Saturday night in the WHL: Hat tricks, loser points and improbable comebacks

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Brandon Sun reports that the naming rights deal for the home of the Wheat Kings will last for eight years. The Keystone Centre and Westoba Credit Union announced the deal on Friday, with the new name — Westoba Place — to come into play on Feb. 19. . . . “As part of the deal,” The Sun’s Jillian Austin reported, “Westoba renewed its long-term sponsorship of Westoba Agricultural Centre of Excellence, which has been in place for 10 years. The new contract covers both facilities at a value of approximately $2 million over the eight-year term.” . . . The arena had been Westman Communications Group Place for the past 10 years.

This is the second facility that is home to a WHL franchise to undergo a name change this season. In December, Xfinity Arena, the home of the Everett Silvertips, was renamed Angel of the Winds Arena. Naming rights, worth US$3.4 million over 10 years, were purchased by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, which owns the Angel of the Winds casino and resort.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Well, that was a wild Saturday in the WHL. . . . Four players had three-goal games. . . . Four teams got loser points. . . . One goaltender earned his first WHL victory. . . . Three teams trailing late in the third period scored improbable victories. Another, Prince Albert, almost did. . . . Lethbridge, down 2-0, got three goals from its captain late in the third period and won. . . . Calgary, down 5-2 late, got the first goals of the season from two players and went on to win in Kamloops. . . . Victoria, losing 2-0, came back to beat Seattle in Kent, Wash. . . . Junior hockey. . . . There’s nothing quite like it.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Justin Almeida scored his 30th goal and added two assists as the Warriors beat the Prince George Cougars, 4-1. . . . Moose Jaw (40-9-3) had lost its previous MooseJawWarriorstwo games. It leads the overall standings by five points over Swift Current. . . . Prince George (19-27-8) went 1-4-1 on its swing through the East Division. . . . F Brayden Burke (25) scored the game’s first goal for Moose Jaw, at 17:26 of the first period. . . . Almeida, who was acquired from the Cougars in a deal last season, made it 2-0, on a PP, at 14:34 of the second period. . . . F Tate Popple (6) stretched the lead to 3-0 at 10:43 of the third period, and D Brandon Schuldaus (3) made it 4-0 at 12:37. . . . The Cougars got their goal from F Josh Maser (23), on a PP, at 16:50 of the third. . . . Almeida has 72 points in 52 games this season. He went into the season with 13 goals and 21 assists in 120 games. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-7. . . . The Warriors got 22 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . Prince George G Taylor Gauthier, 16, who stopped 56 shots in a 4-1 loss in Regina on Wednesday, turned aside 44 shots in this one. . . . D Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 3,218.


At Regina, F Cam Hebig scored with 46.5 seconds left in OT to give the Pats a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina (27-22-5) has won two in a row and is back to ReginaPats100.500. It is fourth in the East Division, four points behind Brandon. The Pats also hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Prince Albert and Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (21-20-11) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The loser point moved the Raiders into a tie with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Prince Albert has 11 loser points and Saskatoon has three. Might that be the difference between making the playoffs and missing out? . . . The Pats actually held a 4-1 lead more than halfway through the third period. . . . F Emil Oksanen (13) and F Sam Steel put the home team ahead with goals at 4:22 and 5:14 of the second period. . . . F Brett Leason (9) got the Raiders on the scoreboard at 5:26. . . . Steel, who also had two assists, got his 20th goal, on a PP, at 8:06, and D Josh Mahura (18) made it 4-1, on another PP, at 16:17. . . . The Raiders tied it with three late goals. . . . F Regan Nagy (22) got it started at 12:30 of the third period, and F Parker Kelly (24) got the Raiders to within a goal at 12:45. . . . F Kody McDonald (26) pulled the visitors even with 37.2 seconds left in the third period. . . . Hebig, who was acquired from Saskatoon at the trade deadline, won it with his 36th goal. He also had two assists. He has six goals and eight assists in 10 games with Regina. . . . Mahura added an assist to his goal. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-6. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 33 shots for the Pats, two fewer than Ian Scott of the Raiders. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Brandon, F Stelio Mattheos scored his third goal of the game in OT to give the Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon (29-18-5) had lost its previous BrandonWKregularnine games (0-6-3). It is third in the East Division, 15 points behind Swift Current. . . . Red Deer (15-25-13) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It is fourth in the Central Division, six points behind Kootenay. . . . The Rebels completed a stretch in which they played six games in eight nights in three provinces. . . . Mattheos opened the scoring at 11:19 of the second period. . . . F Alex Morozoff tied it, on a PP, at 13:37. . . . Mattheos put Brandon ahead 2-1, on a PP, at 19:54. . . . Morozoff (4) tied it again, at 2:21 of the third period. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (7) gave Red Deer the lead, on a PP, at 7:12. . . . Brandon D Chase Hartje tied it 3-3 with his first WHL goal, at 16:21. It came in his 42nd game. . . . Mattheos, who had an assist on Hartje’s goal, won it with his 36th goal, at 0:55 of OT. . . . Red Deer thought it had won earlier in OT, but a potential goal by F Kristian Reichel was wiped out when officials ruled that there was goaltender interference on the play. . . . “That’s a tough one,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “You’d better be 100 per cent right that’s what you’re calling because there’s no video on that, it’s not like the NHL. I didn’t agree with the call. It’s one thing to say the goalie was interfered with . . . the other thing is (Brandon Hagel) tries to make the play and, yes, the goalie does get pushed in, but he has no chance at all of getting the rebound because he’s already down from trying to make the initial save. Any contact made was very minimal. It’s just frustrating when you feel like you had the game won. It’s tough to get a call like that go against you.” . . . F Ty Lewis had two assists for Brandon. . . . Red Deer was 2-4 on the PP; Brandon was 1-4. . . . The Wheat Kings got 33 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 20 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings lost F Baron Thompson to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 3:40 of the third period. D Colin Paradis, who was hit on the play, went to the dressing room. . . . Announced attendance: 3,712.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Glenn Gawdin struck for three goals to help the Swift Current Broncos to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Swift Current (37-13-4) is second in the SCBroncosoverall standings, five points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Kootenay (23-26-3) has lost three in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . . F Brett Davis gave the Ice a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:10 of the first period. . . . D Artyom Minulin (11) tied it, on a PP, at 11:55. . . . Gawdin put the visitors in front at 13:23, only to have Ice F Alec Baer (21) tie it at 14:34. . . . Davis (20) scored a PP goal at 4:46 of the second period to give Kootenay a 3-2 lead. . . . Gawdin tied it at 19:11 of the second period, then completed his hat trick at 10:09 of the third period. He’s got 44 goals. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (33) added insurance at 10:45. . . . The Broncos got four assists from D Colby Sissons, with Minulin, Gawdin and Gennaro adding one each. . . . Baer had an assist for the Ice. . . . Kootenay was 2-7 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-5. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 36 shots for the Broncos, who were outshot 21-9 in the first period. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern allowed three shots on 26 shots in 46:44. Matt Berlin finished up, giving up one goal on eight shots in 8:22. . . . McGovern was ejected with a match penalty for attempt to injury at 10:05 of the third period following Gawdin’s third goal. Gawdin was given a double minor spearing at the same time. . . . Gawdin is riding a 13-game point streak, with 24 points in that stretch. He has 97 points, second to Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke, who leads the scoring race with 98. . . . The Broncos again were without D Sahvan Khaira, F Kaden Elder and F Aleksi Heponiemi. . . . Announced attendance: 2,391.


At Lethbridge, F Jordy Bellerive scored three times in the third period to lead the LethbridgeHurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge (25-21-6) has points in five straight (3-0-2). It is second in the Central Division, three points behind Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes have three games in hand. . . . Edmonton (14-30-7) is 3-6-1 in its past 10. . . . The Oil Kings led 2-0 late in the third period on goals from F Brett Kemp (13), at 15:28 of the first, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (22), at 5:36 of the second. . . . Bellerive won it with three goals in 3:44, the first and third ones on the PP. He cut the deficit to one at 15:16, tied the game at 17:15, and won it with his 37th goal at 19:00. . . . F Brad Morrison drew assists on the two PP goals. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Reece Klassen recorded the victory with 25 saves. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 27 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 3,361.


