Tigers, Thunderbirds grab playoff spots. . . .Wheaties’ hopes rather dim. . . . Blazers now one point behind Rockets

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As was suggested might happen here earlier in the week, the Everett Silvertips have Everettadded F Lucas Cullen, 19, to their roster. . . . Cullen spent the season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, putting up 50 points, including 26 goals, in 49 regular-season games, then adding seven goals and three assists in seven playoff games. . . . Cullen is from Kelowna. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He played 48 games with them over three seasons, scoring four times and adding five assists.


D Ty Mueller announced via Twitter that he has made a commitment to the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks starting with the 2021-22 season. Mueller, who turned 16 on Feb. 26, is from Cochrane, Alta. He played this season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, putting up 10 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. . . . He also had one goal in two games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Mueller was selected by the Prince George Cougars in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


D Tyler Bates of the Calgary-based Edge School midget prep team, has committed to the Colorado College Tigers for the 2021-22 season. . . . Bates, 16, was picked by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 11th round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had two goals and 26 assists in 35 games with Edge School. He also had three assists in four games with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers are looking for a head coach after announcing that they won’t Winklerbe renewing Steve Mullin’s contract. Mullin spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Flyers, then took over as head coach prior to this season when Ken Pearson stepped aside to focus on his general manager’s duties. The Flyers and Pearson parted company on Feb. 19, he since has been named GM and head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. . . . This season, the Flyers finished 23-32-5 and missed the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 1981. . . . Jeff Jeanson has taken over the general manager’s duties.


The midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos are looking for a new head coach following the resignation of Ken Morrison. This season, Morrison drew a seven-game suspension following Game 1 of the playoffs. According to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, Morrison became involved in an argument with the on-ice officials after the game. “Morrison received two games for the argument itself against the officials,” D’Andrea wrote, “four games for being a repeat offender, and another game for the misconduct coming within the last 10 minutes of the game.” . . . The Mintos’ season ended on Sunday as they lost a best-of-five series in five games to the Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Assistant coach Bryan Swystun ran the Mintos’ bench in Morrison’s absence. . . . Morrison played four seasons (1982-86) in the WHL — the first three plus 15 games with the Prince Albert Raiders and the last 57 games with the Kamloops Blazers. In his final season, he scored 83 goals in 72 games, including 69 in 57 games with Kamloops. That season, he finished with 150 points.


A GoFundMe page has been launched in an attempt to help Lyle Frank and his mother.

Here’s what is on the page:

“Lyle came to the West Kootenays as a 19-year-old junior hockey player. He played his career for the junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and loved the area and people so much that he made the Kootenays his home.

“He has coached minor hockey, plays commercial league hockey and got an apprenticeship at Curlew Refrigeration because of his tremendous work ethic. Just last week, Lyle, who will be 24 on April 8, donated a kidney. He initially hoped he would be a match for his Mom, but when he wasn’t he still decided to donate.

“Lyle and his Mom will be off work for the next few months recovering. If you can find it in your heart to help this extraordinary young man, please donate to or give a cash donation at the Smokies games and BV Nitehawks games.”

The GoFundMe page is right here.

Lyle played for the KIJHL-champion Nitehawks in 2013-14 and through 2015-16. He gave a kidney through the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program, where he donates one, but only if his mother gets one from someone else in the program.

Here’s wishing the best to both of them. And, yes, Lyle is a hero!

There’s more on the KPD program right here.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors struck for the game’s first three goals en route to a 6-2 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw (38-20-8) will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round series. . . . Brandon (30-28-8) has lost four in a row. It is four points from a playoff spot with only two games remaining. . . . Moose Jaw won the season series, 5-3-1; Brandon was 4-4-1. . . . Moose Jaw went ahead 3-0 on first-period goals from F Yegor Buyalski (6), at 3:46; F Brayden Tracey (36), at 12:56; and F Tristin Langan (51), on a PP, at 14:30. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal as F Stelio Mattheos (44) scored, at 14:54 of the first period, and F Caiden Daley (9) counted at 1:41 of the third. . . . The Warriors put it away with the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . F Daemon Hunt (6), who is from Brandon, added insurance at 5:53. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk and F Cameron Sterling (1) got the empty-netters. . . . Moose Jaw got 29 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 25 shots for Brandon. . . . Tracey was unsuccessful on a first-period penalty shot with his guys ahead, 2-0.


G Isaac Poulter stopped 33 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 2-0 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Swift Current (11-49-6) had lost its previous 18 games (0-15-3). This was the Broncos’ fifth regulation-time victory this season. . . . Regina (18-45-3) has lost six in a row. . . . The Pats’ loss means the bottom three teams in the final standings will be Regina, the Kootenay Ice and Swift Current. Those are the three teams that will have a shot at the first pick in the 2019 bantam draft, but the Prince George Cougars hold the Broncos’ pick and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection. When the draft lottery is held, it will feature the six non-playoff teams, but a team is only allowed to move up two spots. . . . Swift Current and Regina split the season series, 3-3-0. . . . Poulter, a 17-year-old freshman from Winnipeg, posted his first career shutout. He is 3-20-1, 4.25, .891. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (6) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:38 of the first period, and F Ethan O’Rourke (11) iced it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the third period. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 31 shots for Regina. . . . Broncos F Tanner Nagel was in the lineup despite having been hit with a charging major and game misconduct during this club’s last game, a 6-0 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday. It would seem the WHL didn’t deem the infraction to have been all that serious. . . . D Alex Moar and F Owen Blocker won’t play again this season for the Broncos, who had F Dawson Springer in the lineup for his second WHL game. Springer played this season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, whose season has ended. . . . Regina, which dressed only 16 skaters, was without F Duncan Pierce and F Logan Nijhoff, neither of whom is likely to play again this season. . . . If you keep track of such things, note that Swift Current head coach Dean Brockman wasn’t at this one. He was away on a scouting trip, so assistant coach Brandin Cote, a Swift Current native, recorded his first WHL coaching victory. (A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Shawn Mullin for that last note.)


F Brett Kemp scored three times and added an assist to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official7-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat (34-26-6) has won two in a row and has clinched a wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Red Deer (33-27-6) has lost two straight. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Medicine Hat and four ahead of Brandon, which has two games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat won the season series, 6-0-0. . . . F Jeff de Wit (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:48 of the first period, only to have F James Hamblin (33) tie it at 8:04. . . . F Zak Smith (13) put Red Deer back out front 57 seconds into the second period. . . . The Tigers took control with the next three goals, in a span of 3:29, from F Ryan Chyzowski, at 3:19, and two from Kemp, on a PP at 4:20 and at 6:48. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (11) got the Rebels to within a goal at 11:35. . . . Chyzowski (26) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 12:59, and Kemp (31) completed his first career WHL hat trick at 7:26 of the third period. . . . F Brandon Hagel (41), who also had two assists, got Red Deer’s fourth goal, at 9:03. . . . F Logan Christenssen (7) finished Medicine Hat’s scoring at 13:07. . . . Hamblin and Chyzowski added two assists apiece. . . . Medicine Hat F Elijah Brown, who was injured in a Feb. 28 practice, was back in the lineup. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozov sat out as he completed a two-game suspension. . . . The Rebels, of course, are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee). . . . Medicine Hat scratched F Bryan Lockner (ill).


F Brodi Stuart scored once and added four assists as the host Kamloops Blazers coasted Kamloops1to an 8-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (27-32-7) has won four in a row. The Blazers are fourth in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets, who got a loser point last night. Kamloops will play home-and-home with the fifth-place Prince George Cougars on Friday and Saturday, while the Rockets finish with a home-and-home set with the first-place Vancouver Giants. . . . The third-place finisher will open a first-round series in Victoria on March 22. . . . Victoria (33-29-4) has lost four straight. . . . Victoria won the season series, 5-3-1; Kamloops was 4-5-0. The Blazers won the last three games in the series. . . . Stuart went into the game with 19 goals and 14 assists in 65 games, then enjoyed his first career five-point outing. He now has 20 goals and 18 assists. . . . The Blazers took a 1-0 lead into the second period on Stuart’s goal at 12:51 of the first period. Kamloops then put it away with five second-period goals. . . . F Josh Pillar finished with his seventh goals and three assists, while F Zane Franklin had two goals, giving him 28. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (26), who also had two assists, F Connor Zary (28), F Kyrell Sopotyk (12) and F Ryley Appelt (4) also scored. . . . G Dylan Garand, 16, made his fourth straight start for the Blazers, who have won all four of those games. Garand, a freshman from Victoria, is starting because Dylan Ferguson was injured in a 6-0 loss the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6. . . . On the season, Garand, who stopped 22 shots, is 10-7-2, 2.89, .904 with one shutout. . . . Victoria dressed 15 skaters, three under the maximum, and that included D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb, both of whom are APs. The Royals scratched nine skaters — D Ralph Jarratt, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Sean Gulka, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver.


