Ex-Blazers head coach has new gig. . . . Loschiavo sparks Oil Kings’ win. . . . McGrew’s OT goal puts Chiefs in front


MacBeth

F Dwight King (Lethbridge, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 10 goals and 32 assists in 54 games.


ThisThat

Well . . . that didn’t take long.

Serge Lajoie wasn’t out of work for two weeks after he and the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers made what both parties contend was a mutual decision to go their separate ways on April 11.

On Tuesday, Lajoie, who spent one season as the Blazers’ head coach, was named head coach of OHA Edmonton’s midget prep team.

Before signing on with the Blazers, Lajoie spent three seasons as the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears and five years with the NAIT Ooks.

With OHA Edmonton, Lajoie will take over from Randall Weber, who spent one season as the midget prep team’s head coach and now is the program’s general manager.

The Blazers, meanwhile, have yet to name a new head coach.


Team Canada completed round-robin play at the IIHF U-18 World Championship on Tuesday, erasing a 2-0 deficit and beating Czech Republic, 6-2, at Umea, Sweden. . . . CanadaCanada (4-0) finished on top of Group A and will meet Latvia, the fourth-place team in Group B, in a quarter-final game on Thursday. . . .

The tournament, which is being played in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden, concludes on Sunday. . . .

In yesterday’s victory, G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 23 shots in his second straight start for Canada. . . . .F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) scored once, and F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) had an assist. . . . There were three WHLers in Czech Republic’s lineup — D Simon Kubicek (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Martin Lang (Kamloops Blazers) and F Matej Taman (Prince George Cougars). . . .

In other games on Tuesday, Team USA dumped Latvia, 7-1; Finland dropped Switzerland, 12-0; and Sweden blanked Russia, 3-0. . . .

F Cole Caufield scored two goals for the Americans, giving him a tournament-leading 11. That is three shy of the tournament record set by Russian F Alex Ovechkin in 2002. . . . Caufield leads the tournament with 13 points, while teammate Jack Hughes, who had two assists yesterday, has 12. The tournament record is held by Russian F Nikita Kucherov, who put up 21 in 2011. . . .

Where do things go from here?

For starters, Switzerland finished the round-robin at 1-3 — the victory came in OT — and will meet Slovakia (0-4) in the best-of-three relegation round that opens on Thursday. Slovakia is the only one of the 10 teams not have won a round-robin game.

As mentioned, Canada and Latvia will meet in one quarter-final in Umea, with the winner playing the winner of a game between Sweden (3-1) and Czech Republic (2-2) in Ornskoldsvik. Sweden wound up second in Group B, while Czech Republic was third in Group A. . . On the other side of the draw, it’ll be Team USA (4-0), first in Group B, against Finland (1-3), fourth in Group B, in Ornskoldsvik, and Belarus (3-1), second in Group A, versus Russia (2-2), third in Group B, in Umea. . . .

Interestingly, Team USA and Finland met in the tournament’s championship game in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — the Americans won the first two, with Finland winning last year.


The Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, CHLQuebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate, has never employed a full-time president.

That is about to change.

The CHL, which encompasses 60 teams, announced on Tuesday that it has hired “an outside firm” to search for its first president. David Branch, the OHL commissioner, has been the CHL’s president since 1996, but it’s a part-time gig for him.

The late Ed Chynoweth was the CHL president from 1975-95, while also filling the role of WHL president.

A new president will report to Branch, Gilles Courteau, the president of the QMJHL, and Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner.

The CHL hopes to have a new president in place before the start of the 2019-20 season.


The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have signed F Ty Mueller, 16, to a letter of intent for 2019-20. Mueller, from Cochrane, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. As a 15-year-old, he put up 10 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. . . . He has committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for 2022-23. . . . The Prince George Cougars selected Mueller in the third round of the 2018 WHL bantam draft.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL’s conference finals both will go at least five games. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won at home on Tuesday night, beating the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-1, to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Game 4 will be played in Edmonton tonight, with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, and now trail 2-1 in the Western Conference final. They’ll play again tonight in Spokane. with Game 5 scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Friday night.

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored two goals and set up another to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to EdmontonOilKingsa 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Edmonton tonight. . . . This was the Raiders’ worst loss of the season. They suffered 10 regulation-time losses in the regular season — four by one goal, three by two and three by three. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (6) opened the scoring as he got loose off the left wing and went in alone to score at 1:27. . . . D Conner McDonald (2) made it 2-0 at 9:48, scoring shortly after Raiders F Zack Hayes had hit a post at the other end. . . . Loschiavo (7) wired a shot from the left dot, on a PP, at 14:48 for a 3-0 lead. . . . Loschiavo’s linemates combined for five assists — F Trey Fix-Wolansky drew an assist on each of the first three goals, with F Quinn Benjafield in on two of them. . . . D Matthew Robertson (4) made it 4-0 when he scored through a screen from high in the slot at 18:54. . . . The Raiders’ goal came from F Sean Montgomery (8), on a PP, with 0.3 seconds left in the period. . . . Edmonton F Josh Williams (2) completed the scoring, on a PP, at 16:05 of the third period. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves. In these playoffs, he now is 7-3, 1.79, .927. . . . The Raiders got 34 stops from G Ian Scott.

——

F Jake McGrew’s goal in OT gave the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the visiting SpokaneChiefsVancouver Giants. . . . Vancouver leads the Western Conference final, 2-1, with Game 4 in Spokane tonight. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Eli Zummack (4) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead when he scored off a rebound at 17:40 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif (1) tied it when he broke in off the right wing and scored at 2:22 of the third period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (6) put Spokane out front 2-1 when he scored off the rush at 10:51. . . . The Giants forced OT when F Jared Dmytriw (7) scored on a PP at 17:01. He actually put the puck off a skate belonging to Chiefs D Filip Kral and into the net. . . . McGrew won it with his second goal of these playoffs, at 8:51 of extra time, taking a centring pass from D Bobby Russell and whacking home the winning goal. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Bailey Brkin blocked 27 shots for the Chiefs, while David Tendeck turned aside 35 at the other end. . . . Kral missed some time in the first period and into the second after taking a hit from Sourdif behind the Chiefs’ net. He returned in the second period and finished the game. . . . The Chiefs again were without F Luc Smith, 20, who hasn’t played since leaving Game 1 after suffering an apparent ankle injury early in the first period.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

It’s a big day in Allan, Sask. . . . No playoffs for Wheaties. . . . Blazers, Rockets all even in third. . . . Giants clinch conference flag

ThisThat

This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the HumboldtBroncosmiddle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.


