Holt everything! Giants strike first. . . . Two late second-period goals key to Game 1 victory. . . . Might so many commits work against NCAA schools?

MacBeth

F Matt Fraser (Red Deer, Kootenay, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). This season, he had 18 goals and 16 assists in 52 games. The was second on the team in goals and third in points. . . .

D Troy Rutkowski (Portland, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste bank Liga). This season, he had nine goals and 18 assists in 52 games. . . .

D David Němeček (Saskatoon, 2013-14) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 46 games. . . .

D Lassi Thomson (Kelowna, 2018-19) has signed a two-year plus option contract with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Kelowna (WHL), he had 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. . . .

G Alexander Pechursky (Tri-City, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Vysshaya Liga), he was 13-16-2, 2.36, .917, with one assist, in 32 games.


Kamloops1

You could make an argument that the most surprising part of Thursday’s WHL bantam draft was the decision by the Kamloops Blazers to use both of their first-round selections on players who have made verbal commitments to the U of Michigan Wolverines.

Kamloops used the seventh-overall selection on D Mats Lindgren of the Burnaby Winter Club, then took F Connor Levis of St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick.

Both players have made verbal commitments to the Wolverines for the 2022-23 season.

So . . . you’re wondering why the Blazers, a team that had a mediocre season while in what was the WHL’s weakest division in 2018-19, would take two NCAA commits in the first round?

Well, Jess Myers of therinklive.com has written an excellent piece that details the changes to NCAA hockey and its recruiting process, all of which came into effect on May 1.

In that story, Myers writes:

“The new system may also reduce the high numbers of committed players that many colleges have now. The list of college commitments that is maintained by College Hockey, Inc., shows that in the Big Ten, Michigan has 37 players who have given verbal commitments to play for the Wolverines in the future, and presumably have been given a scholarship offer of some amount. The (Minnesota) Gophers and Wisconsin (Badgers) each has 31 commitments listed.”

I wasn’t able to find the list of 37 potential future Wolverines, but, then, I’m hardly a computer genius. I did find a list of 24 commits, but it doesn’t include any players committed for 2022-23. Another list, this one at collegehockeynews.com, shows Michigan with 33 commitments but it doesn’t include 2022-23, either.

However, I would suggest that somewhere there is a list that shows 37 commits for Michigan.

Still, the point is that Michigan and many other schools have a whole host of commits potentially on the way.

That being the case, it’s got to give Kamloops general manager Matt Bardsley a terrific starting point when he begins his serious recruiting pitch with Lindgren, Levis and their families.

Myers’ story is right here.


CORRECTION: D Sean Comrie, whose rights moved from the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday, just finished his first season with the U of Denver Pioneers. The Edmonton native had one assists in 18 games, after spending two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. Brandon selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft.

——

MORE DRAFT BLOODLINES: The Calgary Hitmen selected F Jadon Kwiatkowski of Sammamish, Wash., in the 11th round. A reader tells me that he is from Lake Stevens, Wash., and that he played for the U-14 Everett Jr. Silvertips. His father, Jason, played three seasons (1990-93) in the WHL, with the Prince Albert Raiders and Tacoma Rockets, while an uncle, Joel, split four WHL seasons (1994-98) between Tacoma, the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars. . . .

In the sixth round, the Hitmen selected D Matthew Sutter, who had seven goals and 13 assists in 31 games with the bantam AAA Spruce Grove PAC Saints. He isn’t related to the Sutters of Viking, Alta.

——

Here’s a look, in alphabetical order, at teams that had four or more players selected in the bantam draft:

Anchorage North Stars (4)

BWC H.A. Bntm Prep (8)

Calgary CBHA Bisons BAAA (6)

Colorado Thunderbirds 14U (6)

Dallas Stars Elite 14U (5)

Delta H.A. Bntm Prep Green (12)

Eastman Selects B1AAA (4)

Edge School Bntm Prep (11)

Fort Sask. Rangers BAAA (5)

Lloydminster Bobcats BAAA (4)

Martensville Marauders BAA (4)

North Zone Kings BAA (4)

Northern Alberta Xtreme Bntm Prep (6)

OHA Edmonton Bntm Prep (7)

Okanagan H.A. Bntm Prep (7)

Okotoks Oilers BAAA (4)

Red Deer Rebels BAAA (8)

Rink H.A. Nationals Bntm Prep (9)

Sherwood Park Flyers BAAA (4)

St. George’s School Bntm Prep (4)

Warman Wildcats BAA (4)

Yale H.A. Bntm Prep (11)


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Ryan Marushak is remaining with the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey DelisleChiefsLeague. The former general manager will be the team’s director of player personnel in what will be his eighth season with the organization. . . . Eric Ditto was named the team’s general manager and head coach on Thursday. . . . If you weren’t aware, Delisle was home to the late Max Bentley, an NHL star who had one of the great nicknames in sports history — the Dipsy Doodle Dandy from Delisle.