At Portland, F Kieffer Bellows scored twice, leading the Winterhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (31-18-4) is second in the U.S. Division, five Portlandpoints behind Everett and five ahead of Tri-City. . . . Tri-City (27-17-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . On Friday night, the Americans beat the visiting Winterhawks, 6-3. They will play in Portland again on Friday. . . . Last night, D Dylan Coghlan (16) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:36 of the first period. . . . Bellows tied it, on a PP, at 10:19. . . . F Ryan Hughes (8) gave the home team a 2-1 lead at 14:49. . . . Bellows, who has 26 goals, stretched the lead to 3-1 at 9:34 of the third period. . . . Tri-City F Isaac Johnson (16), who also had an assist, made it a one-goal game at 15:57. . . . F Cody Glass had two assists for Portland. . . . The Winterhawks were 1-4 on the PP; the Americans were 1-5. . . . G Shane Farkas stopped 29 shots for Portland, while Tri-City’s Patrick Dea blocked 36. . . . With F Joachim Blichfeld back from a two-game suspension, the Winterhawks had all hands on deck. . . . Announced attendance: 9,879.


At Kamloops, the Calgary Hitmen scored the only two goals of a shootout and beat the Blazers, 6-5. . . . Calgary (16-30-6) had lost its previous four games — two in Victoria and Calgarytwo in Langley, B.C., against Vancouver. . . . Kamloops (24-24-4) is seven points from a playoff spot. . . . Calgary actually held a 2-0 lead in this one, then trailed 5-2 late in the third period. . . . F Jakob Stukel and F Mark Kastelic (15), on a PP, scored for Calgary at 5:17 and 16:06 of the second period. . . . The Blazers seemingly took control with five straight goals, the last four of them in the third period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (25) started it at 17:03 of the second. . . . In the third, the Blazers got goals from F Nick Chyzowski, at 4:47; D Joe Gatenby (11), on a PP, at 9:09; Chyzowski (15), at 11:50; and F Ryley Appelt (1), at 14:56. . . . The Hitmen got back into it when two players — F Dakota Krebs and F Egor Zamula — scored their first goals this season. Krebs struck at 15:21, with Zamula scoring on a PP at 17:37. . . . With G Matt Armitage on the bench for the extra attacker, Stukel tied it with his 26th goal of the season with 52.5 seconds left in regulation time. . . . Calgary got shootout goals from F Jake Kryski and F Carson Focht to win it, both scoring on dekes to the backhand. Interestingly, Kryski, who spent time with the Blazers, was booed when he skated to centre ice before taking his shot. . . . Calgary got three assists from F Tristen Nielsen, with Kastelic getting one. . . . F Luc Smith had two assists for Kamloops, with Gatenby, Loewen and Chyzowski each getting one. . . . Calgary was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-3. . . . The Hitmen got 36 stops from Armitage, who posted his first WHL victory in his 14th appearance. He’s 1-6-0. . . . The Hitmen chose to rest Nick Schneider, who had started 46 of their first 51 games. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 5,012.


At Langley, B.C., D Alex Kannok Leipert broke a 4-4 tie at 16:54 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-4. . . . Vancouver (28-16-8) has points in Vancouverfour straight (3-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, four points out of first. . . . Medicine Hat (26-22-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). It leads the Central Division by three points over Lethbridge. . . . F Tyler Popowich (6) put Vancouver ahead 1-0 at 13:07 of the first period. . . . D Dalton Gally (2) tied it at 5:17 of the second period. . . . The Giants took a 3-1 lead on goals from D Bowen Byram (6), at 8:47, and F Ty Ronning (47), at 9:33. . . . The Tigers came right back and tied it as F Gary Haden (13) scored at 16:11 and F Elijah Brown (3) counted at 18:09. . . . The Giants went back out front at 9:00 of the third period on F Dawson Holt’s ninth goal, but Medicine Hat pulled even at 10:12 when D Dylan MacPherson got his third goal. . . . Kannok Leipert won it with his third goal of the season. . . . Vancouver got two assists from each of F James Malm, F Tyler Benson and F Brayden Watts, with Ronning and Holt adding one each. . . . Ronning’s two points left him with 200 for his career. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Giants took the game’s only two minor penalties, so their PP unit didn’t get off the bench. . . . G David Tendeck blocked 38 shots for Vancouver. . . . G Jordan Hollett started for the Tigers and stopped 15 of 17 shots in 24:53. Michael Bullion came on to stop 19 of 22 shots in 34:21. Hollett went to the dressing room with 5:39 left in the second period with an apparent injury to his right leg. . . . D David Quenneville was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 3,887.


At Everett, F Patrick Bajkov scored three times and added two assists to lead the Silvertips to an 8-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Everett (34-17-3) has won two in Everetta row. It leads the Western Conference by three points over Kelowna and Victoria. . . . Kelowna (32-16-4) has lost two straight. It is tied with Victoria atop the B.C. Division, but the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . Everett scored the game’s last five goals to win going away. . . . Bajkov got the game’s first goal, on a PP, 45 seconds into the first period. . . . D Cal Foote tied it 14 seconds later. . . . Everett took a 3-1 lead on goals from D Kevin Davis (7), at 11:51 of the first, and F Garrett Pilon, at 2:19 of the second. . . . Foote (13) got his guys to within a goal at 5:39 but that was all for the Rockets. . . . F Riley Sutter (21) stretched Everett’s lead to 4-2 at 10:57. . . . Bajkov then scored twice, giving him the hat trick and 27 goals. . . . Pilon (25) and F Martin Fasko-Rudas (3) finished Everett’s scoring. . . . Bajkov now has 269 career points, including 106 goals. Earlier, he broke F Zach Hamill’s franchise record for career points. Now he is one goal shy of tying F Tyler Maxwell’s career record for goals. . . . Pilon and F Sean Richards had two assists each for the winners, with Davis adding one. . . . Everett was 2-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips got 23 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . Kelowna starter Cole Tisdale surrendered five goals on 31 shots through two periods. Brodan Salmond stopped eight of 11 shots in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 6,758.


At Kent, Wash., the Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, in OT. . . . Victoria (32-18-4) has won two in a row. It went 4-0-0 against VictoriaRoyalsSeattle this season. . . . Seattle (26-18-7) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is tied with Seattle for fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. Seattle and Spokane also are tied for the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . The Thunderbirds led 2-0 on goals from F Matthew Wedman (12), on a PP, at 8:25 of the first period, and D Austin Strand (17), at 16:36 of the second. . . . F Matthew Phillips cut into the deficit at 14:43 of the third period, and F Jeff de Wit (10) tied the score at 15:59. . . . Phillips (38) won it at 4:22 of OT, scoring while his side was shorthanded. He’s got three OT goals this season. . . . Phillips ran his point streak to 14 games. He’s got 10 goals and 16 assists in that time. . . . F Tyler Soy drew the primary assist on the winner, giving him 300 career regular-season points in 306 games. He is the first player in franchise history with 300 points. Soy also has 139 goals, one shy of the franchise record held by F Ryan Howse. . . . Seattle was 1-8 on the PP; Victoria was 0-7. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 38 shots for Victoria, seven more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes. . . . Announced attendance: 5,356.


SUNDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Regina at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Winterhawks ask for minimum-wage break . . . Steel leads Pats to win . . . Chiefs, Weatherill blank Giants

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Portland Winterhawks have asked state lawmakers for an exemption from any PortlandOregon law that requires employers to pay at least minimum wage to employees.

Katie Shepherd of the Willamette Week reports that the Winterhawks have asked the state government “for a custom-made law that would allow the team to continue not paying its players.”

Oregon’s minimum wage is $11.25 per hour.