There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.

This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured Kamloops1during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.

The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.

In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.

Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.


Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .

Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.


If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.


The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday TWUnight, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.


Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, Pats5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.


F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.


F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory Lethbridgeover the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.


The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a MooseJawWarriors6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.


Shivers
After being open for 690 Kootenay Ice games, Shivers concession stand will end its run when the team leaves for Winnipeg after Sunday’s game. “Thank you Kootenay Ice and hockey fans,” reads the sign. “Shivers opened on Sept 12, 2001. Since opening we have served you for 690 Kootenay Ice hockey games.” It is signed: “Ramona and Staff.”

F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.


The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat VictoriaRoyalsthe visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.


F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.


D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).


Tweetoftheday

Burzan, Langan fill hats in wins . . . Cutler has Royal birthday . . . Ams eke out victory over ‘Tips


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Tours (France, Division 1). This season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in games. He was released by mutual agreement by Odense on Dec. 17. . . .

F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) announced his retirement, effective immediately. This season, he had three goals and nine assists in 12 games with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). He also is a coach of the Zell am See U12 team and will continue in that role.


ThisThat

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

For the bulk of this season, there has been speculation that the Kootenay Ice will leave Cranbrook, B.C., after this season and set up shop in Winnipeg.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

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

I don’t pretend to know the definition of “very soon,” but we are into our 17th day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


The WHL’s Canadian teams are preparing to take part in the second season of RE/MAX whlPresents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. . . . The 17 teams first got involved in his promotion last season and it was a resounding success. . . . It is used to promote organ donation and to generate support for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last season, it raised more than $265,500, which, according to a news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

This time around, teams again will be wearing specially-designed Don Cherry-themed sweaters, only they will sport nicknames on the backs rather than surnames. Yes, sweaters will be available via auction after each game.

Here are the dates of these special nights:

Sat., Jan. 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


G Kyle Dumba has been picked up by the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Dumba, 20, will fill the spot created when the Seattle Thunderbirds signed G Roddy Ross on Tuesday. . . . Seattle immediately added Ross to its roster, replacing G Liam Hughes, who was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Dumba, 20, had been with the Victoria Grizzlies, who got future considerations from Camrose. . . . Dumba has spent time with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats in the WHL, along with the junior A Okotoks Oilers, Calgary Mustangs, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and the Grizzlies.


If you enjoy what you see here, 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.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan scored three times and added two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat BrandonWKregularKings to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Brandon (16-14-6) had lost its previous four games. The Wheat Kings are two points shy of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Seattle (11-20-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1) and is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Cole Reinhardt gave the home guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:40 of the first period, and Burzan upped it to 2-0 at 9:21. . . . F Noah Philp halved the deficit, on a PP, at 11:07. . . . Brandon took control with four second-period goals, two of them from Burzan and another from Reinhardt (9), who also had an assist. . . . Philp later added his 13th goal for Seattle. . . . Brandon got a goal, his fourth, and two assists from D Chase Hartje. . . . Burzan has two career hat tricks — he had a five-goal game on Sept. 29 in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Stelio Mattheos was back in Brandon’s lineup — he had two assists — after completing a three-game suspension. His line, with Reinhardt and Burzan, combined for 10 points. . . . The Thunderbirds opened a six-game East Division trip with this game. . . . G Jiri Patera, who played with Czech Republic at the WJC, started for the Wheat Kings and stopped 37 shots. . . . Seattle starter Cole Schwebius was beaten four times on 13 shots in 24:32. Roddy Ross, who joined the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks this week, came on in relief. He stopped 19 of 22 shots in 35:28. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who is serving a three-game suspension, and F Matthew Wedman, who sat out a one-game suspension. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and D Zach Ashton, who came over from the Saskatoon Blades, both were in Seattle’s lineup. . . . Seattle also had F Conner Roulette, 15, make his WHL debut. From Winnipeg, he was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2018 bantam draft. Roulette has 22 goals and 34 assists in 29 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. . . . The Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds met in the 2015-16 WHL final, with Brandon winning in five games. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out in pre-game coverage that there are three Wheat Kings left who played in that series — Mattheos, F Connor Gutenberg and F Linden McCorrister. Seattle also has three players left on its roster — Wedman, F Nolan Volcan and D Jarrett Tyszka.


F Tristin Langan scored three times to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-2 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Moose Jaw (21-8-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind the Saskatoon Blades. However, Moose Jaw has five games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (34-4-1) now has lost two in a row at home where it is 17-2-0. It leads the East Division by 16 points over Saskatoon. . . . Langan gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:58 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (8) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Langan put the Warriors ahead again, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (10) got the home team back into a tie at 19:43. . . . Warriors F Brayden Tracey (15) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 7:31 of the third period, and Langan completed the hat trick into an empty net at 19:50. . . . Langan now has 66 points, including 30 goals, in 35 games. He went into this season with 71 points, including 25 goals, in 174 games. . . . Langan has four career hat tricks, three of them this season, two in his last six games. . . . The Warriors got three assists from D Josh Brook, their captain, in his first game back after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . The Raiders were  credited with winning 46 of 65 faceoffs. . . . G Brodan Salmon stopped 38 shots for Moose Jaw, including 14 in the third period. . . . F Dante Hannoun was in the Raiders’ lineup one day after being acquired from the Victoria Royals. The Raiders also had G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason back from their stint with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott made 27 saves.


F Kyle Crnkovic scored on a PP in OT to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over Saskatoonthe Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (24-11-5) has won three in a row. . . . Regina (12-25-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . F Max Gerlach (23) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 13:16 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:38 of the third when F Austin Pratt (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Crnkovic won it with his third goal of the season at 1:19 of OT. . . . F Gary Haden had the primary assist on both Saskatoon goals. . . . Saskatoon got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier, while Regina’s Max Paddock was outstanding in blocking 36 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch, acquired this week from the Seattle Thunderbirds, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . F Kirby Dach (undisclosed injury) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. . . . D Tyson Feist, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs, was in Regina’s lineup, as was F Blake Allan, who came over from the Kootenay Ice.