Tyler Drader is the new head coach of the Calgary-based SAIT Trojans, who play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. He spent the previous two seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. . . . Drader takes over from Brent Devost, who resigned after one season with the Trojans. . . . There is a news release right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: First, please allow me to point out that this is the WHL final. It isn’t the WHL finals or the WHL Finals or the WHL FINALS. There is only one series, only one final, thus it is the WHL final. Thank you . . .

With that out of the way, the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup got started on Friday night in Prince Albert with the Vancouver Giants beating the Raiders, 5-4. They’ll play Game 2 in the Art Hauser Centre tonight, then head for Langley, B.C., and games on Tuesday, Wednesday and, if necessary, Friday in the Langley Events Centre. . . .

While there isn’t a player on either team who has played in a WHL final, there are coaches who have been there. . . . Jamie Heward, in his first season as the Giants’ associate coach, is in his second straight final. Last season, he helped guide the Swift Current Broncos to a championship. . . . Jeff Battah, an assistant coach with the Giants, was an assistant with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2008 when they got to the final under then-head coach Michael Dyck. Dyck, of course, now is the Giants’ head coach. . . . Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt was an assistant under Marc Habscheid, now the head coach in Prince Albert, when the Kelowna Rockets won the 2003 title. Truitt was the head coach two seasons later when the Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia pointed out before Game 1 that Vancouver D Bowen Byram’s father, Shawn, played 116 games from 1986-88 with the Prince Albert Raiders, putting up 39 goals, 85 points and 300 PIMs. . . . Shawn began his WHL career by playing 62 games with the Regina Pats (1984-87). . . .

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants broke a 3-3 tie with two goals in the final minute of the second period and then hung on for a 5-4 victory over the host Prince Albert Raiders in Game 1 Vancouverof the WHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert tonight. . . . Vancouver D Dylan Plouffe (5) opened the scoring from the right faceoff dot at 4:20 of the first period, one-timing a pass from D Bowen Byram while enjoying a two-man PP advantage. . . . F Dawson Holt (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 6:06 as he pounced on a rebound off the end boards and rifled it home just 10 seconds after Vancouver’s second PP expired. . . . The Raiders cut the deficit in half when F Brett Leason (6) scored on a PP at 3:20 of the second period, beating G David Tendeck through the legs. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (8), the Giants’ captain, restored the two-goal lead at 5:13 as his shot from the top of the circles got past G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders quickly got that one back as F Noah Gregor (8) made it 3-2 at 6:17 as he split the defencemen at the top of the Giants’ zone, took a pass and scored from 12 feet out. . . . The home team pulled into a tie when F Dante Hannoun (10), a sniper who didn’t score in the six-game semifinal victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, found the range off a rebound at 16:45 of the second period. . . . Vancouver went back out front with 30.9 seconds left in the period as F Yannik Valenti (2) whipped home a one-timer from high in the slot on a PP. . . . Holt (7), who is from Saskatoon, made it 5-3 with his second goal of the game, this one from a bad angle, with 16.5 seconds left in the period. . . . D Jeremy Massella (1) pulled the Raiders back to within a goal at 2:50 of the third period when he drove to the net from the right side and stuffed the puck past Tendeck. . . . Holt had six goals in 53 regular-season games; he’s got seven in 16 playoff games. . . . F Owen Hardy, Dmytriw, who is from Craven, Sask., and Byram each had two assists for the Giants. Byram leads all playoff scorers with 20 points. . . . F Parker Kelly had two assists for the Raiders, with Hannoun adding one to his goal. . . . Vancouver was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . Tendeck finished with 25 stops, four more than Scott. . . . F Aidan Barfoot was among the Giants’ scratches. He hasn’t played since suffering a suspected concussion in Game 4 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Brett Iverson, with Sean Dufour and Tarrington Wyonzek on the lines.

(NOTE: Scoring changes after the game gave Byram two more assists, while taking one away from Hardy. That left Byram with a WHL-leading 22 points.)

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a game story right here.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a gamer right here.