According to Shepherd, Tim Bernasek, an attorney representing the Winterhawks, wrote to the Oregon House Judiciary Committee that “without an exemption for amateur athletes under Oregon law, the Portland Winterhawks will be forced to either declare bankruptcy or relocate.”

A class-action lawsuit asking the courts to force CHL teams to pay minimum wage to players is underway in Canada. The WHL’s five U.S. teams have been ruled exempt from that lawsuit, but the plaintiffs have appealed.

Obviously, the Winterhawks aren’t waiting for the outcome of that appeal.

Shepherd reports that the Winterhawks “asked the Oregon Legislature to change the law in 2017. The Senate approved the Winterhawks’ proposal, but the House rejected it as too broad.

“So the team is trying again. Lawmakers expect the new bill will pass.”

Shepherd’s complete story is right here.


F Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers has been cleared to return to skating. Shaw has Tigers Logo Officialbeen in Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Wild’s medical staff gave him a going over. He suffered a knee injury that needed surgery while with the Wild’s rookie team at a preseason NHL tournament on Sept. 10. . . . “I’m very excited,” Shaw told CHAT News Today. “I came down here looking for that news, and to be able to leave Minnesota knowing I can come back on skates is something I’m looking forward to, and it’s a long time coming. It’s time to get some skates on.” . . . There isn’t a timetable for his return but he hopes to be back in time for the playoffs. . . . Last season, Shaw, a fourth-round pick by the Wild in the 2017 bantam draft, had 27 goals and 67 assists in 71 games.


If you like what you get here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

And don’t forget that the domain name here is greggdrinnan.com.

Enjoy!


Another set of twins has been added to our list to those who played together in the WHL.

Jeremy and Joshua Schappert, now 29, were with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Jeremy whlplayed five seasons (2005-10) with the Thunderbirds; Joshua was there from 2005-07 and for 23 games in 2007-08.

Twins who played together . . .

Darren and Trevor Kruger, Swift Current (1987-89)

Bob and Ted McAneeley, Edmonton (Calgary Buffaloes, 1966-67; Edmonton Oil Kings, 1968-69)

Trevor and Troy Pohl, Portland (1986-88)

Jeremy and Joshua Schappert, Seattle (2005-08)

Rich and Ron Sutter, Lethbridge Broncos (1980-83)

Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn, Kootenay (active)

——

Twins who played but not together . . .

Connor and Curtis Honey, Seattle, Brandon (2011-14)

Kris and Ryan Russell, Medicine Hat and Kootenay (2003-07)

Beck and Will Warm, Tri-City and Edmonton (active)

——

Officials who are twins and work together . . .

Chad and Cody Huseby, linesmen from Red Deer (active)


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Sam Steel drew five assists to lead the Pats to a 7-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (25-20-5) holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-ReginaPats100card spot, six points ahead of the Blades. . . . Saskatoon (23-23-3) is four points ahead of Prince Albert, which holds two games in hand. . . . Including in Steel’s night was his 300th career regular-season point. Steel now has 303 points, including 196 assists, in 237 games. . . . Earlier in the game, Regina F Cam Hebig got point No. 200. The first 193 points of Hebig’s WHL career came with the Blades, who dealt him to Regina earlier this month. . . . D Josh Mahura (17), who also had three assists, gave the Pats a 1-0 lead at 2:39 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (14) tied it at 8:30. . . . Regina took control with the game’s next four goals. D Libor Hajek (9), an acquisition from the Blades, gave the Pats a 2-1 lead at 12:21. . . . F Nick Henry (8) upped it to 3-1 at 4:43 of the second period, and F Jesse Gabrielle (6) scored, on a PP, at 10:51. . . . F Jared Legien (18) made it 5-1, on another PP, at 14:29. . . . Saskatoon then got two goals from F Max Gerlach, who has 22 this season. He made it 5-2 at 19:15, then 5-3 just 32 seconds into the third period. . . . Hebig iced it with his 33rd and 34th goals, the latter shorthanded, at 1:13 and 12:31. . . . Hajek and Hebig also had an assist each. . . . D Jake Kustra had two assists for Saskatoon. . . . Regina was 3-6 on the PP; Saskatoon was 1-7. . . . G Ryan Kubic, who started the season with Saskatoon, stopped 26 shots for Regina. At the other end, G Tyler Brown, who began the season with the Pats, blocked 38 shots for the Blades. . . . The Blades hold a 4-2-0 edge in the season series, but it isn’t that lopsided because the Pats are 2-2-2. That means the Blades have eight points and the Pats have six. Ahh, the loser point is a glorious thing, isn’t it? . . . Saskatoon, which beat the Pats 4-3 in OT in Saskatoon on Saturday, was missing F Eric Florchuk, who is at the Top Prospects Game. . . . The Pats continue to be without F Jake Leschyshyn. . . . The Blades lost D Evan Fiala to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:29 of the second period for a hit on Steel, who wasn’t injured. . . . Announced attendance: 5,454.


At Edmonton, D Kristians Rubins scored in OT to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (25-19-5) had lost its previous four games (0-Tigers Logo Official2-2). The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (13-27-7) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead when F Colton Kehler (22) scored, on a PP, at 14:39 of the first period. . . . The Tigers scored the next three goals, all in the second period. F Ryan Jevne (12) got a PP score at 13:03. D Dalton Gally made it 2-1 with his first goal, at 18:34. F Josh Williams (6) upped it to 3-1 at 18:45. . . . The Oil Kings tied it on third-period goals from F David Kope (7), at 11:54, and F Tomas Soustal (12), at 14:32. . . . D Matthew Robertson assisted on both of those Edmonton goals. . . . Rubins won it at 1:03 of OT. He has five goals, three of them winners with two of those coming in OT. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski had two assists for the Tigers, with Jevne adding one. . . . Edmonton was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-5. . . . G Jordan Hollett stopped 27 shots for Medicine Hat, including a stop on Soustal on a penalty shot at 3:30 of the third period. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 36 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 6,008.


At Lethbridge, F Kole Lind had four points, including the OT winner on a breakaway, as the Kelowna Rockets beat the Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (30-14-3) has won two in a KelownaRocketsrow. It leads the Western Conference by a point over Everett. . . . Lethbridge (22-21-5) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is second in the Central Division, four points ahead of Kootenay. . . . D Kaedan Korczak (2) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead 20 seconds into the second period. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph (5) tied it 12 seconds later. . . . Lind, who finished with two goals and two assists, put the visitors out front, on a PP, at 10:02. . . . The home team took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Jordy Bellerive (31), at 18:14 of the second, and D Igor Merezhko (4), at 14:00 of the third period. . . . Kelowna F Carsen Twarynski (31) forced OT when he scored at 19:22. . . . Lind won it at 4:33 of OT. . . . Kelowna had a 6-1 edge in OT shots. . . . F Nolan Foote had two assists for the winners, with Twarynski adding one. . . . F Zane Franklin had two assists for Lethbridge and Joseph had one. . . . A tip of the Taking Note hat to Kelowna head coach Jason Smith for giving the start to G Cole Tisdale. The 15-year-old is from Lethbridge so got to make his second career WHL start in his hometown where he began the season with the minor midget AAA Hurricanes. He is with the Rockets due to injuries to James Porter and Roman Basran. . . . Tisdale earned the victory with 25 saves. . . . Lethbridge G Reece Klassen stopped 45 shots. . . . Kelowna was 1-2 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . The Hurricanes were without D Calen Addison for a second straight game. He’s at the Top Prospects Game. . . . Lethbridge also is without injured forwards Dylan Cozens and Taylor Ross. Before being injured, they were on the Hurricanes’ top line, along with Logan Barlage. . . . Announced attendance: 3,974.


