A few odds, ends and numbers as WHL playoffs arrive. . . . Road to Ed Chynoweth Cup starts tonight. . . . Hofer, Mattheos get NHL deals


MacBeth

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-10) and Linköping (Sweden, SHL) have mutually agreed not to pick up the option year on his contract for next season. This season, he had five goals and six assists in 44 games.


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EdChynowethCupSome odds and ends as we prepare for the opening of the run to the Ed Chynoweth Cup . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Red Deer Rebels vs. Prince Albert Raiders — This one features the two most-recent members of the WHL’s 500 Club. Brent Sutter, the head coach of the Rebels, and Raiders’ head coach Marc Habscheid both reached the 500-victory mark this season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) will be without D Alex Alexeyev. With him in the lineup, the Rebels would be facing a tough task in the Raiders (54-10-4). Without him, Sutter will feel as though he has one hand tied behind his back. . . . These teams have faced each other once since the trade deadline, with the host Raiders winning 2-1 in a shootout on March 1. . . . They open with games in Prince Albert tonight and Saturday.

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Medicine Hat Tigers vs. Edmonton Oil Kings — In four games since the trade deadline, Edmonton (42-18-8) is 3-0-1 against the Tigers. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw is 5-0-1, 1.79, .940 against Medicine Hat this season. . . . Medicine Hat (35-27-6) will need a gigantic effort from 6-foot-7 G Mads Søgaard, who is 0-2-2, 3.47, .909 in games against the Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton put a bow on the regular season by winning its final 11 games. . . . They’ll play Saturday and Sunday in Edmonton.

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Moose Jaw Warriors vs. Saskatoon Blades — The Blades (45-15-8) last appeared in the playoffs in 2013, the season in which they went all-in as the host team for the Memorial Cup. Since then, they have undergone an ownership change and a massive rebuilding operation, and now, having clinched a playoff spot, the energy seems to be back in the city. . . . The Blades are 3-0-0 against the Warriors — including 4-2 and 5-3 victories this month — since the trade deadline, with a 15-6 edge in goals. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier is 3-1-0, 2.26, .907 against Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors (40-20-8) are the only team with two 100-point men — F Tristin Langan had 113, and F Justin Almeida 111. . . . The Blades outscored the Warriors, 259-234. . . . Games 1 and 2 are scheduled for Saskatoon tonight and Saturday.

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Calgary Hitmen vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes — These teams have met twice since the trade deadline, with the Hurricanes posting 7-4 and 6-2 home-ice victories. . . . Lethbridge (40-18-10) closed in a rush, winning nine of its last 10 games, and opens the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak. Calgary (36-26-6), which has lost four in a row, went 6-4-0 down the stretch. . . . The Hitmen need to find an answer for Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive, who lit them up for seven goals and six assists in six games. . . . Lethbridge G Carl Tetachuk (24-9-2, 2.88, .909) took the reins and ran with them after G Liam Hughes left the club. . . . Only Prince Albert (307) scored more goals than Lethbridge (268). . . . Games 1 and 2 will be played in Lethbridge tonight and Saturday.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle Thunderbirds vs. Vancouver Giants — They split the season series, 2-2-0, but have only met once since Jan. 10 — the visiting Giants won 5-1 on March 12. . . . The Giants (48-15-5) had the WHL’s second-best record; the Thunderbirds (31-29-8) were 17th. . . . Both teams closed well, the Giants going 8-1-1, the Thunderbirds 7-1-2. . . . No one WHL player had a bigger impact after Jan. 10 than Seattle G Roddy Ross, who went 16-5-3, 2.76, .919 after moving up from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . As for the Giants, the doubters want to see how much they benefited from playing in a weak B.C. Division. . . . This series opens with games in Langley, B.C., tonight and Saturday.

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Tri-City Americans vs. Everett Silvertips — Is this the battle of the goaltenders? Dustin Wolf of the Silvertips went 41-15-4, 1.69, .936. The Americans’ Beck Warm was 32-23-5, 2.94, .916. Wolf played one more minute than Warm — 3,615-3,614 — but faced 607 fewer shots. That’s a huge disparity on a per-game basis. . . . These teams have met five times since the trade deadline, with Everett going 4-1-0, but the victories were by scores of 4-1, 2-0, 2-1 and 3-0. . . . The Silvertips (47-16-5) remain without F Riley Sutter, one of the league’s top faceoff men. . . . The Americans (34-28-6) are without freshman F Blake Stevenson, whose season was ended by an undisclosed injury. . . . They’ll play tonight and Saturday in Everett.

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Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs — Down the stretch, the Winterhawks missed D John Ludvig and F Cody Glass, both of whom were injured. Glass was limited to 38 games this season, missing a bunch because of a knee injury, finished with 15 goals and 54 assists. He and WHL scoring champion Joachim Blichfeld (68-53-61—114) form a deadly combination when they’re together. . . . Portland needs Ludvig and Glass back if it is to make a deep run. . . . Spokane has firepower with F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith, F Eli Zummack and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan all scoring at better than a point per game. Freshman F Adam Beckman put up 32 goals and 30 assists in playing all 68 games. . . . Spokane (40-21-7) finished second in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland (40-22-6). Should we read anything into the fact that Portland was 1-0-0 against Kootenay, while Spokane was 5-0-0 against the Ice? . . . In three games since the trade deadline, Spokane went 2-1-0, outscoring Portland, 17-10. . . . They open with games tonight and Saturday in Spokane.