F Owen Williams scored off a 2-on-1 at 1:32 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 6-5 Seattlevictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (29-29-8) has clinched the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth, meaning all five U.S. Division teams will be in the playoffs for a second straight season. The Thunderbirds will play the conference’s top seed, either the Vancouver Giants or Everett Silvertips, in the first round. Seattle will open that series on the road on March 22. . . . Tri-City (34-26-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It will finish in the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Seattle went 4-2-2 in the season series; Tri-City was 4-3-1. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 4-2 lead eight minutes into the third period, then watched as the Americans scored three times to take the lead. . . . Seattle forced OT at 16:04 when F Nolan Volcan completed a hat trick with his 26th goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko had given the Americans a 1-0 lead 31 seconds into the second period. . . . Yes, the first period was scoreless. . . . Seattle took a 2-1 lead on goals from Volcan, at 3:53, and F Matthew Wedman, on a PP, at 13:09. . . . Tri-City tied it at 15:02 when F Krystof Hrabik got No. 20. . . . Seattle took the 4-2 lead as Wedman (39) scored, on a PP, at 0:28 of the third period, and Volcan counted at 4:59. . . . Tri-City went ahead 5-4 on goals from F Parker AuCoin (41), on a PP, at 8:18; F Sasha Mutala (20), at 9:15; and Yaremko (27), on a PP, at 15:23. . . . The Thunderbirds got four assists from F Henri Rybinski. He’s got seven goals and 24 assists in 31 games since being acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Wedman added one assist to his two goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of Hrabik and AuCoin, with Yaremko getting one.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who has scored in nine straight games, snapped 34 seconds into SpokaneChiefsOT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 6-5 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Spokane (38-21-7) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks, each with two games remaining. . . . Spokane will finish home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans, while Portland goes home-and-home with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna (26-32-8) has lost three in a row (0-1-2) and now is only one point ahead of the fourth-place Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division, each with two games remaining. . . . The Chiefs went 3-0-1 in the season series; the Rockets finished 1-2-1. . . . Spokane led this one 5-2 with fewer than 10 minutes left in the third period. . . . F Nolan Foote (36) got Kelowna to within two goals at 10:49. . . . The Rockets tied it on goals from D Kaedan Korczak (4), at 17:31, and F Kyle Topping (23), on a PP, at 19:20. . . . The Chiefs got the game’s first goal at 0:12 of the first period when F Jack Finley, who is from Kelowna, scored his ninth goal. . . . Foote tied it at 3:54. . . . Anderson-Dolan, who has 20 goals, gave Spokane a 2-1 lead at 8:39, and F Luke Toporowski (20) added to the lead at 17:26. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (15) made it 4-1 at 3:11 of the second period. . . . F Michael Farren (3) scored for Kelowna at 1:58 of the third, only to have D Nolan Reid (16) reply for the Chiefs at 10:03. . . . Anderson-Dolan now shares the club record for longest goal-scoring streak with F Adam Helewka (2014-15), F Marian Cesar (1997-98), F Brent Gilchrist (1986-87) and F Terry Perkins (1985-86). . . . Korczak added three assists to his goal, while Foote had an assist so finished with three points. . . . F Luc Smith and D Filip Kral were among Spokane’s scratches. . . . The Rockets are without D Lassi Thomson, who is in concussion protocol. He hasn’t played since taking a hit from Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen in the Blazers’ 2-1 shootout victory on home ice on Friday night. . . . Kelowna also was without F Mark Liwiski, as he completed a three-game suspension.


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Cancer claims Clark at 56. . . . Don’t take Cents’ record just yet. . . . More WHL teams clinch playoff spots


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DonnClark

Donn Clark, who was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour on Friday night, died in Saskatoon on Saturday. He was two days shy of his 57th birthday.

From Kelvington, Sask., he was one of three brothers to play in the WHL — he, Wendel and Kerry all played for the Saskatoon Blades. Wendel represented his older brother in Prince Albert on Friday.

Donn got into one game with the Great Falls Americans in 1979-80, then played nine games with the Blades in 1980-81. He played all of 1981-82 with Saskatoon. In 1982-83 he played in three games with the Blades, one with the Nanaimo Islanders and 31 with the Raiders.

He began his WHL coaching career as an assistant with the Tacoma Rockets (1991-93). He was the head coach of the Raiders on two occasions (1993-95, 2000-02), and also ran the Blades’ bench (1995-98).

Clark, who had been battling cancer, worked as the Raiders’ general manager and director of hockey operations (2001-08).


The WHL is crediting the Prince Albert Raiders with the record for most victories (50) in a 68-game schedule.

That would break the record of 49 that had been held by the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials.

Allow me to suggest, however, that this is comparing apples to oranges, and that the centsRaiders haven’t broken the Centennials’ record . . . at least, not yet.

This isn’t meant to taking anything away from the accomplishments of this season’s Raiders, not in the least.

But the Centennials didn’t have the opportunity to play overtime or go to a shootout in order to decide games back in their day. They finished that season at 49-16-3, with the ‘3’ being ties.

This season, the Raiders are 50-9-4, with the ‘4’ representing overtime and shootout losses. The victory total includes three OT victories and one in a shootout. That means they have won 46 games in regulation.

I would suggest, then, that if you are going to compare the victory totals of these two teams, the Centennials record of 49 victories still stands.

Perhaps it’s time to start a new section of the record book. Better yet, split it into BLP and ALP — Before Loser Points and After Loser Points — because this is what happens when you start deciding regular-season games in OT and skill competitions, and making some games worth more than others by awarding loser points.

So . . . it says here that if you played for the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials, you still hold the record for most victories in a 68-game WHL regular season.

Unless, that is, the Raiders win four of their remaining five games in regulation time. Their next three games are against the Swift Current Broncos (10-45-6), who have the WHL’s poorest record. To date, the Raiders are 4-0-1 against the Broncos and have a 24-15 edge in goals.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 12 games as the Lethbridge Hurricanes skated Lethbridgeto a 4-1 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Lethbridge (35-18-10) has won three in a row. It went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip that ended with this one. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (18-42-3) has lost four straight. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-1 in the season series; Regina was 1-3-0. . . . The Hurricanes jumped into a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (26), at 3:30; F Jordy Bellerive (29), at 4:23; and F Dylan Cozens (32), at 12:51. . . . F Austin Pratt (24) scored Regina’s goal, on a PP, at 14:23. . . . Elmer kept his streak alive with his 36th goal of the season at 14:55. . . . Elmer, who began his career with the Pats before being moved to the Kootenay Ice and then Lethbridge, has 73 points in 63 games. He went into this season with 25 goals and 28 assists in 136 games. . . . Elmer has 16 goals in his scoring streak. The WHL record is 18 games. F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins scored 27 goals in those 18 games, from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984. . . . Henry next is scheduled to play on Wednesday when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit Lethbridge. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 38 shots for the Hurricanes, four more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . F Sebastian Streu was back in Regina’s lineup after missing three games.