At Langley, B.C., G Dawson Weatherill stopped 31 shots and F Kailer Yamamoto had two goals as the Spokane Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 5-0. . . . Spokane (26-19-3) opened SpokaneChiefsa seven-game stretch of road games by winning its fourth straight. The Chiefs are fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Seattle and two ahead of Tri-City. Spokane and Tri-City hold down the Western Conference’s two wild-card berths. . . . Vancouver (25-16-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, one point behind Victoria. . . . Weatherill, an 18-year-old sophomore from  Red Deer, has two career shutouts, both of them coming this season. . . . F Zach Fischer (21) got the Chiefs’ offence started at 1:03 of the first period. . . . Yamamoto, who has eight goals, scored 59 seconds into the second period and again at 3:10. The second goal came with the Chiefs shorthanded. . . . Yamamoto has seven goals and 10 assists in a seven-game point streak. He has put together seven straight multi-point games. . . . F Luke Toporowski (4) and F Hudson Elynuik (23), who also had two assists, had Spokane’s other goals. . . . Elynuik now has 201 career points, 125 of them assists. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck stopped 23 of 27 shots through two periods. Trent Miner came on to play the third period. In his WHL debut, he stopped 14 of 15 shots in 20 minutes. . . . Each team was 0-6 on the power play. . . . Spokane was missing D Ty Smith, who is at the Top Prospects Game. . . . The Giants are without F Milos Roman, who has been seen with a walking boot on one foot. . . . Announced attendance: 2,579.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Prince George at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Brandon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Portland at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Wednesday’s WHL trades, Part I: Blades, Pats get together, again … Gerlach’s on the move … Giants, Oil Kings agree on Koch

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 48

PLAYERS: 91

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 61

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 12

THE DEADLINE: It came and went on Wednesday, Jan. 10.


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquired F Cam Hebig, 20, and G Ryan Kubic, who turned 20 on Jan. 7, from the Saskatoon Blades for G Tyler Brown, 20, F Bryan Lockner, 17, a first- ReginaPats100and second-round selections in the WHL’s 2020 draft, and third-round picks in the 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-0, 180-pound Hebig has 30 goals and 28 assists in 48 games. In 238 career games, he has 193 points, including 87 goals. . . . Kubic, 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, was 8-11-1, 3.96, .871 with the Blades this season. In 129 career appearances, the first 109 of those with the Vancouver Giants, he is 40-69-13, 3.59, .892. . . .

Brown, a list player, was in his fourth season with the Pats. He has made 152 career appearances, going 76-47-16, 3.02, .904, with seven shutouts. He was Regina’s starter last season as it reached the WHL’s championship final. In that playoff run, he was 14-9 (five of the losses came in OT), 2.56, .915. . . . This season, Brown was 15-13-3, 3.31, .891 with the Pats. . . . This season, Lockner has seven goals and five assists in 39 games. In 101 career games, he has recorded 11 goals and 14 assists.

THE INFO: Including the first five rounds of the bantam draft, Alan Caldwell, who tracks such things at smallatlarge.blogspot.ca, believes Regina cupboard includes only a third-Saskatoonround pick in 2018, a fourth- and two fifth-rounders in 2019, and a fourth- and a fifth-rounder in 2020. . . .

Hebig, from Saskatoon, had been with the Blades since the age of 16. He was an NHL free agent until signing a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL Oilers on Dec. 28. He missed all of last season with an injury that was first believed to be a concussion but Hebig has since indicated that he never did get a clear-cut diagnosis. . . . The Blades selected Hebig in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Kubic, from St. Andrews, Man., has made one appearance with the Blades since returning from an injury that had kept him out since Dec. 16. He was selected by Vancouver in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft. They dealt him to the Blades on Sept. 21, getting back a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. The Pats also have two other goaltenders — Max Paddock, 17, and Jacob Wassermann, who turned 18 on Tuesday — on their roster. Paddock has been injured, so Wassermann was brought in from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Brown. . . . While Kubic has yet to play even one minute of playoff hockey in the WHL, Brown helped the Pats to the WHL’s championship final last season. . . . Brown, from Winnipeg, was listed by the Pats before the 2014-15 season. . . . Lockner is from Windsor, which is in the northern part of Colorado. he was a third-round pick by the Pats in the 2015 bantam draft.

WHY: The Pats are the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup — it is the team’s 100th season and it will be the 100th anniversary of the Memorial Cup — so Regina is more than all-in. They wanted Hebig’s offence, and in adding a 20-year-old had to give up one, which turned out to be Brown. . . . The Blades got Lockner, and then, in adding a sniper to their lineup, flipped him to the Medicine Hat Tigers.


THE DEAL: The Saskatoon Blades acquired F Max Gerlach, 18, from the Medicine Hat Tigers for F Bryan Lockner, 17, Saskatoon’s first-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a second-round pick in 2021.

THE NUMBERS: In 2015-16, as a freshman, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Gerlach had 30 goals Tigers Logo Officialand 15 assists in 72 games. Last season, he recorded 34 goals and 28 assists in 72 games. This season, he has 16 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. . . . Add it all up and Gerlach has 80 goals and 62 assists in 179 career games. . . . For Lockner’s numbers, see the previous trade.

THE INFO: From Flower Mound, Texas, Gerlach was a sixth-round selection by the Tigers in the 2013 bantam draft. He played in the Colorado Thunderbirds organization before joining the Tigers.

WHY: The Blades got a pure scorer in Gerlach and that’s what they wanted. They expect him back next season as a 20-year-old. “Players like (Gerlach) do not come available very often,” Blades GM Colin Priestner said in a news release, “and the fact he can play for this year and next year as an overage made this decision easy for us.” . . . Gerlach was one of eight 19-year-olds on the Tigers’ roster, so they get younger with this deal.


THE DEAL: The Everett Silvertips acquired D Jameson Murray, 18, from the Calgary EverettHitmen for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Murray had one goal and five assists in 28 games with Calgary this season. Last season, his first in the WHL, he had a goal and two assists in 35 games. In 2015-16, he had 14 goals and 36 assists in 56 games with the major midget Okanagan Rockets, who are based in Kelowna.

THE INFO: The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder is from Kelowna. He is a right-hand shot, always a valuable commodity among defencemen.

WHY: Everett adds some size and depth to its back end. . . . The rebuilding Hitmen add another draft pick to their collection.


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals acquired F Lane Zablocki, who turned 19 on Dec. 27, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for second- and sixth-round selections in the 2018 WHL VictoriaRoyalsbantam draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, the 6-foot-0, 190-pound Zablocki has 11 goals and 14 assists in 40 games split between the Hurricanes and Red Deer Rebels. In 176 career games, he has 57 goals and 59 assists.

THE INFO: Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., joins his third team this season and the fourth in two seasons. . . . The Prince George Cougars selected Zablocki in the fifth round of the 2013 bantam draft. He never played for the Cougars, who dealt him to theRegina Pats on Aug. 11, 2015. The Pats moved him to Red Deer on Jan. 10, 2017, and the Rebels traded him to Lethbridge on Dec. 9. . . . The Detroit Red Wings picked him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

WHY: The Royals continue the attempt to remake their image by adding size and grit. They will be looking for that and some offence from Zablocki, who just might be back as a 20-year-old. . . . Lethbridge adds three draft picks to its coffers, something GM Peter Anholt no doubt will be able to use.


THE DEAL: The Saskatoon Blades acquired F Eric Florchuk, who was traded on his 18th birthday, from the Victoria Royals for first-round selections in the 2019 and 2021 WHL bantam drafts and a fourth-round selection in 2018.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Florchuk, a WHL sophomore, had seven goals and 21 assists in 43 games with the Royals. In 94 career games, he has 10 goals and 27 assists.

THE INFO: From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Florchuk was selected by the Royals in the first round, 13th overall, of the 2015 bantam draft. In 2014-15, he had 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games for the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.

WHY: The Blades added to their roster of young forwards whom they feel have lots of upside. . . . The Royals moved out a forward whose ice time may have decreased with the trade additions they have made and you can’t scoff at a return that included two first-round draft picks.


THE DEAL: The Tri-City Americans acquired D Austin King-Cunningham, 17, from the TriCity30Vancouver Giants for a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: King-Cunningham was pointless in five games with the Giants this season. Last season, he had one assist in three games. . . . he has been playing with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for whom he has three assists in 16 games.