F Jaydon Dureau broke a 3-3 tie in the third period and the Portland Winterhawks went Portlandon to a 5-3 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Portland (22-11-5) has points in seven straight (4-0-3). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . This was the start of Portland’s six-game East Division trip. . . . F Lane Gilliss (8) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 2:13 of the first period. . . . Broncos F Ethan O’Rourke (3) tied it at 10:11. . . . Portland took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (35), at 14:41, and F Michal Kvasnica (6), at 16:54. . . . F Matthew Culling pulled the home side to within a goal at 17:36. . . . Culling now has eight goals, seven of them in his past nine games. . . . F Ethan Regnier (7) got the Broncos into a 3-3 tie at 2:46 of the second period. . . . Dureau snapped the tie at 7:28 of the third period, and F Jake Gricius (16) got the empty-netter at 19:10. . . . F Cody Glass, who played for Canada at the WJC, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . Portland held a 48-23 edge in shots — 16-8, 16-9 and 16-6, by period. . . . Yes, Broncos G Josh Hofer stood tall, again. . . . G Shane Farkas started for Portland, with Dante Giannuzzi backing him up. G Evan Fradette, 17, who was added to Portland’s roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Thursday, wasn’t dressed. . . . Portland got back D John Ludvig, who was out with a two-game suspension. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served the second of a four-game suspension, and D Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol.


F Brandon Cutler celebrated his 19th birthday with a goal and two assists to spark the VictoriaRoyalsVictoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Victoria (19-15-1) is 3-2-0 on its six-game Central Division swing. It is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Edmonton (21-13-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division, by one point over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who have three games in hand. . . . Cutler (9) opened the scoring at 1:03 of the first period, and F Logan Doust (2) made it 2-0 at 15:04. . . . Edmonton got to within a goal at 18:01 when F Vince Loschiavo (18) scored. . . . F D-Jay Jerome’s 16th goal gave Victoria a 3-1 lead at 3:32 of the second period. . . . F Andrew Fyten (11) got the Oil Kings back to within a goal at 16:11. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse blocked 35 shots, 15 of them in the second period. . . . The Oil Kings had D Will Warm back for the first time since Sept. 29 — he missed 35 games with an undisclosed injury — and F Brett Kemp returned after a two-game absence. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Carson Miller, who came over in a deal with the Prince Albert Raiders, made their Victoria debuts. Also in the Royals lineup for the first time was D Jake Kustra, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Dec. 10. He last played on Oct. 14. . . . D Noah Lamb, who is from Edmonton, also made his debut with the Royals. Lamb, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Knights of Columbus Pats in Edmonton.


F Jake Elmer scored twice and added an assist, and G Liam Hughes posted his first Lethbridgevictory with Lethbridge as the Hurricanes edged the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (20-10-8) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Vancouver (23-12-2) has lost four straight; it is 1-4-0 on its six-game Central Division trip. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 11 points over Victoria. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from Elmer, at 1:01, and F Jordy Bellerive (19), at 4:18. . . . The Giants tied it on goals from F Owen Hardy (8), on a PP, at 14:24, and F Justin Sourdif (9), just 33 seconds later. . . . F Taylor Ross (22) gave Lethbridge the lead at 3:31 of the third period, with Elmer (18) making it 4-2 at 7:53. . . . D Bowen Byram (10), on a PP, got Vancouver to within a goal at 16:14. . . . Ross added two assists to his goal. . . . Hughes stopped 33 shots in his second consecutive start since Lethbridge acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier in the week. . . . Vancouver had three newcomers in its lineup — D Dallas Hines, who was acquired earlier in the day from the Kootenay Ice; F Jadon Joseph, who came over from the Regina Pats earlier in the day; and D Seth Bafaro, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. . . . The Giants also had F Milos Roman back from his stint with Slovakia at the WJC. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was in Lethbridge’s lineup after being acquired from the Regina Pas on Thursday. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, has a long history in Lethbridge, having coached the Hurricanes and, most recently, the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, and minor midget and midget AAA Hurricanes.


The Calgary Hitmen snapped a 2-2 tie with two goals early in the third period en route to Calgarya 5-3 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (18-16-4) has won three straight. Calgary holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (22-13-2) now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. The Rebels are in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:41 of the second period, only to have Red Deer F Brett Davis (11) tie it at 5:59. . . . Calgary went back out front at 15:50 on a goal by F Bryce Bader (3). . . . D Dawson Barteaux tied it for Red Deer, on a PP, at 1:08. . . . The Hitmen broke the tie on goals from F Luke Coleman (10), at 2:00, and F Kaden Elder (16), at 4:19. . . . F Reese Johnson (18) scored for Red Deer at 16:16. . . . Zimmerman (4) iced it at 18:24. . . . Zimmerman also had an assist, for a three-point outing.


G Garin Bjorklund won his second straight start as the Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (22-15-3) has won five in a row and moved into third spot in the Central Division. . . . Kootenay (8-25-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for the midget AAA Buffaloes. The Tigers, with G Mads Sogaard with Denmark at the WJC, brought in Bjorklund to partner with Jordan Hollett. . . . Last night, Bjorklund stopped 29 shots. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when D Hayden Ostir (9) scored at 11:17 of the first period. He left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second period, and didn’t return, following a collision with Ice D Martin Bodak. . . . F Josh Williams made it 2-0 at 1:43 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it on second-period goals from F Austin Schellenberg (2), on a PP at 8:30, and F Jaeger White, at 10:49. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 4-2 before the period ended, on goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (14), at 11:46, and F Tyler Preziuso, at 12:45. . . . White’s 16th goal of the season, at 17:53 of the third period, pulled the Ice to within a goal, but Preziuso (15) put it away at 18:20. . . . White’s stepfather, Shaun Clouston, is the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin had one assist in running his point streak to 10 games. He has 10 goals and five assists one that stretch. . . . The Ice had F Connor McClennon in the lineup for the first time since he suffered an undisclosed injury on Nov. 24. McClennon, 16, was the second-overall pick in the 2017  bantam draft. . . . The Ice also had D Marco Creta and F Cyle McNabb make their Kootenay debuts. Creta was acquired from the Regina Pats and McNabb from the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Tigers are without F Bryan Lockner (concussion).