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Kamloops Blazers vs. Victoria Royals — The Blazers (28-32-8) are in because they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker on Tuesday. . . . The Royals (34-30-4) ran into injuries and rested players down the stretch. F Kaid Oliver, who led them in goals (27) and points (49), had his season ended by a shoulder injury. F Kody McDonald (concussion) hasn’t played since March 2. . . . A lot of fans thought the Blazers were done when G Dylan Ferguson, 20, went down during a 5-0 loss to visiting Vancouver on March 6. But freshman Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, stepped in and went 6-0-1, 1.54, .943. He has given up 11 goals in those seven starts, with five of them coming in a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Island, has been cleared to play again. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse is 5-0-0, 2-10, .936 against Kamloops this season. . . . They’ve met four times since the trade deadline, with Kamloops going 3-1-0. The Blazers won the last three games, including an 8-0 home-ice victory on March 13 in which the Royals scratched nine players. . . . This series opens with games in Victoria tonight and Saturday.


Two more WHLers, both from Winnipeg, have signed three-year entry-level NHL NHLcontracts — G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks with the St. Louis Blues and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings with the Carolina Hurricanes. . . .

The Blues selected Hofer in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Hofer, 18, from the Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 9, giving up six bantam draft picks, including first-rounders in 2019 and 2021. With Portland, he is 9-8-0, .318, .911, with two shutouts, in 18 appearances. . . . In 30 games with the rebuilding Broncos, he was 6-21-3, 4.02, .904, with one shutout. . . . In 67 career regular-season games, Hofer is 23-32-5, 3.45, .908, with four shutouts. . . . The Winterhawks, who finished third in the U.S. Division, open a first-round playoff series against the second-place Chiefs in Spokane tonight. . . .

Mattheos, 19, was a third-round pick by Carolina in the 2017 NHL draft. This season, he had 44 goals and 52 assists in ?? games. In 253 career regular-season games, he has 278 points, including 127 goals. . . . The Wheat Kings selected Mattheos with the first-overall pick of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . With Brandon out of the WHL’s playoff picture, Mattheos, the Wheat Kings’ captain, had reported to the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.


The Calgary Hitmen have added F Sean Tschigerl to their roster. Tschigerl, who will turn 16 on April 11, spent the season with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. He had 21 goals and 26 assists in 28 games, and also had one goal in eight games with the Hitmen. . . . Calgary selected him with the fourth-overall pick of the 2018 bantam draft.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added Cole Sillinger to their roster for the playoffs. He spent this season with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, whose season came to an end this week. . . . Sillinger was saluted as the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s top forward, rookie of the year and most valuable player. Oh, he also led the league in scoring with 76 points, including 31 goals, in 39 games. . . . A son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger, Cole was selected with the 11th-overall pick of the 2018 bantam draft. He has two assists in four games with the Tigers.


The Spokane Chiefs have added D Michael Ladyman, 17, to their roster. The Regina Pats selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . He already has played 22 games with the Chiefs this season, recording two assists. In 26 games with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues, he put up four goals and 24 assists.


If you’re a regular here, you will be aware that the OHL has disciplined the Niagara ohlIceDogs for being in violation of recruitment regulations. The IceDogs have been fined $150,000 and lost a first-round draft pick. . . . This comes a few years after the Windsor Spitfires were fined $400,000 and lost five draft picks for, yes, being in violation of recruitment regulations. . . .

“Well, now, isn’t that interesting?” writes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. “The OHL, along with its partners in the QMJHL and WHL, have been spending the past couple of years convincing the public that many of their teams are mom-and-pop operations that would not survive without the help of ‘student-athletes’ and that to pay them any more than poverty wages would put some of their teams in peril. They’re fighting a class action lawsuit with everything they have and in many cases have successfully lobbied lawmakers to accommodate their needs when it comes to rewriting labor laws. All the while, they’re waving the flag that this beautiful Canadian institution of junior hockey is threatened if its owners are forced to pay players.”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here.


Shawn Martin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. For the past two seasons, Martin, who is from Wainwright, Alta., has been the Wolverines’ assistant GM and assistant coach. . . . He also has worked with three other AJHL teams — the St. Albert Steel, Grande Prairie Storm and Sherwood Park Crusaders. He also spent four seasons as GM and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . Martin had been the Wolverines’ interim GM/head coach since Feb. 8 when Gord Thibodeau left after three years with the organization.


Danton Danielson is the new head coach of the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Danielson takes over from long-time coach Ken Morrison, who left the position after this season ended. . . . Danielson is coaching the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws, who are involved in playoffs at the moment.


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Trials and tribulations of WHL scout . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark Portland win . . . Some Saturday highlights, too


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With four weeks left in the WHL’s regular season, four teams have clinched playoff spots — the Prince Albert Raiders, Everett Silvertips, Vancouver Giants and Portland whlWinterhawks.

However, not one of the eight first-round playoff matchups has been set in stone.

The Raiders, for example, will finish atop the Eastern Conference, so will draw the second wild-card team. That slot will go to any one of seven teams.

The winner of the Central Division will get the first wild-card team, which obviously has yet to be decided. As for the division pennant winner, well, all five teams remain in the chase.

Although it’s not official, at least not mathematically, the Saskatoon Blades will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades are headed for a second-place finish in the East Division, with the Warriors in third.

In the Western Conference, only one team is assured of where it will finish — when it’s over, the Giants will be atop the B.C. Division.

Vancouver also is tied with Everett atop the conference standings, and the Giants hold a game in hand.

The Victoria Royals almost certainly will finish second in the B.C. Division — they are 20 points behind Vancouver and 10 points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets — but other than that it’s a roll of the dice.

Portland is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Silvertips and 10 ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

The Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Seattle Thunderbirds, Kelowna, and the Kamloops Blazers don’t yet know in which spots they will wind up.

The Prince George Cougars aren’t officially out of it, but they are 12 points from a playoff spot, riding a 15-game losing skid (0-11-4) and have only 12 games remaining.


