Pandemic responsible for rash of WHL signings? . . . Co-owner: Cougars 1,500 fans a game from breaking even . . . Hanlon’s latest gig in German DEL

With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


After the Red Deer Rebels announced the signing of Arjun Bawa, a second-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft, on Thursday, Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of these things, tweeted:

“Bawa makes 15 of 22 second-rounds picks signed now. Add to 19 of the 22 first-rounders and that’s 34 of the first 44 picks from 2020.

“Five 3rd-rounders, one 4th and one 5th make 41 players signed from the 2020 draft already.”

And, as Caldwell also noted, the numbers “may actually be higher as some teams don’t announce signings.” (Note: There were more signings on Friday, too, with 21 of 22 first-round picks from 2020 now having signed.)

Whatever the numbers, I can’t ever recall a time when the WHL’s 22 teams signed so many players in such a short period of time. After all, the draft was held on April 22.

So . . . why the rush?

I had wondered if perhaps the WHL’s 22 teams were feeling more pressure than usual from leagues like the BCHL and USHL. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Two people with an understanding of the situation have told me that you likely can chalk it up to the pandemic. Unable to take vacations and with not a whole lot of other things on their plate at the moment, team executives simply have sped up the signing process.

And, no, neither Bill Gates nor 5G have had anything to do with it.



Wondering how much money the Prince George Cougars lost last season? Hartley Miller PrinceGeorgeof 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97 takes a look in his weekly Hart Attack column and it’s all right here. . . . On Tuesday, John Pateman, one of the team’s owners and the franchise’s president, took part in a virtual town hall with fans. At one point, he offered: “It’s been a struggle financially for the ownership group over the last several years. We’ve obviously lost a lot of money. I would suggest, last season, we were probably 1,500 fans short of paying all our bills per game, that’s without making the playoffs.” . . . Do the math, as Miller does in his column, and this looks a lot like about a $1-million loss. Yikes!


Married


Glen Hanlon is the new head coach of the Krefeld Pinguine of the German DEL. He finished last season as the head coach of DVTK Jegesmedvek in Slovakia. . . . Hanlon, 63, spent two seasons (2016-18) as the general manager of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants before going back to Europe where he gained considerable experience after spending the better part of four seasons on staff with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.


Paul McFarland has left his position as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs to take over as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . McFarland spent three previous seasons (2014-17) as the Frontenacs’ head coach before joining the Florida Panthers for two seasons as an assistant coach. He then spent one season with the Maple Leafs. . . . In Kingston, he replaces Kurtis Foster, who was fired on April 29 after two seasons in the position.


Mike Rooney is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. Rooney, from Yellow Grass, Sask., spent last season working as a skating/skills coach with the Notre Dames Hound program in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Rooney replaces Kyle Adams, who was dismissed on Feb. 26. . . . Rooney is a familiar face in Saskatchewan hockey circles, but hasn’t done a whole lot of coaching. He was the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for two seasons (1995-97) and the GM/director of player personnel for the SJHL’s Hounds (1997-2000). . . . He also has considerable experience as an NHL and WHL scout.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x × y is less than y.”


Banjo


Oliver David of the Dubuque Fighting Saints has been named the USHL’s coach of the year for 2019-20. The Fighting Saints had the USHL’s best defensive record en route to finishing second in the overall standings. . . . Oliver spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, where he worked alongside general manager and head coach Mike Johnston. . . . You have to admit that Johnston’s managerial coaching tree is looking rather impressive. It includes Garry Davidson, the general manager of the Everett Silvertips; Matt Bardsley, the GM of the Kamloops Blazers and the Western Conference’s executive of the year; Grant Armstrong and Josh Dye, who both have gone on to scout with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; Karl Taylor, the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals; and Travis Green, the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . It is somewhat interesting that Johnston, despite Portland being one of the WHL’s premier franchises, has never been saluted as executive or coach of the year. The Winterhawks are the reigning Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy holders as regular-season champions.



The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame has cancelled its 2020 induction dinner that was to have been held in Penticton on July 24. It is expected that the 2020 inductees will be installed in the Hall of Fame at a celebration in the summer of 2021. The class features players Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund, official Jay Sharrers, builder Ray Stonehouse, and two teams — the 2002 Kootenay Ice and 2012 Penticton Vees.