F Tyson Upper’s shootout goal gave the Prince George Cougars a 2-1 victory over the PrinceGeorgeRockets in Kelowna. . . . Prince George (13-21-3) had lost its previous two games. It is two points shy of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars are 2-7-0 on an 11-game road trip that continues on Tuesday against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (17-17-4) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, one point behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . The Cougars are 4-1-1 against Kelowna, which is 2-2-2 against Prince George. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (4) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 14:28 of the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (8) got the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 10:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Foote, leading off the second round of the shootout, scored for Kelowna. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Upper followed with goals for Prince George. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who was forced from Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops by dehydration after two periods. . . . Prince George had a 9-1 edge in third-period shots; Kelowna led 5-1 in OT. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets. . . . D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, returned to Prince George’s lineup. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg (leg) sat out after being injured a week ago in Everett, and F Ilijah Colina left the game in Kamloops on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. D Cam MacPhee (undisclosed injury), F Reid Perepeluk (ill) and D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, also were scratched. . . . F Craig Armstrong, 15, made his debut with the Cougars in this one. He was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. The Cougars also had D Cole Beamin, 17, in the lineup after adding him from the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. He was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the visiting Kamloops SpokaneChiefsBlazers, 4-1. . . . Spokane (21-13-4) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kamloops (14-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division seven points behind Kelowna. The Rockets are in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Riley Woods (24) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:43 of the first period. . . . F Kobe Mohr (4) scored, on a PP, for Kamloops at 18:52. . . . Spokane broke the tie on a goal by F Jake McGrew (14), on another PP, at 1:28 of the second period. . . . D Filip Kral (4), who had played for Czech Republic at the WJC, added insurance at 7:02. . . . F Luke Toporowski (12) added an empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs were 2-6 on the PP; the Blazers were 1-3. . . . The Chiefs had three players back in their lineup who had been at the WJC — F Jared Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith (Canada), and D Kral. . . . This was the first game between the teams since the Nov. 26 deal in which the Chiefs acquired F Luc Smith from the Blazers for F Jeff Faith and two 2020 bantam draft picks — a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder.


The Tri-City Americans erased an early 2-0 deficit and beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2, in tri-cityKennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (20-13-2) has won two in a row. The Americans are fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane and in control of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett (29-8-2) had been 14-0-2 in its previous 16 games. This was its first regulation-time loss since it was beaten 5-2 by the host Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 16. Everett leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . F Zack Andrusiak, in his first game with Everett since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds, scored the game’s first goal. His 28th goal of the season and seventh in seven periods came at 3:51 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (9) made it 2-0 at 7:12. . . . F Krystof Hrabik, in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, got Tri-City started with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 18:57. . . . D Aaron Hyman (9) got the Americans even at 3;23 of the second period, and F Blake Stevenson (8) broke the tie at 15:31. . . . The Silvertips had a 39-18 edge in shots, including 17-4 in the third period. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 37 shots. . . . Everett was 0-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1.


Tweetoftheday

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


ThisThat

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


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

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


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

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

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

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

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

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Tweetoftheday

Great Scott! Leafs sign goaltender . . . Hitmen run win streak to five . . . Silvertips win battle of division leaders

On the third day of our annual Christmas countdown, here’s two classics from the great Darlene Love. . . . From David Letterman’s show in 2014, Christmas (Baby Please Come) is right here. . . . Another favourite, All Alone for Christmas, is right here.


MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) after Severstal bought his rights from Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). With Tyumen, he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. . . . Babenko was pointless in a three-game trial with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) earlier this season. Dynamo offered him a contract after the trial but Babenko didn’t like the role Dynamo had planned for him and rejected the offer. . . .

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) for financial reasons. He had two goals and four assists in 24 games. . . . Medveščak also released five other players for the same reason on Friday. Medveščak is in financial difficulties since losing its main sponsor last week. It has had to release 12 players as a result. The Austrian-based Erste Bank Liga has granted the club permission to replace these players but the replacements must have Croatian citizenship. . . . The Croatian Ice Hockey Federation and the City of Zagreb have promised support for the club so it may complete the season.


ThisThat

G Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Torontothe Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . The announcement was made with Scott in Victoria in the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott, from Calgary, is 23-2-1, 1.61, .943 with the Raiders this season. He has put up four shutouts. . . . Scott’s season also includes a goal, as he fired the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Nov. 16. . . . In 152 regular-season appearances, all with the Raiders, Scott is 72-58-12, 3.03, .903.


The Prince Albert Raiders are without D Brayden Pachal, their captain, as they conclude whlthe pre-Christmas part of their schedule by going home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The WHL revealed on Friday that it has suspended Pachal for two games “under supplemental discipline” for something that happened in a 6-5 OT victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. . . . The WHL didn’t reveal what happened to warrant the suspension; however, Pachal was hit with a triple minor at 17:02 of the first period (double high-sticking and roughing) after a hit on Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky, so perhaps it had something to do with it. . . . Pachal sat out last night’s game in Swift Current and won’t play in tonight’s rematch in Prince Albert. . . . He will be eligible to return on Dec. 27 when the Raiders visit the Saskatoon Blades.


F Kent Johnson of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters has committed to attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2020-21. . . . Johnson, a 16-year-old from North Vancouver, was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 11 goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Trail.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

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


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 HIGHLIGHTS:

D Steven Zonneveld broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the host Regina Pats went on Patsto a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (9-23-1) snapped a nine-game losing skid (0-8-1). . . . Moose Jaw (16-8-5) has dropped two in a row. . . . The game’s three goals all came in the second period. . . . F Kaeden Taphorn (3) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:00, and Regina F Riley Krane (6) tied it at 13:48. . . . Zonneveld, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, scored his first career goal at 18:47. It came in his 15th game. . . . The Warriors held a 27-18 edge in shots. . . . Regina G Dean McNabb stopped 26 shots. . . . F Eric Alarie, who was picked in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his debut with the Warriors. Alarie, 15, plays for the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter of the Warriors and D Josh Brook are at the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Victoria. . . . Regina is without F Sebastian Streu, who is with Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany.