F Tristin Langan scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau as the MooseJawWarriorshost Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw (35-18-8) has lost its previous two games. It is likely to finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round. . . . Prince Albert (50-9-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It leads the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips and needs one point to wrap up first place. . . . F Justin Almeida (26) gave Moose Jaw the lead at 18:23 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it 44 seconds later when F Dante Hannoun (28) scored. . . . After a scoreless second period, Langan opened the third with two goals, giving him 47. He scored at 5:41 and 11:58, the second goal giving him 100 points. He is the second WHLer to get there this season, behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld. . . . Langan’s second goal was his 10th game-winner of the season. . . . F Brayden Tracey (32) stretched Moose Jaw’s lead to 4-1, at 13:36, before F Justin Nachbaur (17) scored for the visitors, at 19:50. . . . Almeida also had two assists, and now has 93 points. . . . Langan is tied for the WHL lead in GWG, with Tracey and F Bryce Kindopp of the Everett Silvertips. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 27 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-2-0; the Warriors were 2-3-1. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Max Martin, while F Parker Kelly sat out as he completed a three-game suspension.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored seven straight goals en route to a 7-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (37-18-8) has won six in a row and leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. With the victory, the Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2015-16. . . . Brandon (29-24-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is two points behind the Red Deer Rebels, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are 0-2-1 on a six-game road swing into the Central Division. They are out of their home arena because the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played there. . . . Edmonton was 3-1-0 in the season series; Brandon was 1-2-1. . . . The Oil Kings took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Andrew Fyten (39), at 6:09, and F Andrei Pavlenko (9), at 19:32 — and never looked back. . . . F Carter Souch (10), F David Kope (14) and D Wyatt McLeod (4) added second-period goals for Edmonton, with F Vince Loschiavo (31) and F Quinn Benjafield (13) making it 7-0 in the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (8) scored for Brandon at 7:56 of the third. . . . D Parker Gavlas had three assists, while Souch added two assists to his goal. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had two assists, giving him 63 this season. That ties the franchise record that was set by F Dylan Wruck in 2012-13. . . . Edmonton outshot Brandon, 45-29. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored in OT to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-5) has lost its previous seven games. It holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, five points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (10-45-6) has lost 14 straight (0-11-3). . . . The Tigers won the season series, 4-0-0; the Broncos were 0-3-1. . . . F Ethan Regnier (10) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 13:24 of the first period. . . . The Tigers got even at 14:20 as F Nick McCarry (3) scored. . . . The Broncos went back in front at 3:41 of the second period on F Tanner Nagel’s 13th goal. . . . Swift Current nursed that lead until 19:01 of the third period when Medicine Hat D Linus Nassen (6) scored to force OT. . . . Chyzowski won it with his 22nd goal at 1:07 of the extra period. . . . Medicine Hat had a 49-23 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos got 46 saves from G Riley Lamb. . . . G Mads Søgaard blocked 21 shots to earn the victory. . . . Medicine Hat again was without F Ryan Jevne, F Elijah Brown and F Brett Kemp.


Stoll
The Hall of Fame banner honouring Jarret Stoll hangs from the Western Financial Place rafters in Cranbrook and will remain there even after the Kootenay Ice moves to Winnipeg at season’s end.

F James Malm scored three times to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the CalgaryKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Calgary (34-22-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . . Kootenay (12-40-10) has lost at least 40 times in regulation for the third time in four seasons, after not having done it even once in its first 17 seasons in Cranbrook. . . . These teams will play again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . Malm opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first period. . . . Ice D Marco Creta (3) tied it at 9:54. . . . Malm put Calgary back out front at 10:33, only to have Ice F Brad Ginnell (16) equalize at 12:59. . . . Malm completed his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 3:14 of the second period. He’s got 31 goals this season. . . . F Josh Prokop (7) added insurance at 14:28 of the third period, and F Mark Kastelic (45) closed the scoring at 19:25. . . . Prior to the game, the Ice, which will leave Cranbrook for Winnipeg at season’s end, honoured former captain Jarret Stoll as the first inductee into its Hall of Fame. . . . The announced attendance was 2,738, the second-largest crowd of the team’s last season in Cranbrook. Only opening night (2,862) was larger. . . . The Ice has three home games remaining in its stay in Cranbrook. . . . Before the game, the Hitmen announced that they have returned F Orca Wiesblatt to the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has three assists in 12 games with the Hitmen this season.


The Vancouver Giants snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 2:30 early in the Vancouversecond period en route to a 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (43-14-4) has points in five straight. It is two points behind the Everett Silvertips in the race to finish atop the Western Conference. . . . Kamloops (23-31-6) has lost two in a row and now is six points behind the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division and six points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. This was a bad night for the Blazers, as Seattle and Kelowna both lost in OT so increased their breathing room with the loser points. . . . The Blazers and Giants will play today in Langley, B.C., then meet again Wednesday back in Kamloops. . . . The Giants are 6-0-0 in the season series; the Blazers are 0-4-2. . . . Kamloops lost D Jackson Caller on a play that led to the game’s first goal. A shot by Vancouver F Justin Sourdif struck Caller in the lower face area. As he crumpled to the ice, the puck went to F Jared Dmytriw. He slipped it to F Aidan Barfoot, who tucked it in for his fourth goal of the season. Caller skated off, leaving a trail of blood from the slot to the Kamloops bench. He didn’t return. . . . Caller lost one tooth. Two others were displaced, but a dentist pushed them back into their proper position. . . . F Brodi Stuart (17) tied it for Kamloops at 4:22, but D Bowen Byram (23) put the Giants back out front, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . The Blazers pulled even at 4:41 of the second period as F Jermaine Loewen scored when a shot by F Connor Zary hit him in the chin and bounced into the net. . . . The Giants then scored the three quick goals — by F Davis Koch (26), at 5:54; F Tristen Nielsen (12), at 7:23; and F Milos Roman (25), at 8:24. . . . Loewen (23) cut the Blazers’ deficit to two at 19:35 of the second period, and the home side got to within a goal at 5:08 of the third when F Ryley Appelt (2) scored. . . . But the Blazers weren’t able to beat Vancouver G Trent Miner again. He stopped 26 shots, including 14 in the third period. . . . Sourdif finished with three assists. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 16 shots in 27:23 before giving way to Dylan Garand, who last played on Jan. 27. Garand gave up a goal on the second shot he faced, as he finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.


F Jaydon Dureau’s OT goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 victory over the Rockets Portlandin Kelowna. . . . Portland (38-18-6) is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division and a first-round series with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (26-30-6) is third in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . The Winterhawks and Rockets will play again this afternoon in Kelowna. . . . Portland leads the season series 3-0-0; Kelowna is 0-2-1. . . . F Jake Gricius (23) opened the scoring for Portland, on a PP, at 1:06 of the first period. . . . Kelowna didn’t tie it until 14:55 of the third period when F Alex Swetlikoff (5) scored. . . . Dureau won it with his 12th goal, at 1:22 of OT. . . . G Shane Farkas blocked 28 shots for Portland, four more than Kelowna’s Roman Basran.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-SpokaneChiefsCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (35-19-7) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks and seven ahead of the Americans. . . . Tri-City (33-24-4) has lost four in a row, but has clinched a playoff spot. . . . With two games left in the season series, Tri-City is 6-3-1; Spokane is 4-5-1. . . . The Chiefs grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Noah King (5), at 3:34, and F Adam Beckman (27), on a PP, at 6:00. . . . The Americans pulled even in the second period as F Nolan Yaremko (25) scored, on a PP, at 5:50, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) got one at 7:07. . . . Spokane went out front 4-2 in the third period on goals from D Nolan Reid (15), at 13:23, and F Michael King (3), just 10 seconds later. . . . Tri-City tied it was F Riley Sawchuk (18) scored, on a PP, at 18:43, and F Kyle Olson (21) counted with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 14th goal of the season at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 30 saves from G Reece Klassen, while workhorse Beck Warm, who has started 56 of the Americans’ 61 games, stopped 31 shots.


F Phillip Schultz broke a 2-2 tie with two early third-period goals as the Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsbeat the visiting Prince George Cougars, 5-2. . . . Victoria (33-25-4) has points in four in a row (3-0-1) and has clinched second place in the B.C. Division. This is the eighth straight season in which the Royals have qualified for the playoffs. . . . Prince George (17-39-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Victoria won the season series, 8-1-0; Prince George was 1-6-2. . . . The Royals had beaten the Cougars, 4-3, on Friday. . . . Last night, a pair of first-period PP goals — from D Ralph Jarratt (6), at 7:42, and F Carson Miller (13), at 10:55 — staked the home boys to a 2-0 lead. . . . The Cougars tied it in the second period on goals from F Josh Maser (28), at 4:54, and D Jack Sander (2), at 9:03. . . . Schultz, who has 18 goals, broke the tie 14 seconds into the third period, then added some insurance at 5:49. . . . Victoria F Igor Martynov (10) got the empty-netter at 16:41. . . . Martynov and Miller had two assists each, with Schultz adding one. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 32 shots for the Royals, five more than the Cougars’ Taylor Gauthier.


F Bryce Kindopp scored with 0.4 showing on the clock in OT to give the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (44-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks, and is atop the Western Conference by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (25-28-8) has points in four in a row (2-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . With one game remaining, Everett is 7-1-1 in the season series; Seattle is 2-5-2. . . . Kindopp, who has 38 goals,  now is tied for the WHL lead in game-winners. Kindopp and F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, have 10 each. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 32 shots in recording his seventh shutout of this season and the 11th of his career. . . . This season, Wolf is 39-13-3, 1.72, .935.His career numbers are 52-19-3, 1.85, .933. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 12-4-3, 2.71, .921. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension.


