Cougars to be more ‘assertive’ with schedule making . . . Portland still unbeaten in East . . . Gauthier blanks Americans




MacBeth

F Tomáš Plíhal (Kootenay, 2001-03) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Landshut (Germany, Oberliga South) after requesting and receiving his release from Jablonec nad Nisou (Czech Republic, 2. Liga). He had 14 goals and 20 assists in 23 games.


ThisThat

Andy Beesley is the vice-president of business with the Prince George Cougars. A few days before Christmas, he sat down with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat, a Prince George radio station, and they combined for an episode of the CatScan podcast. . . . If you have ever wondered about what goes into running the business end of a major junior franchise you will want to give this a listen. It’s 50 minutes of Beesley being honest in answering questions about ticket prices, attendance, scheduling, turning games into events, the survival of the WHL in Prince George, and even how he came to change his lifestyle and lose 100 pounds. . . .

One thing I found particularly interesting is that Beesley said the Cougars’ organization has changed its thought process and no longer will look for the one big score.

“We would love to win a Memorial Cup, but we just want to make the playoffs regularly,” he told Miller, “and that’s part of the path that the hockey side of the business is on now. We’ve changed our model a bit to aim for more of a consistent team year by year, rather than selling the farm and just having couple of studs that come in and then you cross your fingers and pay the price for the next five years. We’ve done away with that model.”

The Cougars are scheduled to entertain the Prince George Cougars on Friday night, more than five weeks after their most-recent home game. Between home games, they will have played 11 times on the road and taken the Christmas break.

Beesley promised the Cougars’ fans “that’s not going to happen again . . . we’re not going to put up with that again.”

He added that he, team president John Pateman, co-owner Eric Brown and general manager Mark Lamb “have all talked together and agreed that we need to do a far better job of not just giving input to our schedules but standing up for what the Prince George Cougars need. . . . we are going to be a lot more assertive and make sure we don’t have another six-week gap because we don’t think it’s fair to fans and it’s not fair to our business either.”

There’s lots of interesting stuff in the 50 minutes and it’s all right here.

——

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

All signs point to the Kootenay Ice packing up and moving to Winnipeg before another season gets here. However, no one from the Ice or the WHL office has had much, if 21anything to say about all the speculation.

However, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, did appear with host Dean Millard on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

Asked about the situation, Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

We now are into our 21st day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


——

Allow me to apologize to Gino De Paoli, the play-by-play voice of the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. It was his tweet that tipped me off to an item on G Nick Sanders that I used here yesterday. I meant to credit De Paoli, but it didn’t get done, and for that I offer up an apology. Sorry about that, Gino.

——

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The Prince George Cougars have signed F Blake Eastman, 15, to a WHL contract. He was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . From Ardrossan, Alta., Eastman is playing for the Elite 15 team at OHA Edmonton, where he has 17 goals and eight assists in 21 games.

——

The Spokane Chiefs have returned D Graham Sward to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Sward, 15, was the 17th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Sward played one game with the Chiefs and scored his first goal as they beat the Ice, 8-4, in Cranbrook, B.C., on Sunday.

——

The Swift Current Broncos have released F Quinton Waitzner, 18, who was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . From Victoria, he had two assists in 34 games this season, after finishing last season with one goal in 43 games. He also was pointless in five games in 2016-17. . . . Before joining the Broncos, he played for the junior B Saanich Braves.

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The Prince Albert Raiders have returned G Brett Balas, 17, to the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. From Calgary, he was a third-round pick by the Raiders in the WHl’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Balas was brought in by the Raiders to fill the roster spot created with starter Ian Scott with Team Canada at the WJC. . . . Balas got into two games with Prince Albert, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871. One of the victories was in relief of starter Donovan Buskey.

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Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Portland Winterhawks erased an early 2-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to Portlanda 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Portland (24-11-5) has points in nine straight (6-0-3), and is 3-0-0 on its East Division swing. . . . Brandon (16-16-6) has lost two in a row. . . . F Ben McCartney (11) gave Brandon a 2-0 lead with goals at 1:14 and 3:45 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks tied it before the period ended on goals from F Michal Kvasnica (7) and F Seth Jarvis (10). . . . F Jaydon Dureau (9) broke the tie at 14:39 of the second period. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld upped Portland’s lead to 4-2, shorthanded, at 10:03 of the third period. He leads the WHL in goals (37) and points (76). . . D Braden Schneider (5) got the Wheat Kings to within a goal at 14:53. . . . Portland had a 51-35 edge in shots, including 22-9 in the first period. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera blocked 47 shots, 15 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . Portland D Nick Cicek, an 18-year-old freshman from Winnipeg, had one assist in his first 16 games. He had one assist last night, and now is on a six-game point streak, with nine helpers in that stretch. . . . Portland had F Cody Glass back in the lineup after his stint with Canada’s national junior team. He was held off the scoresheet. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley (suspended) and D Brendan De Jong (concussion).

——

F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal and two assists to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Saskatoon (25-12-5) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle (12-21-4) is 1-2-0 on its East Division trip. . . . Crnkovic, a 16-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., was the 10th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. In 27 games, he has four goals and nine assists, with three goals and six assists having come in his past nine games. Yes, this was his first multi-point WHL game. . . . D Zach Ashton, who moved from Saskatoon to Seattle in a deal last week, gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal, at 6:35 of the first period. The goal came in his 14th WHL game, the third with Seattle. . . . Crnkovic tied it at 15:24, and F Josh Paterson (14) gave the Blades the lead, on a PP, at 17:30. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan, playing in his 300th regular-season game, tied it with his 15th goal, at 19:24. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 3-2 when F Matthew Wedman (13) accord at 4:36 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon reclaimed the lead before the period ended, on goals from F Chase Wouters (8), at 13:49, and F Eric Florchuk (11), at 17:20. . . . Volcan, 20, is from Edmonton. He was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2013 bantam draft. He has 213 points, including 88 goals, in those 300 regular-regular-season games. . . . F Cyle McNabb, acquired Monday from the Kootenay Ice, wasn’t in Saskatoon’s lineup. . . . The Blades remain without F Kirby Each and D Nolan Kneen. . . . F Sean Richards was in Seattle’s lineup for the first time since being acquired last week from the Everett Silvertips. He had to complete an eight-game WHL suspension before suiting up with the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who completed a three-game suspension.