F Gary Haden scored in the dying seconds to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-3) has won four straight. . . . Brandon (14-10-6) has lost three in a row. . . . This was the first of six meetings between these teams. . . . The Blades took a 2-1 lead into the second period, goals by F Brandon Machado (2) and F Josh Paterson (10) following one by Brandon F Ridly Greig (7). . . . F Linden McCorrister (11) scored, shorthanded, to get the Wheat Kings into a 2-2 tie at 17:19 of the second period. . . . Haden scored his 13th goal of the season with 4.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . The Blades got 33 saves from G Nolan Maier, 18 of them in the third period. . . . With G Jiri Patera having left to attend the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team, the Wheat Kings started Ethan Kruger, who stopped 19 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were without five injured players — F Jonny Hooker, D Vinny Iorio, D Jonny Lambos, F Lynden McCallum and D Braden Schneider. . . . D Jack Zayat, who signed a WHL deal on Thursday, made his Brandon debut. . . . Saskatoon is without F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, who is with Norway at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home for this one and posted his piece right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders opened up a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Broncos PrinceAlbertin Swift Current. . . . The Raiders (30-2-1) have won two in a row, and are the first team in the CHL this season to reach 30 victories. . . . Swift Current slipped to 6-24-2. . . . These teams will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Prince Albert took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Carson Miller (10), F Noah Gregor (17) and F Eric Pearce (4). . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (8) got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 12:41 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Sean Montgomery made it 4-1, shorthanded, at 17:32, and F Spence Moe (6) added another shorthanded score, at 9:46 of the third. . . . The Broncos made it interesting with late goals from F Alec Zawatsky (10), F Connor Horning (3) and F Matthew Culling (3), with Montgomery (15) adding an empty-netter for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders now have scored 17 shorthanded goals; they have allowed only 16 PP goals. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are second with eight shorthanded snipes. . . . Montgomery also had an assist for a three-point night. He has career highs in goals, assists (19) and points (34), all in 33 games. . . . The Raiders were 2-7 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-2. . . . The Broncos lost D Garrett Sambrook at 10:59 of the second period after he took a high hit from Raiders F Parker Kelly, who was given a headshot minor. Sambrook left and didn’t return. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are in camp with Canada’s national junior team; F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany; and D Brayden Pachal, who served Game 1 of a two-game suspension. . . . Leason left in the third period of a game between Canada and a USports side after taking a shot on one hand. After the game, Mark Masters (@markhmasters) of TSN tweeted that Team Canada head coach “Tim Hunter says he just shook hands with Leason and Brett is a little sore but it didn’t seem overly serious.”


F Jake Kryski snapped a 1-1 tie at 17:26 of the first period and the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarywent on to a 5-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Hitmen (15-14-3) have won five in a row. . . . The Rockets (15-17-2) have lost two straight. . . . Kelowna is 1-2-0 on a Central Division trip that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Egor Zamula (8) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:51 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Crosbie (5) got Kelowna into a 1-1 tie at 8:00. . . . Kryski broke the tie at 17:26. . . . F Riley Stotts (9) made it 3-1 at 2:01. . . . Kryski added his 16th goal, on a PP, at 13:30 and F Ryder Korczak (5), who was playing against his brother Kaedan, wrapped up the scoring at 19:23. . . . Kryski has tied his single-season career high in goals in 32 games; he had 16 in 71 games last season. . . . Zamula also had two assists. A Russian sophomore, he has eight goals and 19 assists in 32 games. Last season, in 70 games — 38 with Regina and 31 with Calgary — he totalled two goals and 16 assists. . . . Calgary won 35 of 58 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen are missing D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who also is with Belarus in Fussen.


The Kootenay Ice erased an early 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 Kootenaynewvictory over the Kamloops Blazers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (8-21-6) had lost its previous 12 games (0-9-3). . . . The Blazers (12-15-3) have dropped five in a row (0-4-1), all on a six-game trek through the Central Division that concludes tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Connor Zary (8) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead 43 seconds into the first period. . . . Kootenay snapped right back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by F Davis Murray (5) at 2:23 — it was a Teddy Bear goal — and F Peyton Krebs (13), on a PP, at 4:37. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (3), on a PP, and F Jaeger White (13) added second-period goals for the Ice for a 4-1 lead. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal on two scores from D Quinn Schmiemann, at 11:37 of the second and 3:57 of the third. He’s got five goals. . . . F River Fahey (1) iced it for the Ice at 17:04. . . . Kootenay got 37 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen completed a three-game WHL suspension by sitting out this one.


F Josh Williams scored two goals and drew two assists, while G Mads Søgaard blocked 49 Tigers Logo Officialshots as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Rebels, 4-1, in Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat (17-14-3) has won four straight. . . . Red Deer (20-10-2) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . The Tigers now are 4-0-0 versus the Rebels this season. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division, and are five points ahead of the fourth-place Tigers. . . . Williams enjoyed the first four-point night of his WHL career. . . . The Tigers erased a 1-0 deficit with the game’s last four goals, the first three on the PP. D Linus Nassen earned an assist on each of the PP scores. . . . F Chris Douglas (10) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period. . . . Williams tied it at 14:28, and F James Hamblin (16) put the visitors ahead at 10:00 of the second period. . . . Williams (8) added insurance at 16:22 and F Bryan Lockner (9) iced it at 19:17 of the third. . . . Medicine Hat is 8-15 on the PP in the four victories over Red Deer. . . . The Rebels held a 50-38 edge in shots, including 19-10 in the third period. . . . Søgaard and Williams were named to the Top Prospects Game on Thursday. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev was in the lineup after visiting hospital following a hit in a Tuesday night game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. He leaves today to join the Russian national junior team in Victoria.


