Giants force Game 7 in WHL final. . . . Ed Chynoweth Cup to be awarded tonight. . . . Guelph Storm advances to Memorial Cup

Fire-051219
An airtanker unloads retardant on a fire about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops on Sunday afternoon.

The calendar reads May 12, but the thermometer shows that the temperature already is above 30 C. Records already are being set in the Pacific Northwest, along the West Coast of B.C., and into the province’s Interior.

That, of course, means that fire season is upon us, despite the fact that we have yet seen even one bolt of lightning. To date, every mention I have seen of a fire this season has referred to “human-caused.”

There already have been a number of relatively small fires, but the first big one involving evacuation orders started on Saturday near Fraser Lake, which is west of Prince George.

On Sunday, the fire pictured above — it is the Buse Creek fire — broke out about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops, on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway. By 1:30 p.m., they were working it with two airtankers. By 5:30 p.m., the tankers were gone and a pair of helicopters were filling up in the South Thompson River and going back and forth, dropping water on the fire.

As evening fell, the fire was still considered to be out of control, and appeared to be moving slowly in a southerly direction. Ground crews were scheduled to work it through the night.

The forecast calls for a 30 per cent of showers tonight and Monday, and more rain on Tuesday. Here’s hoping it doesn’t change.


ThisThat

The Guelph Storm won the OHL championship on Sunday, dumping the visiting Ottawa GuelphStorm67’s, 8-3, to win the series, 4-2. . . . This is the fourth time the Storm has won the J. Ross Robertson Cup. . . . The 67’s had gone into the series with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and had won the first two games. . . . The Storm trailed, 2-0, after one period, then scored five times in the second period to take control. . . . Guelph got two goals and two assists from each of F Isaac Ratcliffe, the team captain, and D Dmitri Samorkov. . . . F Nick Suzuki of the Storm was the playoff MVP. He led all scorers with a franchise record 42 points, including 16 goals, in 24 games. . . . The Storm has had quite a run. It is the only team in OHL history to have trailed three series, 2-0, and come back to win them all. . . . Guelph trailed the London Knights, 3-0, in the first round before coming back to win the series. Then, in a semifinal, the Storm was down 3-1 to the Saginaw Spirit before winning the last three games. . . . The Storm will be in the Memorial Cup for the sixth time. . . .

The QMJHL will be represented at the Memorial Cup by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who won the championship on Saturday, and the host Halifax Mooseheads. The Huskies beat the Mooseheads, 4-2 in the championship series. . . . The Memorial Cup is to run from Friday through May 26.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup will be decided tonight (Monday) when the Vancouver Giants and the host Prince Albert Raiders meet in the Art Hauser Centre. . . . The Giants forced Game 7 with a 4-2 victory over the host Raiders on Sunday night. . . . The road team now is 7-0 in Game 6s in these playoffs. . . .

This will be the 12th time in WHL history, and the first time since 2014, that Game 7 has been needed to decide the WHL championship. In 2014, the Edmonton Oil Kings became the first team to win a final series Game 7 on the road when they beat the Winterhawks, 4-2, in Portland. . . . However, that series was 2-2 after four games. . . . ICYMI: I took a look in a post here on Saturday night at the first 11 championship series to go seven games. . . .

In WHL history, teams have come from behind 3-1 deficits to win series on 13 occasions. Two of those were teams that trailed 3-0 — the 1996 Spokane Chiefs, in a first-round series with the Portland Winterhawks, and the 2013 Kelowna Rockets, in the Western Conference final against the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

However, only one team — the Jack Shupe-coached Victoria Cougars — has managed to erase a 3-1 deficit in the championship series and then win Game 7. The Cougars fell behind the Calgary Wranglers in 1981, before winning the last three games of the series. . . . They opened with three games in Victoria — Calgary won the opener, 3-2; Victoria tied it, 5-1; then Calgary posted an 8-6 victory to go home with a 2-1 edge. The Wranglers then went ahead, 3-1, with a 6-5 victory. The Cougars then rolled to three victories in as many nights — 7-4 on April 29 and 4-2 the next night, both in Calgary, and 4-2 in Victoria on May 1. . . . This was the first time in WHL history that a team had won a best-seven-series in any round after trailing 3-1. . . .