So . . . you think you’d like to scout for a WHL team, do you?

Here’s an early Sunday evening posting on Facebook from Mike Fraser, the Everett EverettSilvertips’ head scout . . .

“The 10 things I’ve learned in my 12 hours (so far) at Saskatoon airport:

“1. Travelling in winter isn’t always made easier by flying instead of driving.

“2. When you are accommodating and agree to a 6:15 pm flight to help appease people going to Puerto Vallarta, the Flying Gods don’t necessarily have to make your 6:15 flight on time either (I’m now delayed two more hours).

“3. If your flight starts getting delayed in 5- or 10-minute increments starting 3-or-so hours before departure time, that’s a bad sign and start looking at other options.

“4. Trying to cancel a hotel room in Red Deer because you’re stuck in Saskatoon doesn’t mean the hotel in Red Deer won’t charge you.

“5. Guys need to stop texting while standing at a urinal….that’s just weird, and gross.

“6. I’ve now had 12 of my last 13 trips delayed, a dynasty not even Tom Brady can touch.

“7. Starbucks closes very early at Saskatoon airport.

“8. No matter how many times I see the Jets highlights from last night, they still lost.

“9. I’ve learned that one woman likes to tell her boyfriend when they can sleep together based on her “cycles.” No I didn’t ask, she told an entire section of us while on a very loud and apparently open phone call.

“10. I still refuse to drink Pilsner.

“Cheers my friends, here’s to hoping I get home tonight.”

Later Sunday, Fraser posted: “And we’re now cancelled . . . let’s try again tomorrow?”

To be continued . . .


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

Behind three goals and an assist from F Joachim Blichfeld, the Portland Winterhawks Portlandclinched a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (35-16-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips, who have a game in hand. . . . The Winterhawks, who will be in the playoffs for a 10th straight season, have 11 games remaining, but only three of them are at home. . . . Seattle (23-28-6) had won its previous two games. It is in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . The Thunderbirds went 2-1-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . With three games remaining, Portland leads the season series (6-2-0); Seattle is (2-5-1). . . . F Josh Paterson (21) broke a 1-1 tie at 16:26 of the first period, and Blichfeld took it from there, scoring Portland’s last three goals. . . . Blichfeld, who recorded his fourth career hat trick, leads the WHL in goals (48) and points (98), in 57 games. His third goal of the game was the 100th regular-season goal. . . . F Cody Glass, playing his second game in two nights after missing eight games with a knee injury, had the primary assist on each of Blichfeld’s goals. Glass has 68 points, including 54 assists, in 36 games. . . . Blichfeld scored once on the PP, once while shorthanded and once at even strength. . . . The Winterhawks were 2-3 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 1-2. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman scored his 32nd goal, on a PP, to run his goal-scoring streak to six games. . . . The Winterhawks had a 52-36 edge in shots. . . . G Josh Hofer stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius turned aside 47 shots. . . . Portland head coach Mike Johnston posted his 350th regular-season coaching victory. He is 19th on the WHL’s all-time list. . . . The Winterhawks will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours this afternoon when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan had a goal and four assists, and F Stelio Mattheos had three goals and an assist, as the host Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 6-3. . . . Brandon (26-22-7) has won three in a row and now is four points from the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot that is held by the Red Deer Rebels. . . . That second spot will mean a first-round clash with Prince Albert (46-8-3), which had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Raiders have lost two in a row for the first time this season. . . . On Friday, the Wheat Kings went into Prince Albert and won, 5-4 in OT. . . . G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason remain out of the Raiders’ lineup. . . . Brandon was 3-9 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-4. . . . Brandon got a goal and two assists from F Cole Reinhardt, while F Justin Nachbaur scored twice for the Raiders.


F Tate Popple scored twice, and F Brayden Tracey had a goal and two assists, helping the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (31-15-8) had lost its previous two games. The Warriors are second in the East Division and headed for a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (16-38-3) hasn’t lost 40 games in regulation-time since 2004-05 when it finished 12-50-10. . . . Regina F Austin Pratt was credited with his 22nd goal when the Warriors scored an own goal with a delayed penalty about to be called on the Pats. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft. He has 62 points, including 25 goals, in 54 games. . . . The Warriors were credited with a 47-19 edge in faceoffs. . . . It was Hall of Fame weekend in Moose Jaw as F Shawn Limpright and F Brian Sutherby, both of whom played four seasons (1998-2002) there, were inducted into the Warriors’ shrine.


The Saskatoon Blades solidified their hold on second place in the East Division with a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Saskatoon (37-13-8) has points in 13 straight games (11-0-2). It is second in the division, 13 points behind the Prince Albert Raiders and 12 up on the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold four games in hand. . . . Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are headed for a first-round playoff meeting. They will meet twice more this regular season — on March 5 in Moose Jaw and March 10 in Saskatoon. The Blades lead the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Lethbridge (29-16-10) had won its previous two games. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Four of Lethbridge’s last four games will be against Medicine Hat, starting with a home-and-home on Friday (Lethbridge) and Saturday (Medicine Hat).


F Mark Kastelic scored three goals to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (30-21-5) has won two in a row. . . . The Hitmen beat the visiting Tigers, 3-1, on Friday night. . . . Calgary is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Medicine Hat and three behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen continued to hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Medicine Hat (31-21-5) has lost three straight. . . . On Saturday, the Hitmen erased a 3-2 third-period deficit with the game’s last three goals. Kastelic had opened the game’s scoring with his 40th goal of the season in the first period. He added a pair of third-period PP goals, equalizing at 9:06 and adding insurance at 16:18. . . . In between, D Vladilsav Yeryomenko’s third goal, at 12:02, turned into the winner.


