Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching the Daytona 500 (aka Daytona Demolition Derby) . . .


There was a time when I would have told you that the best rivalry in the WHL featured the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats. Brent Parker, then the Pats’ general manager, was never shy about firing verbal darts. You had head coaches battling at the player benches. You had a helmet ending up in the other team’s dressing room and coming out in unwearable condition. There was the play-by-play guy who showed up one night dressed as Donald Duck.

I mean, stuff happened. And I can only imagine what stuff might have happened had there been social media back in the day.

These days I would suggest that torch has been passed to the Portland PortlandWinterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds. Because when these two teams meet now . . . stuff happens. And there often seems to be an aftermath, too.

Take Saturday night in Portland. . . .

The first period wasn’t even two minutes old when Winterhawks’ F Jack O’Brien left with what appeared to be a bad leg injury.

That came after he was hit along the boards by Seattle F Matthew Rempe. SeattleRempe, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, was given a kneeing major and game misconduct.

After the game, Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, asked the two head coaches about the incident.

Mike Johnston of the Winterhawks responded: “I thought it was a cheap hit. I know Rempe has had quite a few of those. He’s been suspended a few times this year even. He’s a big guy who has to get control when he’s hitting people. I don’t know what he was thinking. I just know it was knee-on-knee. You have to be careful when you go in with your knee, especially when you are a big guy like that.”

(NOTE: Rempe has served two suspensions this season. The first was for two games under supplemental discipline for something that happened in game with the host Tri-City Americans on Nov. 5. The second, for one game, was assessed after he was given a charging major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Nov. 21. Last season, Rempe was suspended once for one game, that after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct in a game at Portland on Dec. 31.)

When Critzer asked Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette about Saturday’s hit, the response was:

“I thought their player was coming down the boards and our guy tried to finish his check. It was along the boards, wasn’t in open space where it was knee-on-knee in my opinion. I thought their guy lunged out of the way and (Rempe) kind of hit his leg that was dragging behind.

“(Rempe) is a big guy and, when he’s on his path, he’s come a long way to be a clean hitter. He’s a big guy and sometimes he’s just bigger than the other guy, which is why he gets penalties. I thought everything was compact — arms down, legs in — on that hit. Sometimes unfortunate plays can happen not intentionally.”

So . . . that was that. Right? Well, not quite. On Sunday, just as the Daytona 500 was heating up, there were sparks flying between Portland and Seattle.

It started when Thom Beuning, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Thunderbirds, tweeted: “So just saw that video of the Rempe major for kneeing. My reaction? ‘Where’s the penalty?’ I don’t see a minor, let alone a major. No initial call on the ice, so what changed?”

Beuning also tweeted: “Incidental contact happens all the time in hockey, including knee-to-knee. Doesn’t mean it is a penalty, doesn’t mean it’s a major, doesn’t mean it is a suspension. Example A, Ty Bauer injury.”

(Bauer, a forward with the Thunderbirds, suffered a knee injury during a game against the Blazers in Kamloops on Dec. 10 and hasn’t played since that night. There wasn’t a penalty on the play.)

After Beuning fired things up, Andy Kemper, a former Portland radio analyst who now is the Winterhawks’ historian, tweeted: “Rempe led into the check with his leg not his upper body. O’Brien was moving to the corner and Rempe put his leg out to stop him and it went knee on knee. That is not incidental. No intent, but it was a kneeing penalty.”

Beuning: “Wrong.”

Kemper: “Yeah, I figured that would be your response. Have a nice day.”

That is when Nick Marek, the Winterhawks’ broadcaster and media relations manager, chimed in with: “Andy said it very well. Everyone knew there was no intent to injure (also why no match penalty assessed) and ‘he didn’t mean to do it.’ Still looks like everything was followed correctly according to the WHL Rule Book.”

Beuning: “Rempe compacts his body to deliver the hit, to avoid a check to the head. O’Brien moves down along the boards to avoid the hit, thus exposing his trailing leg to the contact. Incidental. Same reason there was no penalty when Bauer was injured. Or are you saying the league was wrong?”

Kemper: “The rulebook doesn’t account for incidental or not. The first four words in the rule book are clear: ‘All knee on knee.’ Since it resulted in an injury, the major penalty was assessed. I didn’t see the Bauer hit. Are you saying the league is wrong?”