To sum it up: The Giants are trying to become the 14th team in WHL history to erase a 3-1 deficit in the final series and win the championship. They also are trying to become only the second team in WHL history to win Game 7 of the championship series on the road. . . . You can bet that Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck will let his guys know that history awaits!

The Raiders, meanwhile, haven’t lost three games in a row this season, and now are hoping to follow the example set by the 1992 and 1994 Kamloops Blazers. In both seasons, the Blazers met the Saskatoon Blades in the championship series. In each instance, Kamloops took a 3-1 lead and then found itself playing Game 7. In 1992, the Blazers won the title with an 8-0 victory at home. In 1994, the Blazers beat the Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 in Kamloops.

——

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G David Tendeck stopped 36 shots and F Davis Koch scored twice as the Vancouver VancouverGiants skated to a 4-2 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 3-3, with the winner of tonight’s Game 7 going home with the big bauble. . . . The Giants last won the title in 2006; the Raiders haven’t won it since 1985. . . . Vancouver, down 3-1 in the series, had won Game 5, 4-3, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Parker Kelly (7) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the first period when he put his own rebound in behind Tendeck. Kelly had scored 41 seconds into Game 3, which the Raiders went on to win, 8-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Koch (4) pulled the Giants even at 6:58, getting a nifty backhand shot past Raiders G Ian Scott. . . . Vancouver went ahead 2-1 at 15:17 when F Owen Hardy scored his fifth goal of the playoffs. . . . Kelly (8) pulled the Raiders even with 32.2 seconds left in the period, taking a pass from F Aliaksei Protas and scoring. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Giants went ahead 3-2 at 3:40 of the third as F Jared Dmytriw, their captain, scored his ninth goal, coming free in front of Scott and putting in a rebound off a shot by F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Dmytriw had the primary assist on Hardy’s goal, too. . . . The Raiders had a glorious chance to pull even when Vancouver F Jadon Joseph went off for tripping at 11:30. However, Tendeck closed the door and Prince Albert was penalized for too many men at 13:23. The Giants weren’t able to score on their PP, either. . . . Koch (5) put it away with an empty-netter with 14.2 seconds left to play. . . . Each team finished 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Raiders had a 38-27 edge in shots, including 16-10 in the first period and 11-7 in the third. . . . Scott finished with 23 saves. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Steve Papp, with Sean Dufour and Michael Roberts on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

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


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Giants, Raiders head back to P.A. . . . Game 6 scheduled for Sunday. . . . Guelph one win from title in OHL


ThisThat

The Guelph Storm won its third straight game on Friday night, beating the host Ottawa ohl67’s, 4-3, to take a 3-2 lead in the OHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Guelph on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Storm got a goal and an assist from F Alexey Toropchenko, who has seven goals in his past four games. He has 13 goals in these playoffs. . . . F Tye Felhaber scored twice for Ottawa. He now leads the OHL playoffs, with 17 goals. . . . The 67’s opened the playoffs with 14 straight victories, but now have lost three in a row — for the first time this season — and are facing elimination on Sunday.



There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2019-20 season. . . . The Cougars’ games, home and away, will again be heard on 94.3 The GOAT. . . . Fraser Rodgers will be back for his third season as the play-by-play voice. . . . Hartley Miller, The GOAT’s sports director, will be the analyst for a seventh straight season.


Sean Murray, a goaltending coach who has worked with the Portland Winterhawks, TrailVancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars, has signed on with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Murray, a coach for more than 20 years, spent five seasons (2006-11) with the Giants, and was part of their Memorial Cup title in 2007. . . . He also pent three-plus seasons with the Winterhawks and two working with the Cougars. . . . The Smoke Eaters also have hired Jeff Urekar, who had been the head coach of the major midget North East Chiefs, as assistant GM.