G David Tendeck stopped 22 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (39-13-3) has won seven in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals, who have 13 games remaining. . . . The Giants haven’t enjoyed a 40-victory regular season since 2011-12 when they finished 40-26-6. . . . Vancouver also is tied with the Everett Silvertips (39-14-3) for top spot in the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (23-28-5) has lost two in a row. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, 10 points behind Victoria and four ahead of the Kelowna Blazers, who hold two games in hand. . . . The Rockets left Sunday on their final multi-game road trip of the season; they’ll play a doubleheader in Victoria this afternoon and Tuesday night, then meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. . . . The Rockets have three games left with Vancouver, two of them in Langley, B.C., and two with the Portland Winterhawks, both in Kelowna. . . . Tendeck has three shutouts this season, matching his total from last season.


G Joel Hofer turned aside 25 shots as his Portland Winterhawks blanked the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 2-0. . . . Portland (34-16-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). After beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2, on Sunday, the Winterhawks, who are second in the U.S. Division, are five points behind the Everett Silvertips. Portland and Everett only have one game remaining with each other. . . . Red Deer (29-21-5) has lost two in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels are 1-2-1 on a U.S. Division swing that ends Tuesday night with a visit to the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich (10) scored the game’s first goal, just 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Portland’s second goal was an empty-netter off the stick of F Cody Glass (14). Glass was playing in his first game after suffering a knee injury on Jan. 26. He missed eight games. . . . Hofer has four career shutouts, two with the Swift Current Broncos and two since his trade to Portland.


F Kody McDonald scored two goals in regulation time and one in a shootout as the Victoria Royals beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. . . . One night earlier, the Royals won, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . Victoria (29-23-3) has won two in a row. It is second in the B.C. Division, 20 points behind the Vancouver Giants and 10 in front of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (16-33-7) has lost 15 in a row (0-11-4). The Cougars are 12 points from a playoff spot with 12 games remaining. They are fifth in the B.C. Division, 12 points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Prince George also is 13 points from a wild-cardspot. . . . McDonald, 20, played the first 232 games of his WHL career with the Cougars, who dealt him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him from the Raiders earlier this season. . . . McDonald, who has 15 goals, gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 0:51 of the third period, then forced OT with a goal at 17:03. . . . He won the game when he closed out the third round of the shootout with a goal. . . . F Carson Miller, who was part of the Prince Albert-Victoria deal that included McDonald, also had two goals for the Royals, with F Josh Maser scoring twice for the Cougars. Those were Miller’s first goals with Victoria since the trade.


G Roddy Ross stopped 46 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . If you’re new here, Seattle plays its home games in Kent. . . . Seattle (23-27-6) is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games in hand. . . . Everett (39-14-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett also is tied with the Vancouver Giants for top spot in the Western Conference. The Giants (39-13-3) have a game in hand. . . . Everett and Seattle combined for 110 penalty minutes, 96 of them in the game’s final 13 seconds. . . . You’re right. These teams don’t like each other, and they still have to play each other three more times. . . . This also could be a first-round playoff matchup. Everett leads the season series, 6-1-0; Seattle is 1-5-1. . . . F Matthew Wedman had a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds on Saturday. He’s got 62 points, 31 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . This was Everett’s third game in fewer than 48 hours. They dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Thursday night, in a game that was rescheduled from Wednesday, then beat the Rockets, 3-1, in Kelowna on Friday. . . . The Silvertips will make it five games in six days by playing a doubleheader in Prince George on Monday afternoon and Tuesday night.


F Kyle Olson scored three times and added an assist to help the Tri-City Americans to a 7-5 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (31-20-3) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane and with a game in hand. . . . Spokane (30-19-6) has lost two straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, eight points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each had a goal and two assists for Tri-City. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and and assist from freshman F Adam Beckman. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, Beckman has 48 points, 25 of them goals, in 55 games. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm may have been five times, but he still came up with 45 saves.


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Scattershooting as Ethan Hunt saves the world . . . Oil Kings back on top . . . Goodness Gricius! It’s the J and J show in Portland

Scattershooting

If you are at all familiar with Sheldon Kennedy, all-Canadian hero, and his work you may have wondered: Just how broad are his shoulders? Because the load he was carrying was huge. . . . Kennedy, you may be aware, has made the decision to step back a bit and lighten his load. . . . Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star chatted with Kennedy and filed this piece right here.


“The NBA-champion Golden State Warriors paid a visit to former President Barack Obama in D.C. during their trip to play the Washington Wizards,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Apparently it was such a last-minute deal that there wasn’t even time to have hamburgers and pizza delivered.”



Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Henrik Lundqvist tied Terry Sawchuk on the all-time wins list the other night, which is true but not contextually accurate. Sawchuk played in an era with tie games. He had 171 ties in his career. If every one of those games had a win/loss result, his win total would be significantly higher than what Lundqvist has accomplished here.” . . . It’s true. Thanks to the introduction of the loser point, hockey’s numbers from one era to another no longer can be compared.

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A question from Simmons: “Why do so many Canadian media members become giddy cheerleaders when Denis Shapovalov plays tennis?” . . . That brought this response from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Why do Toronto media cheerleaders get giddy when Auston Matthews farts?”



The Baseball Hall of Fame? I’ll pay attention when the doors swing open for Larry Walker. As Keith Olbermann so eloquently put it on Twitter: “And none of this Coors (Field) crap — 70 per cent of his PA weren’t at Coors.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com is ready for a movie on women’s curling, and he even suggests three titles: 1. Kiss of the Slider Woman; 2. Erin Rockovich; 3. Brush, Brush Sweet Charlotte.

