MJHL looking at Grand Forks, N.D. . . . Leschyshyn, Henry spark ‘Canes . . . Silvertips now have points in 16 straight


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Brad E. Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has reported that the MJHL is taking a serious look at putting an expansion franchise in the North Dakota city in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . “The Winnipeg-based junior league has drawn up a memorandum of understanding and a final proposal for a Grand Forks group, outlining what needs to be done to for the city to have an expansion team in place by the fall of 2019,” writes Schlossman in a story that is right here. . . . While the league’s office is in Winnipeg, the Manitoba capital is home to just one of its 11 teams — the Winnipeg Blues. With the impending move of the WHL’s Koogtenay Ice to Winnipeg, you wonder how much concern there is inside the MJHL over the future of the Blues.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Chyzowski broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and also had two assists as the host Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat Tigers skated to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Medicine Hat (19-15-3) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (17-14-1) had won its previous four games. It now is 1-1-0 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . F James Hamblin had his second straight two-goal game for the Tigers. He has 21 goals, giving him his third straight 20-goal season. . . . Hamblin opened the scoring at 6:52 of the first period. . . . F Ty Yoder tied it for Victoria at 8:24 of the second. . . . Hamblin scored on a PP, at 13:01, for a 2-1 lead, only to have Yoder (4) tie it at 1:51 of the third. Yoder, a 16-year-old from Tofield, Alta., went into the game with two goals in 27 games, 26 of them this season. . . . Chyzowski (13) broke the tie at 5:14, and F Ryan Jevne (18) got the empty-netter at 19:42. . . . G Garin Bjorklund, a 16-year-old from Calgary, made his WHL debut for the Tigers, earning the victory with 21 stops. The Tigers selected him 21st overall in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The Tigers brought him in from the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes with starter Mads Sogaard at the WJC with Denmark. . . . D Carson Golder, 16, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Terrace, B.C., he plays for the Pursuit of Excellence Academy prep team in Kelowna.


F Cam Hausinger scored the only goal of a shootout to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 Red Deervictory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Red Deer (21-11-2) has lost its previous two games. . . . Edmonton (19-12-7) has points in five straight (3-0-2) and remains first in the Central Division, one point ahead of Red Deer and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings are 2-1-1 in the season series. These teams hadn’t met since Oct. 19. They will play again today, this time in Edmonton. . . . F Jeff de Wit interrupted a scoreless game with his 20th goal, giving Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 12:12 of the third period. . . . D Conner McDonald (8) got Edmonton into a tie at 17:44. . . . With Edmonton up first in the shootout, the first seven shooters came up short before Hausinger won it. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 38 shots.


F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry, both of whom were acquired from the Regina Pats Lethbridgeon Nov. 29, combined for 10 points as the Lethbridge Hurricanes doubled the Kootenay Ice, 8-4, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Lethbridge (19-10-6) scored eight goals for the fourth time this season. . . . Kootenay (8-24-6) has lost three in a row. . . . Leschyshyn finished with three goals and two assists, for his first career five-point outing. He’s got 24 goals. . . . Henry had a goal, his 17th, and four assists, for his first career five-point game, and F Jordy Bellerive helped out with four assists. . . . The Ice held a 2-1 lead with three minutes left in the first period but surrendered three goals in the final three minutes and the Hurricanes went from there. . . . D Calen Addison had a goal, his sixth, and two assists for Lethbridge, with F Dylan Cozens scoring twice, giving him 20. . . . The Ice got a goal, his 14th, and two assists from F Jaeger White and three assists from F Peyton Krebs. . . . Krebs left the game late in the third period after taking a hit from F Koltrane Wilson. . . . G Bryan Thomson made his WHL as he started for the Hurricanes and made 33 stops. A 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, Thomson plays for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds. He was a second-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Carl Tetachuk, a 17-year-old freshman, with an undisclosed injury, and had sophomore Reece Klassen, who was feeling ill, backing up Thomson. . . . Kootenay F Brad Ginnell took a headshot major and game misconduct at 18:44 of the second period for a hit on Bellerive, who wasn’t injured on the play.