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced Friday that they have “parted ways” OilBaronswith Tom Keca, who had been their general manager and head coach through four seasons. . . . In a news release, David Fitzgerald, the organization’s president, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to agree on terms with Tom to extend his contract beyond this season. In light of this, we decided that it was best for the organization to move in a different direction next season.” . . . Before taking over as GM/head coach, Keca had been an assistant coach with the Oil Barons for four-plus seasons. He also spent five seasons (2000-05) on the staff as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Dave Dupas has stepped in as general manager and head coach “until further notice.” . . . Dupas has been an assistant coach with Fort McMurray for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings for four seasons. . . . This season, the Oil Barons went 32-19-9 to finish fourth in the Viterra AJHL North. They beat the Grande Prairie Storm, 3-1, in a best-of-five first-round series, then lost a best-of-seven affair to the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 4-2.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is headed back to the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. . . . The Vancouver Giants beat the Raiders, 4-3, on Friday night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now hold a 3-2 lead in the series. . . . The two teams will climb on to the same plane today and fly to Prince Albert where Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday. . . .

Prior to Game 5, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “The one thing I know for sure is that you don’t give games away. You have a chance like this, you play this like it’s Game 7. “You want to end it as quick as possible. (Friday) is our Game 7.” . . .

After Game 5, Habscheid told reporters: “If someone had told me at the start of the (season) that we’d have two games at home to try and win the league title, we’d take it.” . . .

This is the third straight WHL final to go six games. . . . Two seasons ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the host Regina Pats, 4-3 in OT, to win that series, 4-2. . . . Last season, it was the Swift Current Broncos winning Game 6, 3-0 over the visiting Everett Silvertips, to take that series, 4-2. . . .

On Friday, at 8:15 p.m. PT, with Game 5 between Vancouver and Prince Albert in the first intermission, Rogers Sportsnet had Plays of the Month on four channels, MLB’s Best on one channel and Highlights of the Night on another. Just sayin’ . . . No, Game 6 of the OHL’s championship final wasn’t on any of the channels earlier in the evening either.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants erased a 2-1 deficit with three-second period goals en route to a 4-Vancouver3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2, with Game 6 to be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. . . . Game 7, if necessary, would be played on Monday. . . . Last night, the Giants got the game’s first goal, at 7:42 of the first period, when F Brayden Watts (7) deposited a rebound off a shot by F Tristen Nielsen into an empty side. . . . The team scoring first now is 5-0 in this series. . . . The Raiders tied it at 10:44 as F Aliaksei Protas (12) scored from the slot off a rebound from a shot by F Sean Montgomery. . . . The teams then combined for five goals in the second period. . . . The visitors took their only lead at 2:45, just nine seconds after killing off a penalty. F Dante Hannoun came free in front of the Giants’ net and beat G David Tendeck for his WHL-leading 13th goal of these playoffs. . . . Vancouver tied it 50 seconds later as D Bowen Byram (8) skated into the left side of the slot and beat G Ian Scott for his first goal of the series. . . . F Davis Koch (3) put the home boys back out front, putting home a rebound at 9:24. He had gone 12 games without a goal. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (6) upped Vancouver’s lead to 4-2 at 11:13 with a shot from the top of the left circle off a play by F Dawson Holt, who gained possession of the puck with some good work along the boards and then threw out a terrific pass. . . . The Raiders got back to within a goal at 15:54 as F Noah Gregor (11) got a backhand shot through Tendeck after the Giants failed to clear their zone. . . . F Jadon Joseph had two assists for Giants, while Byram added an assist to his goal, as did Watts. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Brett Leason. . . . Leason and Byram remain tied for the playoff points lead, each with 25, two ahead of Hannoun. . . . Tendeck finished with 37 saves, including 16 in the third period as he helped keep the Raiders off the scoreboard. . . . Scott stopped 26 shots. . . . The Giants were 0-1 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-2. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back in the lineup after he missed Games 3 and 4. He was injured in the second period of Game 2 after crashing awkwardly into the end boards. With Martin back in, D Loeden Schaufler came out. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence, with Ron Dietterle and Brett Mackey working the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.


Tweetoftheday

Byram chasing WHL history. . . . Scott is in select company, too. . . . Final series to resume Tuesday in Langley

ThisThat

D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants is attempting to skate where no other player has gone since the WHL started play in the autumn of 1966.