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“New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera is the first player to be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” writes Currie. “Makes you wonder what gripe voters once had with Babe Ruth?”


gym


On Dec. 15, Postmedia columnist Terry Jones of Edmonton wrote: “For the entire calendar year, Peter Chiarelli has been a combination of the village wart carrier and village idiot. Friday night at Rogers Place, almost everywhere you looked, the Edmonton Oilers general manager appeared to be the resident genius.” That was after the Oilers won a sixth straight game. . . . How quickly things change in hockey. Chiarelli was fired during the second intermission of a 3-2 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.


Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong points out that POTUS “called his buddy Robert Kraft and congratulated him and his New England Patriots for making it to the Super Bowl. He didn’t do the same for the Los Angeles Rams. So make that two non-calls involving the Rams last Sunday.”


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle always provides an entertaining read. He has another one right here, as he writes about the jerks who are in his personal hall of fame for, if nothing else, making his job that much more fun.


sleepingdog


Old friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, signed up for an exercise class and then discovered that a requirement was that he wear loose-fitting clothing. As he noted: “If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing I wouldn’t need the bleepin’ class!”


I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again . . . If you want an entertaining read on a regular basis, check out Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade.

Among her latest observations . . .

“John Shannon, the sometimes smug gab guy on Sportsnet, delivered what was labeled his Power 25 — the top movers and shakers in the NHL — and he listed wet-eared Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks the sixth most-powerful person.

What Shannon failed to do was explain exactly what makes Pettersson more of a power broker than, say, Puck Pontiff Mark Chipman, co-bankroll and governor of les Jets and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. Perhaps Shannon will also tell us that a parish priest in Moose Jaw holds more sway with Catholics than the Pope. Or that Adam Sandler makes better movies than Steven Spielberg.

“That’s really, really dumb.”

The River City Renegade’s latest posting is right here.


If you’re wondering, and I know you were, the Kootenay Kountdown is into Day 40. . . . The other Kootenay Kountdown is at 48 days. Yes, the Ice will play its final home game in Cranbrook in 48 days.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s first four goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the Calgaryvisiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Calgary (23-19-4) has won two in a row and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-32-8) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . The home side went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kaden Elder (18), at 3:34, and F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (3), at 6:51. . . . The Hitmen went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Tye Carriere (4), at 8:20, and F Hunter Campbell (3), at 12:23. . . . F Austin Schellenberg (5) scored for Kootenay at 15:25. . . . G Jack McNaughton, making his 21st straight start for Calgary, stopped 20 shots, four fewer than the Ice’s Curtis Meger.


D Conner McDonald scored twice as the host Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Prince George EdmontonOilKingsCougars, 2-1. . . . Edmonton (26-15-8) now leads the Central Division, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and two up on the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince George (16-27-5) has lost seven straight (0-5-2) and is five points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours; they went 0-3-0 and were outscored 11-3 in the process. . . . On Sunday, F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (17) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:51 of the first period. . . . McDonald tied it at 6:48 of the second period, then snapped the tie, on a PP, at 8:55. . . . McDonald, who has 12 goals this season, enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career. He has 31 goals in 237 career games. . . . This season, the 19-year-old McDonald, with three goals and two assists over his past three games, has 30 points in 49 games. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 27 shots for the Oil Kings, with Taylor Gauthier blocking 30 for the Cougars. . . . F Josh Maser of the Cougars completed his three-game suspension.


F Leif Mattson drew three assists in regulation time then scored the shootout winner as KelownaRocketsthe Kelowna Rockets beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3, in Langley, B.C. . . . Kelowna (20-24-4) had lost its previous two games, including a 2-1 loss to the visiting Giants on Saturday night. The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and three ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . Vancouver (31-12-3) had one its past eight games and now has points in nine straight (8-0-1). The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 15 points over Victoria. . . . Kelowna went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Last night, Kelowna grabbed a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from F Mark Liwiski (4), at 11:31, and F Kyle Topping, at 14:23, and a second goal from Topping, at 7:15 of the second period. Topping, who also had an assist, now has 19 goals. . . . F Justin Sourdif (12) started the Giants’ comeback at 8:20, with F Davis Koch (19) making it 3-2 at 12:19. . . . D Bowen Byram (18) pulled the Giants even at 13:11 of the third period. . . . Byram, who will be early first-round selection in the NHL’s June draft in Vancouver, now has 46 points in 46 games. . . . Mattson was the second shooter of the third round and scored the lone goal to give the Rockets the victory. . . . D Noah Dorey, who turned 16 on Jan. 21, made his WHL debut with the Rockets. From Surrey, B.C., he was a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the West Van Academy prep team. . . . F Liam Kindree was among Kelowna’s scratches. He didn’t finish Saturday’s game after being involved in a collision with teammate Cayde Augustine.


G Joel Hofer stopped 37 shots, 19 of them in the second period, to lead the host Portland PortlandWinterhawks to a 3-0 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Portland (30-13-5) has won three in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Lethbridge (25-15-8) has lost two straight and now is fourth in the Central Division, one point out of second and two back of first. . . . The Hurricanes were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 1-2-0. . . . Since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for six bantam draft picks, Hofer is 4-1-0, 1.59, .946. . . . Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens wasn’t able to beat Hofer on a second-period penalty shot. . . . F Jake Gricius scored Portland’s first two goals, at 4:32 and 10:01 of the second period. Gricius, who has 22 goals, scored the second one while shorthanded. . . . F Seth Jarvis (14) scored the other goal, at 16:36. . . . The Winterhawks were without F Cody Glass, who was helped from the ice in the third period of Saturday’s games with an apparent injury to his left knee. . . . Glass was in attendance last night, according to a Twitter post (@kerstineLarsen) “with only one crutch, and even looks like he may be putting a little weight on that leg.”