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Ammonia leak repaired in Ice’s home arena. . . . Elmer runs goal streak to 10 games in win. . . . Chiefs lock up playoff spot

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Western Financial Place, the home of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, is expected to open its doors this morning after it was closed Wednesday morning when ammonia was detected in the room that houses its ice plant.

Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services arrived on scene after an automatic alarm went off at 9 a.m.

Scott Driver, the acting director of CFES told Summit 107, a Cranbrook radio station: “The ammonia plant in the building is where the detection alarm went off. So we all responded according to our City’s Ammonia Alarm Plan and everything seems to be going as planned . . . we’re hopeful that the building will be up and running soon.”

The building was evacuated and there weren’t any reports of injuries.

Refrigeration technicians, who are based in Alberta, were called and arrived on Wednesday afternoon. According to the City, they “were able to safely resolve the ammonia leak early Wednesday evening.”

You can bet there is a heightened awareness about this type of thing after three men were killed when an ammonia leak in Memorial Arena in Fernie, B.C., killed three men on Oct, 17. 2017.

The Ice, which will relocate to Winnipeg once its regular season ends on March 17, is scheduled to play at home on Friday and Saturday nights, against the Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, respectively.

On Saturday night, the Ice is scheduled to honour former captain Jarret Stoll by making him the first inductee into its Hall of Fame. If you’re new here, yes, the organization is opening a hall of fame on its way out of Cranbrook.



The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Reed Jacobson to a WHL contract. Jacobson, 16, was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Swift Current, the 5-foot-9, 160-pounder plays for the Swift Current Legionnaires of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. This season, he put 26 goals and 29 assists in 44 regular-season games. . . . In 2017-18, he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 41 games as a freshman with the Legionnaires.


The junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey League are having a pretty good season. They finished the regular season at 38-1-1, tying the league record for most victories in a 40-game season. The 2015-16 Saskatoon Quakers finished 38-2-0. . . . The Chiefs’ 77 points also broke the PJHL record for points in a season (76) that had been set by the 2015-16 Quakers.


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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Carson Focht scored four times and F Kaden Elder added three goals of his own as the Calgaryhost Calgary Hitmen dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 9-3. . . . Calgary (32-22-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and three in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels. . . . Swift Currrent (10-44-5) has lost 12 in a row (0-10-2). . . . This game started at noon as it was Calgary’s third annual Telus Be Brave Anti-Bullying game. . . . The Broncos had taken part in the Edmonton’s Hockey Game on Tuesday, with the Oil Kings winning, 11-1. . . . On Wednesday, Focht made it 1-0 at 4:06 of the first period, and Broncos F Carter Chorney (13) tied it at 5:05. . . . The Hitmen then went ahead 3-1 on goals from Elder, at 6:59, and Focht, at 14:11. . . . D Connor Horning (7) got the Broncos back to within a goal at 17:50. . . . Calgary broke it open with four straight second-period goals, in a span of 6:57. . . . Focht scored 29 seconds into the period, with Elder counting at 2:46, F Luke Coleman (20) scoring at 3:47, and F James Malm (27), at 7:26. . . . Elder (27) and Focht (20) rounded out Calgary’s scoring with third-period PP goals. . . . F Matthew Culling (9) had the Broncos’ other goal. . . . Focht enjoyed the first four-goal game of his WHL career. He has 52 points, including 32 assists, in 60 games this season. . . . Elder, who was acquired from the Broncos on Sept. 27, for a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, recorded his first hat trick. He has 56 points, 29 of them assists, in 61 games. . . . Calgary F Josh Prokop recorded four assists, giving him his first WHL four-point outing. He has 24 points, 18 of them assists, in 57 games. . . . The Hitmen also got three assists from D Vladislav Yeryomenko, while Malm added two assists to his goal. . . . Chorney had three points for the Broncos, as he also had two assists. . . . Calgary enjoyed a 32-14 edge in shots on goal. . . . The announced attendance was 15,084. . . . Calgary F Mark Kastelic completed his two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . The Hitmen list F Hunter Campbell and F Jake Kryski as being out indefinitely, with F Cael Zimmerman out week-to-week.


F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 10 games as he scored the last two goals to Lethbridgegive the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 OT victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Lethbridge (33-18-10) is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (49-8-4) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It leads the overall standings by 14 points over the Everett Silvertips, who have eight games remaining. . . . Elmer, who also had an assist, tied the game 4-4 at 17:43 of the third period, then he won it 20 seconds into OT with his 34th goal of the season. . . . His 10-game goal streak is the longest in the WHL this season. The record? F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster scored 27 goals in an 18-game run from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984. . . .Lethbridge opened a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Dylan Cozens, at 11:09, and F Logan Barlage (15), at 11:22. . . . The Raiders tied it on PP goals from F Cole Fonstad (28), at 15:03 of the first, and F Justin Nachbaur (16), at 3:37 of the second. . . . Cozens (30) put the visitors back in front at 4:48. . . . F Spencer Moe (8) got the Raiders even at 11:56, and D Kaiden Guhle (3) gave the home boys the lead at 10:45 of the third. . . . All that did was set the stage for Elmer’s heroics. . . . . The Raiders were 2-5 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 0-5. . . . Cozens added an assist to his two goals. . . . Fonstad also had three points as he added a pair of assists to his goal. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes, two more than Ian Scott of the Raiders. . . . F Parker Kelly of the Raiders began serving a three-game suspension by missing this one. . . . F Evan Herman, who signed with the Raiders on Tuesday, made his WHL debut.


The Red Deer Rebels broke open a 1-1 game with three straight goals en route to a 5-2 Red Deervictory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Red Deer (31-24-5) has won two straight after ending a five-game skid. It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina (18-40-3) has lost two in a row. It has lost 40 times in regulation time for the first time since 2004-05. . . . D Alex Alexeyev (10) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 10:28 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it at 14:46 on a goal by F Cole Dubinsky (4). . . . Red Deer D Ethan Sakowich scored his third and fourth goals, at 19:18 of the first period and 0:55 of the second for a 3-1 lead, and F Brett Davis upped it to 4-1 at 6:03. . . . D Brady Pouteau (5) scored a PP goal for Regina at 16:45 of the third period. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel (37) got the empty-netter at 17:50. . . . G Ethan Anders stopped 32 shots to earn the victory over Max Paddock, who made 22 saves.


F Orrin Centazzo scored twice to help the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Tri-City Kamloops1Americans, 2-1. . . . Kamloops (23-29-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Friday. . . . The Blazers also are fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City (33-23-3) has lost two in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Centazzo, who has 15 goals, scored on a PP at 5:44 of the first period, then made it 2-0 at 2:55 of the second. . . . The Americans cut into the lead when F Sasha Mutala (17) scored, on a PP, at 15:48. . . . The Blazers got 25 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who continued his fine play. He had to be good in this one, though, because Tri-City G Beck Warm, who has started 53 of his club’s 58 games, played as fine a game as these old eyes have seen in some time. A left toe save on Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen late in the second period was the kind that can provide a shooter with a month’s worth of nightmares. . . . Warm finished with 43 stops. . . . Warm leads WHL goaltenders in games played (55), minutes played (3,251) and saves (1,716). He is 31-21-2, 2.86, .917. . . . F Blake Stevenson, who turned 18 on Jan. 12, was back in Tri-City’s lineup after not playing since Jan. 8. A freshman from Calgary, he has eight goals and six assists in 32 games.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored twice and added three assists to lead the visiting Spokane SpokaneChiefsChiefs to a 7-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Spokane (33-19-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The Chiefs clinched a playoff spot with the victory. They are third in the U.S. Division, four points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (17-37-8) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). This loss eliminated the Cougars from the playoff chase — they have six games remaining and are 13 points in arrears of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars also have lost a club record 12 straight home games. . . . The Chiefs had beaten the host Cougars, 4-3 in OT, on Tuesday night with Anderson-Dolan scoring the winner at 3:58 of extra time. . . . The Cougars are 1-7-2 since general manager Mark Lamb went behind the bench in place of fired head coach Richard Matvichuk. . . . Spokane took control of this one with four first-period goals, from F Luke Toporowski (18), at 0:18; D Bobby Russell (5), at 9:04; F Connor Gabruch (3), at 16:59; and D Nolan Reid (14), shorthanded, at 19:28. . . . F Josh Maser (26) scored, on a PP, for the Cougars just 24 seconds into the second period. . . . Spokane answered that with two PP goals from Anderson-Dolan, who has 12 goals this season, and one from F Luc Smith (27). . . . Anderson-Dolan, who missed a chunk of the early season with a broken wrist, has 31 points in 24 games. . . . Spokane was 2-6 on the PP; Prince George was 1-8. . . . Anderson-Dolan had his second career five-point game; this was the sixth time he has had at least four points in a game. . . . Smith added two assists to his goal, with D Ty Smith helping out with three assists. . . .  G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . The Cougars were able to dress only 16 skaters. F Ethan Browne and D Cole Moberg, both of whom are injured, were scratched, as was D Ryan Schoettler (flu).