Byram leads all playoff scorers with 22 points, two more than F Dante Hannoun of the VancouverPrince Albert Raiders.

The Giants and Raiders are tied, 1-1, in the WHL’s best-of-seven final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Langley, B.C.

The record for most points by a defenceman in one playoff season is 34 and belongs to John Miner, a hard-shooter who put up nine goals and 25 assists in 23 games with the Regina Pats in 1984.

Second on that list is Keith Brown of the Portland Winterhawks, who had 33 points, 30 of them assists, in 25 games in 1979.

Derrick Pouliot of Portland is third, having recorded 32 points, including 27 assists, in 21 games in 2014.

Tied for fourth, each with 31 points, are Darren Veitch of the 1980 Pats and Greg Hawgood of the 1986 Kamloops Blazers. Veitch did it in 18 games; Hawgood managed to do it in 16 outings.

But none of those five led the playoffs in scoring.

Byram, who had 71 points in 67 regular-season games, has played in 17 playoff games, with at least three more to come.

Will he be able to hold off Hannoun? Might Raiders forwards Noah Gregor and/or Brett Leason, who are four points back, make a late run? Or what of Giants F Davis Koch, who also has 18 points?

Stay tuned.


Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders stopped 15 shots in earning the shutout Saturday in PrinceAlberta 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 2 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . Scott now is one of 13 goaltenders to have put up at least four shutouts in one playoff season. The record of six is shared by Dustin Slade of Vancouver, who did it in only 18 games in 2006, and Stuart Skinner, who managed to do that in 26 games with the Swift Current Broncos last season.


Judging by the WHL website, it would seem that the official name of the Ed Chynoweth Cup final series is the 2019 Rogers #WHLChampionship Series. Even though there hasn’t been a WHL game on Rogers since the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . As Game 1 of the WHL final began in Prince Albert on Friday evening, Sportsnet had the same NHL game on five of the six channels, with the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers on the other. . . . If you are a WHL fan, feel free to slam palm of hand on forehead.


If you don’t like the WHL’s present playoff format, Ray Marcham, who has a blog he calls The Outlet, will take you back, back, back . . . to the days when round-robins were a part of our spring. . . . If you’re a long-time fan and lived through a few of those series, reading his piece, which is right here, just may give you nightmares.

If you’re wondering why the WHL went away from any kind of round-robin format, you may get a bit of a hint from this story right here.


JUST NOTES: How important is the first goal of a game to the Raiders. They are 11-0 when scoring first in these playoffs. Combine the regular season and playoffs, and they are 55-0. . . . Marc Habscheid of the Raiders now has 71 playoff victories as a WHL head coach. He is seventh on the WHL’s all-time list, behind Don Hay (108), Ken Hodge (101), Ernie McLean (87), Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell, each 80, and Brent Sutter, 79. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, went into this spring with 18 playoff victories, all with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He now is up to 31. . . .

Steve Ewen, who covers the Giants for Postmedia, reports right here that in Vancouver’s camp it’s all about the forecheck.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a piece right here on Vancouver D Bowen Byram and his tie to Prince Albert and the Raiders.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


The junior B Summerland, B.C., Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has had to make a coaching change after John DePourcq chose to step aside after seven seasons. According to a news release from the Steam, DePourcq cited “increasing work and family obligations” as the reasons for his decison. . . . Ken Karpuk is the Steam’s new head coach. Karpuk, 57, is from Penticton. . . . The Steam made the playoffs in each of DePourcq’s seven seasons and advanced past the first round on five occasions. . . . As well, Steve Hogg has been named full-time general manager after working in an interim capacity since April 28 when the club announced that, by mutual agreement, Mike Rigby’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. . . . . DePourcq will remain with the organization in an advisory capacity.


Tweetoftheday

If you haven’t seen this already, take time to check out the thread . . .

Mallette staying on Rockets’ staff. . . . Raiders, Oil Kings even after Game 4. . . . Holt everything! Giants have 3-1 edge


MacBeth

F Lauris Dārziņš (Kelowna, 2004-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, in 62 games, he had 18 goals and 26 assists. The team captain, he averaged 18:29 TOI per game. . . .