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Have Rockets lost key d-man to Iles? . . . Kelowna, Seattle cut major trade. . . . Hitmen acquire Woo from Warriors. . . . Ice makes big noise in bantam draft


MacBeth

F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). This season, he had 18 goals and 39 assists in 40 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in points. . . . Stanley also was the team’s skills coach and director of player development for the Feldkirch minor hockey program this season and will continue in those roles next season. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. Next season will be his 10th in Germany. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

G Chet Pickard (Tri-City, 2005-09) signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he was 19-4-0, 1.96, .914, with three shutouts, in 24 games. He was second in the league in GAA and sixth in save percentage. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship.


ThisThat

Part I: Some trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

I would suggest that the biggest news came from the camp of the Kelowna Rockets, and it didn’t have anything to do with a deal that was struck with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Rather, it involved Finnish D Lassi Thomson.

In fact, there are reports that Ilves of Finland’s top pro league has a deal with Thomson that includes an option for him to stay through the 2021-22 season.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had this to say in a news KelownaRocketsrelease: “We’re aware of the report that was released today. We were somewhat surprised; however, Lassi has always been under contract to Ilves as they had to release him to play for us this season. We look forward to the NHL draft (in) June. We are hopeful that whichever NHL team drafts him and his club team Ilves decides that playing for the Rockets is in his best interest.”

Hamilton also told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice: “Once he is picked, the NHL team will have input on where he goes anyways. I think the NHL team will want to see him play in North America so they see him as much as they want. They can have their developmental people with him and have him playing on a North American ice sheet.”

Thomson, who had a one-year contract to play over here, was the Western Conference nominee as rookie of the year after a season in which he put up 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. You can bet the Rockets were looking to him to run their first PP unit as they prepare to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

From Tampere, Finland, Thomson won’t turn 19 until Sept. 24.

At home, he played in the Ilves system for four seasons — U-16, U-18 and U-20 — before joining the Rockets.

——

Meanwhile, the Rockets made a splash on draft day by cutting a major trade with the Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna acquired D Jake Lee, F Dillon Hamaliuk and G Cole SeattleSchwebius, giving up F Conner Bruggen-Cate, the 10th-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft — the Rockets had acquired it earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings — a second-round pick in 2021 and Kelowna’s first-rounder in 2022. . . . The Rockets didn’t make the playoffs this season and are in the early days of a massive rebuild as they attempt to get competitive for a season that will end with them as the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . .

Lee, who is to turn 18 on July 13, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was the 18th-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, his second in Seattle, he put up three goals and 21 assists in 67 games. . . . Hamaliuk, who will turn 19 on Oct. 30, is from Leduc, Alta. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. His season was ended by injury after 31 games, as he finished with 11 goals and 15 assists. . . . Schwebius, a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, is from Kelowna. This season, he was 5-8-2, 3.89, .886 in 17 games with Seattle. . . .

Schwebius, 18, leaves the Rockets with three goaltenders on their roster, joining Roman Basran, who is to turn 18 on July 26, and James Porter, 19. This season, Basra was 20-19-4, 2.79, .906 in 51 games; Porter went 8-13-4, 3.32, .899 in 30 appearances.

Bruggen-Cate, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, is from Langley, B.C. He has played three seasons in Kelowna, totalling 26 goals and 46 assists in 200 games. Kelowna selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Seattle’s 20-year-old group now includes Bruggen-Cate, F Jaxan Kaluski, Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca, D Jarret Tyszka and F Matthew Wedman,


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Seattle, having dealt Schwebius to Kelowna, turned around and acquired G Blake Lyda of Edmonton from the Everett Silvertips for a third-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . That selection had originated with Everett, moving to Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that had F Zack Andrusiak move to the Silvertips. . . . Lyda, who will turn 17 on May 21, was a fourth-round pick by Everett in the 2017 bantam draft. He was with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians, although he missed much of the season due to injury. . . . Right now, Lyda and Roddy Ross, who is to turn 19 on July 4, are the top two goaltenders on Seattle’s depth chart.


Kelowna acquired the 10th-overall pick, along with the WHL rights to D Sean Comrie, BrandonWKregularfrom Brandon for the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Comrie, 19, is from Edmonton. The Wheat Kings selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. Comrie was a freshman this season with the U of Denver Pioneers, after playing two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. This season, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 34 games. . . . The deal left Brandon with the fifth and sixth selections, the first time it held two top six picks since 2013 when it took F Nolan Patrick fourth overall and D Kale Clague with the sixth pick. . . . This time, the Wheat Kings took F Nate Danielson of Red Deer with the fifth selection and F Tyson Zimmer of Russell, Man., in the six hole. . . . Danielson had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Rebels this season, while Zimmer had 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games with a bantam team at the OHA in Penticton.