The host Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kamloops KelownaRocketsBlazers, 2-1. . . . Kelowna (17-17-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Blazers (13-17-3) had beaten the visiting Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Friday night. . . . Last night, D Luke Zazula (3) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 12:19 of the second period. . . . Kelowna tied it at 19:32 of the second period when F Nolan Foote (19) scored. . . . F Kyle Topping (14) snapped the tie with his 14th goal, at 10:08 of the third period. . . . D Dalton Gally assisted on both Kelowna goals. . . . The Rockets got 33 saves from G Roman Basran, while the Blazers’ Dylan Ferguson blocked 31 shots. . . . Kamloops was without D Joonas Sillanpää. The Finnish freshman was injured while blocking a shot on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks blew a 3-0 lead before bouncing back to beat the Seattle PortlandThunderbirds, 8-6, in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (20-11-5) has points in five straight (2-0-3). . . . Seattle (11-18-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . After opening up a 3-0 first-period lead, the Winterhawks were outscored 5-2 in the second as the teams went to the third period tied, 5-5. . . . D Clay Hanus (3) gave the Winterhawks a 6-5 lead at 1:25 of the third, with F Ryan Hughes (16) upping it to 7-5 at 5:24. . . . F Zack Andrusiak’s fourth goal of the game, at 19:31, got Seattle to within a goal before F Lane Gilliss (7) iced it for Portland with an empty-netter at 19:39. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points (69), had a goal, his 32nd, and three assists for Portland. Hughes finished with two goals and an assist, and Gilliss scored twice. . . . Andrusiak, with 25 goals, now has three hat tricks this season and five in his career. . . . Seattle won 43 of 70 faceoffs. . . . F Noah Philp scored his 11th goal and added three assists for Seattle, with D Jarret Tyszka getting three assists. . . . Portland was without two veteran defencemen — Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol after taking a hit on Friday night, and John Ludvig, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct on Friday. . . . The Winterhawks also lost D Matthew Quigley to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 3:30 of the second period.


F Jake McGrew scored with 3.2 seconds left in the third period to give the Spokane Chiefs SpokaneChiefsa 2-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane now is 20-12-4. . . . The Americans (18-13-2) had won their previous four games, each of them in OT. . . . D Dom Schmiemann (2) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (11) pulled Spokane even, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second. . . . McGrew, who drew the primary assist on Toporowski’s goal, won it with his 12th of the season. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots for the Americans, who were outshot 35-19. . . . With G Dawson Weatherill day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, the Chiefs have Campbell Arnold of the junior B Spokane Braves backing up Bailey Brkin. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.


The Everett Silvertips have points in 16 straight games after beating the visiting Prince EverettGeorge Cougars, 6-1. . . . Everett (29-7-2) is 14-0-2 in its past 16 outings. . . . Prince George (12-20-3) had won its previous game; it now is 1-6-0 on an 11-game road swing that continues tonight in Kamloops. . . . The Silvertips took control early, scoring three first-period goals and going ahead 4-0 when F Martin Fasko-Rudas (11) scored his second of the game 21 seconds into the second period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (8) also scored twice for Everett, with D Artyom Minulin recording three assists. . . . G Max Palaga earned the victory with 24 saves in his first start since he blanked the visiting Kootenay Ice, 3-0, on Dec. 1. Dustin Wolf had made seven straight starts. . . . Palaga lost his shutout bid when D Ryan Schoettler (4) scored, on a PP, at 13:23 of the second period.


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Rockets add d-man from Tigers . . . Philp fills up in Kelowna . . . Glass, Blichfeld spark Winterhawks


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D Brenden Kichton (Spokane, 2008-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). Last season, he had four goals and 20 assists in 63 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).


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The WHL’s 20-year-old deadline came and went on Wednesday and featured one trade.

The Medicine Hat Tigers got down to the maximum of three 20s by sending D Dalton Tigers Logo OfficialGally to the Kelowna Rockets for a 10th-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft.

Gally had been scratched from four straight games after D Dylan MacPherson and D Linus Nassen were returned by the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Both skaters had been in camp with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds.

F Ryan Jevne is the Tigers’ third 20-year-old player.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Gally, from Eagle River, Alaska, played 135 regular-season games with the Tigers, totalling three goals and 18 assists. This season, he was pointless in five games. Last season, he put up two goals and 10 assists in 72 games.

Gally was a sixth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2013 bantam draft.

The Tigers actually didn’t have to get down to three 20s on Wednesday; in fact, they had . MacPherson and Nassen returned on Oct. 2, and WHL teams are given 14 days in which to get down to the maximum in a situation where a player or players come back from a pro team.

With Gally in town, the Rockets will have four 20-year-olds on their roster, the others KelownaRocketsbeing F Ryan Bowen, D Braydyn Chizen and F Lane Zablocki.

Zablocki, who was acquired earlier from the Victoria Royals, has yet to play for the Rockets and is expected to be out at least another 10 days with an undisclosed injury.

The Rockets, who are off the to the poorest start in franchise history, are hoping Gally can bring some physical play to their game.

“We had an opportunity to add another defenceman and, with Zablocki out for at least 10 more days, it was an opportunity to get a player in here and have a look at him,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said in a news release. “We currently have five right-handed defenceman and we needed to get a left-handed guy in here to help out with some of the young players that are playing on their off-side. That’s the main reason why we’ve looked at this.

“He’s going to come in and we’re going to give him a chance to show us what he can do. He is a big, heavy guy that isn’t afraid to get involved physically, which is something I think we need also.”

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos and Tri-City Americans continue to carry four 20-year-olds, but injuries mean they don’t yet have to cut down to three.