F Justin Kirsch (Calgary, Moose Jaw, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2), he had 29 goals and 31 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

The Kelowna Rockets have signed assistant coach Kris Mallette to an extension that runs KelownaRocketsthrough the 2020-21 season. Mallette’s contract was to have expired at the end of this season.

Mallette, 40, has been on the Rockets’ coaching staff since the 2014-15 season.

A defenceman, he played four seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Moose Jaw Warriors, 1996-2000), before going on to a nine-year pro career. He has been coaching since 2010-11 when he was an assistant coach with the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

With the Rockets, he works alongside head coach Adam Foote, who is preparing for his first full season with Kelowna.


For what it’s worth, Kris Mallette, who has signed a two-year extension with the Kelowna Rockets, was on my list of the ‘next ones’ — high-end candidates for head-coaching positions in the WHL or elsewhere.

Mallette just finished his fifth season on the Rockets’ coaching staff, and he obviously likes it just fine right where he is. Of course, re-signing with the Rockets means he’ll get whlto coach in the 2020 Memorial Cup, what with Kelowna being the host team.

At the moment, the Kamloops Blazers are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have a head coach under contract. They and head coach Serge Lajoie went their separate ways on April11, after just one season together.

Many hockey people are assuming that co-owner Darryl Sydor will be the Blazers’ next head coach, and that the feeling will prevail until/unless the team announces otherwise. Sydor was named a full-time assistant coach on Feb. 12.

In the meantime, Mallette is just one of a number of WHL assistant coaches who would seem ready to step up.

Jeff Truitt, 53, is a former Kelowna head coach who now is an assistant under Marc Habscheid with the Prince Albert Raiders. Before moving to the Raiders, he spent five-plus seasons on the Red Deer Rebels’ coaching staff.

Kyle Gustafson, 38, has been on staff with the Portland Winterhawks since 2003-04 and is more than ready to be a head coach. He has been with the Winterhawks in good times (a WHL title in 2013) and bad (11 victories in 2007-08). You can bet that he has learned the business and the game while working with the likes of Ken Hodge, Mike Johnston, Travis Green and Don Hay.

Ryan Marsh, 44, is a former WHL player (Tri-City, 1992-95), who has been in the coaching game since 2003-04 when he signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort Saskatchewan Traders. He later spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears and four with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He just completed his first season as the Saskatoon Blades’ associate coach.

Scott Burt, 42, is another former WHL player (Seattle, Swift Current, Edmonton, Red Deer, 1994-98) and now is in his fifth season on the Spokane Chiefs’ coaching staff. He spent the last three seasons of a 13-year pro career as the captain of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces and then began his coaching career by spending two seasons with them.

Luke Pierce, 35, is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings, but may be ready for a second stint as a WHL head coach. He spent five-plus seasons in his hometown as general manager/head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials before spending two seasons as head coach of the faltering Kootenay Ice. When looking at Pierce’s background, you can’t discount that fact he spent five seasons playing at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

Mark O’Leary, 34, just completed his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors. From Owen Sound, Ont., he played in the OHL with the Mississauga IceDogs and Guelph Storm (2003-06), before playing professionally for five seasons.

Brian Pellerin, 49, has been coaching since 2002-03 when he was a playing assistant coach with the CHL’s Amarillo Gorillas. He went on to spend four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks and now has been the Tri-City Americans’ associate coach for five seasons. As a player, he spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders.

Of course, let’s not forget that there are some really experienced head coaches who just may be available, too.

Don Hay, 65, the guy with more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history, isn’t retired. He spent this season as an assistant coach in Portland and you can bet that he wants to keep on coaching.

Don Nachbaur, 60, is the third-winningest regular-season head coach in WHL history. He has worked as the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. He signed on with the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach after the 2016-17 season. His posting in L.A. lasted a season and a bit; he was fired when the Kings dumped head coach John Stevens on Nov. 4. This spring, Nachbaur provided analysis on broadcasts of Tri-City playoff games.