F Jake McGrew scored three times and added an assist to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (18-11-4) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle slipped to 11-15-3. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 10:40 of the first period. . . . McGrew gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead with goals, the first on the PP, at 19:00 of the first and 1:35 of the second. . . . Volcan (12) tied it at 8:15. . . . F Adam Beckman (15) put the Chiefs back in front at 9:36. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals. . . . F Payton Mount (3) pulled Seattle back into a tie at 17:32. . . . F Eli Zummack (10) broke the tie at 19:45. . . . McGrew, who has 11 goals, completed his second career hat trick into an empty net at 19:31 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs are without D Ty Smith, who is with Canada’s national junior team, and D Filip Kral, who is with the Czech Republic’s team. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who hasn’t played since Oct. 27 because of a broken wrist, also is with Canada but has yet to take part in a full practice. He has been skating and lightly shooting but hasn’t been cleared for contact.


F Bryce Kindopp scored twice and the penalty-killers were perfect in leading the Everett EverettSilvertips to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Everett (26-7-2) has points in each of its past 13 games (11-0-2). . . . Vancouver (21-7-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Divison; Vancouver is atop the B.C. Division. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 10 points over the Giants. Everett also leads the U.S. Division, by 14 points over the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Silvertips broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . Kindopp got it started, while shorthanded, at 10:36. . . . F Dawson Butt (6) made it 2-0 at 12:50, and F Reece Vitelli (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:32. . . . Kindopp, who has 16 goals, seven of them over his past six games, made it 4-0 at 17:23. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots for Everett, losing his shutout bit at 17:44 of the third period when F Owen Hardy (6) scored. . . . Vancouver, which was 0-5 on the PP, held a 13-3 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Wolf also picked up an assist, his fourth of the season, on Everett’s third goal. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas was back in Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, a 15-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., made his debut with the Giants. Ostapchuk, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Prince George VictoriaRoyalsCougars, 5-1. . . . Victoria improved to 15-13-1. . . . Prince George (11-18-3) has lost four in a row. . . . The Cougars are four games into an 11-game road trip that will continue Sunday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants, and then pick up after Christmas. The Cougars won’t play at home again until Jan. 11. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:27 of the first period. . . . That lead held up until F Dino Kambeitz (5) tied it at 14:25 of the second, and F Tarun Fizer (8) put the Royals ahead, on a PP, just 1:14 later. . . . The Royals put it away with third-period goals from F Kaid Oliver (15), F Brandon Cutler (7) and F Phillip Schultz (6). . . . Victoria got 34 saves from freshman G Brock Gould, making a rare start in place of Griffen Outhouse. In nine appearances, Gould is 3-4-0, 3.35, .865.


Tweetoftheday

Raiders stay perfect on home ice . . . Chiefs shoot way past Silvertips . . . Winterhawks get split in Victoria

Let’s begin our annual Christmas countdown with The Boss. It’s Bruce Springsteen with Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town . . . It’s right here.


MacBeth

F Chris Francis (Portland, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with MEC Halle (Germany, Oberliga) after his release by the Tulsa Oilers (ECHL) on Dec. 4. This season, he had one goal and one assist in 10 games with Tulsa. . . .

F Mike Aviani (Spokane, 2009-14) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Herning Blue Fox (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after requesting and receiving his release from Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). With Medveščak this season, he had four goals and seven assists in 23 games. . . . Medveščak Zagreb is in financial difficulty after losing its main sponsor. Marcel Rodman, assistant coach and VP of hockey operations, resigned on Dec. 5, then GM/head coach Aaron Fox and assistant coach Carter Beston-Will resigned on Dec. 10, and five players in addition to Aviani have obtained their releases from the club in the last two weeks.



COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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



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.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Fonstad scored on a quick shot from the left faceoff dot in OT to give the host PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders a 6-5 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (29-2-1) now is 15-0-0 at home. . . . Edmonton (16-12-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . F Noah Gregor scored twice to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead early in the second period. He’s got 16 goals. . . . The Oil Kings then got goals 50 seconds apart from F Carter Such (6) and F Jake Neighbours (7) to take a 3-2 lead in the period’s second half. . . . F Parker Kelly (14) pulled the Raiders into a tie at 11:18, only to have Edmonton take a 4-3 lead on a goal by F David Kope (5) at 15:34. . . . Prince Albert tied it when D Max Martin (5), who also had two assists, scored at 11:55 of the third period, then took the lead as F Carson Miller (9) scored at 12:28. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo (14) forced OT when he scored with 6.6 seconds left in the third. . . . Fonstad won it with his 11th goal at 3:00 of OT. . . . Prince Albert was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-7. . . . Oil Kings F Trey Fix-Wolansky was held to one assist. He now shares the WHL scoring lead with Prince Albert F Brett Leason, each with 64 points. Season is in Victoria with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Gregor added an assist to his two goals, with Fonstad adding two assists to his singleton. . . . Edmonton got a goal and two assists from D Conner McDonald. He’s got seven goals. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and Leason, both of whom are with the Canadian junior team, and D Sergei Sapego and F Aliaksei Protas, who are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. The Oil Kings also have two players on the Belarusian roster — F Vladimir Alistrov and F Andrei Pavlenko.


The Swift Current Broncos erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the visiting Regina Pats, 4-3. SCBroncos. . . Swift Current (6-23-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Regina (8-23-1) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . The Pats had won the first three meetings with the Broncos. . . . F Scott Mahovlich (5) and F Brett Clayton (3) gave the Pats a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Andrew Fyten got the Broncos to within a goal, on a PP, at 5:46 of the second period. . . . The Pats went ahead 3-1 when F Riley Krane (5) scored at 8:39. . . . Fyten (8) made it 3-2 at 13:43. . . . In the third period, F Joona Kiviniemi (7) got the home side into a 3-3 tie, at 11:18, and F Tanner Nagel (5) won it at 16:44. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 36 shots for the Broncos. Hofer is 4-17-2, 4.03, .902. . . . The Pats had F Robbie Holmes back after he missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Sam McGinley, who joined the Pats Wednesday, picked up an assist in his WHL debut. He was a fifth-round pick by the Pats in the 2017 bantam draft.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s first five goals and went on to beat the Lethbridgevisiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1. . . . Lethbridge (16-9-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Kelowna (15-16-2) had points in each of its previous five (4-0-1). . . . F Zachary Cox (10) got the home side started at 2:16 of the first period, and F Jake Leschyshyn (20) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 14:05. . . . F Jake Elmer (16), in the second period, and F Jordy Bellerive (13) and F Taylor Ross (18) added third-period goals. . . . F Liam Kindree (7) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 13:39 of the third. . . . Kelowna was 1-7 on the PP, while Lethbridge was 0-3. . . . The Hurricanes won 43 of the game’s 67 faceoffs.