Beuning: “By not calling a penalty on the Bauer hit, the league has determined there is knee-on-knee contact that doesn’t warrant a penalty.  Plenty of time to review and bring forth supplemental discipline. They didn’t.”

Kemper: “OK. But there is a difference between assessing a penalty and assessing a suspension. Doesn’t mean that a penalty should not have been assessed at the time on the Bauer play. The league may decide to not suspend Rempe for the infraction.”

Beuning: “Have you not been around the WHL for a while now? I might very, very reluctantly concede the minor. But players often put themselves in vulnerable positions. Some of the onus is on that player.”

Marek: “Thom, this take is ridiculous. Essentially saying ‘he shouldn’t have been standing there.’ If that’s your belief, then I suppose you should say the same onus is on Bauer for his major injury he suffered. Can’t believe you just said that honestly.”

Beuning: “What’s the old expression? Keep your head up? It happens all the time. Players duck to avoid a hit and put their heads in the path of an opposing players shoulders. Or they turn at the last second and put their backs to the hit in the corner, exposing their numbers.”

Kemper: “I have been around a long time and every time something like this happens, the bias of the individual looking at the play comes out in how they see it called. I’m not going to change your opinion, nor you mine. By the rule book, it was a major penalty. I’m done.”


Here’s a tweet that includes the video of the play in question, so you can be the judge . . .

And here’s another angle . . .


The Winterhawks played host to the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday night and O’Brien was in the lineup; in fact, he scored twice and added an assist in a 9-1 victory.

It could be that, as the old all-star centre Billy Shakespeare of the Stratford-upon-Avon Rivermen once wrote, it all was “much ado about nothing.”

The Winterhawks and Thunderbirds are scheduled to meet four more times this season — March 11 and 19 in Kent, Wash., and March 20 and April 2 in Portland.

So there’s still time for even more fun.


BTW, the Thunderbirds won Saturday’s game, 5-1. Portland leads the season series, with a 5-4-0 record. Or maybe the series is tied, because Seattle is 4-3-2. Yes, thanks to loser points each team has 10 points from the series.

Bruce Vance is one of the good guys. He really is. At one time he worked in the Prince Albert Raiders’ front office, and now he is the the city’s marketing and sponsorship co-ordinator. He and his wife, Liane, also have been through more in the past few years than anyone should have to face in three lifetimes, but they have kept on smiling. Both have battled cancer and Bruce now is having another go-round with the Big C. . . . My wife, Dorothy, is a wonderfully positive person and she will tell you how important that frame of mind was as she went through a kidney transplant. . . . Well, Liane and Bruce are writing about their adventures on a blog — it’s right here — and through all the ups and downs positivity is a huge part of their approach. . . . Teena Monteleone of paNOW wrote about Liane and Bruce right here.


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “A cargo ship packed with luxury cars caught fire and is aimlessly adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sort of the nautical equivalent of the L.A. Lakers.”


Perry, again: “The team that won the opening coin toss now has now lost the past eight Super Bowls. Where’s the public outcry over the unfairness of that?”

SATURDAY IN THE WHL: The Everett Silvertips, with points in 12 straight (10-0-2), clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 3-1. This is the Silvertips’ 18th season in the WHL and they have been in the playoffs in every one of them. . . . F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers ran his point streak to 19 games on Saturday in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants. Stankoven, who had a goal and an assist, has 17 goals and 22 assists on his tear. Vancouver, now 1-19-0 when trailing after two periods, won it on F Fabian Lysell’s second goal of the game, and 17th of the season, at 4:33 of extra time. Kamloops is 28-1-2 when trailing after two. . . .

F Ben King’s second goal of the game, his WHL-leading 37th, gave host Red Deer a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice as the Rebels overcame a 2-0 third-period deficit. F Arshdeep Bains had two assists for Red Deer; after Saturday’s games, he led the WHL in assists (46) and points (71). . . . F Connor Bouchard’s ninth goal of the season at 2:01 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Jagger Firkus scored his 29th goal and added two assists as the Moose Jaw Warriors doubled the Raiders, 4-2. The Warriors have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Dylan Guenther scored four times, giving him 32, as the host Edmonton Oil Kings spanked the Saskatoon Blades, 9-1. G Sebastian Cossa is 24-6-3, 2.30, .915 for the Oil Kings, who have won five in a row. . . .

F Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist to lead the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. He’s got 50 points, including 23 goals, in 32 games. The Wheat Kings went into the Central Division and won four games in six nights. The Wheat Kings ended up spending the night in Swift Current because of the horrid weather conditions that swept across the Prairies. . . . F Reid Schaefer scored twice, giving him 23, as the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-1, for their seventh straight victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Kelowna Rockets got past the Cougars, 3-2, giving them a sweep of the weekend doubleheader. On Friday, the Rockets also had won, 3-2. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes rode two first-period goals to a 2-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have lost six in a row.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL: F Kyle Crnkovic reclaimed the WHL scoring lead with two goals — giving him 32 — and an assist as the visiting Saskatoon Blades beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. That boosted Crnkovic’s points total to 73, two more than F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Clay Hanus had a goal — his 13th — and two assists as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped the Spokane Chiefs, 9-1. The teams combined for 118 minutes in penalties, with 69 of those going to the visitors. It was the sixth game between these teams since Feb. 5; the Winterhawks won five of them, outscoring the Chiefs, 39-10, in the process. Portland won the season series, 10-2-0, while the Chiefs went 2-9-1.

Headline at NBC wants you to know their Super Bowl ratings KILLED IT. Oh, and their Olympics . . . look, a bunny.

“A new study shows the horse medicine, ivermectin, is useless in combating COVID,” tweets comedy write Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg). “This is hard to believe based on the tireless research of that great medical mind Aaron Rodgers.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Dr. Oz vs. Dr. Phil in an old-time steel cage match — no way to root, right?”


Lupica, again: “Novak Djokovic says he’s not anti-vaccine, but he’s still not going to get jabbed. What an amazing tennis hill on which to die. Taking this kind of stance against something that has saved lives all over the world.”

Dick Butkus — yes, that Dick Butkus — is enjoying Twitter, witness this: “The USFL is back. Herschel Walker is all over the news. Did I have a stroke, or is it still 1985?”

You may have heard that NBA analyst Charles Barkley is talking about retiring in a couple of years once his contract with TNT expires. As he explained: “I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting inside over (by) fat-ass Shaq (waiting) to drop dead.”

Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons, apparently referred to the NFL teams and their seeming inability to hire minority head coaches as “just not acceptable.” It was then that Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out: “It’s apparently acceptable in Atlanta, where his Falcons are one of 13 franchises never to have had a Black head coach.”


As a hockey fan, are you old enough to remember when the boards were the boards and not the wall? . . . Are you old enough to remember when the goaltender’s crease was the crease and not the blue paint? . . .

The best entertainment-related news I’ve heard in a long while: Randy Bachman has cut a deal with Corus Entertainment under which some of its radio stations will carry a two-hour Vinyl Tap once a week. It all starts on March 6. . . . CBC Radio dumped Vinyl Tap in July after a 16-year run. . . .

Here’s to a happy retirement to Vicci Weller after 22 years as the Thompson Nicola-Regional District film commissioner. It was because of her that Clint Black was once in the area filming a movie and made acquaintance with my wife, Dorothy, who was working at the time at a Shoppers Drug Mart outlet. Yes, it gave her quite a thrill when he struck up a conversation and then showed her family pictures.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Chiefs make coaching change as Smith replaces Maglio . . . Americans take game outside . . . Ice gets rare taste of home cooking

The Spokane Chiefs became the second of the WHL’s 22 teams to undergo a Spokanemid-season coaching change when they fired Adam Maglio on Thursday. . . . Ryan Smith has moved up from associate coach as the interim head coach and is to finish the season in that position, with part-time assistant Dustin Donaghy now on board as a full-timer. . . . Maglio had been the Chiefs’ head coach since Aug. 27, 2020, when he took over from Manny Viveiros, who had left for the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. Maglio had been the associate coach under Viveiros. . . . Spokane was 6-10-5 under Maglio in the 2021 development season. . . . This season, the Chiefs (12-26-4) are last in the 10-team Western Conference. . . .

The Chiefs are two games into a five-game series with the Portland Winterhawks, who won the first two, 7-3 and 9-0. Portland scored five first-period goals and added four more in the second in Wednesday’s victory, which turned out to be Maglio’s last game behind the Spokane bench. . . . They’ll conclude the five-game series with three games in Spokane, starting tonight (Friday). . . . Earlier in the season, the Chiefs traded away two of their top forwards — Jack Finley and Luke Toporowski — in obvious moves to spark a rebuild. . . . Smith has been with the Chiefs since September 2020. He has WHL coaching experience as an assistant with the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos. He was on the Broncos’ staff under Viveiros when they won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship. . . .