The Kings also hired Dave Lowry, 54, as an assistant coach prior to the 2017-18 season after he had been the head coach of the Victoria Royals for five seasons. Lowry was dismissed by the Kings on April 17 after Todd McLellan was hired as head coach.

Steve Konowalchuk, 46, was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons, guiding them to a WHL title in 2016-17. He was then hired as an assistant coach by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, a job that lasted one season.  He now is an amateur scout with the New York Rangers. But, hey, maybe he’s got the coaching bug, again.

There also are other men out there with previous WHL playing and/or coaching experience who might be worth another shot, like Mark Ferner, the director of hockey operations and head coach with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers; Mike Vandekamp, the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals; Jason Becker, who has completed three seasons as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees; Ryan Papaioannou, the GM and head coach of the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits; Andrew Milne, the GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles; Paul Dyck, the general manager, director of hockey operations and head coach of the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons. . . .

Of course, in this day and age, there also are former WHL coaches like Mark Holick and Enio Sacilotto who now are coaching at hockey academies.

So . . . if your favourite WHL team ends up changing coaches, there are a lot of capable coaches out there.



The Selkirk College Saints, who play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League out of Castelgar, B.C., are looking for a new head coach. Brent Heaven, the head coach for the past four seasons, “is leaving to pursue other interests,” according to a news release. . . . Under Heaven, the Saints went 62-25-0-10 and won the BCIHL championship in 2016. . . . There’s more on Heaven and the Saints right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The four remaining WHL teams all were in action on Wednesday night, and they’ll be back on the ice Friday night after changing venues. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders beat the Oil Kings, 2-1, in Edmonton to tie the Eastern Conference final, 2-2. They’ll be in Prince Albert for Game 5 on Friday night, then return to Edmonton and play Game 6 on Sunday afternoon. . . .

This was the 68th playoff victory of Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. He had been tied with Willie Desjardins and Don Nachbaur, but now is seventh on the all-time list. . . . Ahead of Habscheid on the list are Don Hay, 108; Ken Hodge, 101; Ernie (Punch) McLean, 87; Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell, each 80; and Brent Sutter, 79. . . . (If you don’t recognize him, that’s Ginnell to the left of Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play voice Bob Ridley in the tweet at the top of this post.) . . .

In Spokane, the Vancouver Giants erased a 2-0 third-period deficit and beat the Chiefs, 4-3 in OT. Vancouver leads the Western Conference final, 3-1, with Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday night.

——

WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and hung on for a 2-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . That tied the Eastern Conference final at 2-2 with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . F Brett Leason (4) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the series at 13:01 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (6), off a nifty pass from F Ozzy Wiesblatt, made it 2-0 at 2:13 of the third period. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (4) got the Oil Kings to within a goal at 13:54 of the third period, but they weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots for the Raiders. In these playoffs, he now is 10-4, 1.96, .924. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . To refresh, the Raiders won 1-0 at home in Game 1, with the Oil Kings winning Game 2, 4-3 in OT. In Edmonton, the Oil Kings won 5-1 and then dropped a 2-1 decision last night. . . . Had the Raiders lost Game 4 it would have marked their first three-game losing skid of the season.


F Dawson Holt’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Chiefs in VancouverSpokane and a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final. . . . The Giants get their first chance to wrap it up on Friday in Langley B.C. . . . Last night, the Chiefs skated to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from F Adam Beckman (7, 8), at 18:38 of the first period and 10:06 of the second. . . . The Giants, outshot 26-13 through two periods, began the comeback when F Jadon Joseph (7) scored on a delayed penalty at 4:26 of the third period. . . . D Bowen Byram (6) tied it, on a PP, at 9:11, and F Brayden Watts (4) gave the Giants the lead at 10:04. . . . Chiefs F Riley Woods (7) forced OT when he scored at 16:25. . . . Holt won it with his fifth goal of the playoffs at 7:07 of OT. . . . F Davis Koch and F Milos Roman each had two assists for Vancouver, and Byram added one assist to his goal. Byram and his defence partner, Alex Kannok Leipert, drew the assists on the winner. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . The Giants got 28 saves from G David Tendeck, while Spokane G Bailey Brkin blocked 26 shots. . . . The Chiefs were without F Luc Smith, who hasn’t played since the early moments of Game 1. Last night, he was behind the bench in a coaching role. . . . Spokane also scratched D Filip Kral, who left Game 3 after taking a hit from Giants F Justin Sourdif in the first period. Kral returned in the second period and finished the game, but obviously wasn’t able to play last night. . . . With Kral out, D Egor Arbuzov got into the lineup. . . . Vancouver remains without F Adian Barfoot, who hasn’t played since being injured in Game 4 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.


