phillip Schultz (7) get that one back, on a PP, at 15:43. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (6) and F Zane Franklin (20) rounded out the Blazers’ scoring. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has 40 points in 38 games. Last season, he finished with 38 points 14 of them goals, in 67 games. . . . The Blazers and Royals will meet again Friday in Victoria.

——

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Great Scott! Leafs sign goaltender . . . Hitmen run win streak to five . . . Silvertips win battle of division leaders

On the third day of our annual Christmas countdown, here’s two classics from the great Darlene Love. . . . From David Letterman’s show in 2014, Christmas (Baby Please Come) is right here. . . . Another favourite, All Alone for Christmas, is right here.


MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) after Severstal bought his rights from Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). With Tyumen, he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. . . . Babenko was pointless in a three-game trial with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) earlier this season. Dynamo offered him a contract after the trial but Babenko didn’t like the role Dynamo had planned for him and rejected the offer. . . .

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) for financial reasons. He had two goals and four assists in 24 games. . . . Medveščak also released five other players for the same reason on Friday. Medveščak is in financial difficulties since losing its main sponsor last week. It has had to release 12 players as a result. The Austrian-based Erste Bank Liga has granted the club permission to replace these players but the replacements must have Croatian citizenship. . . . The Croatian Ice Hockey Federation and the City of Zagreb have promised support for the club so it may complete the season.


ThisThat

G Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Torontothe Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . The announcement was made with Scott in Victoria in the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott, from Calgary, is 23-2-1, 1.61, .943 with the Raiders this season. He has put up four shutouts. . . . Scott’s season also includes a goal, as he fired the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Nov. 16. . . . In 152 regular-season appearances, all with the Raiders, Scott is 72-58-12, 3.03, .903.


The Prince Albert Raiders are without D Brayden Pachal, their captain, as they conclude whlthe pre-Christmas part of their schedule by going home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The WHL revealed on Friday that it has suspended Pachal for two games “under supplemental discipline” for something that happened in a 6-5 OT victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. . . . The WHL didn’t reveal what happened to warrant the suspension; however, Pachal was hit with a triple minor at 17:02 of the first period (double high-sticking and roughing) after a hit on Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky, so perhaps it had something to do with it. . . . Pachal sat out last night’s game in Swift Current and won’t play in tonight’s rematch in Prince Albert. . . . He will be eligible to return on Dec. 27 when the Raiders visit the Saskatoon Blades.


F Kent Johnson of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters has committed to attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2020-21. . . . Johnson, a 16-year-old from North Vancouver, was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 11 goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Trail.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

(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.)


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Steven Zonneveld broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the host Regina Pats went on Patsto a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (9-23-1) snapped a nine-game losing skid (0-8-1). . . . Moose Jaw (16-8-5) has dropped two in a row. . . . The game’s three goals all came in the second period. . . . F Kaeden Taphorn (3) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:00, and Regina F Riley Krane (6) tied it at 13:48. . . . Zonneveld, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, scored his first career goal at 18:47. It came in his 15th game. . . . The Warriors held a 27-18 edge in shots. . . . Regina G Dean McNabb stopped 26 shots. . . . F Eric Alarie, who was picked in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his debut with the Warriors. Alarie, 15, plays for the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter of the Warriors and D Josh Brook are at the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Victoria. . . . Regina is without F Sebastian Streu, who is with Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany.