The West Coast League says it still hopes to play baseball this season, despite the fact that five of its 12 teams have said they aren’t able to play because of restrictions having been placed on facilities by health officials and the fact that the U.S.-Canada border remains closed. That includes the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats, the league’s two Canadian franchises. Also out are the Bellingham Bells, Bend Elks and Corvallis Knights. . . . The WCL’s regular season was to have started on June 5. In a news release, the league said it now is “targeting early July for the return of baseball to our member cities.” . . . The WCL’s other franchises are located in Portland the Washington communities of Longview (Cowlitz Black Bears), Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Walla Walla and Yakima. . . .

Baseball Alberta announced on Friday that it has cancelled all sanctioned events and activities through Aug. 31. . . . The senior Red Deer Riggers immediately tweeted that their season was over, but they are looking forward to 2021 when they are to be the host team for nationals.


Grandma

Hope: It’s been a wonderful run . . . Does Prince George Rec League need help from feds? . . . New commish for PJHL

It sounds like Cam Hope doesn’t know why he was fired on Wednesday as the president and general manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals, and he’s taking the high road. . . . Interestingly, Hope ran the Royals’ bantam draft on April 22, then had the rug yanked out VictoriaRoyalsfrom under him just one week later. . . . Hope had joined the Royals in 2012 after spending seven seasons with the NHL’s New York Rangers, the first three as vice-president of hockey operations and the last four as assistant GM. . . . He was the Royals’ GM for three seasons, then president and GM for five. . . . The Royals made the playoffs in each of his eight seasons, but never got out of the second round. . . . “We’re in a results oriented business,” Hope told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist,“and (results) are a matter of perspective. If you don’t win a championship, (well) you serve at the pleasure of ownership. I thought we had three good chances — in 2016, in 2018 and, as crazy as it sounds, this year with a team that was poised, and it’s disappointing not to get that chance. Often in sports, it’s in the hands of the gods.” . . . Graham Lee, the franchise’s owner, was quoted in the news release announcing Hope’s dismissal, but that’s been it. . . . Hope added: “It’s been eight terrific years in the best job in junior hockey. It’s extremely hard to create a sustainable business in this league. But I’ve enjoyed every day of it and it’s been a wonderful run.” . . . With Hope pulling the strings, the Royals had a 316-205-52 regular-season record. Good luck to the Royals in finding someone who can match that. . . . Dheensaw’s complete story is right here.


The 2020 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Championship had been scheduled for Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland, from May 8-24. Of course, it was postponed. There had been talk of Switzerland playing host in 2021, but that has been ruled out and it will remain in Belarus and Latvia. . . . The Swiss federation was interested in 2021, but changed its mind, citing financial risks and — get this! — the risk of the coronavirus still being a factor a year from now. . . .

The Hungarian government has banned all large gatherings through Aug. 15, so the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will be run without fans in attendance if it is held on Aug. 2. . . . F1 officials continue to work on their schedule, which has been riddled by cancellations and postponements. . . .

NASCAR says it is going to start its season on May 17 at Darlington, S.C., Raceway. The Coca-Cola 600 is set for Charlotte, N.C., Motor Speedway on May 24. . . . No fans allowed, though.


Waldo


The WHL made it to fark.com, which took note of the 2020 bantam draft with this: “The virus of Brayden has passed its peak. Minus, it has mutated into variations of Hayden, Aiden, Kaden, Jayden, Grayden and (deep breath) Teydon.”


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”


If baseball’s 10-team Expedition League does get its season started, the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks, who call Brandon home, will be playing out of a city in North Dakota. . . . Brian Pallister, Manitoba’s premier, had said on Wednesday that there won’t be live sporting events with fans in attendance in the province until at least September. That combined with the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel meant the Whiskey Jacks wouldn’t be able to play in Brandon. So they will set up shop in a North Dakota community yet to be named. . . . The league’s Opening Day had been set for May 26, but that has been postponed, although a new date hasn’t yet been announced. . . . The league, a summer circuit for college players, also has teams in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. . . . Thomas Friesen of the Brandon Sun has more right here.


With a number of sporting leagues — CFL, CPL, CEBL, BCHL, KIJHL — apparently asking the feds for some financial help, Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat in Prince George and myprincegeorgenow.com wonders: “Is it time for the Prince George Rec Hockey League to ask the government for a handout?” . . . Yes, I think he was joking. But, hey, in these bizarre times you just never know.


In his weekly Hart Attack column, which is right here, Hartley Miller asked a few timely questions:

“What are the contingency plans for junior hockey leagues like the WHL and BCHL should physical distancing measures still be in place for the fall (which is highly likely) and even into the new year? It seems obvious that these leagues are not financially viable without fans, and many of them, in the stands.

“What will be the protocol when sports do return and a competing athlete tests positive for COVID-19? Does everything get shutdown again or do we just shrug our shoulders and just keep playing?”