The Broncos were the first team to change coaches this season when they announced on Oct. 14 that general manager/head coach Dean Brockman was resigning. Assistant coach Devan Praught took over as interim head coach. The Broncos were 2-3-0 at the time; they are 14-20-5 under Praught. . . . The Chiefs also are looking for a general manager after Scott Carter, citing health and family reasons, announced on Jan. 27 that he will be leaving the organization at season’s end. He has said he will help the team find his replacement. . . . In a story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Dan Thompson quoted team president Mark Miles as saying that the team is “getting close” to ending its search. Taking Note was told by a source on Thursday that Matt Bardsley, now an amateur scout with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers after leaving his position as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers on May 24, is “in the mix.” . . .

The Chiefs’ news release is right here.


On the day that Major League Baseball announced the DH is coming to the National League this year, Buster Olney of ESPN summed up the state of MLB in one 22-word tweet . . .

If you’re the Tri-City Americans and you’re in Kamloops for a Wednesday-AmericansFriday double-dip, what do you do on your off-day? You head about 45 minutes north of Kamloops to Sun Peaks Resort and get in some shinny on an outdoor rink. . . . On Wednesday night, the Americans scored three third-period goals and beat the Blazers, 4-3. This was one of those games where an empty-net goal turned into the game-winner. F Connor Bouchard broke a 2-2 tie with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period then added the empty-netter at 18:54. F Daylan Kuefler got the home side to within a goal, on a PP, at 19:59. . . . The Americans (13-25-4) had lost their previous six games; the Blazers (31-12-1) had a nine-game winning streak snapped. . . . They’ll play again tonight (Friday) at the Sandman Centre, although there was speculation that the Americans tried to get the game moved to that outdoor rink at Sun Peaks. . . . Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann won’t play in the rematch as he serves a one-game suspension for what the WHL terms a “one-man fight.” He was in stir when Bouchard scored his first goal.

In Thursday night’s lone WHL game, the Winnipeg Ice beat the visiting WinnipegIceBrandon Wheat Kings, 6-2, behind three goals from F Connor McClennon. It was Winnipeg’s first home game since Dec. 18. . . . McClennon ran his goal total to 31 as the Ice won its 30th game of the season. . . . Despite not having played at home for more than month, the Ice has gotten in 20 home games. It is 16-3-1 in the Wayne Fleming Arena. . . . The Ice and the Wheat Kings both had a number of home games postponed after government-implemented restrictions limited capacity to 250 fans. That restriction now is 50 per cent, with the Ice announcing an attendance of 1,000 last night. Earlier this month, the U of Manitoba established capacity in the Wayne Fleming Arena at 2,000.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third


If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.

If you like what you read hear, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.

The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.

The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.

The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.

G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.

G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.

The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.

G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


Silvertips ride bus to three wins . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark ‘Hawks. Again . . . DiLaura posts first shutout


F Matt Pufahl (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Everett, 2010-14) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had one assist in six games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), while on loan from the Colorado Eagles (AHL). He had been recalled and released by Colorado on Oct. 30. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract. He had three goals and three assists in six games. Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga).

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F Connor Bouchard scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Tri-City tri-cityAmericans a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Americans improved to 11-5-0. This was Game 7 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans. They are 6-1-0, including 1-1-0 in the East Division. . . . The Wheat Kings are 9-4-6. . . F Stelio Mattheos gave Brandon a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 18th goal, at 18:51 of the first period. . . . The Americans took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Riley Sawchuk (8) and F Blake Stevenson (3). . . . F Luka Burzan (13) got Brandon into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 3:18 of the third period. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored for the Americans in the third round of the shootout, but F Ben McCartney then tied it. . . . That left it for Bouchard, who had two assists, to win it.