Tweetoftheday

Like good Neighbours, Jake was there. . . . Koch to Nielsen and it’s over in Langley. . . . McIndoe does it for Chiefs


ThisThat

After posting a piece here on Friday night about the price of tickets for the 2020 World Junior Championship, I received a note from a reader:

“My wife and I have been to Europe three times for the World Juniors. I get strange looks when people ask if we are going to the games in Canada and I respond with ‘It’s too expensive.’

“Every time we have gone (to Europe) . . . with the package we choose we have Christmas in a different country from where the games are, hotel accommodations with breakfast and hospitality room at the rink.

“In 2008, the tournament was in Czech Republic; we had Christmas in Vienna. In 2014, the tournament was in Malmö, Sweden, and we had Christmas in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2016, the tournament was in Helsinki, Finland, and we were in Munich, Germany, for Christmas.

“This year, we will have Christmas in Budapest, with the tournament in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

“There are buses to take us to the rink for the games. All you have to do is remember your bus number.”

If you were looking for a reason to go on a European Christmas vacation, well, this sounds like it might be the time!


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison was a second-round pick by the Penguins in the NHL’s 2018 draft; in fact, he was their first selection. . . . With the Hurricanes having been eliminated from the WHL playoffs, he has joined the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the remainder of this season. He had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games with Lethbridge this season.



The OHL’s Barrie Colts have signed head coach Dale Hawerchuk to a four-year contract extension. They also have brought Marty Williamson on board as the senior advisor and director of hockey operations. Williamson will remain as the head coach of the Brock U Badgers. . . . Hawerchuk, a Hockey Hall of Famer, just finished his ninth season as the Colts’ head coach. The Colts are 305-269-38 under Hawerchuk and have made the playoffs in seven of the nine seasons. . . . Williamson is a former Colts’ head coach, having filled that role for six seasons (2004-10).


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were three second-round games on Saturday night, and there’ll be three more today. . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings were anything but good neighbours as they beat the Calgary Hitmen, 3-2 in OT, to win Game 1 of their series. They will be back at it in Edmonton today. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs, who were 1-3-0 in Everett during the regular season, scored four third-period goals and beat the host Silvertips, 6-3. They’ll play Game 2 in Everett today. . . . Keep in mind that this series has a 2-3-2 format because Cirque de Soleil is in Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena for a five-day run, from Wednesday through April 14. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants outshot Victoria, 39-10, but had to go to OT before beating the Royals, 2-1. The teams will resume the series with games in Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday with the Giants holding a 2-0 lead. . . .

The other game today will be in Prince Albert where the Raiders hold a 1-0 lead over the Saskatoon Blades. Game time is 6 p.m. Central, and the game will be televised by Sportsnet. The Raiders won Friday’s opener, 6-1.

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Jake Neighbours scored the game’s last two goals to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 1-0, with Game 2 in Edmonton today. . . . The Hitmen took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Kaden Elder (2), at 10:00 of the second period, and F Luke Coleman (4), on a PP, at 7:09 of the third. . . . D Parker Gavlas (1) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal at 15:57, and Neighbours (1) forced OT at 19:47. . . . Neighbours then won it at 3:20 of the extra period. Neighbours, who turned 17 on March 29, was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He had 11 goals in 47 regular-season games. He now has two goals and four assists in seven playoff games. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . The Oil Kings held a 34-22 edge in shots, including 3-0 in OT. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 20 shots for Edmonton. He now is 7-0-0 against Calgary this season. . . . The Hitmen got 31 saves from G Jack McNaughton.