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Five key days for Blazers’ playoff hopes. . . . Oil Kings romp to win in Hockey Hooky game. . . . Rebels snap losing skid in Moose Jaw


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The Kamloops Blazers have 11 games remaining in their regular season, eight of them at home. They’ll play four games, three of them at home, over the next five days.

When Sunday evening arrives, the Blazers may well know whether they’ll be in the Kamloops1playoffs.

The Blazers (22-29-6) are five points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (24-28-7), who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets (26-29-5).

The Blazers are at home to the Tri-City Americans (33-22-3) tonight, the Thunderbirds on Friday and the Vancouver Giants (41-14-4) on Saturday. On Sunday, the Blazers will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., in a game that is to start at 4 p.m.

This will be the third time in less than two weeks that the Blazers and Americans have met. On Feb. 15, the host Americans posted a 5-3 victory. The Blazers, playing at home, dumped the Americans, 3-1, on Feb. 18.

Kamloops missed the playoffs last season and, in fact, has been on the outside looking in for three of the past five post-seasons.

This the 20th season since the Blazers last appeared in a WHL final — they lost the 1999 championship series to the Calgary Hitmen in five games.

Since then, the Blazers have missed the playoffs five times, been eliminated in the first round on 12 occasions, and been ousted in the second round once. One season, 2012-13, they lost to the Portland Winterhawks, in five games, in the Western Conference final.

While the Blazers are playing four times in five days, the Thunderbirds will spend their weekend skating three times in fewer than 48 hours. After visiting Kamloops on Friday, they will scurry to home to meet the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday, then will entertain the Tri-City Americans on Sunday.

As for Kelowna, the Rockets also will play three times in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. They will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday, then return home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks.

It will be interesting to see if the water is clearer — or muddier — come Sunday evening.


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed F Evan Herman to a WHL contract. Herman, 16, PrinceAlbertwas a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From The Pas, Man., Herman is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The 5-foot-9, 145-pound Herman is playing for the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team, and has 13 goals and 13 assists in 30 games. He also has five goals and two assists in seven games with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, and three goals and an assist in three games with the Rink Academy’s 18U side.


The Spokane Chiefs announced on Monday that general manager Scott Carter had been signed to a contract extension that runs through the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, the Chiefs issued a correction. The extension actually is two years in length, running through the 2020-21 season.

Carter is in his third season with the Chiefs after taking over from Tim Speltz on Sept. 8, 2016. Speltz, who had been the general manager for 26 years, now is the head amateur scout with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.


Ray Wareham has decided to step aside as head coach of the Moose Jaw Generals of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Wareham has been the Generals’ head coach for 17 seasons. . . . He will be staying on as the club’s general manager. . . . “I think I’m going to step down from coaching and, hopefully, just manage the team and get fresh faces in here and see what happens,” Wareham told Blaise Wozniak of discovermoosejaw.com. “I’ve got some other irons in the fire . . . it’s been a long time here. I’m looking forward to the new adventures ahead. My plan is to stay on as manager and to help the new guys that come in the next couple of years and then go from there.” . . . The Generals (17-24-3) missed the playoffs for a second straight season.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings erased an early 1-0 deficit with 11 straight goals as they dumped EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Swift Current Broncos, 11-1. . . . Edmonton (34-18-8) has won four in a row and leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Oil Kings have won more games than in any single season since 2013-14; this is the fourth-highest victory total in the franchise’s modern history. The Oil Kings won at least 50 games in three straight seasons (2011-14). . . . The Oil Kings last hit double figures in goals on Feb. 17, 2014, when they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 12-0, behind a goal and four assists from F Reid Petryk. . . . Swift Current (10-42-5) has lost 11 in a row (0-9-2). . . . F Tanner Nagel (12) gave the Broncos the lead at 3:14 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F David Kope tied it, on a PP, at 6:20, and F Andrew Fyten put the home side ahead at 13:10. . . . F Jake Neighbours (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 13:48, and it was all Oil Kings from there to the end. . . . Fyten, who was acquired from the Broncos on Dec. 13 for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, had two goals and two assists, his first career four-point outing. . . . Fyten, 20, had eight goals and nine assists in 27 games with Swift Current; he has nine goals and 11 assists in 27 games with Edmonton. . . . Kope had two goals for Edmonton, giving him 13, with F Scott Atkinson also scoring twice, giving him 12. Singles came from F Vladimir Alistrov (11), F Josh Williams (13), who returned after sitting while ill, F Vince Loschiavo (29) and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (31). . . . D Conner McDonald had three assists. Alistrov and Fix-Wolansky added two assists each, with Kope adding one to his two goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky has 31 goals and 61 assists in 58 games. He has reached career highs in assists and points, and his one shy of the 32 goals he scored last season. In 199 career games, he has 235 points, including 87 goals. . . . McDonald now has a career-high 43 points, in 61 games; last season, he finished with 42 in 71. . . . Edmonton, which was 3-5 on the PP, held a 38-17 edge in shots. . . . This game started at 11 a.m., as it was the Oil Kings’ annual Hockey Hooky game. The announced attendance was 13,186. . . . The Broncos are back on the ice early today as they meet the host Calgary Hitmen in their third annual Be Brave Anti-Bullying game. Game time is noon MT.


F Brandon Hagel scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to MooseJawWarriorsa 7-3 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (30-24-5) had lost its previous five games, scoring 10 goals in the process. Red Deer and Brandon are tied for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (34-17-8) had won three in a row. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . Hagel now has three games of at least five points in his WHL career — that’s two five-pointers and a six-pointer. . . . The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 first-period leads on goals from F Reese Johnson (22), at 10:28; Hagel, at 11:50; and F Chris Douglas, at 12:28. . . . Moose Jaw cut into the lead as D Jett Woo (12) scored, on a PP, at 3:59 of the second period. . . . However, Red Deer scored the next three goals, all in the second period, by F Josh Tarzwell (8), at 6:58; Douglas (15), at 9:20; and D Alex Alexeyev (9), on a PP, at 13:29. . . . F Luke Ormsby (7) scored, shorthanded, for Moose Jaw at 14:32. . . . Hagel (36) added an empty-netter at 11:32 of the third period, before F Carson Denomie (5) scored for the Warriors at 16:09. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 28 saves. . . . This was the start of a four-game East Division swing for the Rebels.


F Ryan Hughes scored two goals and added two assists to lead the host Saskatoon Blades Saskatoonto a 6-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Saskatoon (39-14-8) has won two in a row and is second in the East Division 10 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Lethbridge (32-18-10) had won its previous three games. It is second in the East Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and six ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . This was the fourth time in his career that Hughes has scored at least four points in a game. He has nine goals and 14 assists in 18 games with the Blades, who acquired him from the Portland Winterhawks earlier in the season. He had 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with Portland. . . . F Nick Henry (24) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:20 of the first period. . . . The Blades took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (10), at 3:31; F Gary Haden (29), on a PP, at 1:14 of the second period; and F Chase Wouters (15), on another PP, at 12:19. . . . Lethbridge pulled into a 3-3 tie as F Jake Elmer (32) scored at 8:26 of the third period and F Logan Barlage (14) counted at 11:23. . . . Elmer has goals in nine straight games, the longest such streak in the WHL this season. He has 12 goals over that stretch. In a 10-game point streak, he has 12 goals and seven assists. . . . Elmer finished last season with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games; this season, he has 32 goals and 33 assists in 60 games. . . . Hughes broke the tie at 11:42, and F Kirby Dach (23) made it 5-3 at 13:52. . . . Lethbridge got back to within a goal when F Taylor Ross (31) scored at 16:03. . . . Hughes finished it when he scored his 26th goal, into an empty net, at 18:29. . . . Dach also had two assists. He now has 23 goals and 41 assists in 55 games. . . . There were a number of NHL scouts in the house, presumably to watch Dach go against Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens, both of whom are seen as early picks in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Cozens, who had one assists, now has 28 goals and 44 assists in 60 games. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up the victory with 35 saves. He is 31-10-6, 2.77, .907 this season. . . . Darren Steinke was at the game and post this piece right here to his blog.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsCougars in Prince George. . . . Spokane (32-19-7) has points in three straight games (2-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks and two ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (17-36-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). The Cougars are 13 points from a playoff spot with seven games remaining. . . . The visitors took a 1-0 lead when F Jake McGrew (24) scored at 8:27 of the first period. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Cougars went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Jackson Leppard (10), at 3:47, and D Rhett Rhinehart (4), on a PP, at 7:53. . . . The Chiefs then went ahead 3-2 on goals from D Egor Arbuzov (4), at 11:38, and D Filip Kral (7), at 16:36. . . . The Cougars forced OT when F Josh Maser (25) scored at 18:47. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 10th goal of the season, at 3:58, snapping home a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games. He has 20 points, including 17 assists, in that stretch. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while G Taylor Gauthier stopped 30 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Chiefs are without F Erik Atchison and F Ethan McIndoe, both of whom are out week-to-week. . . . The Cougars are without D Cole Moberg, who is listed as week-to-week. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Prince George.


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Blazers add Sydor to coaching staff . . . Prince George city council wants Cougars to help with renos . . . Smith wins it in OT


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The Kamloops Blazers have added co-owner Darryl Sydor to their coaching staff for the remainder of this season.

Sydor, 46, has been named a full-time assistant coach, and will join head coach Serge Kamloops1Lajoie and assistant coach Dan Kordic, both of whom are in their first season as WHL coaches, on the staff.

Chris Murray, a former NHLer who also played for the Blazers, is a part-time assistant coach, while Dan De Palma handles the goaltenders.

With 16 games remaining in their regular season, the Blazers (20-27-5) are three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (21-26-6), who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Kelowna Rockets (23-26-5), but with two games in hand.

The Blazers, who have lost their past three games (0-2-1), next will play tonight when they are to entertain the Victoria Royals.

Sydor played four seasons (1988-92) with the Blazers, helping them to the 1992 Memorial Cup title. He then went on to a pro career that included 1,291 games in the NHL and Stanley Cup championships with the Dallas Stars (1999) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2004). He retired after the 2009-10 season.

Sydor has worked as an NHL assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. He left the Blues in May, having spent last season with them.

“It was just time to take a step back,” Sydor told CFJC-TV of Kamloops at the time. “I’ve been(coaching) for only eight years, but playing the game of hockey a lot longer. It’s time to give back to the family, give back to myself, and just take a step back.”

Sydor, his wife and four sons moved back to Kamloops, and he has been a regular at Blazers games, watching from the press box. He also has been on the ice with them at some practices.

Sydor has been one of the Blazers’ owners since before the 2007-08 season. He joins majority owner Tom Gaglardi, along with ex-players Shane Doan, Jerome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

The WHL now has two owners who also are working as full-time coaches. Brent Sutter owns the Red Deer Rebels, and also is the team’s general manager and head coach.


City council in Prince George has decided that it won’t foot the entire bill for new boards PrinceGeorgeand glass in the CN Centre, as requested by the WHL. The tab for new boards and glass will come to $578,000. . . . The WHL wants the renovations made in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Mark Nielsen of the Prince George Citizen reports right here that “council directed staff to negotiate a deal that would see the Prince George Cougars cover half the cost.” . . . Coun. Kyle Sampson said: “I think it’s a large amount of money for us to pay. It’s the user group (Cougars) that are going to require this, the other user groups in this facility don’t require this and it’s their league that has mandated this change so the request for us to pay 100 per cent seems to be a bit steep.” . . . Sampson’s motion to have staff negotiate with the Cougars passed unanimously.


The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 induction dinner will have a WHL flavour with Ron BChallDelorme, Barret Jackman, Shane Heyer and Mark Holick among the inductees. . . . Delorme, a long-time scout with the Vancouver Canucks, played for the Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos (1973-76). He will go into the hall as a builder. . . . Jackman played four seasons (1997-2001) with the Regina Pats, before going on to a lengthy NHL career. . . . Heyer came out of the WHL to work 386 regular-season NHL games as a referee and 1,630 as a linesman. He also worked the lines in six Stanley Cup finals. . . . Holick was the head coach of the Surrey Eagles, who won the 1998 Royal Bank Cup as national junior A champions. The Eagles will be inducted in the team category. Holick coached in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice and Prince George Cougars, and now is the head coach of the prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Also going into the hall will be former Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and the late Karen Wallace, who will be inducted as a builder for her work with female hockey in B.C. and nationally. . . . The 2019 induction dinner is scheduled for July 19 in Penticton, which is where the Hall of Fame is located.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with three second-period goals and beat the tri-citySeattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . Tri-City (29-20-3) is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Seattle (21-27-6) holds the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead when F Parker AuCoin (31) scored while shorthanded, at 3:34 of the first period. . . . F Andrei Kukuca (19) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Michael Wedman (28), at 4:29, and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (8), at 5:39. . . . The Americans got to within a goal at 7:54 when F Krystof Hrabik (14) scored. . . . D Aaron Hyman, a former Thunderbirds player, tied it, on a PP, with his 10th goal, at 10:02. . . . F Sasha Mutala (13) snapped the tie at 11:42 and that goal stood up through a scoreless third period. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, two more than Seattle’s Roddy Ross. . . . Seattle was credited with winning 42 of the game’s 59 faceoffs. . . . D Mitchell Brown was back in Tri-City’s lineup after last playing on Jan. 25. . . . The Americans were without D Dom Schmiemann, who drew a two-game suspension after being penalized for a one-man fight during a 7-4 loss to the visiting Victoria Royals on Saturday night. . . . The Thunderbirds remain without F Nolan Volcan and D Simon Kubicek.


D Ty Smith scored twice, including the winner in OT, as the host Spokane Chiefs got past SpokaneChiefsthe Red Deer Rebels, 4-3. . . . Spokane (30-17-6) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Red Deer (28-19-5) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. It also is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Calgary Hitmen and four behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Arshdeep Bains (6) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 1:59 of the first period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (9), who also had two assists, tied it at 6:10. . . . Red Deer went back ahead as F Brandon Hagel (31) scored at 7:17 of the second period. . . . Smith tied it, on a PP, at 8:49, and F Adam Beckman (23) put the Chiefs out front at 18:42. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev’s 10th goal, at 2:06 of the third period, forced OT. . . . The Rebels were penalized for too many men at 19:48 of the third period, and Smith scored his sixth goal of the season, on the ensuing PP, at 0:30 of extra time. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 29 shots for the Chiefs, three more than the Rebels’ Ethan Anders.


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Keast first female for SJHL . . . Byram writes record in Vancouver . . . Gauthier, Wolf can’t be beaten

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The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves had a young woman — Taylor Keast — dressed and on their bench for a game on Friday night.

Keast was there in support of starting goaltender Jordan Frey.

All Frey did was stop 46 shots, including 21 in the third period, to record a 3-2 victory larongeover the visiting Kindersley Klippers.

With Thursday (Jan. 10) being the junior A trading deadline, as it was in the WHL, the Ice Wolves ran into a goaltending shortage. They dealt Daniel Davidson to the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars and added Brendan Benoit from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. However, Benoit was in transit so wasn’t available for Friday’s game. (Benoit was on the bench backing up Frey for Game 2 of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday, which was won by the Klippers, 5-2.)

Keast, 17, who plays for a midget team in La Ronge, is believed to be the first female to be in uniform for an SJHL game of any kind in the league’s history. The SJHL has been around, in one form or another, since 1950-51.

“It was pretty cool, I’ve grown up here, so when I was a little kid, I used to want to play for the Ice Wolves,” Keast told Braden Malsbury of mbcradio.com, who is La Ronge’s play-by-play voice. “It was fun, it was a really good experience.”

Shannon Szabados, a veteran of Canada’s national women’s team, made a total of 213 regular-season (2002-07) appearances in the AJHL — split among the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Bonnyville Pontiacs and Fort Saskatchewan Traders.

Szabados, who is from Edmonton, also got into one WHL regular-season game, playing 50 seconds with the Tri-City Americans during a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants at Pacific Coliseum on Sept. 22, 2002.

Szabados went in for starter Tyler Weiman at 4:10 of the third period. She didn’t face a shot, and left at 5:00 as Weiman re-entered the game.

Szabados, now 32, is playing with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts.

Last season, Isabella (Izzy) Palumbo, then 15, started for the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League on Jan. 20. At that point, the Rockets had two victories and one of those was a forfeit.

So head coach Jason Stephens gave Palumbo the start for a home game on Jan. 20, and she responded with 41 saves in a 7-4 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Before last season was done, Palumbo had gotten into three games with Golden, going 1-1-0, 6.00, .866.

Palumbo is listed with the Rockets this season as an AP, but hasn’t played.

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Gilles Courteau has been the QMJHL commissioner for 33 years, and he doesn’t think the time has come for major junior teams to treat players as something other than student-athletes.

“A player should never be considered as an employee,” Courteau told Douglas Gelevan of qmjhlCBC News. “We don’t want to give (players the) additional responsibility of an employee. We want him to play in the QMJHL and concentrate on hockey and school. Nothing else.”

This comes as major junior hockey deals with a class-action lawsuit that suggests, among other things, that players should be paid at least the minimum wage that is applicable in each jurisdiction.

Courteau feels that paying players in such a fashion might even lead to players dropping out of school.

He told Gelevan that he could see players saying: “We’re not going to school anymore because we’re working. We’re playing hockey, we’re getting money, we’re getting a paycheque on a weekly basis, we will think about school when we’re done playing major junior.”

Courteau added: “No. This is not what we want to do.”

The complete story, which touches on other topics, too, including the trading of players, is right here.

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D Libor Zabransky no longer is with the Kelowna Rockets. Regan Bartel, the radio voice KelownaRocketsof the Rockets, tweeted prior to Saturday night’s game against the host Prince George Cougars that Kelowna head coach “Adam Foote tells me d-man Libor Zabransky is no longer with the team. The 18-year-old has joined the Fargo Force of the USHL.” . . . Zabransky, from Czech Republic, had two goals and seven assists in 35 games this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and 17 assists in 72 games. . . . Zabransky’s departure means the Rockets are left with one import on their roster — Finnish freshman Lassi Thomson.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings opened up a 3-1 second-period lead and went on to score a 3-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (17-17-6) had lost its previous three games. It now is six points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-11-7) has lost four straight (0-3-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (17) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:42 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (24) got Brandon even by scoring on a penalty shot at 19:32. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (29) broke the tie at 1:14 of the second period, with F Baron Thompson (2) scoring the eventual winner, on a PP, at 16:57. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (14) pulled the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third period. That was his first goal since being acquired from Swift Current on Thursday. . . . Of note to number geeks: The Warriors had a 29-21 edge in shots and faceoffs. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from G Jiri Patera.

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F Parker Kelly scored twice and added an assist to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-3 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (37-5-1) have won two in a row. They are 19-3-0 at home, and lead the East Division by 17 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (21-17-4) had won their previous six games. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Medicine Hat and six in front of Brandon. . . . The Raiders ended Portland’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (9), on a PP, and D Brayden Pachal (11) — and was never headed. . . . F Riley Stotts got the Hitmen to within 2-1 at 8:21 of the second, but the Raiders stretched the lead to 4-1 as F Cole Fonstad (16) scored at 9:35 and F Dante Hannoun (20) counted at 10:40. . . . F Luke Coleman (12) scored while shorthanded for Calgary, at 13:15, only to have Prince Albert F Brett Leason (30) get that one back at 16:52. . . . Kelly, who has 20 goals, scored twice in the third period, while Stotts got his second of the game and 14th of the season for Calgary. . . . The Raiders had a 41-24 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the first period. . . . F Jake Kryski was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . D Loeden Schaufler and F Bryce Bader, deadline-day acquisitions, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . The Raiders will begin a trip through the B.C. Division in Prince George on Wednesday.

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F Brandon Hagel scored three goals and added two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 9-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Red Deer (25-13-3) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It went 3-0-0 on a trip into the East Division, with victories in Swift Current (3-2) and Brandon (5-3) as it played three times in four nights. . . . The Rebels are tied with Edmonton for second in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge. . . .  Regina (12-30-2) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first three goals and led 5-1 halfway through the second period. . . . The Pats got to within two in the third period, but the Rebels responded with three late goals. . . . Hagel, who has 26 goals, completed his fifth career hat trick at 14:03 of the third period for a 7-4 lead. . . . The Rebels also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (22), F Reese Johnson (19), F Brett Davis (14), F Josh Tarzwell (6), F Zak Smith (9) and F Oleg Zaytsev (8). . . . Davis and Tarzwell added two assists each for three-point outings. . . . Regina’s goals came from F Sebastian Streu (4), F Garrett Wright (3), F Duncan Pierce (5) and D Brady Pouteau (1). . . . The Pats celebrated Barret Jackman Bobblehead Night and, yes, the former captain was in the house.

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F Mason Mannek scored Portland’s last two goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 5-4 Portlandvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Portland (26-12-5) when 5-1-0 on its East Division trip. It is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . Saskatoon (26-13-6) had points in its of its previous three games (2-0-1) and had been 7-0-2 in its past nine home games. The Blades appear headed for a second-place finish in the East Division. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (5), at 6:21, and F Max Gerlach, at 18:11. . . . F Seth Jarvis (12) pulled Portland to within a goal at 19:18. . . . F Kirby Dach (17) gave the Blades a 3-1 lead at 3:24 of the second period. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired by Portland from Saskatoon on Thursday, then scored back-to-back PP goals, at 5:13 and 8:52, for a 3-3 tie. . . . Mannek followed at 16:19 by giving Portland a 4-3 lead. . . . Saskatoon tied it at 17:30 of the third when Gerlach scored his 26th goal. . . . Mannek, who has 11 goals, broke the tie at 17:30. He also had an assist to tack on to his first career multi-goal game. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas celebrated his 20th birthday with 35 saves as he won for the 25th time this season. . . . The Winterhawks again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion), while Saskatoon remains without D Nolan Kneen (undisclosed injury).

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The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory Seattleover the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . Seattle (15-21-4) has won three straight. It went 4-2-0 on an East Division trip that ended with four games in five nights. The Thunderbirds hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Prince George. . . . Swift Current (8-30-3) has lost two in a row. . . . This was a meeting between the WHL’s last two championship organizations, the Thunderbirds having won in the spring of 2017 and the Broncos last season. Of course, this season they have combined to win 23 of 81 games, which shows that there sometimes is a steep price to be paid for winning championships. . . . Seattle got goals from F Sean Richards, D Jarret Tyszka (4) and F Tyler Carpendale (14) to go ahead 3-0 early in the second period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (6) got the Broncos on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:07 of the second p[eriod, but Richards, who has 13 goals, counted at 12:03 for a 4-1 lead. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley sandwiched a pair of third-period goals around one by Seattle F Andrej Kukuca (12) to round out the scoring. . . . Stanley has three goals this season. . . . G Cole Schwebius earned the victory for Seattle with 31 stops. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back in the lineup. He served a three-game suspension then was scratched for two games. . . . F Tyler Smithies, who was acquired from Moose Jaw on Thursday, made his Swift Current debut. However, F Tyler Lees, who came over from the Victoria Royals on Monday, is out with an undisclosed injury.

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F Jordy Bellerive’s shorthanded empty-net goal turned into the winner as the host LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (23-11-8) is atop the Central Division, leading by one point over Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Hurricanes are to visit Edmonton today. . . . Kootenay (8-29-7) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . All five goals were scored in the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (15) gave the Ice the lead at 3:08. . . . Lethbridge got the next three goals, from F Logan Barlage (11), at 5:23; F Dylan Cozens (25), at 7:56; and Bellerive (22), into an empty net at 18:33. . . . Bellerive’s goal turned into the game-winner when F Brandon Machado (3) scored, on a PP, for the Ice at 19:15. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge, one more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon on Thursday, was in Kootenay’s lineup.

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F Vince Loschiavo scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton (23-14-7) has won two in a row and is tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-4) had won five straight at home. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. It also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead at 12:48 of the first period on a goal by F Tyler Preziuso (17). . . . Edmonton tied it at 11:19 of the second period when F David Kope (9) scored. . . . Loschiavo won it with his 20th goal of the season — his seventh winner — at 2:11 of OT. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-8 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Mads Søgaard in his first start since he played for Denmark at the WJC. . . . Medicine Hat F Brett Kemp and Edmonton F Josh Williams, who were swapped for each other on Thursday, were in the starting lineups.