Broncos D Artyom Minulin (shoulder) is injured and has yet to play this season. With him on the injury list, the Broncos don’t yet have to trim one 20-year-old. Minulin underwent off-season shoulder surgery and only recently rejoined the Broncos. However, he has yet to be cleared for a return to action.

The WHL’s reigning champions also are carrying F Andrew Fyten, F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley.

The Americans have F Parker AuCoin, D Anthony Bishop, F Brett Clayton and F Nolan Yaremko on their roster. However, Bishop is out with an undisclosed injury and may not return until December.


The Vancouver Giants may be without G Trent Miner for games this weekend.

Miner, the CHL’s reigning goaltender of the week, has returned to his family home in VancouverBrandon following the deaths of two grandfathers.

Last week, Miner, a freshman, made his first two appearances of the season, and went 2-0-0, 1.00, .964, with a shutout.

Miner was the 20th overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.

With Miner gone, the Giants will look to veteran David Tendeck to carry the load. He is 4-1-0, 1.59, .940.

The Giants (6-1-0) are scheduled to play host to the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night, then head to Victoria for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader against the Royals (6-0-0).


It will be Bronco Strong night on Nov. 2 when the Swift Current Broncos play host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

From a news release:

“The Humboldt and Swift Current Broncos share a name and, unfortunately, also share the heartache of tragic accidents in their respective histories. The 1986 Swift Current Broncos were involved in a bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, which claimed the lives of four young hockey players. Tragedy struck again on April 6, 2018 when the Humboldt Broncos’ bus collided with a semi-trailer. This time, 16 lives were lost and many others were left with life-altering injuries. The members of each of these teams will be invited to attend the Nov. 2 game, along with family members.

Both Broncos teams have partnered to create a sweater that will represent the communities of Swift Current and Humboldt. These sweaters will be worn by the Swift Current Broncos on Nov. 2 and will be auctioned off with 100 per cent of the revenue going toward STARS Air Ambulance. The Humboldt Broncos will wear the uniforms as a third sweater for the remainder of the season. A generous donation by Scotia Wealth Management will cover the cost of both sets of uniforms.

“The Bronco Strong jersey design will be released at a later date.”

The complete news release is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen are going to play three February home games in the 6,450-seat Stampede Corral, which cost $1.25 million to build and opened on Dec. 15, 1950.

Games against the Brandon Wheat Kings (Feb. 1), Regina Pats (Feb. 6) and Prince Albert Raiders (Feb. 8) will be played in the Corral, which happens to be the building in which the Pats won the 1974 Memorial Cup.

From a news release:

“As a tribute to the city’s hockey history, the Hitmen will dedicate each game to a former elite team that once called the Stampede Corral home by wearing commemorative jerseys of the Calgary Centennials, Calgary Wranglers and Calgary Cowboys.”

The complete news release is right here.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Tristyn DeRoose, who was released by the Moose Jaw Warriors, has joined the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. DeRoose, 19, is from Ceylon, Sask. He had five goals and eight assists in 108 regular-season WHL games, split between the Vancouver Giants and the Warriors. . . . DeRoose’s brother, Darcy, played 136 games with the Bruins over five seasons. Darcy also played 38 WHL games — three with the Warriors and 35 with the Everett Silvertips (2012-14).


F Ty Kolle scored twice to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the LethbridgeRegina Pats. . . . Kolle, who was acquired last week from the Portland Winterhawks, has two goals this season. . . . Lethbridge is 1-2-1 at home. . . . The Pats (1-6-0) are 0-4-0 on the road. . . . Regina was without F Sergei Alkhimov and and F Jake Leschyshyn, both of whom served one-game suspensions. . . . Regina also was without D Liam Schioler (leg) for a second game in a row. . . . The Pats did get back G Max Paddock after he sat out two games with an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Philip, who had never scored more than once in a WHL game, counted four times Seattleto lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 9-6 victory over the host Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds, who scored four PP goals in five opportunities, took control with five first-period goals, three of them from Philp, who got his first four goals of the season. His fourth goal came in the second period. . . . Philp went into Kelowna with 28 goals in 208 career regular-season games. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk had his five-game goal-scoring streak end, but he drew three assists, as did D Jake Lee. . . . Seattle got a goal and two assists from each of F Zack Andrusiak and F Andrej Kukuca. . . . F Leif Mattson scored two goals  and added two assists for Kelowna, with F Kyle Topping earning four assists. . . . The Rockets continued the poorest start in franchise history. They now are 1-8-0 and have lost four in a row.


F Cody Glass, who was named Portland’s captain earlier in the day, scored two goals and Portlandadded two assists to lead the Winterhawks to an 8-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, the WHL’s leading scorer, had five assists. He has 22 points in eight games. . . . Glass has 17 points in six games. . . . F Reece Newkirk, the third member of that line, helped out with a goal and two assists. . . . Portland scored four times on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks have won five in a row. . . . Edmonton is 0-3-1 on a road trip that stops in Everett and Kent, Wash., on Friday and Saturday nights.


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