THE INFO: The 6-foot-4, 195-pound King-Cunningham is from Pilot Butte, Sask. . . . He was an undrafted bantam who was added to Vancouver’s protected list.

WHY: Tri-City adds a prospect who will provide some depth in their organization while staying in Estevan. . . . The Giants get a draft pick for a player who wasn’t able to crack their roster.


THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired F Davis Koch, 19, and an conditional third-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Brendan VancouverSemchuk, 18, G Todd Scott, 17, and a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-0, 165-pound Koch has 18 goals and 21 assists in 40 games this season. In 225 career games with Edmonton, he has 59 goals and 99 assists. Last season, he put up 21 goals and 49 assists in 72 games. . . . Semchuk, 6-foot-0 and 185 pounds, had 17 goals and 24 assists in 127 games over three seasons with the Giants. This season, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. . . . Scott, a WHL freshman, was 8-7-4, 4.11, .869 with the Giants.

THE INFO: Koch, from Surrey, B.C., requested a trade from the Oil Kings. He was a EdmontonOilKingssecond-round pick by Edmonton in the 2013 bantam draft and was an alternate captain this season. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was on Vancouver’s suspended list after leaving the team in a dispute over playing time. He was a first-round selection, 10th overall, in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Scott, from Albertville, Minn., joins Boston Bilous, 16, Josh Dechaine, 19, and Travis Child, 20, as goaltenders on Edmonton’s roster. However, Child is injured and hasn’t played since Dec. 15. . . . With Scott gone, Vancouver added G Trent Miner, 16, to their roster for the remainder of the season. From Souris, Man., Miner was a first-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, he was 17-3-0, 1.64, .941 in 30 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings.

WHY: In a news release, Vancouver GM Glen Hanlon described Koch as “dynamic” and a “game-changer.” The Giants also expect Koch to be excited about returning to the Lower Mainland and playing in front of friends and family. . . . The Oil Kings appear to have done OK, considering Koch had asked for a trade, something that sometimes puts the squeeze on the team. They will need Semchuk to live up to his potential and for Scott to continue to grow as a goaltender.


LOTS MORE TO COME . . .

Three high-profile players kept off ice on eve of trade deadline . . . Giants keep winning on road . . . Ferguson carries Blazers to victory

A LITTLE OF THIS …

With the WHL’s trading deadline arriving this afternoon, a couple of veteran forwards and a high-profile defenceman were kept off the ice by their teams on Wednesday.

F Cam Hebig didn’t practise with the Blades in Saskatoon. GM Colin Priestner admitted whlthat four teams had inquired about Hebig and the Blades didn’t want to risk an injury in case something could be worked out. Hebig missed all of last season with an injury.

This season, Hebig, who is to turn 21 on Jan. 21, has 30 goals and 28 assists in 40 games. From Saskatoon, he has 193 points, 87 of them goals, in 238 career games, all with the Blades. They picked him in the third round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft.

If Hebig isn’t dealt, he is expected to play tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Meanwhile, in Brandon, F Davis Koch didn’t play as the Edmonton Oil Kings met the Wheat Kings. Koch, 19, is from Surrey, B.C. This season, he has 18 goals and 21 assists in 40 games.

In 224 regular-season games, he has 59 goals and 99 assists. The Oil Kings selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.

In Prince George, D Dennis Cholowski, the team captain, didn’t play for the Cougars as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants. After the game, Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk admitted that Cholowski, 19, was scratched in order to keep him healthy just in case.

Cholowski, a first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 NHL draft, has signed an NHL deal. In his first WHL season, he has 13 goals and 26 assists in 37 games.


The Calgary Hitmen claimed D Egor Zamula off waivers from the Regina Pats on Tuesday. Zamula, 17, is from Chelyabinsk, Russia. A freshman, he had seven assists in 38 games with the Pats, who had to drop an import player after acquiring D Libor Hajek from the Saskatoon Blades on Monday. . . . The Hitmen had an opening for an import after they sent F Andrei Grishakov to the Victoria Royals for a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft on Jan. 4. . . . Calgary’s other import is sophomore D Vladislav Yeryomenko, 18, who is from Belarus.


The Everett Silvertips have returned two players — D Dylan Anderson and F Gage Goncalves — to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . Anderson, 15, was pointless in one game with the Silvertips. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Goncalves, a list player, also was pointless in one game with Everett.


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Brandon, F Brett Kemp scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (11-24-6) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). It is 4-EdmontonOilKings3-3 in its last 10. . . . Brandon (27-12-2) had won its last two outings. The Wheat Kings are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . F Ty Lewis (24) gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 16:03 of the first period. . . . D Jayden Platz (1) pulled the visitors even at 2:26 of the second period. . . . Brandon went back out front when F Baron Thompson (12) scored at 11:38 of the third period. . . . F Scott Atkinson (2) tied it for Edmonton at 14:53. . . . Kemp won it with his 10th goal at 2:06 of OT. . . . D Brayden Gorda had an assist and was plus-2 in his first game back with the Oil Kings. He returned to the Oil Kings last week after missing the first half of the season for personal reasons. . . . Brandon was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine earned the victory with 34 saves, 12 more than Brandon’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . Brandon D Kale Clague has yet to return to the lineup after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . Announced attendance: 3,225.


At Lethbridge, F Logan Barlage, acquired earlier in the day in the rather large trade, scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Red LethbridgeDeer Rebels. . . . The Hurricanes (18-19-3) had lost their previous two games. They moved into a second-place tie with Kootenay in the Central Division, eight points in arrears of Medicine Hat. . . . The Rebels (10-22-10) have lost nine in a row (0-4-5). . . . G Logan Flodell, who came over with Barlage in that swap with the Swift Current Broncos, got the victory with 29 saves through OT. He also stopped the last five Red Deer shooters in the shootout. . . . F Brad Morrison, acquired earlier from the Vancouver Giants, scored Lethbridge’s first two goals, both on the PP, at 6:26 and 17:53 of the first period. He’s got 13 goals. . . . In between, Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev (5) got his guys on the scoreboard. . . . F B Brendan Stafford (1) gave Lethbridge a 3-1 lead at 3:17 of the second period. . . . Red Deer took the lead on three second-period goals, two PP scores from Reese Johnson, who has 15 goals, at 7:16 and 8:52, and a goal from F Mason McCarty (20), at 10:19. . . . F Dylan Cozens (12) tied it again at 15:22. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of F Jordy Bellerive and F Taylor Ross, with Cozens adding one. . . . F Kristian Reichel and Alexeyev each had two assists for Red Deer, and McCarty had one. . . . Lethbridge was 2-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 2-4. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders allowed four goals on 27 shots through two periods. Riley Lamb came on for the third period and OT, stopping all 14 shots he faced. . . . Lethbridge acquired four players from Swift Current in the morning and all four played last night — Flodell, Barlage, D Matthew Stanley and F Owen Blocker. . . . F Jacob Boucher, a ninth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes. He’s from St. Albert, Alta. . . . After the game, Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt played host to a town hall as he explained to fans the deal he made with the Swift Current Broncos earlier in the day. . . . Announced attendance: 2,696.


At Kamloops, G Dylan Ferguson stopped 47 shots to lead the Blazers to a 2-1 victory over Kamloops1the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (18-20-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is six points behind Spokane, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Spokane (21-17-3) has lost two in a row. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Quinn Benjafield (12), at 2:49, and F Luc Smith (9), at 19:09. . . . F Riley Woods (18) got the Chiefs to within a goal at 1:10 of the third period. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Orrin Centazzo, acquired Sunday from Everett, had an assist in his Kamloops debut. D Montana Onyebuchi, who also came over in that deal, sat out with the flu. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Spokane was 0-7. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 26 shots for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto, who played for the U.S. at the WJC, sat out, and he won’t play tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets, either. . . . Announced attendance: 3,289.