Hands


Trevor Alto is the junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League’s new commissioner. Alto, 41, takes over from Ray Stonehouse, who had been in charge since 2016. Stonehouse, 76, will remain as a senior advisor through 2021-22. . . . Alto was the BCHL’s executive director under then-commissioner John Grisdale from 2012-19.

——

Bayne Koen is the new head coach of the junior B Richmond Sockeyes of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. He is a veteran junior coach on the Lower Mainland of B.C., and, in fact, has won four championships, most recently in 2018-19 in his fourth and final season with the North Van Wolf Pack. He also has been a PJHL head coach with the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos and Port Moody Black Panthers. Last season, he was the director of player development with the White Rock Whalers and also coached a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. . . . With the Sockeyes, he takes over from Brett Reusch, who left the club on April 9, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.


Embalm

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how Canucks fans are taking things . . .

Scattershooting

Heavyweight Deontay Wilder blamed his loss to Tyson Fury on a 40-pound costume that he wore into the ring for the introductions. Said it took all the zip out of his legs. What did Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, think of that excuse? “And women are going, ‘40 pounds? Meh, that’s the weight of my small purse,’ ” she wrote.



Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, is of the opinion that there is “a very real human element” to the David Ayres story. “He has one of his mom’s kidneys, you see,” Swansson writes, “and his new-born celebrity allows Ayres to raise awareness and funds for a disease that, according to the National Kidney Foundation, causes more deaths in the U.S. than breast or prostate cancer. One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease, and I happen to be among them. I’m at Stage 4, and there’s no cure for the silent killer. Not surprisingly, though, the kidney angle is too often an afterthought in the telling of the Ayres tale, because who thinks about their kidneys until they go on the fritz?” . . . You can read The River City Renegade right here.

——

One more from Swansson: “Wow, CBS will be paying Tony Romo $17 million to flap his gums during National Football League games next season. Hmmm, I wonder how much it would take for Fox to get Terry Bradshaw to stop talking.”


Honey


Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Hey, NFL, let’s just make your season an even 30 games. That would really jack up the income of the owners and the salaries of the players . . . for one season. Then every player would be injured or dead, and the league would fold. But let’s not dwell on the down side.

“It’s called greed. NFL owners simply can’t get enough money, and players can’t resist a slight pay hike, even if it costs them dearly in terms of injuries and shortened careers. Richard Sherman’s lonely voice of sanity was drowned out by the merry cha-chinging of the cash register.”


“It’s February 28,” wrote Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, on Thursday. “Not sure what we’re going to call Donald Trump’s coronavirus strategy. Alas ‘March Madness’ is already taken.”


Onion


There was a time when Brandi Brodsky was the vice-president of business with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . There were good times and there were bad times — a house that was egged, needing an escort from the press box to the office, having to lock the office door with the team on the road. . . . She talks about all that and more on Hartley Miller’s Cat Scan, a podcast that is right here.


Gillian Kemmerer, who blogs at The Caviar Diplomat, sat down with Scotty Bowman on the day of the NHL trade deadline. Most of the conversation was about Russian hockey and players, and it’s well worth reading. It’s all right here.


D Ty Smith had eight points on Friday night, leading his Spokane Chiefs to a 9-2 WHL victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Spokane Spokesman-Review posted five brief paragraphs — not one containing a quote from Smith — about the game on its website. . . . On Saturday, the host Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3 in a shootout. This game got seven paragraphs. . . . You don’t suppose that the Spokesman-Review has stopped sending writers and photographers to Chiefs’ home games, do you? If so, what’s up with that?


“Ever notice,” writes Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, “that there are no grammar-checking editors anywhere in radio or television, including talk-show hosts? Thus, the steady stream of ‘would have gave,’ ‘should have went,’ ‘as we seen,’ ‘that’s what he do,’ and other fractured offerings. No need to get upset; nobody else is. Apparently, it’s absolutely fine.”



JUST NOTES: Al Strachan, who spent a lot of years covering the NHL and was a regular on Hockey Night in Canada, has a new book on the way. Hot Stove: The Untold Stories of the Original Hockey Insiders is to be released on Nov. 17, just in time for Christmas. . . . Former WHL F Carter Rigby will return as head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes, who didn’t qualify for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs this season. Rigby stepped in has the Coyotes’ head coach in December. . . . ICYMI, the Vancouver Canucks went east and lost to the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets, blowing a late 3-1 lead in the latter game on Sunday. They aren’t rioting in the streets of Vancouver — yet — but the panic is running in the streets like so much rain water.