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G Taylor Gauthier blocked 36 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 1-0 victory PrinceGeorgeover the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Prince George (14-21-3) has won two in a row. The Cougars are 3-7-0 on an 11-game swing that began with a doubleheader in Portland on Dec. 7 and 8, and included the Christmas break. The trip wraps up tonight against the Spokane Chiefs, then the Cougars have to hustle home for games with the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Tri-City (20-15-2) has lost two straight. . . . Last night, Cougars F Ethan Browne scored the game’s only goal, his sixth, at 16:05 of the second period. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old sophomore from Calgary, was the ninth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He has two shutouts in his career both of them this season. This season, he is 10-14-2, 3.08, .904. . . . Tri-City got 28 stops from G Beck Warm.

——

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It’s expensive on WHL highways . . . Cougars in middle of $90,000 road trip . . . Broncos sign Aubin; Raiders return three

On the sixth day of our annual Christmas countdown, here is the great Harry Belafonte, who was my late father’s favourite, with Mary’s Boy Child. It’s right here.


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has been released by the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) by mutual agreement. He had four goals and three assists in 19 games.


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars posted a 5-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 2.

Three days later, the Cougars left on a road trip. They won’t play at home again until Jan. PrinceGeorge11 when the Kelowna Rockets will pay a visit.

In between, the Cougars will play 11 games, seven in the U.S. where the exchange rate will take a big bite out of any team’s budget.

Here’s a day-by-day look at the Cougars travels (or is it travails?) . . .

Dec. 5 — Load bus and leave for Portland.

Dec. 6 — Off day in Portland.

Dec. 7 — Game in Portland.

Dec. 8 — Game in Portland.

Dec. 9 — Off day.

Dec. 10 — Off day.

Dec. 11 — Game in Kent, Wash.

Dec. 12 — Off day.

Dec. 13 — Off day.

Dec. 14 — Game in Victoria.

Dec. 15 — Off day.

Dec. 16 — Game in Vancouver.

Christmas break.

Dec. 27 — Off day.

Dec. 28 — Game in Kent, Wash.

Dec. 29 — Game in Everett.

Dec. 30 — Game in Kamloops; head home after game.

Dec. 31 — Off day.

Jan. 1 — Off day.

Jan. 2 — Off day.

Jan. 3 — Load bus and drive to Kelowna.

Jan. 4 — Game in Kelowna.

Jan. 5 — Off day in Kelowna.

Jan. 6 — Off day in Kelowna.

Jan. 7 — Load bus and head for Kennewick, Wash.

Jan. 8 — Game in Kennewick.

Jan. 9 — Game in Spokane; head home after game.

By my count, by the time the Cougars arrive home on Jan. 10, they will have spent about 25 days on the road, with at least nine of those days having been spent in the U.S.

I asked the general manager of one WHL team what it costs to keep a team on the road, and his response was between $3,000 and $4,000 per day, depending on how many are in the travelling party and where you are. He also added that it’s even more expensive in the U.S. “at a $1.35 exchange rate.”

Another GM told me that the cost per day is $3,000 to $3,500 for rooms and meals, with the bus expenses on top of that.

Understanding that all of these are ballpark figures . . .

Let’s say that it costs the Cougars $3,500 per day when they’re on the road, and that includes the return ferry trip to Victoria.

If they total 15 days in Canada, that’s $52,500.

Nine days in the U.S., with a $1.35 exchange rate, would cost $41,425.

Add it all up and playing 11 games on the road will have cost the Cougars more than $90,000.

This is a franchise that has played 17 of a scheduled 34 home games and has an announced average attendance of 2,668 fans, which is 19th in the 22-team league.

You can bet that Mark Lamb, who is in his first season as the Cougars’ general manager, is having some sleepless nights these days, and it isn’t because he can’t wait for Christmas to get here.

——

Late in October, John Pateman, one of the Cougars’ six co-owners, took time to chat with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat for the latter’s Cat Scan podcast. Pateman, who is the team president, talked about the money factor:

“When we got into this, we would hope to not lose money. We managed to lose quite a bit and we’ll lose quite a bit this (season). Until we can have a bit of a playoff run, I think we will continue to lose money. . . . we would obviously like to break even but I think we have to hit the second round of the playoffs to do that.”

The Cougars lost the first five games of the afore-mentioned road trip. They are 11-19-3 and in fifth place in the five-team B.C. Division. While a playoff run does seem unlikely this season, they are only two points out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

Asked by Miller if the owners are in it for the long run, Pateman chuckled and replied: “I don’t think we have a choice . . . we’re in. It is what it is.”


D Bobby Russell of the Spokane Chiefs will miss his club’s first two games after the Christmas break as he sits out a two-game suspension that was handed down on Monday. . . . Russell took a cross-checking major and game misconduct during Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . He will miss two home games — Dec. 28 against the Everett Silvertips and Dec. 29 against the Tri-City Americans.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Devin Aubin, 15, to a WHL contract. Aubin, from Falher, Alta., has two goals and one assist in 23 games with the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. . . . The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Broncos acquired Aubin, F Carter Chorney and F Kye Buchanan from the Chiefs on Dec. 4, giving up D Noah King, G Matthew Davis and a conditional fifth-round 2021 bantam pick in the exchange.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Braydon Clark, 16, D Nolan Allan, 15, and F Tyson Laventure, 15, to their club teams. . . . Clark, from the the Valley West Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, is pointless in six games with the Raiders this season. He was a third-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . Allan, from the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, has one assist in seven games. He was the third overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Laventure, from the Edmonton-OHL prep team, is pointless in three games. He was a third-rounder in 2018. . . . They helped the Raiders get through a stretch where they had four players away with international duties, and also had a couple of injuries.


If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


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Doerksen talks scheduling and more . . . Pederson on his way back to Edmonton . . . Psst! Want to buy a piece of a hockey team?


MacBeth

F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2007-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Aalborg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after obtaining his release from Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). With Znojmo, he had three goals and two assists in 16 games. . . .

F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a tryout contract with Tyringe (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, he had one goal and three assists with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), and two goals and one assist in 11 games with the University of Calgary (Canada West, USports). . . . Coulter had signed a contract with Vimmerby (Sweden, Division 1) on Nov. 3, but was released by mutual agreement on Sunday without playing in a game. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Bern (Switzerland, NL A). Boychuk was released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) on Nov. 13 after recording two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Toni Rajala (Brandon, 2009-10) has signed three-year contract extension through April 2022 with Biel-Bienne (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he has nine goals and 10 assists in 20 games. He leads the team in points.


ThisThat

If you’ve ever wondered how the WHL puts together its schedule, you should give a listen to Hartley’s Cat Scan that is right here. . . . This one is 38 minutes long and features Richard Doerksen, the league’s vice-president, hockey, in conversation with Hartley Miller, the analyst on home broadcasts of Prince George Cougars’ games. . . . There’s a lot more here than just talk about the schedule, too.


The Kootenay Ice has returned F Owen Pederson 16 to the OHA-Edmonton prep team after played two weekend games, scoring in both of them. . . . A fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, Pederson has two goals in eight games with the Ice this season. He has six goals and 14 assists in 12 games with his club team.


Hey, if you have ever wanted to own a piece of a hockey team this may be right up your alley. . . . The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs are looking for “ownership partners” to help “solidify the long-term success of the franchise in Port Alberni.” The team is owned and operated by the Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society. . . . There’s more on this right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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Leason, Raiders freeze out Ice . . . King gives Broncos an OT victory . . . Ams’ Warm too hot for Silvertips


ThisThat

The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Friday afternoon that F Ty Gerla “has left the team to pursue opportunities outside of hockey.” . . . Gerla, 19, is from Calgary. . . . He was pointless in seven games this season. . . . Last season, he had three goals and 15 assists in 59 games, after putting up five goals and six assists in 43 games as a freshman in 2016-17. . . .

Meanwhile, the Regina Pats announced earlier in the day that D Jonas Harkins “is no longer with the team and has gone home to B.C.” . . . Harkins, 18, had one assist in 10 games this season. In 34 career regular-season games, split evenly between the Prince George Cougars and the Pats, he has two assists. . . . The son of former Cougars GM Todd Harkins, Jonas was dealt to Regina on Jan. 5 in a deal that also included F Jesse Gabrielle.


Last week, Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat in Prince George posted another edition of Cat Scan, a podcast that deals with the Cougars. Miller provides colour on home game broadcasts, so follows the Cougars closely. In this edition, he chats with Eric Brewer, the former NHL/WHL defenceman who is one of the franchise’s six owners. It’s interesting and it’s all right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Max Gerlach scored twice to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon improved to 10-6-2. . . . The Warriors (6-5-3) had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . F Kirby Dach (11) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 12:57 of the second period and they weren’t caught after that. . . . Gerlach, who has 10 goals, gave the visitors a 3-1 lead at 15:16, then made it 4-2 at 17:01 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon had a 36-26 edge in shots. . . . Moose Jaw associate coach Mark O’Leary is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.


F Brett Leason scored twice and added two assists as the host Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertbounced the Kootenay Ice, 7-2. . . . Prince Albert (16-1-0) has won nine in a row. Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) reports that the Raiders have trailed for only two minutes 44 seconds in those nine victories. . . . Kootenay (6-8-3) had won its previous two games. It is 2-1-0 on a four-game trip into Saskatchewan. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals (17) and points (39). He has at least a point in each of his 17 games this season. Leason, 19, finished last season with 16 goals and 17 assists in 66 games. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s first three goals, two of them via the PP, to take control. Leason’s first goal, at 3:33 of the third period, gave them a 6-1 lead. . . . F Parker Kelly (7) scored a shorthanded goal for the Raiders at 16:32 of the second period. That was the Raiders’ 10 shorthanded goal of the season; they have allowed only six PP goals. . . . Kootenay D Dallas Hines and F Brett Davis each played in his 200th regular-season game. Hines, 20, who was a fifth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, has played only with the Ice. Davis, 19, played 85 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes before moving on to the Ice. The Hurricanes selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . .The Ice added D Anson McMaster, 16, to its roster for the game. From Siksika, Alta., he was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 175-pounder has one goal and six assists with the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Raiders had F Cohner Saleski, 16, and D Nolan Allan, 15, in their lineup. Saleski, a first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, had one assist in two games earlier this season. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. Allan was pointless in two earlier games with the Raiders. He has seven goals and eight assists in 15 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Raiders were without D Kaiden Guhle and F Ozzy Wiesblatt, both of whom are at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Thus the need to add Saleski and Allan. . . . Prince Albert had D Sergei Sapego back after a three-game absence due to illness.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . The Oil Kings (10-7-1) have won five in a row. This was the opener of a six-game road trip. . . . The Pats fell to 4-12-0. They are 1-9-0 at home. . . . F Brett Kemp (10) scored twice for Edmonton, providing 2-0 and 3-0 leads, and added an assist. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had four assists. He has five goals and 13 assists in his last six games, and leads the WHL with 25 assists. . . . D Brady Pouteau was in Regina’s lineup for the first time this season after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. . . . F Dylan Guenther, the first-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his debut with the Oil Kings. From Edmonton, Guenther has 15 goals and 10 assists in 12 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team.


F Noah King scored in OT to give the host Swift Current Broncos a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Broncos (2-14-1) had lost their previous eight games (0-7-1). Both of their victories this season have come in extra time. They beat the Wheat Kings in Brandon, 3-2 in a shootout, on Oct. 13. . . . The Hurricanes (7-5-4) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . F Ty Kolle (4) gave Lethbridge a 4-3 lead with a PP goal at 17:14 of the third period. . . . The Broncos tied it when D Connor Horning (3) scored on the PP at 19:24. . . . King won it at 2:59 of extra time with his second goal of the season. . . . D Alex Moar, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips during the week, had the primary assist on the winner. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph ran his point streak to 10 games with his eighth goal, on a PP.


F James Malm, in his first game with his new club, broke a 5-5 tie at 18:42 of the third period as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 7-5. . . . Calgary (5-9-2) had lost its previous three games. . . . Medicine Hat (8-7-2) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Jake Kryski (9), who also had two assists, had given Calgary a 5-4 lead at 10:11 of the third period. . . . D Cole Clayton (2) pulled the Tigers even at 13:04. . . . Malm snapped the tie at 18:42. He has 10 goals, nine of them with the Vancouver Giants, who dealt him to Calgary for F Tristen Nielsen during the week. . . . Calgary F Mark Kastelic (14) iced it with an empty-netter. He finished with two goals and an assist.


F Stelio Mattheos scored twice, including the OT winner, as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregularbeat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . Brandon (8-3-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is 2-2-2 on a seven-game trip that ends tonight in Kelowna. The Wheat Kings are 2-1-1 in the B.C. Division portion of their road swing. . . . Kamloops (6-6-2) had won its previous four games. . . . Mattheos, who has 16 goals, pulled Brandon into a 1-1 tie at 19:51 in a goal that was counted after video review. Brandon crashed the net and the puck got across the goal line. Referee Steve Papp ruled ‘no goal’ because the net was off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. However, video review proved otherwise. . . . D Chase Hartje (2) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 7:05 of the third period. . . . Kamloops D Luke Zazula (2) tied it at 13:47. . . . The Wheat Kings won it when F Linden McCorrister hit Mattheos with a long pass and he went in to score at 3:34. . . . This game featured two goaltenders whose NHL rights belong to the Vegas Golden Knights. Brandon’s Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old from Czech Republic, was selected in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL deal. . . . Ferguson, 20, was taken by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round of that draft and later traded to Vegas. . . . Ferguson has signed with the Golden Knights. . . . Patera played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders so isn’t a stranger to North America. . . . Both goaltenders were outstanding, too. Ferguson finished with 38 saves, while Patera turned aside 32.


F Cody Glass had a goal and three assists to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 7-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Portland (8-6-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Victoria slipped to 9-4-0. . . . The Winterhawks took a 3-1 lead into the second period, only to have the Royals tied it on second-period goals from F Kaid Oliver (11), at 3:11, and F D-Jay Jerome (8), at 8:31. . . . Portland replied with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Ryan Hughes (5) broke the tie at 15:04 of the second, and F Joachim Blichfeld (11) added insurance at 9:55 of the third period. . . . D Jared Freadrich (2), who was acquired from Victoria in May, had Portland’s first goal. . . . D Brendan De Jong (4), who is from Victoria, had the Winterhawks’ second goal. . . . Glass now has 250 career regular-season points, including 85 goals, in 214 games, all with Portland. This season, he has six goals and 21 assists in 13 games.


The host Prince George Cougars scored four times in the first period and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (6-7-3) had lost their previous four games (0-2-2). . . . Seattle (7-5-2) has lost two straight. . . . F Josh Maser (5) got the Cougars started just 41 seconds into the game. D Joel Lakusta (3), F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (3) and F Tyson Upper (2) added goals before the first period ended. . . . The home team held a 17-7 edge in first-period shots. . . . Seattle got its goal from F Samuel Huo (2) at 19:22 of the third period. . . . The Cougars got 21 stops from G Isaiah DiLaura.


G Beck Warm stopped 53 shots to lead the visiting Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory tri-cityover the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans (10-4-0) have won six in a row. . . . Everett (10-6-0) had won its previous three games. . . . The Silvertips held a 55-16 edge in shots, including 26-5 in the third period. . . . Tri-City F Sasha Mutala (4) broke a 1-1 tie at 7:06 of the second period, just 21 seconds after F Connor Dewar (11) had scored for the home team. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (11) gave the Americans a 3-1 lead at 19:24. That goal turned into the winner after F Riley Sutter (8) scored for Everett at 12:35 of the third. . . . F Parker AuCoin (10) got the empty-netter for Tri-City. . . . The Silvertips are without head coach Dennis Williams, who is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick, through Nov. 10. In his absence, assistants Harry Mahood and Louis Mass are running things.


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Scattershooting while wondering what happened to the Astros . . . Sports Curmudgeon is unique . . . President Pateman answers questions

Scattershooting

After the New York Giants were drubbed by the visiting Philadelphia Eagles last weekend to fall to 1-5, the New York Post headline: From Bad To Hearse.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with a most valid point:

“Pardon me, but I need to vent here.  We are only about a third of the way through the football season and I have reached my limit on something that TV announcers say far too often.  There is no such thing as a ‘very unique’ offense or defense; in fact, nothing in the universe is ‘very unique.’ Everything and anything are either ‘unique,’ or they are ‘not unique.’ There are no gradations there.”

He finishes up with this:

“Memo to TV announcers —  Please replace ‘very unique’ in your vocabulary with something that makes sense such as ‘highly unusual’ or ‘very different.’ ”

——

Also . . . please look up the definition of “howitzer” before using it to describe a slapshot from the blue line or a high fastball. . . . Oh, and hockey players don’t play “years.” They play seasons. There is a difference.



So . . . what happens to the WHL’s divisional alignment should the Kootenay Ice be the Winnipeg Ice before another season arrives? Obviously, the Ice would have to play in the East Division. That being the case, one would think that the Swift Current Broncos would then shift into the Central Division. That would keep six teams in each of the divisions.


Col1


Headline at TheOnion.com: Manny Machado Denies Playing Dirty After Late Slide into Pitcher’s Mound

——

Headline at Fark.com: Manny Machado called up to the bush leagues.


Yes, MLB has a pace-of-play problem. If you don’t believe it, consider this note that Taking Note received from a Victoria-based reader late Wednesday:

“If anyone wonders why baseball’s TV ratings have declined, here’s what I was able to do tonight:

Watch the first hour of the Red Sox—Astros.

Drive downtown, watch a hockey game, drive home.

Watch the last half hour of the baseball game.

Four hours 40 minutes for nine innings is inexcusable.”

He’s right!

——

Col2


Lee Merkel, a fan of the Buffalo Bills, died recently at the age of 83. His obit in the Utica, N.C., Observer Dispatch included: “Lee has requested six Bufffalo Bills players as pallbearers so they can let him down one last time.”


Gerry James, a former head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, played for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a tremendous athlete, whose nickname was Kid Dynamite. His son is having some health issues and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the James family with travel-related costs. . . . You will find that page right here.


Just wondering: Is the United States of America the first country in the world to be governed via Twitter?


MacBeth

F T.J. Foster (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, he was pointless in one game with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga). He was released from a tryout contract by Sport on Sept. 26.


ThisThat

John Pateman, one of the Prince George Cougars’ six co-owners, is the franchise’s president and has been for almost a year now. He recently sat down with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat, the analyst on home game broadcasts, and talked all things Cougars for last week’s Cat Scan podcast. . . . If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to own a WHL team, give this a listen. . . . At one point, Pateman offered: “When we got into this, we would hope to not lose money. We managed to lose quite a bit and we’ll lose quite a bit this year. Until we can have a bit of a playoff run, I think we will continue to lose money. . . . we would obviously like to break even but I think we have to hit the second round of the playoffs to do that.” . . . Asked by Miller if the six owners are in it for the long run, Pateman chuckled and replied: “I don’t think we have a choice . . . we’re in. It is what it is.” . . . The podcast runs almost 36 minutes and it’s all right here.


You may recall the schmozzle that arose in January after the final game of the World Junior Championship when three Swedish coaches — Tomas Monten, Nizze Landen and Henrik Stridh — removed their silver medals immediately after receiving them and chose not to wear them for the rest of the post-game ceremony. Shortly thereafter, Monten was hit with a three-game suspension, with Landen and Stridh drawing two-game bans. Those suspensions were to have been served at the beginning of the 2019 event. However, they appealed and won as the Court of Arbitration for Sport tossed out the suspensions. . . . At the same time, the suspensions to the five players who removed their medals are still in place. . . . There is more on this story right here.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Jackson Leppard snapped a 1-1 tie at 2:40 of the third period and the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars went on to beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 3-1. . . . The Cougars (5-5-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Broncos (1-11-0) have lost four in a row, with all losses coming on a B.C. Division tour that wraps up Tuesday in Kelowna. . . . Leppard also had two assists as he figured in all three Prince George goals. It was the third three-point night of his 116-game career. This season, he has two goals and four assists in 11 games. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 37 shots. He has started four of the Broncos’ past five games, stopping 192 of 205 shots (.937). . . . The start of the game was delayed 45 minutes as the on-ice officials were late getting to the arena.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last five goals and beat the host Regina Pats, 5-1. Everett. . . Everett (7-4-0) is 1-1-0 on its East Division trek. . . . Regina (3-9-0) has lost three in a row. . . . Everett got F Sean Richards back after he served a five-game suspension, and he scored his club’s first goal, his first of the season. . . . F Reece Vitelli (1) broke the tie at 1:06 of the second period. . . . The Silvertips were without their captain, F Connor Dewar, after he drew a four-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a 5-2 loss in Brandon on Friday night. He also will miss games in Prince Albert (Tuesday), Saskatoon (Wednesday) and Moose Jaw (Friday). He will be eligible to return on Saturday in Swift Current, the last game of the Everett’s East Division swing.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored twice and added an assist, leading the Edmonton Oil Kings to EdmontonOilKingsa 6-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . The Oil Kings (6-7-1) had lost their previous eight games (0-7-1) after opening the season with five straight victories. . . . Kootenay (3-5-3) has lost six in a row (0-3-3). . . . Fix-Wolansky, who has nine goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 17:56 of the first period, on a PP, and the Ice was left to chase the game for its remainder. He now has 23 points in 14 games. . . . F Peyton Krebs (4) got Kootenay to within a goal, at 4-3, at 13:09 of the second period, on a PP. However, Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (3) upped his club’s lead to 5-3, on a PP, at 19:46. . . . Fix-Wolansky iced it at 18:06 of the third period. . . . The Oil Kings also got two goals from F Andrei Pavlenko (4). A sophomore from Belarus, he has four goals and two assists in 14 games; last season, he finished with three goals and one assist in 20 games.


F Owen Hardy scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (10-2-2) was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours, having gone 0-1-1 in a home-and-home with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna (4-10-0) also was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. It had swept two games in Victoria before travelling to Langley. . . . Hardy gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 15:26 of the first period and provided them with a 3-1 edge at 11:48 of the third period. He’s got four goals this season. . . . D Bowen Byram had two assists for the Giants. He has five goals and seven assists in 14 games. . . . Kelowna gave G Roman Basran his third start of the weekend. He stopped 21 shots. . . . At the other end, Trent Miner blocked 28 shots. His 1.24 GAA and .958 save percentage are the best in the WHL. . . . The Giants were without F James Malm, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Saturday night. . . . The Rockets scratched F Lane Zablocki for a second straight game after he had made his season debut on Friday.


Tweetoftheday

Food news: Blades’ Beuf is back! . . . Lethbridge adds forward in deal . . . Hitmen trim two from roster . . . Ice drops an import


MacBeth

F Masi Marjamäki (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 24 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL), and four goals and two assists in 14 games with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan).


ThisThat

The biggest news in the WHL on Thursday, an off-day on the schedule, came from the Saskatoon Blades, and it is explained in the following tweets . . . If you don’t know the origin of Jerome Engele’s nickname, you should know that he is a former Saskatoon police officer and you need to watch Smokey and the Bandit. . . .


When a WHL team puts together a bid package in the hopes of bringing the Memorial Cup tournament to its city, one of the things that must be included is a guaranteed profit.

For example, in winning the right to play host to the 2013 tournament, the Saskatoon KelownaRocketsBlades guaranteed a profit of $3.5 million. When all was said and done, the event fell a bit short of that, so the Saskatchewan government, which had agreed to underwrite the guarantee, shelled out $668,000 to the CHL. The 2013 tournament drew 82,503 fans to nine games, at the time the fourth-highest attendance in the event’s history.

So what kind of profit did the Kelowna Rockets guarantee as part of their successful bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup?

We may never find out, but Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that it was a “heck of a lot less” than the Blades’ guarantee.

Seymour also reported that the City of Kelowna is to hear a funding request in December and that the organizing committee is expected to apply to the provincial government for grants to help with tournament costs.

Seymour’s complete story is right here.

The WHL announced Wednesday, following a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary, that the Rockets would be the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. That night, the Rockets dropped a 5-0 decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants before, according to Wayne Moore of castanet.net, “just 4,008 fans, the smallest announced crowd at Prospera Place since October of 2002.”



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F Ty Kolle, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgefor a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Kolle, from Kamloops, was scratched on Wednesday night when the Winterhawks went on to score a 7-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kolle was picked by Portland in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 77 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, he has seven goals and 11 assists. Last season, he put up seven goals and seven assists in 60 games. . . . Kolle could make his Lethbridge debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.



The Calgary Hitmen have released F Orca Wiesblatt, 18, and G Matthew Armitage, 19, from their roster. . . . Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assists in 49 games as a freshman Calgarywith the Hitmen last season. This season, he was pointless in two games. He joined the Hitmen in late October from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prior to then, he had been committed to attend the U of Vermont and play for the Catamounts. . . . Armitage will turn 19 on Oct. 30. He got into 19 games with the Hitmen last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890) as a freshman, and had played in one game this season (0-1-0, 5.05, .839). The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Armitage’s departure leaves the Hitmen with two goaltenders — Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who turns 17 on Oct. 30. The move also would appear to signal that the Hitmen are feeling good about Stankowski’s health. Then with the Seattle Thunderbirds, he sat out all of last season due to injury and health issues.


The Kootenay Ice has released F Gilian Kohler, who was the third-overall selection in the KootenaynewCHL’s 2017 import draft. The move allows the Ice to keep Slovakian D Martin Bodak, 20, and Finnish D Valterri Kakkonen, who is in his first WHL season. . . . Kohler, 18, is from Biel, Switzerland. He had eight goals and 11 assists in 55 games as a freshman last season. He had one assist in one game this season. . . . Kohler has cleared the 48-hour import waivers and is expected to return to Switzerland and play for Biel-Bienne in the Elite Jr. A League. He had eight goals and 42 assists in 43 games there in 2016-17.


THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES:

If you are a follower of the Prince George Cougars, or a WHL fan in general, you should know that Hartley Miller is two episodes into a new podcast called Hartley’s Cat Scan. . . . The second episode finds Miller, the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts and the sports director at 94.3 The Goat, involved in an entertaining conversation with G Taylor Gauthier. It’s all right here.

——

The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have acquired the rights to F Sebastian Streu from the Cowichan Capitals for future considerations. Streu, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 22, was released by the Kootenay Ice last month. Last season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Ice. . . . Streu is from Germany, but his father, Craig, has Canadian roots, so Sebastian, who has dual citizenship, wasn’t considered an import by the WHL.

——

In another BCHL deal, the Surrey Eagles have added G Kyle Dumba, 20, and F Brady Lynn, 19, from the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. . . . Dumba, from Calgary, has played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats. He started this season in camp with the Pats but was released. . . .

——

In the OHL, G Michael DiPietro tied the league record for most career shutouts as the Windsor Spitfires beat the visiting London Knights, 2-0. DiPietro, in his fourth season with Windsor, stopped 32 shots in recording his 16th shutout, tying the record set by Tom McCollum, who played two-plus seasons with the Guelph Storm and half a season with the Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . DiPietro was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . McCollum now is with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. . . . The WHL career record of 26 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18).


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note book fund. Just finished Hockey Fight in Canada, by David Shoalts. Next up is Jeff Pearlman’s Football for a Buck, about the rise and fall of the USFL.


Tweetoftheday

Hockey loses writing legend . . . It’s twins for the Hurricanes . . . Halbgewachs is first sniper to 50 . . . Bellerive, Topping, Volcan fill their hats

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Many observers are in agreement that the newspaper business is headed for an abyss.

If that, indeed, is the case, it is a tragedy that generations to come won’t ever enjoy the thrill of waiting for their daily newspaper to be delivered in order to read the likes of Red Fisher, who died Friday at the age of 91.

When I was a youngster, I delivered the Winnipeg Tribune. It arrived in our town via a train, which came in three nights a week. That meant I delivered two papers at a time. First, though, I would camp under a street light and read Jack Matheson. Later, in the mid-1970s, I was fortunate enough to spend five years working for Matty, which is how I came to meet the legendary Jim Coleman, who was the national columnist for Southam, which owned a number of Canada’s major dailies.

Coleman was one of the greats, and so was Fisher.

Back in the day, newspapers entered into exchanges with other newspapers. We would send you a copy of our product; you would reciprocate. That’s how I came to read Fisher on a regular basis.

As Michael Farber, no slouch himself, wrote on Friday for the Montreal Gazette, Fisher’s “career touched seven decades.” Think about that for a moment or two.

Think about this, too — the first Montreal Canadiens game that Fisher covered, as Farber pointed out, “was the Richard Riot, that singular marriage of hockey, sociology and, ultimately, mythology that has marked Quebec for generations.”

Take a minute today and think about Fisher and all that he stood for as a journalist who was there when teams and writers travelled via train and was still writing when Twitter arrived.

He really did see it all, and he wrote it all, too.

Do yourself a favour at some point today. Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and read Farber’s story celebrating the life and career of Red Fisher. It is right here.


I continue to hear from people wondering if I’m back writing again, or if it’s all over. So please don’t be afraid to tell your friends and neighbours that I’m back up and pass along the address. Thank you.


Danny Flynn made his debut as a WHL head coach on Friday night as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped a 5-3 decision to the Swift Current Broncos.

With Mike Johnston, Portland’s general manager and head coach, on a scouting trip, PortlandFlynn took over. Johnston, who apparently was at the bantam AAA John Reid Memorial tournament in St. Albert, Alta., on Friday,

is expected to rejoin the Winterhawks back for tonight’s game in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants.

Of course, it’s not like Flynn doesn’t have any experience as a head coach. For starters, he was in the Memorial Cup last season as head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. He also has been head coach of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls and Soo Greyhounds, and the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.

Flynn and Johnston both are from Dartmouth, N.S., which had a lot to do with Flynn’s joining the Winterhawks as an assistant coach prior to this season.

Evan Richardson, the play-by-play voice of the Winterhawks, pointed out via Twitter that Flynn is the fourth person to serve as a head coach in all three major junior leagues, joining Mike Kelly (Brandon, Windsor/North Bay, Saint John), Ron Harris (Spokane, Windsor, Saint-Jean) and Joe Canale (Medicine Hat, Sarnia, Shawinigan/Chicoutimi/Beauport/Sherbrooke).


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed twin brothers Adam and Justin Hall, both of whom were selected in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. . . . The twins, 16, are from Edmonton. Justin was a seventh-round selection; Adam was taken in the eighth round. . . . This season, they are playing for the midget AAA CAC Edmonton Canadians. Justin has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games, while Adam has seven goals and 13 assists in 27 games.

While there have been a number of brother acts in the WHL, twins are a whole lot rarer. Of course, the Taphorn brothers — Kaeden and Keenan — are with the Kootenay Ice. The 17-year-olds are from Yorkton, Sask.

Know of any other twin acts? Email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Hartley Miller, in his weekly Hart Attack column, wonders if winning is enough to draw hockey fans to an arena these days. He notes that the Prince George Spruce Kings are in the hunt for first overall in the BCHL, but their attendance is off about 10 per cent over last season and is the poorest it has been since 2010-11. . . . Miller points out, too, that the Spruce Kings are running a “Friday night promotion where they practically give away their product.” If you go to Save-On-Food, you are able to purchase the Friday Family Special — four tickets, including two adult, four soft drinks and four popcorn for $19.72. The regular price would be $68. . . . Now that’s a promotion. . . . Miller’s column is right here.


On Thursday, Jim Matheson, the Hockey Hall-of-Famer who covers the Edmonton Oilers for Postmedia, tweeted that he has been hearing that the annual Young Stars preseason tournament in Penticton, B.C., might be done.

The 2017 tournament was the eighth annual, but according to Matheson “many NHL scouts” have been saying that it “was disappointing for (the) calibre of kids taking part.”

However, Andrew Jakubeit, a former WHL on-ice official who now is the mayor of Penticton, told infonews.ca that all of this is news to him.

Jakubeit, who also is the event’s chairman, said that “we are still working with the (Vancouver) Canucks to finalize the details of the Young Stars tournament. It is our intention to host the event again this year.”


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


If you enjoy stopping by here, and even if you don’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause by visiting my old site, taking note.ca, and clicking on the DONATE button. Thank you, in advance.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Regina, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored twice, giving him 50 goals in 47 games, to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-3 victory over the Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (37-7-3) has won MooseJawWarriorstwo in a row and continues to lead the overall standings by eight points over Swift Current. . . . Regina (24-20-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Warriors took control with four first-period goals, two of them via the PP, as they outshot their hosts, 22-8. . . . Halbgewachs got it started, on a PP, at 5:46. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (14) made it 2-0 at 7:30, and D Dmitri Zaitsev (5) scored, on a PP, at 14:37. . . . F Tanner Jeannot (32) upped it to 4-0 at 19:34. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (4) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 5:59 of the second period, but the Warriors got that one back when Halbgewachs got No. 50 at 3:35 of the third. . . . Halbgewachs joins F Theo Fleury and Kent Hayes as the only players in Warriors history to enjoy two 50-goal seasons. Halbgewachs finished last season with 50 goals in 71 games. Fleury had 61 in 1986-87 and 68 the following season. Hayes had 56 goals in 1984-85 and 50 in 1985-86. . . . The Pats’ last two goals came from D Josh Mahura, who has 16, at 8:53 and 19:09. . . . F Brayden Burke and D Kale Clague each had two assists for the Warriors, with Loschiavo adding one. . . . Mahura also had an assist to go with his two goals. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Regina was 2-4. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 42 saves, 21 of them in the third period when his guys were outshot 23-5. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 32 shots for the Pats. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn was among Regina’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Calgary, G Dylan Ferguson turned aside 32 shots to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 2-1 Kamloops1victory over the Hitmen. . . . Kamloops (19-23-3) had lost its previous three games. It is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Calgary (14-26-6) is 13 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Don Hay of the Blazers now has 739 regular-season victories as a WHL head coach, three short of the all-time record that has belonged to Ken Hodge since the end of the 1992-93 season. . . . Ferguson was particularly busy in the third period when he stopped 19 shots. . . . The Blazers got their goals in the second period, from F Luc Smith (12), at 17:29, and F Quinn Benjafield (13), at 18:54. . . . D Vladislav Yeryomenko (11) scored for Calgary, on a PP, at 16:58 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . The Hitmen got 34 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 6,196.


At Red Deer, D Vojtech Budik scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . Prince Albert (17-20-8) is five points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (10-24-11) has lost 12 in a row (0-6-6) and has fallen into the league’s basement. . . . Budik, who has six goals, scored at 1:50 and 11:00, the latter via the PP, of the first period, then drew an assist on D Jeremy Masella’s fourth goal at 16:01. . . . F Jordy Stallard (31) made it 4-0, on a PP, at 4:55 of the second period. . . . D Alex Alexeyev (6) scored for Red Deer, on a PP, at 19:06. . . . The Raiders got their last goal from F Parker Kelly (19), shorthanded, at 7:00 of the third period. . . . Kelly also drew two assists. . . . The Raiders were 2-3 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-5. . . . Prince Albert got 29 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . Red Deer starter Ethan Anders allowed two goals on seven shots in 11:00. Riley Lamb came on in relief to stop 24 of 27 shots in 49:00. . . . Announced attendance: 3,987.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Brendan Semchuk and F Colton Kehler each scored two first-period goals to get the Edmonton Oil Kings started towards a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . EdmontonOilKings. . Edmonton (13-26-6) had lost its previous two games. . . . Kootenay (20-23-3), which opened a seven-game homestand, had won its past two games. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . Semchuk opened the scoring at 3:37 with his first goal since being acquired from Vancouver at the trade deadline. . . . Kehler, who has 20 goals, made it 3-0 with goals at 4:27 and 8:19, the latter via the PP. . . . Semchuk got his 10th goal at 14:54. . . . F Sebastian Streu (6) got the Ice’s goal, on a PP, at 4:43 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Carter Souch (2) closed out the scoring at 13:49. . . . F Tomas Soustal had two assists for Edmonton, with Kehler adding one. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-2 on the PP; the Ice was 1-6. . . . Edmonton got 43 saves from G Todd Scott, 20 of those in the second period. . . . G Matt Berlin allowed five goals on 19 shots in his first start for the Ice since being acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline. He hadn’t played since Dec. 29 due to an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 2,431.


At Portland, F Aleksi Heponiemi had three assists as he ran his point streak to 26 games in the Swift Current Broncos’ 5-3 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Swift Current (33-10-SCBroncos3) has points in eight straight (7-0-1) and is 2-0-0 on its U.S. Division trek. The Broncos are second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Portland (26-15-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, two points behind Everett. . . . G Giorgio Estephan (20) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 4:45 of the first period. That was the 300th regular-season point of his career. He later added two assists and now has 302 points in 301 games, the first 297 of those with Lethbridge. . . . F Skyler McKenzie (35) got Portland into a 1-1 tie at 14:11. He’s got five goals in his past three games and 14 goals in 13 games. . . . D Colby Sissons put the Broncos back out front at 7:50 of the second period, only to have F Alex Overheard (11) tie it, on a PP, at 15:20. . . . The Broncos took a 4-2 lead on third-period goals from F Beck Malenstyn (4), at 1:05, and Sissons (11), on a PP, at 11:21. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld (15) cut into the lead at 17:55, but the Broncos iced it on an empty-netter from F Tanner Nagel (5) at 19:56. . . . Portland got two assists from D Dennis Cholowski, with Blichfeld and McKenzie adding one each. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Stuart Skinner. At the other end, Cole Kehler blocked 21 shots. . . . Cody Glass, Kieffer Bellows and Ryan Hughes (ill) were Portland’s scratches, each of them a top-six forward. . . . Portland did get back F Lane Gilliss and F Jake Gracious from injury-related absences. . . . The Winterhawks have added F Jaydon Dureau to their roster. An eighth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Dureau has 27 goals and 31 assists in 28 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians this season. . . . Still, Portland only has 10 healthy forwards on its roster, so Dureau slotted in on Portland’s fourth line with defencemen John Ludvig and Conor MacEachern. Yes, the Winterhawks are running short of forwards, which may have something to do with GM/head coach Mike Johnston missing this game while on a scouting/recruiting assignment. . . . F Matteo Gennaro was among Swift Current’s scratches after having a run-in with a goal post during the Broncos’ 3-2 OT victory over the host Tri-City Americans on Wednesday. . . . Announced attendance: 5,300.


At Prince George, F Jordy Bellerive scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Lethbridge (22-19-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). LethbridgeIt is second in the Central Divison, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Prince George (17-23-7) has lost three in a row and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . Bellerive, who has a career-high 29 goals in 44 games, picked up his first WHL hat trick. He scored 27 goals in 70 games last season. This season, he also career highs in assists (34) and points (63). . . . F Owen Blocker (2) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 5:32 of the first period. . . . The Cougars tied it at 8:14 as F Josh Curtis scored. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next three goals, all in the second period. . . . Bellerive scored at 1:46, with F Brad Morrison (16) counting at 4:08 and F Jake Elmer (13) at 4:33. . . . Morrison, who also had an assist, is from Prince George and played the first 260 regular-season games of his WHL career with the Cougars. They traded him to Vancouver prior to the start of this season, and he dealt to Lethbridge earlier this month. . . . Curtis (7) cut into the lead at 14:46. . . . Bellerive completed his hat trick with goals at 15:20 of the second period and 17:09 of the third. . . . Lethbridge got three assists from D Igor Merezhko. . . . D Joel Lakusta had two assists for the Cougars. . . . Lethbridge was 0-4 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . G Taylor Gauthier started for the Cougars. He gave up four goals on 13 shots in 24:33 before being lifted in favour of Isaiah DiLaura, who stopped 13 of 15 shots in 35:27. . . . Announced attendance: 5,138.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Jordan Topping completed a three-goal night with a PP goal in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .Tri-City TriCity30(23-16-6) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It and Seattle are tied for third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Portland. . . . Brandon (28-13-4) has lost three straight (0-1-2) and is 0-1-1 on its swing into the U.S. Division. Still, the Wheat Kings are third in the overall standings. . . . The Americans took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Topping, on a PP, at 10:07, and F Isaac Johnson (12) at 11:26. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on PP goals from F Baron Thompson (13) at 3:01 of the second period and F Stelio Mattheos (31) at 7:19 of the third. . . . Topping put Tri-City back out front at 12:28. . . . Brandon forced OT when F Evan Weinger (20) scored at 19:18 with the extra attacker on the ice. . . . Topping won it with his 26th goal at 2:49 of extra time. . . . Tri-City got three assists from D Dylan Coghlan and two from F Morgan Geekie. . . . F Ty Lewis had two helpers for Brandon, with Mattheos and Thompson getting one each. . . . Brandon was 2-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 2-3. . . . The Americans got 35 saves from G Patrick Dea, who was making his 150th regular-season appearance. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 32 shots for Brandon. . . . The Americans had F Max James back from a four-game absence, the first three of which were due to a WHL suspension, but remain without D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, F Kyle Olson and D Roman Kalinichenko. Rasmussen, who had pre-Christmas wrist surgery, is back skating, but he’s wearing a non-contact sweater and isn’t shooting the puck especially hard. . . . Earlier in the day, the Wheat Kings named D James Shearer, who is from Brandon, as the team captain. He takes over from F Tanner Kaspick, who was traded to the Victoria Royals on Jan. 10. . . . Announced attendance: 3,463.


At Langley, B.C., F Tanner Kaspick scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Victoria Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (27-16-4) has won VictoriaRoyalsfour straight and is second in the B.C. Divison, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Vancouver. . . . Vancouver (25-14-7) has points in 10 straight (7-0-3). . . . F Ty Ronning gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 5:23 of the first period. . . . Victoria went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Dante Hannoun (19), on a PP, at 17:20 of the first and F Jeff de Wit (9), at 4:48 of the second. . . . Ronning, who has 42 goals, tied it at 11:11. . . . Victoria went back out front at 1:00 of the third period on F Tyler Soy’s 21st goal. . . . The Giants tied it again on D Dylan Plouffe’s eighth goal, at 7:51. . . . F Tyler Benson and F Owen Hardy each had two assists for Vancouver. . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 40 shots through OT for the Royals. At the other end, David Tendeck made 22 saves. . . . The Giants remain without Slovakian F Milos Roman, who last played on Jan. 9. He has eight goals and 21 assists in 34 games. On Friday, the CHL announced that Roman, a freshman, won’t be playing in the Top Prospects Game on Thursday in Guelph. He was replaced by F Liam Foudy of the OHL’s London Knights. . . . The Giants did have D Darian Skeoch in the lineup after he sat since Jan. 9 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,637.


At Kent, Wash., F Nolan Volcan scored three goals to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 7-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle (23-16-6) has won three in a row and is Seattletied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Kelowna (28-14-3) leads the Western Conference by one point over Victoria and Everett. . . . Seattle scored the game’s first three goals. F Zack Andrusiak (20) got it started 59 seconds into the first period. Volcan made it 2-0 at 8:01. . . . F Noah Philp (9) upped it to 3-0 at 6:07 of the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (20) got the Rockets on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 10:20. . . . The Thunderbirds reply with three more goals, from Volcan, at 12:00, D Turner Ottenbreit (6), at 13:40, and F Blake Bargar (9), at 6:43 of the third period. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (13) got Kelowna’s second goal at 10:34. . . . Volcan, who has 23 goals, completed his hat trick, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . Seattle got three assists from each of D Jarret Tyszka and F Sami Moilanen. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-6 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 27 shots for Seattle. . . . The Rockets opened with G Brodan Salmond, who was beaten five times on 16 shots in 33:40. Cole Tisdale, 15, came on in his WHL debut and stopped 15 of 17 shots in 26:20. . . . Announced attendance: 6,057.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Portland vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Brandon at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

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


TWEET OF THE DAY

This actually was from Thursday, but it holds up with the Tigers not playing on Friday . . .