F Matthew Wedman scored twice and added an assist to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to Seattlea 5-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (18-22-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Thunderbirds moved back into the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Kamloops. . . . Kamloops (19-25-3) had a four-game winning streak come to an end. The Blazers are fourth in the B.C. Division, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Noah Philp (19), at 6:05 of the first period, and Wedman, on a PP, just 1:21 later. . . . The Blazers got their first goal from F Zane Franklin (23), on a PP, at 10:24. . . . The Thunderbirds restored their two-goal lead in the second period on goals from D Tyrel Bauer (1), at 2:53, and Wedman, at 8:07. Wedman now has 21 goals. . . . F Connor Zary (12) got a PP goal for Kamloops at 18:13. . . . F Sean Richards (15) scored Seattle’s fifth goal at 14:33 of the third period. . . . F Henri Rybinski had three assists for Seattle. . . . Bauer, a 16-year-old freshman from Cochrane, Alta., got his first WHL goal in his 44th game. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Blazers, who played at home on Saturday, went (2-1-0); the Thunderbirds, who were in Portland on Saturday, were (1-1-1). . . . F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s captain, was scratched after appearing to injure an arm in Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss in Portland.


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Portland pays price for goaltender . . . Brandon, Kelowna swap d-men . . . Kootenay adds two players

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 33.

Players: 61.

Bantam draft picks: 53.

Conditional draft picks: 11.

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

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Who knew the price for a goaltender with 14 career regular-season victories would be so high?

The Portland Winterhawks have acquired G Joel Hofer, 18, from the Swift Current PortlandBroncos, but they had to give up six WHL bantam draft picks, including two first-rounders, in exchange.

Obviously not content with his goaltending, Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, surrendered first-round picks in the 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts, along with a third-rounder in 2019, and second-, fourth and fifth-rounders in 2020.

According to Shaun Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, the 2019 third-round pick originally belonged to the Kootenay Ice, while the fifth-rounder in 2020 originated with the Everett Silvertips.

Hofer, a Winnipegger, was a second-round selection by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL contract. Chances are that he will be in the WHL next season, too.

Hofer’s career numbers are 14-24-5, 3.55, .907.

Last season, as a WHL freshman, he got into 19 games, going 8-3-2, 2.61, .914. He made only two playoff appearances (2.60, .875), playing just 46 minutes as the Broncos won the WHL championship.

Hofer started last season backing up Logan Flodell and finished it behind Stuart Skinner after the Broncos were involved in a deadline deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes that included a swap of goaltenders.

This season, playing on the team with the WHL’s poorest record, Hofer is 6-21-3, 4.02, .904. It is that last figure, considering that he has faced more shots than any other WHL goaltender this season, that would seem to have  caught Johnston’s attention.

The Winterhawks have used two goaltenders — sophomore Shane Farkas, 19, and freshman Dante Giannuzzi, 16 — this season. Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., is 23-9-5, 2.88, .900 in 38 games, with Giannuzzi, who is from Winnipeg, at 1-2-0, 4.09, .833 in four appearances. Combined, they have a 2.97 GAA and a .897 save percentage.

Last week, the Winterhawks added G Evan Fradette, 17, to their roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. He just backstopped the team to the championship at the Mac’s midget tournament in Calgary. A fifth-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft, he hasn’t yet gotten into a game with the Winterhawks, who are on their East Division swing.

The Winterhawks opened that swing in Swift Current on Friday, beating Hofer four times on 47 shots in a 5-3 victory.

Portland took a 3-0-0 record on the trip into Wednesday night’s game with the Regina Pats. The Winterhawks also will stop in Prince Albert on Friday and Saskatoon on Saturday before heading home to face the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 19.

From a Portland perspective, this deal is all about the Winterhawks trying to get to the same level as the Silvertips. Going into Wednesday games, Everett (31-8-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland (24-11-5).

With the likes of forwards Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld in their final seasons with the Winterhawks, Johnston no doubt feels that it’s now or never.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are looking two, three and four seasons down the road. Their SCBroncoscupboard got stripped bare a year ago as Emanuel Viveiros, then the director of player personnel and head coach, loaded up for what turned into a successful championship run.

To fill the vacancy created by Hofer’s departure, the Broncos signed Riley Lamb, a 20-year-old who has played this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers.

A native of Rivers, Man., Lamb actually was traded by the Red Wings to the Terriers on Jan. 2. In the deal, Yorkton gave up G Ben Laidlaw and the junior A rights to D Parker Gavlas, 19, who is with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and D Christian Riemer, 18, who is with Swift Current.

In 26 games with Weyburn, Lamb was 9-13-3, 3.43, .912. In three games with Yorkton, he was 1-2-0, 3.38, .889. Combined, he was 10-15-3, 3.43, .910.

Lamb spent the previous two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, going 27-23-13 in 73 appearances.

In Swift Current, Lamb will partner with freshmen Isaac Poulter, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, who was a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft.

Lamb joins F Tanner Nagel and D Matt Stanley as Swift Current’s three 20-year-old players.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings have traded D Schael Higson, who was dropped from their BrandonWKregularroster last week, to the Kelowna Rockets for D Braydyn Chizen and a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Both players are 20 years of age.

Higson, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Grande Prairie, Alta., has 79 points, including 18 goals, in 282 regular-season games, 90 of them with the Saskatoon Blades and 192 with Brandon. This season, he had three goals and 14 assists in 20 games when he was a healthy scratch prior to game in Moose Jaw against the Warriors. He then KelownaRocketswas dropped from Brandon’s roster.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Chizen is from St. Albert, Alta. He was a ninth-round pick by the Rockets in the 2013 WHL draft, and was a seventh-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2016 draft. However, the Wild never signed him and he now is a free agent.

In 211 regular-season games with the Rockets, he recorded 11 goals and 23 assists.