F Gary Haden scored in the dying seconds to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-3) has won four straight. . . . Brandon (14-10-6) has lost three in a row. . . . This was the first of six meetings between these teams. . . . The Blades took a 2-1 lead into the second period, goals by F Brandon Machado (2) and F Josh Paterson (10) following one by Brandon F Ridly Greig (7). . . . F Linden McCorrister (11) scored, shorthanded, to get the Wheat Kings into a 2-2 tie at 17:19 of the second period. . . . Haden scored his 13th goal of the season with 4.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . The Blades got 33 saves from G Nolan Maier, 18 of them in the third period. . . . With G Jiri Patera having left to attend the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team, the Wheat Kings started Ethan Kruger, who stopped 19 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were without five injured players — F Jonny Hooker, D Vinny Iorio, D Jonny Lambos, F Lynden McCallum and D Braden Schneider. . . . D Jack Zayat, who signed a WHL deal on Thursday, made his Brandon debut. . . . Saskatoon is without F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, who is with Norway at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home for this one and posted his piece right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders opened up a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Broncos PrinceAlbertin Swift Current. . . . The Raiders (30-2-1) have won two in a row, and are the first team in the CHL this season to reach 30 victories. . . . Swift Current slipped to 6-24-2. . . . These teams will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Prince Albert took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Carson Miller (10), F Noah Gregor (17) and F Eric Pearce (4). . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (8) got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 12:41 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Sean Montgomery made it 4-1, shorthanded, at 17:32, and F Spence Moe (6) added another shorthanded score, at 9:46 of the third. . . . The Broncos made it interesting with late goals from F Alec Zawatsky (10), F Connor Horning (3) and F Matthew Culling (3), with Montgomery (15) adding an empty-netter for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders now have scored 17 shorthanded goals; they have allowed only 16 PP goals. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are second with eight shorthanded snipes. . . . Montgomery also had an assist for a three-point night. He has career highs in goals, assists (19) and points (34), all in 33 games. . . . The Raiders were 2-7 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-2. . . . The Broncos lost D Garrett Sambrook at 10:59 of the second period after he took a high hit from Raiders F Parker Kelly, who was given a headshot minor. Sambrook left and didn’t return. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are in camp with Canada’s national junior team; F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany; and D Brayden Pachal, who served Game 1 of a two-game suspension. . . . Leason left in the third period of a game between Canada and a USports side after taking a shot on one hand. After the game, Mark Masters (@markhmasters) of TSN tweeted that Team Canada head coach “Tim Hunter says he just shook hands with Leason and Brett is a little sore but it didn’t seem overly serious.”


F Jake Kryski snapped a 1-1 tie at 17:26 of the first period and the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarywent on to a 5-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Hitmen (15-14-3) have won five in a row. . . . The Rockets (15-17-2) have lost two straight. . . . Kelowna is 1-2-0 on a Central Division trip that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Egor Zamula (8) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:51 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Crosbie (5) got Kelowna into a 1-1 tie at 8:00. . . . Kryski broke the tie at 17:26. . . . F Riley Stotts (9) made it 3-1 at 2:01. . . . Kryski added his 16th goal, on a PP, at 13:30 and F Ryder Korczak (5), who was playing against his brother Kaedan, wrapped up the scoring at 19:23. . . . Kryski has tied his single-season career high in goals in 32 games; he had 16 in 71 games last season. . . . Zamula also had two assists. A Russian sophomore, he has eight goals and 19 assists in 32 games. Last season, in 70 games — 38 with Regina and 31 with Calgary — he totalled two goals and 16 assists. . . . Calgary won 35 of 58 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen are missing D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who also is with Belarus in Fussen.


The Kootenay Ice erased an early 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 Kootenaynewvictory over the Kamloops Blazers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (8-21-6) had lost its previous 12 games (0-9-3). . . . The Blazers (12-15-3) have dropped five in a row (0-4-1), all on a six-game trek through the Central Division that concludes tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Connor Zary (8) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead 43 seconds into the first period. . . . Kootenay snapped right back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by F Davis Murray (5) at 2:23 — it was a Teddy Bear goal — and F Peyton Krebs (13), on a PP, at 4:37. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (3), on a PP, and F Jaeger White (13) added second-period goals for the Ice for a 4-1 lead. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal on two scores from D Quinn Schmiemann, at 11:37 of the second and 3:57 of the third. He’s got five goals. . . . F River Fahey (1) iced it for the Ice at 17:04. . . . Kootenay got 37 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen completed a three-game WHL suspension by sitting out this one.