F Reese Johnson scored in OT to give the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 victory over the Red DeerSwift Current Broncos. . . . Red Deer (13-5-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-16-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Swift Current grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ben King (4) and F Max Patterson (5), the latter at 0:40 of the second period. . . . F Zak Smith (11) got the Rebels on the scoreboard at 1:27 of the second period and F Josh Tarzwell (3) tied it at 19:34. . . . Johnson won it with his ninth goal at 1:00 of OT. . . . The teams had nine shots apiece in the first period; the Rebels held a 39-8 edge after that point, including 19-3 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . Swift Current G Joel Hofer stopped 44 shots. Despite a 2-11-2 record and a 4.32 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . F Brandon Hagel, the Rebels’ leading scorer, didn’t play. He played Friday and Saturday games and may have tweaked something that had been bothering him, so was rested. . . . D Jacob Herauf, who was injured on Friday and sat out Saturday, played in this one. . . . Swift Current had F Owen Blocker and D Garrett Sambrook back after brief absences. . . . The Rebels played three road games in fewer than 48 hours and went 2-1-0. . . . The Broncos also played three games in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1.

F Carson Focht and F James Malm each had a goal and three assists to lead the Calgary CalgaryHitmen to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Calgary (6-12-2) had lost its previous three games. . . . Kootenay (6-12-3) has lost five in a row. . . . F Riley Stotts gave Calgary a 2-1 lead at 9:10 of the second period and the Hitmen took control with two more goals, from Malm (11), at 10:37 of the second and D Egor Zamula (3), on a PP, at 7:09 of the third. . . . The Ice got to within 4-3 on third-period goals from D Martin Bodak (4) and F Brett Davis (7), but Calgary F Tye Carriere (2) scored 15 seconds later and Calgary later got two more goals. . . . Stotts finished with two goals, giving him three, and an assist. . . . Focht has four goals. . . . Calgary outshot the Ice, 44-32, including 23-8 in the third period. . . . Kootenay went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours.

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Kamloops EverettBlazers, 5-2. . . . Everett (14-6-0) has won four straight. . . . Kamloops (6-9-2) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Everett has won all three meetings with the Blazers this season outscoring them 18-5 in the process. . . . The Silvertips won 7-2 in Kamloops on Friday night, then beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, on Saturday, before getting back on the bus and returning to Kamloops for Sunday’s game. . . . The Silvertips now are 11-0-0 when they score the game’s first goal. . . . F Connor Dewar (15) broke a 2-2 tie at 4:59 of the third period and F Jackson Berezowski (4) added insurance at 14:31. . . . G Max Palaga, who is from Kamloops and spent last season with the Blazers, made his first start with the Silvertips, who acquired him in a trade last week. He stopped 26 shots to earn the victory. . . . G Dustin Wolf had started Everett’s first 19 games. Last season, while backing up Carter Hart, Wolf made 20 appearances. He finished 13-6-0 last season; this season, he is 13-6-0. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started the game but left at 8:17 of the second period after somehow managing to cut a finger. He stopped 15 of 17 shots. He was replaced by Rayce Ramsay, who was beaten twice on 15 shots. With Dylan Garand set to return from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Ramsay will return today to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . In a couple of games that promise to be interesting this week, the Portland Winterhawks visit Everett on Wednesday and the Silvertips are in Portland on Friday. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by three points over the Winterhawks.

F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and F Cody Glass had three assists to lead the host PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Portland (12-6-1) has won five in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-0) has lost two straight. . . . The Winterhawks had beaten the visiting Rockets, 3-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Rockets went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They had beaten host Seattle, 3-1, on Friday. . . . F Mason Mannek (5), at 15:10 of the first period, and Blichfeld, at 5:55 of the second, gave Portland a 2-0 lead. . . . F Kyle Crosby (2) scored for Kelowna at 9:46, but F Reece Newkirk (12) got that one back, while shorthanded, at 11:08. . . . F Mark Liwiski (1) pulled the visitors to within one at 16:01. . . . Blichfeld added insurance with his 17th goal, at 8:12 of the third period. . . . Blichfeld has 39 points, including 22 assists, in 19 games. . . . Glass now has 34 points, 27 of them assists, in 16 games.

G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 26 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 1-0 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Cougars (8-8-3) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the Giants on Saturday. . . . Vancouver (13-4-2) had won its previous three games. . . . DiLaura, an 18-year-old from Lakeville, Minn., record his first career shutout. This was his sixth appearance of the season; he got into 14 games last season. This time around, he is 3-2-1, 2.38, .926. . . . F Ethan Browne (4) scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 8:00 of the first period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the Giants.


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