Czech goalie appears headed to Chiefs. . . . ‘Canes’ Cozens suffers thumb injury. . . . Campbell staying in Portland


MacBeth

F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 47 games, he had seven goals and 12 assists. An alternate captain he averaged 19:04 TOI. . . .

D Anatoli Yelizarov (Edmonton, 2015-17) has been traded by Salavat Yulaev Ufa to Sochi (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, with Salavat Yulaev, he was pointless in 40 games. He also had one assist in 16 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), and had one assist in two games with Tolpas Ufa (Russia, MHL). . . . MHL (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga) is Russia’s national junior league.


ThisThat

Allan Walsh is a prominent player agent and the co-managing director at Octagon-Hockey. One of his clients would seem to be Czech G Lukas Pařík, 18, who was selected by the Spokane Chiefs in Thursday’s CHL import draft and it would seem that he is bound for the WHL. . . . A few days earlier, Pařík had been selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of the NHL draft, then spent a few days in the Kings’ development camp. . . . At this point in time, he joins three other goaltenders on the Chiefs’ depth chart — veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both of whom are prepping for their 20-year-old seasons, and Campbell Arnold, a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft who played last season with the junior B Spokane Braves.


F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes suffered an injury to his left thumb on Saturday while in the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp. It appears that the thumb was hurt as he put his hand down in the hopes of easing a fall as he tried to absorb a hip check from D Brandon Hickey. . . . Cozens, who is to see a specialist on Monday, later told reporters: “It’s good. I saw the videos and stuff. I think it looked a lot worse than it really was. . . . but right when it happened I wanted to get right back out there, so I’m feeling good.” . . . Cozens told reporters that the thumb isn’t broken. He also kept his left hand in the pouch of his hoodie as he spoke with reporters. . . . The Sabres selected Cozens with the seventh pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft.


You may recall that the Prince George Cougars’ 2018-19 schedule included an 11-game road trip that began in early December and ran into Christmas, all but ruined their season and may well have cost head coach Richard Matvichuk his job. . . . So what kind of schedule are the Cougars looking at for 2019-20? . . . Hartley Miller of 94.3 the GOAT and the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts, takes a look right here.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? All that’s involved is clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and following the instructions. Thank you very much.


An interesting item from Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, who is a must read whenever she posts a smorgasbord of thoughts and opinions, which usually is a couple of times a week

“Can it really be true that parents are required to pony up $12,000 for their 17- and 18-year-old kids to skate with Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League? That, according to an article by Taylor Allen in the Drab Slab, is up from $3,000 last season. I don’t make a habit of telling folks how to spend their money, but in this case I will: Are you people nuts? That’s a lot of coin for a handful of hope. I mean, if the goal for your boy is the National Hockey League, you might be better off buying $12,000 worth of lottery tickets. I don’t blame parents for dreaming, though. The bad guys here are the mucky-mucks at 50 Below Sports + Entertainment. That $12,000 price tag is just wrong.”

The “Drab Slab” is the Winnipeg Free Press, in which Allen wrote:

“To suit up for the Blues this (season), it will cost $12,000 for players between the ages of 17 and 18, and $6,000 for 19- and 20-year-olds. Last (season), players had to pay roughly $3,000, with some of the cost offset by fundraising. The price has gone way up, as the Blues, who are owned by the same ownership group as the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, are now a club whose main intention is to develop players in hopes of getting them ready to play in the WHL.”

Are the Blues the only junior A team in all of Canada whose goal is to groom players for the WHL rather than try to get them hockey scholarships with NCAA teams?

Swansson’s complete piece is right here.



The Portland Winterhawks have re-signed Rich Campbell, their athletic trainer/strength Portlandand conditioning coach, to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. . . . Campbell is prepping for his 12th season with the Winterhawks. . . . “Rich Campbell is the longest serving member of our current staff, and we are pleased to announce that he will be returning for several more seasons,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. “One of the key reasons we are able to develop players for the National Hockey League is because of the work Rich does off the ice.” . . . Campbell’s resume includes a stint with the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that played in the Beijing Games, and working as the head trainer for the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1997 to 2006.


JUST NOTES:

The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach under head coach Mike Babcock. Hakstol, the former U of North Dakota head coach, was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 17. . . . The Leafs had an opening on their staff after Jim Hiller, a former WHL player and coach, left after four seasons to join the staff of the New York Islanders. Hiller was the head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins for three seasons (2006-09) and the Tri-City Americans for five (2009-14). . . .