The Winnipeg Ice acquired the third-overall selection and D Reece Harsch, 20, from the wpgiceSaskatoon Blades for four draft picks — the ninth- and 24th-overall picks in the 2019 bantam draft, as well as a 2020 second-round pick and a fifth in 2021. . . . That ninth-overall pick and the second-round selection in 2020 originated with the Red Deer Rebels; the fifth started with the Blades and was dealt to the Ice for F Cyle McNabb in January. . . . The Ice then cut a deal with the Prince George Cougars, giving up the third-overall pick and a third in 2020 that originated with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the second-overall selection in 2019. . . . Winnipeg selected F Matt Savoie of St. Albert, Alta., with the first pick, and then took F Conor Geekie of Strathclair, Man., with the second selection. . . . Savoie has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver Pioneers starting with the 2021-22 season. His brother, Carter, was the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has committed to the Pioneers for the 2020-21 season. . . . Interestingly, the Ice recently acquired Carter’s WHL rights from the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice brought the Savoies to Winnipeg in mid-April to show them around and seriously begin their sales pitch. . . . Geekie’s father, Craig, played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs (1991-94). Conor’s brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans, while another brother, Noah, was a second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in 2015 but has chosen to pursue a career in baseball. . . . Harsch, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was acquired by the Blades from the Seattle Thunderbirds this season. He totalled four goals and 16 assists in 57 regular-season games. In three full WHL seasons he has 17 goals and 40 assists in 178 games. He was a part of the Seattle team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup two years ago.

——

In the fourth round, Winnipeg grabbed F Rieger Lorenz of Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists with the bantam prep team at the Edge School in Calgary this season. . . . Lorenz has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2022-23 season.

——

Winnipeg also made a deal with the Tri-City Americans in which the Ice acquired F Isaac Johnson, 20. . . . Winnipeg gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in the exchange. That pick originated with Spokane, moving to the Ice in a deal made in June in which D Bobby Russell went to the Chiefs. . . . From Andover, Minn., Johnson had 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games with the Americans this season when he left the team and apparently retired. At the time, Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Johnson had retired for personal reasons. . . . In 2017-18, Johnson had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . The Ice roster now includes three 20-year-olds — Johnson, F Davis Murray and D Chase Hartje.


The Kamloops Blazers had two first-round selections for the first time in franchise  Kamloops1history. They took D Mats Lindgren out of the Burnaby Winter Club with the seventh-overall selection, then picked F Connor Levis of the St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick. . . . Both players have committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines for 2022-23. . . . Lindgren’s father, Mats, is a former NHLer. . . . In 2016, the Blazers used the 15th-overall pick on F Massimo Rizzo, who just completed his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . In 2017, the Blazers took F Josh Pillar with the 14th selection. In 2018, they grabbed F Logan Stankoven with the fifth pick. . . . Pillar showed dramatic improvement with the Blazers as this season wore on, while Stankoven lit up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers and will be a big part of the Kamloops scene over the next few seasons.


Before the draft got started, the Calgary Hitmen made a huge splash by acquiring Jett CalgaryWoo, one of the WHL top defencemen, from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for D Vladislav Yeryomenko, F Ryder Korczak, the 11th-overall pick in the 2019 draft and a second-rounder in 2021. . . . Woo, the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, was a second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has signed a three-year entry-level deal with Vancouver. . . . From Winnipeg, Woo is to turn 19 on July 27. He just completed his third season with Moose Jaw, and has 114 points, including 26 goals, in 178 games. This season, he finished with 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games. . . .

“This was our No. 1 priority in getting a puck moving defenceman,” Jeff Chynoweth, Calgary’s general manager, said in a news release. “To add a player of his calibre, one of the top scoring defencemen in the WHL, a player who plays hard at both ends, is huge for our club.

“He’s a legitimate No. 1 defender and to get him for a whole season instead of after the trade deadline is an added bonus.”

The deal also signals that the Hitmen have their eyes on the prize for 2019-20 and won’t be content just being one of the players.

Yeryomenko, 20, is from Mishutki, Belarus. He was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville MooseJawWarriorsPredators in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign a pro deal. This season, his third with Calgary, he had seven goals and 26 assists in 33 games. In 188 regular-season games, he has 26 goals and 72 assists.

The Warriors have two other Belarusians on their roster — F Yegor Buyalski, 18, and F Daniil Stepanov, 18.

There have been rumblings that the rule involving 20-year-old import players may be about to change, perhaps with the removal of the two-spot designation. It could be that a team will be allowed to have three imports on its roster, if one of them is a 20-year-old. This deal may signal that Moose Jaw general manager Alan Millar is expecting that rule to be changed.