At Prince George, the Vancouver Giants ran their road winning streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Vancouver (24-14-5) is 6-0-1 in its past seven Vancouvergames. The victory lifted the Giants into a tie with Kelowna for the Western Conference lead. However, Kelowna has three games in hand. . . . Prince George (15-19-7) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Vancouver took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Dawson Holt (7), at 7:27, F James Malm (16), at 9:00, and D Matt Barberis (4), on a PP, at 16:04. . . . The Cougars’ goal came from F Jared Bethune (14), at 16:17. . . . D Kaleb Bulych (1) added more insurance for the Giants at 2:21 of the second period and F Jared Dmytriw (12) finished the scoring at 12:04. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Malm and Holt added two assists each. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck made 21 saves for the Giants. . . . Cougars starter Tavin Grant allowed five goals on 21 shots in 32:04. Taylor Gauthier finished up by stopping all 10 shots he faced in 27:56. . . . D Brennan Riddle made his Vancouver debut after being acquired Monday from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Cougars had recent acquisitions D Austin Crossley and F Ethan Browne in the lineup for the first time. . . . The same teams will meet in Prince George again tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,477.


At Kent, Wash., F Ryan Hughes scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (24-13-3) has won Portlandtwo in a row and is back on top of the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Everett with two games in hand. . . . Seattle (20-14-6) has points in nine straight games (7-0-2) and holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. Seattle also is three points behind third-place Tri-City in the U.S. Division. . . . Portland had taken a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Skyler McKenzie (29), who was playing in his 250th game, at 1:31 and F Alex Overheard (9) at 19:58. . . . Seattle got second-period goals from F Sami Moilanen (17), at 0:57, and D Reece Harsch (9), on a PP, at 11:48. Hirsch left the game after two periods with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds were 1-5 on the PP; the Winterhawks weren’t given even one opportunity. . . . G Cole Kehler blocked 33 shots for Portland, seven more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls, in his fourth full season there, had an assist to give him 42 points this season. He now has 29 assists, two more than he had last season, and 42 points, also a career high after he had 41 in 2016-17. . . . The Winterhawks are without three regulars who played in the WJC — F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.), D Henri Jokiharju (Finland) and F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark). Blichfeld was injured in a late tournament game and he hasn’t yet been checked out by Portland’s medical staff. . . . Announced attendance: 5,020.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Regina, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Spokane at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Three WHLers a step closer to NHL . . . Hebig, Blichfeld and Halbgewachs sign contracts

Hebig
Cam Hebig (9) of the Saskatoon Blades flies through the air with the greatest of ease in this terrific photo by Steve Hiscock. Hebig signed with the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.

Only Cam Hebig knows what he went through as he sat out all of the 2016-17 WHL season while trying to recover from what originally was believed to be a concussion suffered in training camp.

Recover he did, though, and now he is in the middle of a career season with the Saskatoon Blades. He leads his club in goals (28) and points (51) in 35 games.

On Thursday, Hebig, 20, got something of a reward as the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers signed him to a three-year entry-level contract.

According to capfriendly.com, Hebig’s contract calls for base salaries in the NHL of US$650,000, $650,000 and $700,000, with a salary in the minors of $70,000 each season. Each of the first two seasons carries $182,500 in performance bonuses, with $132,500 in the third season. There also are three signing bonuses of $92,500.

This season, 2017-18, covers the first year of the contract, with a junior salary of $10,500.

 As the Blades started training camp in August, Hebig told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he really isn’t sure what had been wrong.

 “I’ve had that question a lot and I don’t know how to explain it,” Hebig said. “I went to a lot of doctors and went to see a lot of people. I never did get a clear diagnosis. It was always weird symptoms.

“I worked hard at the physio that they gave me and I think that helped me. We can put that now behind me.”

Hebig added that his patience was stretched to the maximum when he wasn’t able to get on the ice last season.

“Patience is right,” he told Zary. “It was definitely a long year. I learned a lot from that. Facing that adversity helped make me stronger. I feel confident now and I’m definitely glad I can put that behind me.”

When Zary asked what he learned, Hebig replied: “Just a lot about training, the body and how I can better myself. I learned to never quit and, when things get tough, just keep pushing and things are going to turn around for you.”

There can be no doubting that Hebig, who is from Saskatoon, is the Blades’ leader. They have won six of their last seven games, during which time he has five goals and five assists.

The surge has helped the Blades get into a playoff spot for the first time this season.

In doing that StarPhoenix story, Zary asked Hebig about goals for this season.

Hebig replied: “I want to come in and have fun. It’s my last (season). I’m going to give it my all every game and just stay positive. Going out, working hard every night and trying to be consistent and, I think if I do that, things will fall into place.”

The Blades selected Hebig in the third round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft. Now, in 233 career regular-season games, he has 186 points, including 85 goals.

Oh, yes, he also has an NHL contract in his hip pocket.

On Thursday, he told Zary:

“I worked so hard for it. It’s great. It’s very exciting for me and my family. To see it pay off is definitely a great feeling and it’s pretty cool to be signed by the Oilers.”


Two other WHLers signed NHL deals on Thursday, as F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks and F Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors got three-year entry-level deals from the San Jose Sharks.

Blichfeld’s deal was announced shortly after he and the Danish national junior team had been beaten, 4-1, by Finland at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

This season, Blichfeld, 19, has 13 goals and 17 assists in 26 games with Portland. In 89 career games, he has 41 goals and 47 assists.

Although he is from Denmark, he played for Malmo’s junior team in Sweden before joining the Winterhawks.

The Sharks selected Blichfeld, who is from Frederikshavn, Denmark, in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2016 draft.

Halbgewachs, who is from Emerald Park, Sask., signed as a free agent.

Halbgewachs’ contract, according to capfriendly.com, calls for NHL salaries of US$650,000, $650,000 and $700,000. The minor-league salary in each of the three seasons would be $70,000. There are performance bonuses of $182,500, $182,500 and $132,500. There also are three signing bonuses of $92,500.

As in Hebig’s case, this season, 2017-18, covers the first season of the deal, and there is a junior salary of $10,500.

This season, the 20-year-old Halbgewachs leads the CHL with 37 goals. In 37 games, he has put up 64 points.

Halbgewachs was selected by Kamloops in the first round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft, but never played for the Blazers. He was traded to Moose Jaw on Dec. 6, 2012, with D Tyler Bell and a first-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.

Last season, Halbgewachs exploded for 101 points, including 50 goals, in 71 games. In 241 career games, all with the Warriors, he has 106 goals and 109 assists.

Hurricanes suspend Bowen … Semchuk leaves Giants … Silvertips set franchise record … Wednesday’s WHL roundup

MacBeth

D Jiří Smejkal (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, 2014-16) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had four goals and two assists in 26 games. . . .

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has been released by Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) for financial reasons. An alternate captain, he had one goal and 18 assists in 43 games. Later Wednesday, Blum signed with Sochi (Russia, KHL) for the remainder of this season.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

D Kale Clague wasn’t in Team Canada’s lineup on Wednesday night as it ran its World BuffaloJunior Championship record to 2-0 with a 6-0 victory over Slovakia in Buffalo. Clague, who is having a monster season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, blocked a shot with his right foot in Canada’s 4-2 victory over Finland on Tuesday. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “X-rays were negative, reportedly no fracture.” . . . After beating Slovakia, Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme said that he expects Clague to play Friday against the U.S., in the outdoor game.


Tim Wharnsby of CBC is in Buffalo for the WJC. He reports that Friday’s outdoor game may be in jeopardy because of a weather forecast that calls for “a frigid temperature of -8 C with a wind-chill making it feel more like -13 C.” . . . He also notes that the attendance woes continue to be a major story. . . . His piece is right here.