F Tristen Nielsen, who didn’t finish Game 1, scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a Vancouver2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants lead the series, 2-0, with the teams heading to Victoria for games on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . Last night, the Giants held a 39-10 edge in shots — 9-2, 15-3, 12-5 and 3-0, by period. On Friday, Vancouver outshot Victoria, 28-15, as it won, 3-0. . . . In Game 2, F Lukas Svejkovsky (2) put Vancouver in front at 5:51 of the second period. . . . D Ralph Jarratt (2) got Victoria even, on a PP, at 10:12 of the third period. Jarratt didn’t finish the game, leaving with about three minutes left in the third period. He had fallen awkwardly and appeared to be favouring his left arm or shoulder as he headed for the dressing room. . . . Nielsen (3) won it at 3:29 of the overtime period. He left Friday’s game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Nielsen also had an assist on Svejkovsky’s goal. . . . F Davis Koch, who leads the playoffs in assists (10) and points (12), set up the winner with a nifty pass. . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . The Giants switched goaltenders, with David Tendeck stopping nine shots one night after Trent Miner recorded a shutout. . . . Victoria got 37 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria lost D Jake Kustra to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw at 2:54 of the second period. . . . Kustra is a repeat offender, having served a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in a Feb. 18 game against the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Should Kustra be suspended for this latest transgression, he would become the third Victoria skater to be disciplined in these playoffs. . . . F Tanner Sidaway was scratched by Victoria for a second straight game. He was suspended for the final game of the Royals’ six-game victory over Kamloops for a Game 5 hit on Blazers F Connor Zary. . . . Victoria F Kody McDonald served the fourth of a six-game suspension.


F Ethan McIndoe scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Silvertips in Everett. . . . Spokane leads the series, 1-0, with Game 2 in Everett today. . . . Last night, the Chiefs scored on their first shot on goal of each period. . . . McIndoe (3) got the game’s first goal, at 2:01 of the first period. . . . Everett F Zack Andrusiak (5) tied it, on a PP, at 12:54. . . . F Eli Zummack (2) put the Chiefs back on top at 1:41 of the second period. . . . The Silvertips pulled even at 19:34 on a goal by F Jackson Berezowski (1). . . . The Chiefs grabbed their first two-goal lead on scores by F Luke Toporowski (5) 39 seconds into the third period and F Riley Woods (5), on a PP, at 10:20. . . . Berezowski (2) got Berezowski back to within a goal at 13:08. . . . The Silvertips put it away on goals from McIndoe (4), at 16:26, and F Luc Smith (3), into an empty net, at 18:06. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from F Jack Finley. The sixth-overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he now has a goal and six assists in six playoff games. In the regular season, he put up nine goals and 10 assists in 63 games. . . . Spokane was 1-1 on the PP, taking only eight seconds to score; Everett was 1-3. . . . The Chiefs now are 7-12 on the PP in these playoffs. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . The Silvertips got 17 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . Everett F Dawson Butt didn’t finish the game, leaving early with an undisclosed injury. . . . In 34 home games in the regular season, the Silvertips never allowed six goals in one game. They gave up five on Nov. 17 in beating the Vancouver Giants, 6-5. . . . Spokane scored four third-period goals last night; during the regular season, the Silvertips gave up four or more goals in a home on only five occasions.


Tweetoftheday

2020 WJC gold-medal game for less than $27? . . . Nine WHLers to U17 camp. . . . Raiders, Giants draw first blood


MacBeth

F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on 2020WJCApril 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .

From a news release:

“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).

“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.

“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .

Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.

In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.

The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).

Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)


There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a Canadaselection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .

The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.

The training camp roster is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .  Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.


D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.


D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.


G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.


Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.


USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — USAhockeyto its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .

There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .  F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .

The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the PrinceAlbertearly going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over Vancouverthe Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.


Tweetoftheday

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


ThisThat

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

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

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

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

Here’s a look. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


EdChynowethCup

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

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

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

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

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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


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


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


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


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


Tweetoftheday