Korczak, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 23, is from Yorkton, Sask. The younger brother of Kelowna Rockets D Kaedan Korczak, he had eight goals and seven assists in 50 games as a freshman with the Hitmen.


The Vancouver Giants didn’t have a first-round pick, and took D Joshua Niedermayer, a Vancouverson of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, with the 30th overall selection. A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Joshua had 10 goals and 12 assists in 27 games with the bantam prep team at OHA in Penticton, B.C. . . . His brother, Jackson, 18, is a forward with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to Arizona State U and the Sun Devils for 2021-22. . . . Jackson was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . .

The Giants used their second pick in the draft, No. 43, to take F Bowden Singleton of Calgary. He had 42 goals and 24 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, but has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2022-23. . . .

In the fifth round, the Giants took F Colton Langkow of Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Daymond, played four seasons (1992-96) with the Tri-City Americans while an uncle, Scott, spent three seasons (1992-95) tending goal for the Portland Winterhawks.


JUST NOTES: Kamloops took G Dylan Ernst from the Weyburn, Sask., bantam AA Red Wings with the 28th overall pick. He was the first goaltender taken in the draft. Dylan’s brother Ethan, 17, just finished his freshman season with the Kelowna Rockets. After Dylan was drafted, their mother, Bonnie, tweeted: “It’s hard enough to watch him in net, let alone playing against his brother. And that many times.” . . .

The Blazers used a seventh-round pick to take F Nash Bamford of Lacombe, Alta. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels. His father is country music star Gord Bamford, who was born in Australia and raised in Canada. He has 26 CCMA awards to his credit. . . .

The Everett Silvertips took F Austin Roest of Vernon, B.C., in the third round. His father, Stacy, played four seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is the director of player development with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors selected D Carson Brisson of Edmonton in the fifth round. He had 18 goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the minor midget Leduc Oil Kings this season. He has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for 2023-24. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds used an eighth-round pick to take F Cruz Lucius of Grant, Minn. He played this season with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy, putting up nine goals and 32 assists in 13 games. He has committed to the U of Minnesota Gophers for 2022-23. . . . His brother, Chaz, was taken in the fourth round a year ago by the Portland Winterhawks. Chaz is poised to enter the U.S. National Team Development Program after putting up 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy. He is committed to Minnesota for 2021-22.

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Savoie says he’s going to Denver; top bantam prospect tweets about his decision. . . . Calgary captain leaves finale early


ThisThat

F Matt Savoie, the No. 1 prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans on attending the U of Denver and playing for whlthe Pioneers, starting with the 2021-22 season.

Savoie and his family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, a move that if granted would have allowed him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old in 2019-20. Under WHL rules, a 15-year-old is permitted to play only five games before his club team has its season come to an end.

Hockey Canada has yet to announce its decision, although Savoie’s decision might indicate a ruling is imminent.

Earlier this month, dubnetwork.ca, citing what it called “multiple WHL sources,” reported that Savoie had been denied exceptional status. However, dubnetwork.ca has yet to confirm that report with Hockey Canada or the Savoie family, and hasn’t followed up on its story.

Savoie turned 15 on Jan. 1. Had he been born one day earlier, he would have been selected in the 2018 bantam and would be eligible to play full-time in the WHL next season.

From St. Albert, Alta., he played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, totalling 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games, and was named the CSSHL’s most valuable player.

Savoie’s brother, Carter, 17, also has committed to Denver. Carter played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. It could be that the plan is for Matt to play in the AJHL, too, until he joins the Pioneers.

Of course, there is a lot of hockey to be played between then and now, and a whole lot can happen, including the changing of minds.

The WHL will hold its annual draft lottery on Wednesday to determine the order of selection for the draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. The six non-playoff teams will be in the lottery, with teams allowed to move up only two spots. Thus, the three teams with the poorest regular-season records are in the running for the first pick.

The Swift Current Broncos finished with the poorest record, following by the Winnipeg Ice and Regina Pats. However, the Prince George Cougars hold Swift Current’s pick from an earlier trade, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection.

It’s worth noting, too, that two other top prospects announced NCAA commitments earlier this season.

D Mats Lindgren, son of the former NHLer of the same name, won’t turn 15 until Aug. 26 but already has said he will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2022-23. Lindgren is from North Vancouver, B.C., and had four goals and 22 assists in 27 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep A team.

F Connor Levis, who will turn 15 on Oct 5, also has committed to Michigan for 2022-23. Levis is from Vancouver. This season, he had 24 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with  the St. George’s School bantam prep team.