A note from Buffalo: If you would like to skate at New Era Field before Canada and the U.S. meet up in a WJC outdoor game on Friday, all you need is US$100. Fans were allowed on the ice Wednesday evening and there will be another 90-minute session today. Maki Becker of the Buffalo News adds: “Skaters must bring their own skates, and helmets are required for anyone under 12. Anyone coming into the stadium must have a ticket, even if they’re not skating.” . . . That $100 also gets you a ticket in the 300 level — the upper deck — to Friday’s game. . . . Sheesh, maybe I’m crazy, but that’s a lot of dough for a short skate.


Remember the Punch-Up in Piestany? Alan Maki of The Globe and Mail revisits the infamous 1987 WJC game between Canada and Russia and it’s all right here.


F Ryan Bowen has been suspended by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after refusing to report after being traded to an unidentified team. According to a news release from the LethbridgeHurricanes, Bowen “was notified of a trade to another team, but has been suspended after informing the Hurricanes and the acquiring team that he would not report.”

Bowen, 19, has 30 points, including seven goals, in 53 games over two seasons with Lethbridge. This season, he had a goal and five assists in 13 games. He didn’t play his first game until Nov. 21, thanks to a shoulder injury.

In 143 career games, split between Lethbridge and the Moose Jaw Warriors, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

Moose Jaw selected Bowen, who is from Chilliwack, B.C., in the fifth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Warriors dealt him to the Hurricanes on Nov. 8, 2016, along with a 2017 second-round bantam draft pick and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2019 draft for F Brayden Burke.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that “various WHL sources are saying that VancouverRW Brendan Semchuk has left the Vancouver Giants and is requesting a trade.”

Ewen tweeted the news prior to a game between the host Giants and the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night.

Semchuk, 18, is from Kamloops. He didn’t play last night, a healthy scratch for a third straight game.

According to Ewen, “The Giants are declining comment.”

The Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. In 127 regular-season games, all with the Giants, he has 17 goals and 24 assists.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has posted his final 31 Thoughts of 2017. He leads with memories of the late Johnny Bower, who died this week. The Prince Albert native was maybe the most beloved Toronto Maple Leafs player of them all. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored three times in the third period as they beat the Regina Pats, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-8-1) have won 16 of their last 18 games. They BrandonWKregularare third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Swift Current. . . . Regina (16-18-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Pats and Wheat Kings will play again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . Last night, the teams were 2-2 after two periods. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (26) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded, at 13:37 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Robbie Holmes, at 19:33 of the first, and F Logan Nijhoff (1), at 4:05 of the second. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Cole Reinhardt (11), at 14:36 of the second, and F Ty Lewis (18), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Holmes (9) pulled the Pats to within a goal at 7:25 of the third, but F Evan Weinger (15) got that one back for Brandon just 30 seconds later. . . . F Linden McCorrister (10) added insurance at 18:28. . . . Mattheos, Lewis and Weinger added an assist each for Brandon. . . . D Cale Fleury had two helpers for Regina. . . . The Pats were 0-3 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 0-6. . . . Brandon got 27 saves from G Logan Thompson, while Regina’s Max Paddock, playing in his hometown, turned aside 30 shots. . . . The Pats have F Sam Steel (Canada) at the WJC, while Brandon D Kale Clague also is with Team Canada. . . . Regina was without D Josh Mahura, who was released by Team Canada on Tuesday and has gone home to Edmonton for a couple of days. . . . The Pats brought in D Kjell Kjemhus, 16, from PoE and had him in the lineup. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,919.


At Saskatoon, F Cam Hebig scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades (16-17-3) have won two in a row. They moved out of a tie Saskatoonwith the Raiders and into a tie with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Raiders (13-15-7) have lost two in a row. . . . Saskatoon took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Josh Paterson (13), at 4:08, and Hebig, on a PP, at 9:56. . . . The Raiders tied it before the period ended, though, thanks to scores by F Brett Season (5), on a PP, at 12:44, and F Devon Skoleski (8), at 13:22. . . . Hebig, who has 28 goals, broke the tie at 12:16 of the second period and D Jackson Caller (2) added insurance at 13:18. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Braylon Shmyr and one from Paterson. . . . D Max Martin drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 20 saves, 18 fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . F Kirby Dach of the Blades didn’t return after the first period. . . . Each team has a defenceman playing with the Czech Republic at the WJC in Buffalo — Vojtech Budik of the Raiders and Libor Hajek of the Blades. . . . F Gage Ramsay returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury, while F Michael Farren was back after a two-game absence. However, F Caleb Fantillo won’t play for at least three weeks. . . . With Hajek gone, the Blades have added Majid Kaddoura, 16, to their roster, although he didn’t play last night. A list player from Chestermere, Alta., Kaddoura plays at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . The Raiders and Blades will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Announced attendance: 3,395.


At Swift Current, F Glenn Gawdin and F Matteo Gennaro had shootout goals as the Broncos got past the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . The Broncos (26-7-2) erased a 3-0 deficit SCBroncosin the third period as they ran their victory streak to six. . . . The Warriors slipped to 27-6-3 and now lead the overall standings by three points over the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw scored twice before the game was two minutes old — F Brayden Burke (17) counting at 1:14 and F Tanner Jeannot (26) following at 1:33 — and made it 3-0 when F Justin Almeida scored, on a PP, at 5:56 of the second period. . . . The Broncos got to within a goal on third-period scores from F Max Patterson (3), on a PP, at 4:56, and F Kaden Elder (7), at 6:29. . . . Almeida (21), on a PP, restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 7:52. . . . The Broncos forced OT when Gawdin (32) scored at 16:08 and Gennaro (21) tied it at 16:36. . . . Gennaro added two assists and Gawdin one. . . . Burke, F Tristin Langan and F Jayden Halbgewachs each had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The teams will play tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors were 2-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Logan Flodell. At the other end, Brody Willms turned aside 23 shots. . . . D Jacson Alexander, who left the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies to sign with the Broncos last week, didn’t make his WHL debut. That may happen sometime on the weekend. . . . F Beck Malenstyn, who was acquired by Swift Current from the Calgary Hitmen, in a rather large trade earlier in the month, made his Broncos debut after being out for all but the season’s first four games with a wrist injury. He was in the starting lineup, alongside Gennaro, who also came over in the deal with Calgary, and Elder. Malenstyn drew the primary assist on Gennaro’s tying goal. . . . D Carter Spenst, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme of the CSSHL, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. . . . The Warriors are missing head coach Tim Hunter and F Brett Howden, both of whom are with Canada at the WJC. . . . The Broncos have three players in Buffalo — D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 2,644.


At Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last three goals, with D Conner McDonald in on each of them, and beat the Rebels, 3-1. . . . The Oil Kings (8-22-4) had lost EdmontonOilKingstheir previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Rebels (10-19-6) had points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . D Alex Alexeyev (4) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 1:25 of the first period. . . . Edmonton tied it when F Davis Koch (15) scored, on a PP, at 12:19, then took the lead at 15:16 as F Trey Fix-Wolansky (13) scored. . . . F David Kope (3) added insurance at 2:00 of the second period. . . . McDonald drew three assists, while Koch and Fix-Wolansky each had one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 27 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Rebels also are missing F Kristian Reichel, who is in Buffalo with the Czech Republic. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 4,826.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Peyton Krebs scored at 1:30 of OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice (16-17-2) has points in four straight games (3-Kootenaynew0-1) and has moved into second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen (10-18-6) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . This was the third straight game these teams have played — the Ice won the previous two, 2-0 and 5-1. The teams will make it four in a row tonight in Calgary. . . . F Jakob Stukel put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Colton Veloso, who has 10. He scored on a PP at 9:12 of the first period and while shorthanded at 8:35 of the second. . . . Calgary F Jake Kryski (9) tied it 11:54. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (10) put the Ice back in front at 14:33. . . . F Orca Wiesblatt (4) got Calgary back into a tie at 17:54 of the third period. . . . Krebs, who has nine goals, won it with a PP goal. . . . F Brett Davis drew three assists for Kootenay, with Krebs adding one. . . . The Ice was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Kootenay got 20 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are without D Jake Bean (Canada) and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (Belarus), who are in Buffalo. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak is with Slovakia. . . . With G Bailey Brkin (ill) sidelined, the Ice had G Gage Alexander, 15, on the bench in support of McGovern. Alexander, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, signed a WHL contract last week. From Okotoks, Alta., he is playing with the minor midget AAA Rockyview Raiders (8-1-1, 1.60, .942). . . . Announced attendance: 2,625.