F Josh Williams scored two goals and drew two assists, while G Mads Søgaard blocked 49 Tigers Logo Officialshots as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Rebels, 4-1, in Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat (17-14-3) has won four straight. . . . Red Deer (20-10-2) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . The Tigers now are 4-0-0 versus the Rebels this season. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division, and are five points ahead of the fourth-place Tigers. . . . Williams enjoyed the first four-point night of his WHL career. . . . The Tigers erased a 1-0 deficit with the game’s last four goals, the first three on the PP. D Linus Nassen earned an assist on each of the PP scores. . . . F Chris Douglas (10) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period. . . . Williams tied it at 14:28, and F James Hamblin (16) put the visitors ahead at 10:00 of the second period. . . . Williams (8) added insurance at 16:22 and F Bryan Lockner (9) iced it at 19:17 of the third. . . . Medicine Hat is 8-15 on the PP in the four victories over Red Deer. . . . The Rebels held a 50-38 edge in shots, including 19-10 in the third period. . . . Søgaard and Williams were named to the Top Prospects Game on Thursday. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev was in the lineup after visiting hospital following a hit in a Tuesday night game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. He leaves today to join the Russian national junior team in Victoria.


F Jake McGrew scored three times and added an assist to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (18-11-4) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle slipped to 11-15-3. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 10:40 of the first period. . . . McGrew gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead with goals, the first on the PP, at 19:00 of the first and 1:35 of the second. . . . Volcan (12) tied it at 8:15. . . . F Adam Beckman (15) put the Chiefs back in front at 9:36. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals. . . . F Payton Mount (3) pulled Seattle back into a tie at 17:32. . . . F Eli Zummack (10) broke the tie at 19:45. . . . McGrew, who has 11 goals, completed his second career hat trick into an empty net at 19:31 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs are without D Ty Smith, who is with Canada’s national junior team, and D Filip Kral, who is with the Czech Republic’s team. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who hasn’t played since Oct. 27 because of a broken wrist, also is with Canada but has yet to take part in a full practice. He has been skating and lightly shooting but hasn’t been cleared for contact.


F Bryce Kindopp scored twice and the penalty-killers were perfect in leading the Everett EverettSilvertips to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Everett (26-7-2) has points in each of its past 13 games (11-0-2). . . . Vancouver (21-7-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Divison; Vancouver is atop the B.C. Division. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 10 points over the Giants. Everett also leads the U.S. Division, by 14 points over the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Silvertips broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . Kindopp got it started, while shorthanded, at 10:36. . . . F Dawson Butt (6) made it 2-0 at 12:50, and F Reece Vitelli (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:32. . . . Kindopp, who has 16 goals, seven of them over his past six games, made it 4-0 at 17:23. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots for Everett, losing his shutout bit at 17:44 of the third period when F Owen Hardy (6) scored. . . . Vancouver, which was 0-5 on the PP, held a 13-3 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Wolf also picked up an assist, his fourth of the season, on Everett’s third goal. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas was back in Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, a 15-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., made his debut with the Giants. Ostapchuk, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Prince George VictoriaRoyalsCougars, 5-1. . . . Victoria improved to 15-13-1. . . . Prince George (11-18-3) has lost four in a row. . . . The Cougars are four games into an 11-game road trip that will continue Sunday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants, and then pick up after Christmas. The Cougars won’t play at home again until Jan. 11. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:27 of the first period. . . . That lead held up until F Dino Kambeitz (5) tied it at 14:25 of the second, and F Tarun Fizer (8) put the Royals ahead, on a PP, just 1:14 later. . . . The Royals put it away with third-period goals from F Kaid Oliver (15), F Brandon Cutler (7) and F Phillip Schultz (6). . . . Victoria got 34 saves from freshman G Brock Gould, making a rare start in place of Griffen Outhouse. In nine appearances, Gould is 3-4-0, 3.35, .865.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(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.)


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.