F Ryan Jevne scored twice for a third straight game to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official4-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Tigers (16-14-3) have won three in a row. . . . The Blazers (12-14-3) have lost four straight (0-3-1), all on a Central Division trip. . . . Jevne opened the scoring at 5:38 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (13) made it 2-0 at 12:21. . . . Jevne, who has 16 goals, scored shorthanded at 4:35 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. . . . The Blazers made it interesting late in the second as F Connor Zary (7) scored at 15;14, and F Brodi Stuart (9) made it 3-2 at 17:59. . . . The Tigers got insurance from D Daniel Baker (2) at 6:04 of the third. . . . G Mads Søgaard earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen served Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin wasn’t suspended after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit from behind on Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev on Tuesday night. Alexeyev was taken to hospital but, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com, X-rays and a CAT scan were negative. Alexeyev, who is to join the Russian national junior team on Saturday, is listed as day-to-day and may play against visiting Medicine Hat on Friday.


D Nolan Reid and F Jake McGrew scored in a shootout to give the host Spokane Chiefs a SpokaneChiefs4-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane improved to 17-11-4. . . . Everett (25-7-2) now has points in 12 straight (10-0-2). . . . The Silvertips had won their previous nine games in regulation. . . . Everett was 3-4 on the PP; Spokane was 2-5. . . . F Connor Dewar (24) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 3:50 of the first period, and F Luc Smith (13) tied it, on a PP, at 19:50. . . . F Max Patterson (10) put Everett ahead at 5:23 of the second period. . . . Spokane went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (9), on a PP, at 8:28 and F Adam Beckman (14) at 9:24. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (14) tied it 3-3 at 14:02. . . . The Chiefs got 43 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . F Akash Bains returned to Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . Everett F Sean Richards sat out the second of an eight-game suspension.


F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and added two assists to lead the Portland Winterhawks Portlandto a 7-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Portland (19-11-2) has dropped a 7-4 decision in Victoria on Tuesday. . . . Victoria (14-13-1) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . Last night, the Royals actually jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Ty Yoder, with his first WHL score, and D Scott Walford (3). . . . F Ryan Hughes got Portland started at 5:34 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis tied it at 6:37. . . . Hughes, who also had an assist, put Portland ahead with his 12th goal, on a PP, at 13:19, and Blichfeld made it 4-2, shorthanded, at 17:32. . . . The visitors iced it with third-period goals from F Jaydon Dureau (7), F Reece Newkirk (17) and Blichfeld (29), with the last two coming via the PP. . . . Portland was 3-4 on the PP. . . . Blichfeld now leads the WHL in goals (29), one more than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who is in camp with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Blichfeld also has 61 points, just three off the league lead. . . . Newkirk added two assists to his goal, with F Jake Gricius picking up three assists. . . . F Tyson Kozak made his WHL debut with Portland, and he was on the No. 1 line, between Hughes and Blichfeld. A sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, the native of Souris, Man., has 14 goals and 23 assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba Midget Hockey League. . . . Souris also is the hometown of Everett Silvertips GM Garry Davidson. . . . Just sayin’. . . . D Jake Kustra, who was acquired by the Royals from the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday, has yet to play for Victoria.


Tweetoftheday

A special Kidney Walk for Dorothy . . . A milestone for the Blades’ voice . . . Some tidbits from opening weekend

MacBeth

G Matt Hewitt (Regina, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Fassa Canazei (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with University of British Columbia (Canada West, U Sports), he got into 20 games, going 12-5-2, 2.85, .920 with one shutout. . . . This summer, Hewitt played with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). In 26 games, he drew three assists, while going 23-2-0, 1.95, .925 with three shutouts. He led the league in wins, shutouts, GAA and SP. . . . CBR Brave won the AIHL championship, beating the Sydney Bears 4-3 in OT in the league’s Grand Final on Sept. 2 in Melbourne. . . .

F Marcel Noebels (Seattle, Portland, 2010-12) has been released from his PTO with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and will rejoin Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL), where he is an alternate captain for this season. Last season, he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Eisbären. . . .

F Nikita Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for D Denis Nedilko (1999 born, playing for Amur’s junior team, Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk). Popugayev had two goals and one assist in three games this season with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL). . . . Krasnaya Armiya is CSKA’s junior team. MHL is Russia’s junior league.


ThisThat

I’m back after being away for a few days while we put the finishing touches on the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you hadn’t guessed, Dorothy and I were among the organizers for the Kidney Walk that was held on Sunday at McDonald Park.

Yes, it was a success! Oh, was it!!

Let me tell you a little bit about it . . .

Dorothy had her kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, after almost four years of doing peritoneal dialysis, so this Kidney Walk marked the fifth anniversary of her new life.

Drinnanfamily
The Drinnan family, with the cake (donated by the North Shore Safeway) that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant.

We knew it was going to be special because our granddaughter Kara brought her parents — our son Todd and his wife, Joanna — to the Walk from their home in Burnaby.

Then, as Dorothy and I got out of our car at McDonald Park, a couple came walking in our direction. It turned out to be our best friends from Brandon — Darlene and Alan Silvius, who arrived completely unannounced. They actually had arrived in town on Saturday, but didn’t breathe a word about it. In fact, at one point, Darlene actually had sent a text to Dorothy indicating that they were in Portage la Prairie, Man., visiting with friends.

DrinnanSilvius
Darlene and Alan Silvius joined us at the Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sunday. Darlene and Dorothy have a special relationship.

Back in the day, Darlene was adamant that she would be the person to give a kidney to Dorothy. But it turned out that she wasn’t a match. Still, she refused to give up, and turned to the Kidney Paired Donation program.

So it was that five years ago she donated a kidney to a stranger in order to allow Dorothy to receive a true gift of life from someone else.

These two women have long had a strong relationship, but for the past five years they have grown even closer.

The look on Dorothy’s face when her brain finally recognized what her eyes were trying to tell her was priceless indeed.

All of you who read this blog and have donated on Dorothy’s kidney page were a big part of our day, too. In the end, Dorothy raised $3,250, which left her No. 1 in Kamloops for a fifth straight year.

Thank you all so much for your support. It really does mean a lot.

Now let’s get back to hockey . . . although it’ll be a bit spotty this week because, well, we’ve got some company to tour around.


In the meantime, here are some notes from the past few days. . . .

Old friend Les Lazaruk, who I may (or may not) have owned on the Strat-O-Matic field back in the day, opened the regular season with something of a milestone broadcast . . .


Aside from that milestone, the weekend’s biggest story may have been in Moose Jaw where the 50-50 draw at the Warriors’ home-opener on Saturday night reached $383,450.

There were two unclaimed winning pots from last season, so the carryover to this season was $166,615.

The winning ticket on Saturday was Z423428. As of Sunday morning, the jackpot apparently had yet to be claimed.

Now wouldn’t that be a carryover!


On the eve of the regular season, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman provided this note on the Kootenay Ice:

“The current season-ticket count rests at 1,670, a drop of 247 from last year. The club had set a goal for 2,500 as part of it’s Drive to 25 campaign that kicked off in May 2017.” . . . The announced attendance at the Ice’s home-opener — a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday — was 2,862. . . . F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, scored twice for the Ice. A 16-year-old from Wainwright, Alta., he was pointless in five games with the Ice last season.


The Brandon Wheat Kings opened by sweeping a home-and-home series with the Moose BrandonWKregularJaw Warriors, winning 2-1 in the Wheat City and 4-2 on the road. . . . G Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old rookie from Praha, Czech Republic, recorded both victories. A sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, Patera stopped 56 of 59 shots in the two victories. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to play for the Wheat Kings in the franchise’s 52-year history. . . . The Wheat Kings have had at least one American-born goaltender in their history — Scott Olson, from Bloomington, Minn., got into 63 games over three seasons and was a part of the 1978-79 championship team that lost only five regular-season games.


A couple of WHLers signed three-year entry-level NHL deals on the weekend. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Brook, 19, is from Roblin, Man. He was picked in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Brook scored both Moose Jaw goals as the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. . . . F Jake McGrew, a 19-year-old from Orange, Calif., signed with the San Jose Sharks after being a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. McGrew has been with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons, although knee problems kept him from playing in 2016-17.



The Red Deer Rebels released D Colin Paradis on Saturday in order to get down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Releasing Paradis left them with F Brandon Hagel, F Reese Johnson, who is the team captain, and F Jeff de Wit as their 20-year-olds. . . . Paradis, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has played 194 regular-season games — the first 165 with the Moose Jaw Warriors — over four seasons.


F Owen Blocker of the Lethbridge Hurricanes left the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.

According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Blocker “targeted Dalton Gally Lethbridgefor a hit in the corner and went awkwardly into the boards. Blocker was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a lengthy delay and did not return.” . . . However, after being checked out at hospital and released, Blocker returned to the arena and returned to Lethbridge with his teammates after the game.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes added G Akira Schmid to their roster on the weekend, after he was assigned by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Schmid, 18, is from Nesslau, Switzerland, and was a fifth-round selection by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft.

He joins Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., and Carl Tetachuk, 17, from Lethbridge, as goaltenders on the Hurricanes’ roster. Klassen went the distance in the Hurricanes’ first two games as they split a home-and-home with Medicine Hat. The Tigers won 5-2 in Lethbridge on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks got Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, back from the NHL’s San PortlandJose Sharks as the WHL regular-season opened. Blichfeld, a seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed a pro contract so is eligible to play with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Blichfeld’s arrival left the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds and three imports on their roster. . . . Blichfeld joined F Conor MacEachern, D Brendan De Jong and D Jared Freadrich as the 20-year-olds. . . . MacEachern didn’t play in a 5-3 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, while MacEachern sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. . . .

WHL teams have until mid-October to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Should the Winterhawks choose to keep Blichfeld, they would have to release either Czech F Michael Kvasnica, 18, or Swiss F Dean Schwenninger. . . . Kvasnica and Schwenninger are first-year players, but teams are allowed to trade freshman imports only between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trading deadline. Prior to this season, teams were permitted to trade first-year imports. . . . Schwenninger didn’t play in either of the two weekend games. . . .

D Henri Jokiharju, a 19-year-old from Finland, is in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the WHL-Western Conference’s second all-star team last season, and may still end up back in Portland.

Should that happen . . . well, I’m sure the Winterhawks won’t concern themselves with that until it actually does happen.


The Kelowna Rockets went 8-0-0 against the Kamloops Blazers last season. The Blazers Kamloops1showed on opening weekend that things are different now. Kamloops swept a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 at home on Friday and 3-1 in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ first-year head coach, picked up his first WHL victory on Friday and his family — wife Kelly and their children (Isabelle, 17, and Marc, 15) were there to witness it, having made the trip from their home in St. Albert, Alta. . . . “Up until (Thursday) night, I was texting with my daughter and my son and they made me believe they were both getting ready for bed and they were going to get up to go to school this morning,” Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “It’s nice to be able to share this with them. I’m not here if it isn’t for them. I don’t lose sight of that.”


The Prince Albert Raiders opened with a two-game sweep of Regina, snapping a 15-game losing skid to the Pats with the first victory. The Raiders got started with a 7-2 victory on home ice on Friday, then travelled to Regina and beat the Pats 3-1 on Saturday. . . . The Raiders last beat the Pats on Sept. 23, 2016, when they posted a 4-3 OT victor in Regina on a goal by F Simon Stransky.


The Saskatoon Blades opened with a two-game sweep of the defending-champion Swift Current Broncos, winning 2-1 on the road and 8-0 at home, behind 17 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . F Kirby Dach put up seven points in the two games, including three goals and two assists in Saturday’s shutout victory. . . . Only time will tell if this is a sign of things to come for the Blades, who have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Broncos, who went all-in last season in putting together the team that would win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


Tweetoftheday