At Medicine Hat, head coach Shaun Clouston tied the franchise record for regular-season coaching victories as the Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Tigers (19-Tigers Logo Official14-2) have won two straight and lead the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes (15-17-2) had won their previous game. They are third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay. . . . The teams will meet again Friday in Lethbridge. . . . Clouston now has 323 victories with the Tigers, equalling the record held by Willie Desjardins. . . . The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a PP goal from F Jordy Bellerive (18) at 5:28 of the second period. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the third period. . . . Medicine Hat took the lead on goals from D David Quenneville, on a PP, at 4:53, and F Max Gerlach (13), at 10:14. . . . F Lane Zablocki pulled Lethbridge into a tie with his 10th goal at 10:36. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin (11) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Quenneville (14), who also had an assist, got the empty-netter, at 19:21. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . F Taylor Ross had two assists for the visitors. . . . The Tigers were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-1. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett made 27 saves, while Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen turned aside 36. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner (ill) was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 3,688.


At Portland, the Tri-City Americans broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals and beat the Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . The Americans (19-10-3) have won four in a row. They have TriCity30moved into fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Victoria and Portland. . . . The Winterhawks (21-12-1) have lost three straight. They trail U.S. Division-leading Everett by three points. . . . The Americans and Winterhawks will meet Friday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans skated to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 8:00, and F Kyle Olson (4), on a PP, at 12:06. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Cody Glass started it at 14:43 of the first period, with F Jake Gricius (6) twins it at 15:11. . . . Glass (22), on a PP, gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 6:15 of the second period. . . . Johnson (8) tied it at 14:29. . . . The Americans took over in the third period, getting goals from F Morgan Geekie (15), at 6:29; D Dylan Coghlan (11), at 7:17; and F Nolan Yaremko (10), at 9:30. . . . Geekie and Yaremko each had three assists, with D Mitchell Brown adding two and Coghlan one. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-3. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, 11 more than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Michael Rasmussen was among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki is in Buffalo with Finland. . . . The Winterhawks have three players at the WJC — F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark), F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and D Henri Jokiharju (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 5,719.


At Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips set a franchise record for goals in one game as they whipped the Vancouver Giants, 11-0. . . . The Silvertips (22-13-2) have won three in a row Everettand lead the U.S. Division. . . . The Giants (18-14-4) had won their previous six games. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . The Silvertips had scored 10 goals once before — in a 10-4 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 11, 2009. . . . The Giants and Silvertips will meet again Friday in Everett. . . . The Silvertips got four goals and an assist from F Riley Sutter and 24 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who has two shutouts and three assists in his eight appearances in his freshman season. He is 6-2-0, 1.75, .947. . . . The visitors scored four goals in the first period and five in the second. . . . Sutter now has 17 goals this season. He scored the game’s first two goals, at 2:28 and 12:43 of the opening period. . . . F Connor Dewar, who has 14 goals, made it 4-0 with goals at 16:00 and 19:05. He also had three assists. . . .F Orrin Centazzo (5) added two goals, with singles from F Matt Fonteyne (17), F Sean Richards (15) and D Jake Christiansen (3). . . . F Patrick Bajkov had three assists, with F Bryce Kindopp getting two and Richards one. . . . Everett was 2-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck played the first and third periods, allowing six goals on 19 shots. Todd Scott was beaten five times on 10 shots in the second period. . . . Vancouver F Milos Roman is at the WJC with Slovakia, while Everett G Carter Hart is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.


At Victoria, the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to beat the Royals, 5-3. . . . The Cougars (13-17-5) had lost their previous three games. They are fifth in the PrinceGeorgeB.C. Division, three points behind Kamloops. . . . The Royals (20-14-3) have lost four in a row and are second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . They will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . D Joel Lakusta gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 3:58 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (16) tied it, on a PP, at 6:31. . . . F Nic Holowko (4) put Prince George back in front just 12 seconds later. . . . F Tyler Soy (14) tied it again, at 10:28, and F Matthew Phillips (25) gave the home side the lead, on a PP, at 12:03. . . . The Cougars tied it when F Jackson Leppard (8) scored, on a PP, at 14:48. . . . F Josh Maser’s 14th goal, on a PP, broke the tie at 2:54 of the second period. . . . Lakusta, who has four goals, put it away with an empty-netter, at 19:56 of the third period. . . . Prince George got three assists from F Kody McDonald, while Maser and Leppard each had one. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for the Royals, with Phillips and Soy adding one each. . . . Soy has 147 career assists, which equals the Royals franchise record that he now shares with Jack Walker. The Victoria/Chilliwack franchise record (151) belongs to F Brandon Magee. . . . The Cougars were 2-8 on the PP; the Royals were 2-7. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 36 shots for the Cougars, 14 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars is in Buffalo with Belarus. . . . The Royals are missing F Ivan Martynov, who also is with Belarus. . . . Soy, who left Victoria’s last game before the Christmas break with an apparent injury, and Hannoun, who had been ill, both were in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Victoria F Regan Nagy (finger) remains sidelined. . . . This is the sixth straight season in which these teams have returned from Christmas to play twice in Victoria. The Royals are 8-2-1 in the previous 11 meetings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,637.


At Kelowna, F Liam Kindree scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the Rockets a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-11-3) has won three in a KelownaRocketsrow and is alone atop the B.C. Division. It is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (16-17-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1) and is one point out of a wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna and Kamloops have met in the first game after the Christmas break for six straight years. The Rockets are 6-0-0; the Blazers are 0-5-1. . . . They will play the rematch in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Kole Lind (17) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the second period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby, who was acquired prior to last season from the Rockets, forced OT with his eighth goal of the season. He scored at 18:42 of the third period on the Blazers’ 43rd shot of the game. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 46 saves through OT — and four in the shootout — from G James Porter Jr. . . . G Dylan Ferguson blocked 21 shots, including a first-period penalty-shot attempt by Lind. . . . Kelowna remains without F Erik Gardiner (concussion). Gardiner, 18, last played on Oct. 28. . . . Each team was missing two players who are in Buffalo at the WJC. Kamloops D Ondrej Vala is with Czech Republic, while F Justin Sigrist is with Switzerland. Kelowna F Dillon Dube is captaining Team Canada, while D Cal Foote also is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 6,238.


At Spokane, F Zach Fischer’s goal at 3:46 of OT gave the Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Chiefs (19-13-3) had lost their previous game, 10-3 to the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Thunderbirds. Spokane is tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Seattle (15-14-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fifth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane, and holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The rematch — and the third straight game between these teams — is set for Friday in Kent, Wash. . . . F Nolan Volcan (14) put Seattle out front 1-0, on a PP, at 17:54 of the first period. . . . Fischer tied it at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman (5) at 14:14, and D Reece Hirsch (7), on a PP, at 17:20. . . . The Chiefs tied it on third-period goals from F Hudson Elynuik, on a PP, at 6:28, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (17), at 11:02. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) put Seattle ahead, again, at 14:18, only to have F Riley Woods (14) force OT by tying it at 16:12. . . . Fischer, who also had an assist, won it with his 16th goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Elynuik added an assist each for Spokane. . . . D Turner Ottenbreit had two helpers for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-3 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-6. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 25 shots for Spokane, while Seattle got 37 saves from Matt Berlin. . . . F Sami Moilanen didn’t play for Seattle after suffering an undisclosed injury while in the selection camp of the Finnish national junior team. . . . The Chiefs have two players at the WJC — F Kailer Yamamoto (U.S.) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic). . . . Announced attendance: 5,082.


THURSDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY: