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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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.


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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.


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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

Blichfeld leaves WJC game on stretcher . . . Organizers declare WJC a success . . . Royals add import from Hitmen, make deal with Raiders

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Portland Winterhawks boarded their bus Thursday afternoon and headed for Spokane where they will play the Chiefs tonight.

But you can bet the Winterhawks’ thoughts weren’t on the road in front of them. Rather, Portlandthey will have been wondering about the condition of F Joachim Blichfeld, a teammate who was stretchered off the ice midway through the second period of a relegation-round game at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo earlier in the day.

Blichfeld hit his head on the boards after taking a high hit from behind from D Dmitri Deryabin of Belarus, who was assessed a match penalty on the play.

Blichfeld did flash a thumbs-up signal as he was carried from the ice surface. He was taken to hospital for further examination.

Blichfeld, 19, is from Frederikshavn, Denmark. He was selected by San Jose in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2016 draft and signed with the Sharks on on Dec. 28 while in Buffalo.

In Game 1 of the best-of-three relegation series on Wednesday, Blichfeld had two goals and an assist as Denmark won the opener, 5-4.

On Thursday, Blichfeld had two primary assists as Denmark opened up a 2-0 lead. Belarus came back to tie it before Denmark won it, 3-2, in a shootout. The victory means Denmark stays in the top group for the 2019 WJC, with Belarus sliding back to Division 1A. (If you’re wondering, Kazakhstan won promotion to the big group, so will be in Victoria/Vancouver for the next tournament.)

This season with Portland, Blichfeld has 13 goals and 17 assists in 26 games. He missed a handful of games early in October with what is believed to have been a concussion.

This latest injury, then, depending on the diagnosis, might be his second brain injury of the season, meaning the Winterhawks will be extra careful with a player who is key part of their roster.


Officials from the IIHF and organizers of the 2018 World Junior Championship held a Buffalostate-of-the-event news conference in Buffalo on Thursday afternoon. Michael Traikos of the National Post was there and, as he wrote, “With noses growing, they called it a success.” . . . During the news conference, Traikos continued, “Organizers bragged that more than 200,000 tickets had been sold, ignoring that a quarter-final between the U.S. and Russia on Tuesday night had only 6,242 fans in a building that seats more than 19,000. They highlighted the record-setting crowd that braved the snow to watch an outdoor game that ‘was a little bit of magic,’  but then blamed the same weather for driving away fans at the other indoor games. . . . His complete column is right here.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News also was at the news conference, and his take is right here.

Interestingly, Campbell reported that Rene Fasel, the IIHF president, said that 50 per cent of the tickets already have been sold for the 2019 WJC that is to be held in Victoria and Vancouver.

That, Campbell wrote, “is quite a feat considering the 18-game pack (and one pre-tournament game) for Vancouver ranges in price from $650 ($34 per game) to $2,250 ($118 per game).”

Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, told Vancouver sportscaster Rick Dhaliwal of NEWS 1130 and Sportsnet 650 on Dec. 28 that tickets are “well over 60 per cent sold.”


The Portland Winterhawks lost F Lane Gilliss to an undisclosed injury on Sunday during a 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. As a result, they have brought back F Jaydon Dureau from the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians. He had been with the Winterhawks but was returned to the Pat Canadians following the Christmas break. The Pat Canadians won the Mac’s tournament in Calgary on Monday. Dureau had two goals and two assists in the championship game, a 4-0 victory over the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. . . . Dureau, 16, was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 56 points, including 27 goals, in 26 games with the Pat Canadians. . . . Portland also returned D Nick Cicek to junior A, in his case to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues, but quickly brought him back when D Keoni Texeira went down with an undisclosed injury.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have brought in F Jake Neighbours for a look-see. From Airdrie, Alta., Neighbours was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings earlier this season. . . . In 23 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes, Neighbours has 17 goals and 25 assists. . . . If you’re interested in the return of D Brayden Gorda to the Oil Kings, there is more right here.


The Red Deer Rebels have dropped F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from their roster and he is expected to join the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . MacKenzie had four assists in 17 games with the Rebels after being acquired from the Saskatoon Blades, with whom he had four assists in 13 games. . . . From Calgary, MacKenzie was a third-round pick by the Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 138 games, he has eight goals and 28 assists.


WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 20

PLAYERS: 35

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 21

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 4


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals acquired F Andrei Grishakov, 18, from the Calgary Hitmen for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Grishakov, from Chelyabinsk, Russia, has 22 goals and 39 assists in 107 VictoriaRoyalsgames with the Hitmen. This season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 11 goals and 15 assists in 37 games. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the CHL import draft after he put up 21 goals and 24 assists in 32 games with Traktor Chelyabinski’s U-17 team in 2015-16. He also played four games with the U-18 side that season, recording four goals and five assists.

THE INFO: Grishakov should be in Victoria’s lineup tonight (Friday) against the visiting Everett Silvertips. If he doesn’t play then, he will get another opportunity on Saturday when the Royals visit Kamloops. Yes, it’s a quick turn-around for Victoria.

WHY: The Royals have had room for an import since F Yan Khomenko returned to Russia and signed with Ak Bars Kazan, a KHL team. He is pointless in three games with Irbis Kazan, a junior team. . . . The Royals are hoping that putting Grishakov into their top six will ignite his offence. . . . Grishakov joins F Igor Martynov, who turns 19 on Jan. 19, as the Royals’ import players. Martynov is from Belarus and has been representing his country at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. . . . The Hitmen, who aren’t likely to make the playoffs, have been in sell mode since Nov. 25 when they dealt top-flight forwards Matteo Gennaro and Beck Malenstyn to the Swift Current Broncos. Now it’s all about freeing up ice time for younger players.


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals have acquired F D-Jay Jerome, 18, from the Prince Albert Raiders for D Jeremy Masella, 18.

THE NUMBERS: From Lethbridge, Jerome has one assist in 31 games with the Raiders. PrinceAlbertHe split last season between the Red Deer Rebels and the Raiders, recording eight goals and eight assists in 55 games. . . . Masella had three goals and four assists in 35 games with the Royals. In 63 career games, all with Victoria, he has three goals and five assists.

THE INFO: Red Deer placed the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Jerome on their protected list in 2016. The Rebels dealt him to Prince Albert on Dec. 28, 2016, along with a 2017 third-round bantam draft pick, for F Austin Glover. . . . The 6-foot-5, 214-pound Masella is from Phoenix. He had been on Victoria’s protected list since 2015. . . . This is the second deal between these teams this week. On Tuesday, the Royals dealt F Regan Nagy, 20, to the Raiders for the rights to F Hunter Strand, 15, sixth- and 10th-round picks in the 2018 bantam draft and a third-rounder in 2019. . . . Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, has made seven trades since Dec. 1.

WHY: For starters, both players get fresh starts and a chance to earn more ice time with new teams. . . . The Royals had been carrying eight defencemen so it seemed that someone would go before the Jan. 10 trade deadline. Victoria also adds another bigger forward as it continues to alter the size of its forward ranks. . . . The Raiders add size to their back end. Their roster shows nine defencemen, but Sergei Sapego is injured, Vojtech Budik is at the WJC in Buffalo, and Kaiden Guhle, the first overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, is only 15 so will have to go back to his club team at some point.


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Tri-City at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.