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G Taylor Gauthier earned the shutout with 20 saves as the host Prince George Cougars PrinceGeorgebeat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Prince George (16-22-3) has won two in a row. It had beaten the visiting Rockets, 7-2, on Friday night. . . . The Cougars are fourth in the B.C. Division, and have moved into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . Kelowna (17-21-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand, and three ahead of Prince George. . . . F Josh Maser (16) got the home side off on the right foot with a goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . F Josh Curtis (7) added insurance at 1:08 of the second. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk put it away with two third-period goals, giving him 15 this season. . . . F Ethan Browne drew three assists. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old from Calgary, has three career shutouts, all of them in this, his sophomore season. He now is 12-15-2, 2.94, .905.

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The Spokane Chiefs had eight players with goals and 15 with at least one point as they SpokaneChiefsdumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-3. . . . Spokane (24-13-4) has won four straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (21-16-2) is eight points behind Spokane, but also is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth, nine points up on Prince George. . . . The Chiefs led 3-1 after the first period and then outscored the Americans 4-1 in the second. . . . The Spokane goals came from F Eli Zummack (12), F Luc Smith (18), F Cordel Larson (6), F Michael King (1), F Adam Beckman (18), D Nolan Reid (7), F Jake McGrew (18) and F Riley Woods (24). . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan had three assists for Spokane. . . . Tri-City got goals from F Riley Sawchuk (12), F Paycen Bjorklund (2) and F Parker AuCoin (22). . . . The Chiefs outshot the visitors, 48-26, including 20-7 in the second period. . . . The Americans scratched F Blake Stevenson, who turned 18 on Saturday, and D Aaron Hyman. . . . If you were wondering, Spokane head coach Dan Lambert turned 49 on Saturday. I know. I know. He doesn’t look a day over 35.

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D Bowen Byram scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 7-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (25-12-2) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by seven points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (15-22-3) has lost four in a row, all of them on a road trip that concluded with this one. It is 0-12-1 in its last 13 road games. . . . The Blazers also have fallen into last place in the 10-team Western Conference, one point behind Seattle and two behind Prince George, which has moved into the second wild-card spot. . . . This was the Giants’ first home game since Dec. 16. In between, they experienced the Christmas break and a Central Division trip on which they went 2-4-0. . . . Vancouver is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, with all three games in Langley. Over their final 29 games, Vancouver will play Kamloops five times. . . . The Giants took a 3-2 lead into the second period where they exploded for four straight goals, with Byram drawing an assist on three of them. . . . Byram, who will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft, set a franchise record for points by a defenceman in one game. According to the Giants, the record had been shared by Jonathan Bloom (2005-09), Neal Manning (2007-12), Cody Franson (2004-07), Paul Albers (2004-06) and Kevin Connauton (2009-10). . . . Byram gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period, only to have F Jermaine Loewen tie it at 3:30. . . . The Giants went ahead 3-1 on goals from Byram (12), at 9:05, and F Milos Roman (18), on a PP, at 11:59. . . . F Travis Walton (1) got the Blazers to within a goal at 17:02. . . . The Giants took over in the second period on goals from F Justin Sourdif (10), F Tristen Nielsen (5), F Brayden Watts (10) and F Davis Koch (12). . . . The Blazers got their last two goals, both in the third period, from F Kobe Mohr (5), on a PP, and Loewen (14). . . . Roman added three assists to his goal, with Nielsen and Koch getting two assists each. . . . The Blazers were without three defencemen. Jeff Faith served Game 2 of a five-game suspension. Joonas Sillanpää drew a one-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct in a 4-1 loss to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday. Quinn Schiemann was scratched. . . . So the Blazers had two defencemen make their WHL debuts. Ethan Brandwood, 16, is from Victoria and is the captain of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s South Island Royals. He was a seventh-round pick by the Blazers in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Trevor Thurston, 16, was a fourth-round selection in that same draft. From North Delta, B.C., he plays for the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

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G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to help the Everett Silvertips beat the Royals, 4-0, in EverettVictoria. . . . Everett (33-9-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . Victoria (22-16-1) had won its previous four games. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Vancouver. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (31) scored the game’s first goal, at 1:36 of the second period. . . . Everett put it away with third-period scores by F Justyn Gurney (1), at 8:10, and F Reece Vitelli (5), at 10:35. . . . Wolf now has four shutouts this season and eight in his career. On the season, he is 29-9-1, 1.82, .930. . . . In 60 career regular-season appearances, Wolf is 42-15-1, 1.96, .929. . . . Everett F Bryce Kindopp had one assist to run his point streak to 12 games. He has 18 points, including 11 goals, over that stretch. . . . F Kody McDonald of the Royals played in his 300th regular-season game; it was his fifth game since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders for whom he played 63 games. The other 232 were played with the Prince George Cougars. He has 177 points, including 84 goals.

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WJC rosters include 14 WHLers . . . Tourney opens with four games . . . Finland-Sweden in Day 1 spotlight

Mowing
If you didn’t see this photo on Twitter earlier, it was taken on Christmas Day at about 2 p.m. Hey, I was born in Sherridon, Man., and raised in Lynn Lake, Man. — look them up on Google Maps — so I had never before seen grass this green on Dec. 25. LOL! . . . This is at the back of our home; there were nine deer on a field just west of the front yard. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get a really close look, so it may have been Rudolph and some friends.

MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2014-16) has signed a two-way contract for the rest of this season with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) after clearing NHL unconditional waivers and having his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) terminated. He had two assists in 15 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL).


ThisThat

The 10-team World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria with two games in each venue.

In Vancouver, it’s Czech Republic versus Switzerland (1 p.m. PT) and Canada versus Denmark (5 p.m.)

In Victoria, it’s U.S.A. versus Slovakia (3:30 p.m.) and Finland versus Sweden (7:30 p.m.).

In other words, Day 1 should bring us three no-contests and one thriller. Don’t forget that 2019wjcas much as we look forward to this tournament, the early-going often is full of lop-sided games. What today’s schedule means is that you will be able to go out and soak up some of those Boxing Day sales before coming home to watch Finland and Sweden do battle.

BTW, make certain that you’re aware of the IIHF’s new late-hit rule because if you aren’t it’s going to make you crazy.

And note that you aren’t going to read a whole lot about the WJC on this site after this report. I’m not there, nor will I pay particular attention through the early part of the tournament. But there will be a whole lot of other places loaded with info from those who are taking in the games in person.

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The 10 teams taking part in the WJC filed their preliminary rosters on Tuesday.

Under IIHF regulations teams had to register at least 15 skaters and two goaltenders. If a team doesn’t file the maximum (20 skaters and three goaltenders), it is allowed to add players to its roster until two hours before games until reaching the maximum.

By my count, there are 14 WHL players on those rosters. Here’s a look:

Canada (6) — G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders; D Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs; F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane; F Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks; F Brett Leason, Prince Albert. . . . Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw is Canada’s head coach; Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is one of the assistant coaches. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Czech Republic (3) — G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Filip Kral, Spokane; F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans. . . . The roster also includes former Brandon D Daniel Bukac, now of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, and F Martin Kaut of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, whose CHL rights belong to Brandon. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Denmark (2) — G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers; F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Finland (0) — The roster includes D Henri Jokiharju of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played the previous two seasons with Portland; F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Finnish pro team Karpan Oulu, who spent the previous two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos; and F Sami Moilanen of Tappara Tampere, who played the past two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Kazakhstan (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Russia (1) — D Alex Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Mark Rubinchik, who plays for Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, was with the Saskatoon Blades for the previous two seasons. . . . Registered 11 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Slovakia (2) — F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle; F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants. . . . Registered 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Sweden (0) — Brandon holds the CHL rights to D Erik Brannstrom of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Switzerland (0) — F Justin Sigrist of the GCK Lions Zurich played with the Kamloops Blazers in 2017-18. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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USA (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Meanwhile, Mason Black, who is on Twitter at @NHL RankKing, went over the WJC rosters and has an easy-to-read NHL team-by-team list of prospects right here.

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

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This piece is four years old, but if you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time. It’s from Rolling Stone and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what went into what has become a movie with an amazing following. . . . The story — it’s an oral history — is right here.


Here is one more great read for you. . . . It’s not that long ago when Austin Murphy was one of the best and most-prolific writers employed by Sports Illustrated. These days, as he writes, “I drive a van for Amazon.” . . . He has written a first-person piece on the adventure of a package deliverer and it’s awesome stuff. You’ll find it right here.


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