The Wheat Kings still have room for another 20-year-old, with only Chizen and F Linden McCorrister on their roster.

In Kelowna, Higson joins F Lane Zablocki and D Dalton Gally as the 20s.

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The Kootenay Ice has acquired D Brenden Kwiatkowski, 18, from the Moose Jaw KootenaynewWarriors for a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Kwiatkowski, from Grande Prairie, Alta., had one assist in 22 games with the Warriors last season. This season, he has two assists in 14 games.

Meanwhile, the Ice has signed G Curtis Meger, 20, who had been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.

From Regina, Meger got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886.

This season, with Lloydminster, he was 4-14-0, 4.02, .892.

With the Ice, he joins veteran Duncan McGovern, 18, and freshman Jesse Makaj, 17, in the goaltending department. Going into Wednesday’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes, McGovern was 6-15-2, 4.81, .868, with Makaj at 2-12-5, 4.23, .881. Each of them had appeared in 23 games.

The Ice had room for a 20-year-old after trading D Dallas Hines to the Vancouver Giants. Meger joins F Jaeger White and D Martin Bodak as the Ice’s 20-year-olds.

Prior to Wednesday, the Ice, with the WHL’s second-poorest record and surrounded by speculation about what is expected to be a move to Winnipeg at season’s end, has used 41 players. That, of course, will rise to 43 once Kwiatkowski and Meger appear in a game.

KIBIHT award in memory of Herold . . . Farkas, Hofer pitch shutouts . . . Centazzo beats Rockets with late penalty shot

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The Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament wraps up today in Kamloops.

In 2016, Adam Herold, then of the Balgonie, Sask., Prairie Storm, was the tournament’s top defenceman and a first-team all-star. Later that year, he was selected by the Prince Albert Raiders in the second round of the WHL bantam draft.

Herold spent last season with the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians — he was the team captain — then was added to the roster of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos in the playoffs.

Herold was one of those killed on April 6 in the bus crash involving the Broncos. He was six days from his 17th birthday.

On Saturday night, prior to a WHL game between the Kelowna Rockets and host Kamloops Blazers, KIBIHT introduced an award in Herold’s honour. The award is to go annually to a player who overcomes adversity with leadership and dedication to the game of hockey.

The first recipient, Rylan Davis of the NorthEast BC Bantam Zone Trackers, was presented with the award and took part in a ceremonial faceoff.


The U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team held its 11th annual Play for a Cure game on Friday night as they played host to the Calgary Dinos. . . . G Jessica Vance stopped 11 shots in posting her 13th career shutout as the Huskies won, 3-0. . . . But this one was special . . . really special. . . . You see, the Huskies were honouring Jessica’s mother, Liane, who is taking treatment for cancer. . . . Liane, of course, is married to Bruce Vance, who also is a cancer survivor. Bruce, one of the good guys, worked for the Prince Albert Raiders for a few years not that long ago. . . . Darren Steinke was there on Friday night and posted this piece right here on his blog.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Kye Buchanan, 17, to a WHL contract and SCBroncosimmediately added him to their roster for the remainder of this season. Buchanan is fresh off helping the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders to a championship at the Mac’s tournament in Calgary. . . . From Lethbridge, Buchanan had seven goals and four assists in 16 games with the Raiders. He also had one assist in four games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . The Broncos acquired him from the Spokane Chiefs on Dec. 4, along with F Carter Chorney and D Devin Aubin. Going the other way were D Noah King, G Matthew Davis and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen erased a 2-1 second-period deficit en route to a 4-3 victory over the Calgaryvisiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary (19-16-4) has won four straight, all on home ice. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the idle Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (22-16-3) had won its previous five games. It is tied for third in the Central Division with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Tigers and Hitmen both played Friday night, then were back on the ice for this one, which started at 1:30 p.m. MT, as it was televised by Sportsnet. . . . F Jake Kryski (19) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period. . . . The Tigers took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Logan Christensen (4), at 7:52 of the first, and F Tyler Preziuso (16), at 6:40 of the second. . . . The Hitmen took over with three straight goals, from F Bryce  Bader (4), at 12:34; F Luke Coleman (11), at 12:45; and F Carson Focht (10), at 11:02 of the third. . . . F Ryan Jevne (20) got the Tigers to within a goal at 18:45. . . . Jevne has 20 goals in 41 games this season; last season, he totalled 20 goals in 69 games. . . . Calgary got 33 stops from G Jack McNaughton, who now is 13-9-2, 3.24, .889. The 17-year-old freshman has won his last four starts and nine of his past 12. . . . Medicine Hat F James Hamblin had two assists as he ran his point streak to 11 games. He has 10 goals and seven assists over that stretch. . . . The Tigers lost F Ryan Chyzowski to an undisclosed injury in the first period. They already were without F Bryan Lockner (concussion) and F Hayden Ostir (knee). . . . Earlier in the day, the Tigers added F Nick McCarry to their roster as an AP. He was in the lineup for this one. McCarry, 17, is a list player from Calgary who was pointless in two games with the Tigers last season. This season, he has seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons.