Mike Vellucci, who was the head coach of the AHL-champion Charlotte Checkers for two seasons, now is the head coach of that league’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . The announcement was made on Friday, one day after Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli resigned for personals reasons. . . . Vellucci is the AHL’s reigning coach of the year. . . . He spent five seasons (2014-19) with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. For the past two seasons, he also was Charlotte’s head coach. Before joining Carolina, he spent 14 seasons (2001-14) as the GM/head coach of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. . . .

The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have named Clayton Robinson their general manager and head coach, with Jesse Hammill coming on board as associate coach. . . . Robinson has owned the franchise since May 1, 2018. . . . Curtis Toneff, the team’s GM/head coach for two seasons, left to join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.

Tweetoftheday

Will Lamb stay, or will he go? . . . Cranbrook: Ice isn’t tenant, so doesn’t control lease. . . . Royals sign local twins

MacBeth

F Davis Vandane (Saskatoon, Spokane, Prince Albert, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has announced his retirement through the website of the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Kassel, he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 52 games. Meilleur is quoted in the announcement as saying that he is returning to Manitoba to work on the family farm. . . .

D Patrik Maier (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was pointless in four games, while, in 47 games on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six goals and nine assists.


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars have been without a head coach since their season ended in PrinceGeorgeMarch. You are free to wonder if they soon also will be looking for a general manager. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen took a look at the situation in a story for Wednesday’s paper. . . . Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager, is friends with, and has worked with, Dave Tippett, the new head coach of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . “Now entering the second year of a four-year contract with the Cougars,” Clarke writes, “Lamb would neither confirm nor deny whether he’s about to be hired by the NHL team, but the stars appear to be aligned in that direction.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.


As it played its final WHL season in Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place, the Kootenay Ice had a lease that ran through the 2022-23 season. Now that the team has moved to Winnipeg, the city feels the Ice no longer is a tenant so doesn’t control the lease. . . . That’s the word from Paul Heywood, the city’s acting director of community services, who was responding to charges from a group that attempted to purchase and relocate an AJHL franchise (Calgary Mustangs) and later a KIJHL team (Kelowna Chiefs) to Cranbrook. . . . The group said in a news release that the city’s refusal to approve a sublease between it and the Ice ended the chances of placing a team in Cranbrook. . . . Heywood told Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman: “The City has not turned down any offers, and we presently have a questionnaire open for any hockey organizations that are willing to submit an offer to bring their team to Cranbrook. The City of Cranbrook decided that the Kootenay Ice (is) no longer a tenant in Western Financial Place, after establishing offices in Winnipeg and selling tickets for a new season at the Wayne Fleming Arena at the University of Manitoba. The City of Cranbrook has clearly stated that the Winnipeg Ice no longer (has) the right to assign a sublease to any hockey organization. It will remain at the discretion (of) the City of Cranbrook to choose which hockey team will be coming to WFP.” . . . Crawley’s complete story, including the group’s news release, is right here.


The Victoria Royals have signed twin brothers Jason and Ryan Spizawka to WHL VictoriaRoyalscontracts. Both were taken in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Jason, a defenceman, was selected in the first round. Last season, with the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., he had two goals and 23 assists in 28 games. . . . Ryan, also a defenceman, was taken in the seventh round. He also played at Yale Hockey Academy, putting up eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games. . . .

This Victoria franchise, which entered the WHL as the Chilliwack Bruins, has had at least one other set of brothers, but the Walker boys weren’t twins. From Edina, Minn., Ben played from 2011-14, and Jack was there from 2012-17.

——

The WHL’s 22 teams now have signed 15 first-round selections from the May 2 draft. . . .

WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

——

SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


It is always interesting to compare ticket prices between WHL teams. Hartley Miller, the news and sports supervisor at 94.3 the GOAT in Prince George, has done just that, taking a look at the Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Miller also is the analyst on broadcasts of Cougars’ home games. . . . His comparison piece is right here.


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.


Mike Pelino, a former WHL coach, will spend next season working as an assistant coach with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. He will be working alongside first-year head coach Craig MacTavish. . . . Pelino, 59, spent two seasons (1997-99) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . He has spent the past six seasons working in the KHL. This season, he was an assistant coach with Avangard Omsk. Prior to that, he was on staff with Metallurg Magnitogorsk for five seasons.


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers are in the market for a general manager/head coach after Curtis Toneff signed on as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The Buccaneers play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Toneff, who is from Nanaimo, was the Buccaneers’ head coach for two seasons. . . .

The VIJHL’s Saanich Braves also are looking for a general manager/head coach, with Sam Waterfield having joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as an assistant coach. . . . Waterfield spent two seasons with the Braves.