There were, of course, four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament that took place in Regina. Of those four teams, only one will appear in this season’s playoffs. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan won the 2018 Memorial Cup, beating the WHL’s Regina Pats, in the tournament as the host team, in the final. Also there were the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos and the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . The Titan concluded its regular season on Saturday, finishing with an 8-54-6 record, including a 1-29-4 mark on home ice. . . . Regina wound up 19-45-4, while Swift Current, at 11-51-6, finished with the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Hamilton, at 29-34-5, finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and will meet the first-place Ottawa 67’s (49-12-5) in the first round of the OHL’s playoffs. . . . Obviously, the cost of winning a championship in major junior hockey can be a steep price to pay. So can being the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament.


With the playoffs about to start, it will be worth watching the status of F Mark Kastelic, Calgarythe captain of the Calgary Hitmen.

Here’s Zach Laing of Postmedia, after the Hitmen lost, 3-1, to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday:

“With just under four minutes (left in the third period), Kastelic was tracking a loose puck near the Oil Kings bench when Edmonton left-winger Jake Neighbours finished a body-check resulting in Kastelic being slammed face first into the hard plexiglass stanchion.

“Wobbling to the bench, Kastelic had to be initially held up by teammates as he went directly to the locker room with Neighbours heading to the penalty box.”

Kastelic didn’t return to the game, but Laing reported seeing him walking around after the game “looking no worse for wear.”

Kastelic led the Hitmen in goals (47) and was tied with F James Malm for the lead in points, each with 77.

The Hitmen open the first round on Friday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.


F Trey Fechko of Eden Prairie, Minn., has committed to Arizona State U and says he will join the Sun Devils for the 2022-23 season. Fechko, who will turn 16 on Oct. 16, played this season for Holy Family Catholic High School, totalling 37 points, including 15 goals, in 24 games. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


Trevor Weisgerber, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, is the new head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Weisgerber takes over from Ray Wareham, who has left the post after 17 seasons. . . . Weisgerber was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Warriors for two seasons (2010-12). . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has more right here.


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Oil Kings a hurtin’ bunch . . . Youngster commits to Michigan . . . Chiefs’ Smith lights up Cougars

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings started one of those weekends — three games in fewer than 48 hours — on Friday night, and they went in with nine injured players, according to the EdmontonOilKingsWHL’s weekly roster report. That report also fails to include G Travis Child and F Andrei Pavlenko, neither of whom will play again this season. . . . Of the nine players listed, all are shown as being out at least one week, although G Boston Bilous, who is listed as being out a week due to illness, backed up Friday night. . . . As a result, the Oil Kings have added F Matthew Culling, F Raphael Pelletier and D Logan Dowhaniuk to their roster. . . . Culling, 16, is from Regina and was a 10th-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, and got into four earlier games with the Oil Kings. . . . Pelletier, from St. Albert, Alta., plays for the Northern Alberta Elite 15s. He was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Pelletier got into two games with the Oil Kings earlier this season. . . . Dowhaniuk, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, and got into two WHL games earlier in the season. He plays for the OHA Edmonton prep team.


F Connor Levis of Vancouver has committed to the U of Michigan, where he will play for the Wolverines starting in 2022-23. Levis, 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, plays for the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. This season, Levis has 42 goals and 46 assists in 29 games. . . . Levis is 13 years of age — he will turn 14 on Oct. 5 — so hasn’t yet been through a WHL bantam draft.


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.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

At Calgary, F Jake Kryski scored twice to lead the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (19-33-7) has won two in a row. It is 11th in the Central CalgaryDivision, one point ahead of Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings (18-34-8) had points in their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . F Carson Focht (10) gave Calgary at 1-0 lead at 11:56 of the first period. . . . Kryski made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:22 of the second period. . . . F Tomas Soustal (17) scored for Edmonton at 4:29. . . . Kryski (13) got that one back at 6:02. . . . F Jakob Stukel (29), who also had two assists, got Calgary’s final goal, at 17:03. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Riley Stotts, while Kryski also added an assist. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 14 shots for the Hitmen. . . . At the other end, G Josh Dechaine turned aside 22 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 8,984.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-7) has won three in a row. It leads the Central Tigers Logo OfficialDivision by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Kootenay (25-35-3) has lost four in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . F Gary Haden (15) gave  the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Alec Baer (25), at 10:24 of the first period, and F Brad Ginnell (8), on a PP, at 17:18 of the second period. . . . D Cole Clayton (2) pulled the Tigers even at 18:23. . . . D David Quenneville (25) broke the tie, on a PP, at 9:00 of the third period. . . . F Jaeger White had two assists for the winners. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers got 32 saves from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 33 shots for the Ice. . . . The game’s start was delayed more than 90 minutes after the Tigers were late getting to Cranbrook. Their trip was delayed more than two hours by an accident in the Crowsnest Pass. . . . F Connor McClennon played in his fourth game with the Ice. He was the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . The Tigers again were without G Jordan Hollett, D Joel Craven, D Kristians Rubins, D Linus Nassen, F Hayden Ostir and F Mason Shaw. They also scratched F Dawson Heathcote. . . . Announced attendance: 2,279.


At Lethbridge, F Jordy Bellerive had a goal and two assists to help the Hurricanes to a 7-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge (30-25-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Brandon (31-24-5) has lost two in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, five points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . F Brad Morrison gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 10:34 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (19) made it 2-0 at 12:39. Both goals came via the PP. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (17) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 2:20 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge scored the next five goals. . . . F Logan Barlage (6) and Morrison (25) struck on the PP, with other goals coming from Bellerive (43), F Egor Zudilov (6) and F Taylor Ross (17). . . . F Rylan Bettens (6) had Brandon’s other goal, on a PP. . . . D Calen Addison drew three assists for the winners, with F Jake Elmer and F Jadon Joseph getting two each, and Barlage one. . . . Lethbridge was 4-4 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 stops from G Logan Flodell. . . . The Wheat Kings started G Logan Thompson, who was beaten five times on 32 shots through two periods. Dylan Myskiw finished up, stopping six of eight shots in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Ty Lewis, but had D Daniel Bukac and D Chase Hartje back in the lineup. They also added F Ridly Greig to their roster, allowing him to play in his hometown. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,436.


At Red Deer, F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie at 19:16 of the second period and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Prince Albert (25-25-11) has PrinceAlbertwon two in a row. It is four points out of a playoff spot. . . . Red Deer (21-28-13) has lost two straight. It is third in the Central Division, two points ahead of Kootenay. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kody McDonald (31), at 0:14, and F Jordy Stallard (39), at 17:02. . . . The Rebels pulled even on second-period goals from F Alex Morozoff (5), at 3:02, and F Josh Tarzwell (9), on a PP, at 17:38. . . . Leason’s 14th goal stood up as the winner and ran his goal-scoring streak to five games. . . . D Vojtech Budik had two assists for the Raiders, with McDonald adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-8 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-1. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Ethan Anders stopped 20 shots for Red Deer. . . . F Jordan Borysiuk made his WHL debut with the Rebels. Borysiuk, 16, was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is from Mannville, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,428.


At Kelowna, F Kole Lind broke a 4-4 tie late in the third period to give the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna (37-18-6) has points in four straight KelownaRockets(3-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by five points over Victoria. . . . Seattle (28-23-9) has lost three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and six ahead of Kamloops. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Donovan Neuls (20), at 7:26, and F Dillon Hamaliuk (14), at 11:35. . . . The Rockets scored the next four goals. . . . D Cal Foote (16) started it 19 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (30) tied the score at 2:13. . . . F Leif Mattson (19) gave Kelowna the lead, on a PP, at 2:46 of the third period, and D Kaedan Korczak (3) made it 4-2 at 7:13. . . . Seattle tied it on goals 29 seconds apart from F Matthew Wedman (15), at 14:46, and F Zack Andrusiak (24), at 15:15. . . . Lind, in his first game since Feb. 12, won it with his 32nd goal, at 18:39. . . . Mattson added two assists to his goal, with Dube and Korczak getting one each. . . . F Nolan Volcan and Hamaliuk each had two assists for Seattle, with Wedman adding one. . . . Kelowna was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 24 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch returned to Seattle’s lineup after a 19-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 4,859.


At Spokane, D Ty Smith, who is likely to be the first WHLer selected in the NHL’s 2018 draft, had two goals and five assists as the Chiefs whipped the Prince George Cougars, 9-SpokaneChiefs2. . . . Spokane (34-21-5) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Prince George (20-32-8) has lost two in a row. . . . Spokane scored the game’s first six goals — two in the first period and four in the second. . . . Smith, who has 12 goals, scored 12 seconds into the second period and again at 4:02, giving the Chiefs leads of 3-0 and 4-0. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto (17), F Milos Fafrak (7), F Luke Toporowski (9), D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), F Carter Chorney (2), F Ethan McIndoe (19) and D Jeff Faith (5) also scored for Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got three assists from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, two each from McIndoe and Yamamoto, and one apiece from Hamaliuk, Fafrak and Toporowski. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (11) and F Aaron Boyd (10) scored for the Cougars, who got two assists from F Josh Maser. . . . Spokane was 0-1 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 32 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Cougars started G Tavin Grant, who was beaten six times on 28 shots through two periods. Isaiah DiLaura played the third period, allowing three goals on six shots. . . . Announced attendance: 7,906.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans got out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Tri-City (31-21-8) has won two straight. It is fourth TriCity30in the U.S. Divison, three points behind Spokane. . . . Kamloops (27-30-5) is six points from a playoff spot. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (24) opened the scoring at 16:16 of the first period, and F Nolan Yaremko (19) upped it to 2-0 at 3:51 of the second. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (18) got the Blazers to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki (8) restored the two-goal lead at 1:54. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) pulled Kamloops back to within a goal at 17:04, only to have F Parker AuCoin (16) get the empty-netter at 18:55. . . . Rasmussen also had an assist. . . . The Blazers got two assists from F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 31 shots for the Americans, five fewer than Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers. . . . The Americans remain without D Roman Kalinichenko and F Kyle Olson. . . . Kamloops continues to play without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith. . . . Announced attendance: 3,168.

At Saskatoon, the Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and went on to beat the Blades, 7-5. . . . Regina (33-24-6) has won four in a row. It is third in the East Division, five points ahead ReginaPats100of Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (31-28-3) had won its previous two games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Brandon and four ahead of Prince Albert. . . . F Kirby Dach (6) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:37 of the first period. . . . D Seth Bafaro (3) made it 2-0 at 16:49, and F Eric Florchuk (13) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:43. . . . The Blades took a 4-0 lead at 7:47 of the second period as F Gage Ramsay got his fifth goal. . . . The Pats tied it with four quick goals. . . . F Cam Hebig (40) got it started, on a PP, at 16:33, with F Koby Morrisseau (3) making it 4-2 at 18:08. . . . F Robbie Holmes (14) got Regina to within a goal 58 seconds into the third period, and F Matt Bradley tied it at 3:43. . . . F Chase Wouters (17) gave the Blades a 5-4 lead at 4:08, but the Pats scored the last three goals. . . . F Sam Steel (24) tied it at 7:23 and F Jared Legien (21) gave the Pat their first lead at 17:26. . . . Bradley (37) added the empty-netter at 19:43. . . . The Pats got two assists from each of F Emil Oskanen, Steel and Hebig, with Bradley getting one. . . . Steel had three points in his 250th regular-season game. He now has 325 points, including 211 assists. . . . F Max Gerlach had two assists for Saskatoon, with Dach and Bafaro each getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Jacob Wasserman made his first WHL start for Regina and finished with 23 stops. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon was without D Dawson Davidson, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina was without F Jesse Gabrielle, who completed a two-game suspension, and D Liam Schioler, who served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . With Schioler out, the Pats have added D Marco Creta to their roster from the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. . . . Announced attendance: 3,982.


At Victoria, G Shane Farkas stopped 29 shots to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (36-20-4) had lost its previous two games. It is second Portlandin the U.S. Division, three points ahead of Spokane. . . . Victoria (35-22-5) is second in the B.C. Divison, five points behind Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks got second-period goals from F Alex Overheard (14), at 13:43, and F Kieffer Bellows (30), at 18:44. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) scored the Royals’ goal, on a PP, at 18:10 of the third period. . . . Royals F Matthew Phillips picked up an assist to reach 100 points, including 44 goals. He is the first skater in Royals history to enjoy a 100-point season. . . . He also ran his point streak to 22 games. . . . Victoria was 1-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . The Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria D Chaz Reddekopp, who hasn’t played since Jan. 13, took the warmup but then was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 5,527.


At Langley, B.C., F Martin Fasko-Rudas broke a 1-1 tie at 12:16 of the second period and the Everett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (40-Everett17-5) has points in 10 straight (8-0-2). It leads the Western Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (31-21-8) has lost three in a row. It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Connor Dewar (31) scored, on a PP, to give Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:54 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Davis Koch (21) tied it at 10:54. . . . Fasko-Rudas won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 12:16. . . . Everett got two assists from each of F Matt Fonteyne and F Garrett Pilon. . . . Everett was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-4. . . . The Silvertips got 29 saves from G Carter Hart. The game’s first star, Hart now is 25-4-4, 1.55, .951. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck blocked 26 shots. . . . The Giants scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis and F Milos Roman, who are injured, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 2,536.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

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


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