Tweetoftheday

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

Brewer says Cougars’ “uptick is coming.” . . . Raiders, Blades are up 3-0 and in control. . . . Chiefs take Winterhawks to the Woods’ shed


MacBeth


ThisThat

If you are waiting for the Prince George Cougars to make a move, like out of town, forget about it.

Eric Brewer, a former NHL/WHL defenceman who is part of the organization’s PrinceGeorgeownership group of six, made a second apperance with Hartley Miller on the latter’s Cat Scan podcast, and made it quite clear that the Cougars aren’t going anywhere. He said he is in it for the long term and that means a long time.

“Long-term for me means a long way out,” Brewer said. “I don’t know how you would quantify a long term. There really has been no discussion to move the team that I’m aware of. We’re just trying to improve . . .

“We’re asking people to be patient because we feel the uptick is coming. . . . It’s coming but it does take time. Some people have stayed away a little bit . . . they want to see kind of where we’re going with it, and we understand. . . . Certainly winning a few games and a playoff run or two would help.”

Brewer added that the ownership group, which has owned the team for five years, really wants “this thing to be good and we want it to be a real positive experience for the families, for the fans, for the businesses, for the community overall. It’s a real big part of Prince George, It is the community’s team . . . we may own it, but we’re just kind of a vehicle for everyone to be a part of it.”

The Cougars missed the playoffs, and Brewer said it was “definitely a growing” season for the team. “But,” he added, “we are getting there . . . we are going up.”

Brewer also talked about the Cougars’ 17-game losing streak, the firing of head coach Richard Matvichuk, the Kootenay Ice moving to Winnipeg and a whole lot more. . . . It’s all right here.


The WHL hasn’t announced its exhibition schedule, but there will be two games, both featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince George Cougars, played in Dawson Creek, B.C. . . . Those games will be played at the Encana Events Centre on Sept. 12, 7 p.m., and Sept, 14, 1 p.m. . . . Proceeds from the games are ticketed for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation. . . . D Wyatt McLeod of the Oil Kings if from Dawson Creek, so this will be a homecoming of sorts for him.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Jacob Hoffrogge to a WHL contract. Hoffrogge, from Saskatoon, was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Hoffrogge, who turned 16 on Feb. 18, had two goals and 14 assists in 39 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts this season.


F Tristyn DeRoose scored at 4:54 of OT to give the host Estevan Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Humboldt Broncos in Game 7 of an SJHL playoff series on Tuesday night. . . . The Bruins had taken a 2-0 first-period lead on goals 19 seconds apart by F Will Koop and F Eddie Gallagher. . . . The Broncos tied it on second-period goals by D Josh Patrician, at 1:26, and F Reagan Poncelet, at 1:57. . . . DeRoose, who turned 20 on Jan. 29, won it with his first goal of these playoffs. He has played in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors. In fact, he started this season with the Warriors. In 109 WHL games, he has five goals and eight assists. In the regular season with Estevan, the native of Ceylon, Sask., recorded seven goals and 18 assists in 25 games. . . . Estevan got 29 saves from G Grant Boldt, while G Rayce Ramsay stopped 38 shots for Humboldt. . . . The announced attendance was 2,662.


Topher Scott at thehockeythinktank.com has written a piece titled: The Cost of AAA Hockey. . . . My goodness, this is scarier than Stephen King at his best. Unless you’re a loans officer or the president of a bank, of course. . . . It’s all right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Going into Tuesday’s games, the first round of the playoffs had featured nine games in suspensions and $1,500 in fines. There don’t appear to have been any major incidents last night, although one hit in the Victoria Royals’ 3-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers may come in for a look. . . .

The Royals may ask for supplemental discipline after a second-period hit by F Brodi Stuart of Kamloops on D Matt Smith, who left the game and didn’t return. There wasn’t a penalty on the play, but Victoria head coach Dan Price obviously felt there was a high elbow involved. He could be seen signalling with an elbow at referee Sean Raphael, and also appeared to suggest to Raphael that the referee should “watch the replay.” . . . After the game, Price told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “I’m not going to comment on (the hit by Stuart). I appreciate you asking the question. I said what I had to say to the referee so I just want to make sure I leave that in the hands of the league. That’s above my pay grade. Our general manager will make that decision.” . . . As Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, was pondering his options. . . .

Only the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans weren’t in action last night. They will play Game 3 tonight in Kennewick, Wash., with the Silvertips leading, 2-0. . . . Only the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Calgary Hitmen won’t play tonight. They are scheduled to play Game 4 in Calgary on Thursday night. . . . Home teams were 2-5 last night and now are 14-9 in these playoffs. . . . 

Last night, F Cole Sillinger scored his first WHL goal for the Medicine Hat Tigers. It came in his third playoff game. His dad, Mike, totalled 20 goals in 23 playoff games with the Regina Pats back in the day. . . .

When F Jared Anderson-Dolan of the Spokane Chiefs was penalized for interference 24 seconds into the second period of their game in Portland last night, it was the first penalty called in more than four periods between these teams. There wasn’t even one penalty called in Game 2 or in the first period of Game 3.

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Max Gerlach snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-Saskatoon2 victory over the host Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Blades hold a 3-0 lead in the series, with Game 4 in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .  F Kyle Crnkovic (1) gave Saskatoon the lead at 18:03 of the first period. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (1) tied it at 11:29 of the second. . . . F Kirby Dach (2) put Saskatoon back out front at 17:15. . . . Warriors F Carson Denomie (2) tied it at 6:27 of the third. . . . Gerlach won it with his fourth goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:39. . . . The Warriors took back-to-back delay-of-game penalties at 13:40 and 14:12 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff made his second straight start and stopped 37 shots. . . . F Brayden Tracey returned to the Warriors’ lineup after missing his club’s previous four games.


F Noah Gregor scored twice to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over PrinceAlbertthe Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 3-0. Game 4 is to be played tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Raiders haven’t won a playoff series since 2005 when they dumped the Saskatoon Blades (4-0) and Medicine Hat Tigers (4-2) before losing in seven games to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. Since then, the Raiders were ousted six times in the first round and had seven non-playoff seasons. . . . The Raiders, who held a 42-16 edge in shots, got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and were never headed. . . . Gregor (1) made it 1-0 at 1:09 of the first period, and F Dante Hannoun (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 13:22. . . . F Brandon Hagel (4) scored for Red Deer at 4:37 of the second period. . . . Gregor (2) restored the two-goal lead at 16:45 of the third period, only to have F Reese Johnson (1) get Red Deer to within one at 18:58. . . . Prince Albert F Parker Kelly (1) iced it with the empty-netter at 19:41. . . . All four of the Prince Albert goals were unassisted. . . . The Raiders got 14 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders turned aside 38 shots. . . . The Raiders played without F Brett Leason, who served a one-game suspension for a hit from behind on Rebels F Cam Hausinger in Game 2. Hausinger wasn’t injured on the play. . . . The Rebels are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee), who won’t play in this series.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 3-0 lead midway through the game and went on to beat Calgarythe visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3, behind two goals and an assist from F Carson Focht. . . . The Hurricanes lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 tonight in Calgary. . . . F Ryder Korczak (1) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 3:24 of the first period, and Focht (1) made it 2-0 at 4:43. . . . F Josh Prokop (1) upped that to 3-0 at 9:01 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes got to within one on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (2), at 9:39, and F Zack Stringer (1), at 17:38. . . . Calgary went back up by a pair when Focht (2) scored, on a PP, at 6:13 of the third. . . . Cozens (3) got the Hurricanes back close at 11:27, before Calgary F Luke Coleman (1) got the empty-netter at 19:55. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 26 shots for Calgary, five fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . F Mark Kastelic, Calgary’s captain and a 47-goal man in the regular season, was among the scratches. According to a tweet from Jeff Hollick (@JeffHollick), Kastelic “is out indefinitely with a concussion after a boarding incident and a punch to the head in Game 2.” . . . The Hurricanes were without F Scott Mahovlich and F Jackson Shepard, both of whom served one-game suspensions that were handed down after they became involved in a brouhaha at the end of Game 2. . . . When this series returns to Lethbridge for Game 5 on Friday, they’ll be playing in Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns because the world men’s curling championship will be in the Enmax Centre. The Nicholas Sheran Arena has 968 seats and 200 standing room spots.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 32 shots to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled to be played tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . F Cole Sillinger, 15, scored his first WHL goal to get the Tigers started. The 11th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft counted at 15:09 of the first period. . . . F James Hamblin (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 9:24 of the second period, with F Elijah Brown (3) adding to the lead at 12:53. . . . The Tigers wrapped it up with third-period goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (1) and F Hayden Ostir (2). . . . Medicine Hat was 0-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo wasn’t able to score on a third-period penalty shot. . . . Søgaard, the 6-foot-7 freshman from Aalborg, Denmark, is 2-1, 1.68, .959 in the three games of this series. He has stopped 118 of 123 shots. . . . Edmonton starter Dylan Myskiw surrendered four goals on 23 shots in 41:55. Todd Scott came on in relief and was beaten once on 11 shots in 18:05.


The Vancouver Giants erased a 3-2 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 6-4 Vancouvervictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Giants lead the series, 2-1. . . . They are to meet again tonight in Kent for Game 4. . . . Seattle went ahead 1-0 at 4:06 of the first period when F Matthew Wedman (1) scored. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Tristen Nielsen (1), on a PP, at 19:27, and D Bowen Byram (2), at 3:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-2 as F Payton Mount scored his first two goals, both on the PP, at 8:40 and 11:09 of the second period. The Giants took a pair of too-many-men minors 3:19 apart, and Seattle scored on both PP opportunities. . . . Mount had scored five goals in 57 regular-season games, with just one of those coming via the PP. . . . Vancouver tied it when F Jadon Joseph (3) struck, on a PP, at 18:48 of the second period, then took the lead when D Alex Kannok Leipert (1) scored 24 seconds into the third. . . . D Dallas Hines (1) made it 5-3 at 7:02. . . . Seattle got to within a goal as F Sean Richards (2) scored at 16:38, but Vancouver F Brayden Watts (1) got the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . Nielsen and Byram each had two assists for three-point outings. . . . G David Tendeck made his first start of the series for Vancouver, stopping 25 shots. Trent Miner had started the first two games. . . . Seattle G Roddy Ross blocked 31 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 2-5. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Jake Lee, who completed a two-game suspension for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif with six seconds remaining in Game 1. Sourdif hasn’t played since then, and isn’t expected to be in the lineup tonight.


F Riley Woods scored in OT to give the visiting Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the SpokaneChiefsPortland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane leads the series, 2-1. . . . They’ll do it again tonight in Game 4 in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 on first-period goals from F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1), at 1:39, and F Joachim Blichfeld (2), at 6:57. . . . Spokane responded with three straight goals, from F Luke Toporowski (1), who had missed Game 2, at 16:37; F Luc Smith (2), on a PP, at 5:03 of the second period; and F Ethan McIndoe (2), at 5:42. . . . Portland then took a 4-3 lead as D Jared Freadrich (1) scored at 10:06 and Fromm-Delorme (2) got his second at 1:44 of the third. He had scored three times in 60 regular-season games. . . . Spokane F Jack Finley (1) tied it, 4-4, at 7:48. . . . Woods won it with his second goal of the series, at 9:35 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-1 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . The teams had played Game 2 without taking a minor penalty. There were two called in Game 3. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 28 shots, 10 fewer than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . The Winterhawks continue to play without F Cody Glass (knee), while D John Ludvig completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last two goals, both of them in the third period, VictoriaRoyalsand beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . Victoria leads the series, 2-1. . . . Game 4 is to be played tonight in Kamloops. . . . F Carson Miller (3) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 17:36 of the first period. He has a goal in each game of this series. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (2) tied it at 19:03. . . . After a scoreless second period, F Connor Zary (1) gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead, shorthanded, at 2:15 of the third. . . . Zary was playing his first game of the series after being out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Zary scored after stripping the puck from a Victoria defenceman behind the Royals’ net and coming out the backside to stuff it into the net. . . . At 4:48, Victoria F Brandon Cutler (1) scored a playgrounder at the other end to get his guys back into a tie. . . . The Royals won it at 8:08 when D Scott Walford, the best player in this game, and F Kody McDonald broke out 2-on-1. Walford slipped the puck to McDonald, who got G Dylan Ferguson to open up and then slid the disc through his legs for his third goal of the series. . . . The Blazers had one excellent change with time winding down but F Kyrell Sopotyk had his backhand attempt sail wide of the right post. . . . Victoria was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . G Griffen Outhouse was sharp in making 32 saves. He set a franchise record for career playoff victories (10), breaking the mark he had been sharing with Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). . . . Ferguson finished with 28 saves. . . . Victoria D Matt Smith, who had missed 10 games since last playing on Feb. 24, started the game but left in the second period after a hit from Kamloops F Brodi Stuart. . . . Victoria was without D Mitchell Prowse for a second straight game. . . . With Prowse out and Smith gone, the Royals sent with four defencemen for most of the game’s final 25 minutes. In the third period, they used two pairings — Walford with Jameson Murray, and Jake Austria with Ralph Jarratt. . . . Kustra was playing his first game after missing six in a row. . . . Kamloops F Kobe Mohr sat out as he completed a two-game suspension for slashing a linesman following a faceoff in Game 1. . . . The video below provides a look at Mohr’s transgression.


Tweetoftheday