G Shane Farkas stopped 23 shots to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-0 victory over Portlandthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Portland (23-11-5) has points in eight straight (5-0-3) and is second in the U.S. Division, three points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks are 2-0-0 on their East Division swing. . . . Moose Jaw (21-9-6) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . The Warriors were blanked for the first time this season. . . . Portland held a 38-23 edge in shots. . . . Portland took control with four first-period goals, from F Reece Newkirk (18), who is from Moose Jaw, F Jake Gricius (17), F Lane Gilliss (9) and D Clay Hanus (4). . . . F Seth Jarvis (9) and F Joachim Blichfeld (36) also scored for Portland. . . . Blichfeld leads the WHL in goals and points (75). . . . The Winterhawks got three assists from D Nick Cicek. . . . Farkas has three shutouts this season and six in his career. . . . The Warriors lost D Matthew Benson to a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Portland F Ryan Hughes at 6:46 of the second period. . . . G Evan Fradette was on Portland’s bench, backing up Farkas. Fradette was added to the roster earlier in the week from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served Game 3 of a four-game suspension; D Brendan De Jong (concussion); and F Cody Glass, who has yet to return after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . Glass is expected to play Tuesday when the Winterhawks are in Brandon. . . . F Ryan Poehling of Team USA was named the WJC’s most valuable player even though his side dropped a 3-2 decision to Finland in Saturday’s final in Vancouver. Poehling, who turned 20 on Thursday, attends St. Cloud State and is on Portland’s protected list. He was a first-round selection by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft.


F Noah Gregor scored twice and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the PrinceAlbertvisiting Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . Prince Albert (35-4-1) had lost its previous two home games. It now is 18-2-0 on home ice. . . . The Raiders lead the East Division by 18 points over Saskatoon (24-12-5), which had a three-game winning streak halted. . . . F Cole Fonstad (14) and F Justin Nachbaur (10) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead before the first period was eight minutes old. . . . F Gary Haden (15) got the Blades on the scoreboard at 4:27 of the second period. . . . The Raiders stretched their lead to 4-1 on goals from Gregor, on a PP, at 12:25 of the second, and F Parker Kelly (18), at 11:55 of the third. . . . D Dawson Davidson (8) got Saskatoon to within two goals at 17:28. . . . Gregor (26) iced it at 18:28. He now has 56 points, including 30 assists, in 35 games. . . . Fonstad added two assists to his goal. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades scratched F Kirby Dach and D Nolan Kneen with undisclosed injuries.


G Joel Hofer came up with 46 saves to lead the host Swift Current Broncos to a 1-0 victory SCBroncosover the Regina Pats. . . . Swift Current (8-28-3) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . Regina (12-26-2) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Broncos have had the WHL’s poorest record from the get-go. They now are four points behind the Kootenay Ice and seven in back of Regina and the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . F Carter Chorney (10) scored the game’s lone goal, finding the mark at 10:31 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Despite his won-loss record (6-21-3), Hofer is having a tremendous season with a 4.02 GAA and a .904 save percentage. . . . Hofer, who has two career shutouts, has faced 1,257 shots this season, and that’s 150 more than any other WHL goaltender. . . . The St. Louis Blues have to love what they’re seeing from Hofer this season. They selected the 18-year-old Winnipegger in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL draft. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 23 shots for Regina. . . . The Broncos finished the game with nine forwards after Tanner Nagel and Ben King left with undisclosed injuries.


F Kody McDonald’s shootout goal gave the Victoria Royals a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in VictoriaRoyalsRed Deer. . . . Victoria (20-15-1) has won two in a row. It went 4-2-0 on its Central Division trip. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants and three ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Red Deer (22-13-3) has lost two in a row and is tied for third with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Central Division. . . . The Rebels took a 1-0 lead into the second period on a goal from F Oleg Zaytsev (7), at 14:13. . . . The Royals got second-period goals from F Jameson Murray (1), at 7:12, and F Kaid Oliver (18), shorthanded, at 9:56, to take a 2-1 lead. . . . F Brett Davis (12) got Red Deer into a 2-2 tie just 19 seconds into the third period. . . . F Igor Martynov gave Victoria a 1-0 lead in the first round of the shootout, with F Brandon Hagel tying it in the second round. McDonald, who was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders in a trade on Thursday, won it in the fifth round. . . . The Royals got 32 saves from G Griffen Outhouse, while Byron Fancy stopped 34 for Red Deer. . . . Veteran D Ralph Jarratt was back in Victoria’s lineup and played in his 250th regular-season game. After not playing since Nov. 2, he got into games on Dec. 7 and 11, but hadn’t played since then. He now has played 14 games this season.


D Ty Smith drew four assists as the Spokane Chiefs skated to an 8-4 victory over the SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Spokane (22-13-4) has won two straight and remains third in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kootenay (8-26-7) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . The Chiefs took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Noah King (4), at 7:02 of the first period, and F Luke Toporowski (13), at 8:24. . . . The Ice cut the deficit in half when F Cole Muir (10) scored at 14:50. . . . The Chiefs put it away by scoring the next four goals — by F Jake McGrew, F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (3), F Ethan McIndoe (9) and F Luc Smith (6). . . . Smith was in on four the Chiefs’ first five goals. . . . F Graham Sward, the 17th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his first game for Spokane. . . . McGrew added a second goal, his 16th. . . . F Peyton Krebs (14), F Owen Pederson (3) and D Zach Patrick (2) also scored for the Ice, who got to within 7-4 late in the third period. . . . F Riley Woods, who had an assist in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Friday night, was among the Chiefs’ scratches.


F Orrin Centazzo scored on a penalty shot with 1:20 left in the third period to give the Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (15-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five point behind Kelowna but with three games in hand. . . . Kelowna (17-18-4) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Centazzo was hooked on a breakaway, so was awarded a penalty shot. . . . It was his second goal of the game. . . . The Rockets held leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but weren’t able to put it away. They were 2-6 on the PP, including two 5-on-3s; Kamloops was 2-4. . . . F Kyle Topping (15) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 47 seconds after the opening faceoff. . . . Centazzo, at 19:37, and F Martin Lang (7), on a PP at 2:26 of the second period, gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . The Rockets went in front on goals from F Nolan Foote (20), at 8:55, on a PP, and F Leif Mattson (17), at 17:42. . . . Blazers F Josh Pillar (5) tied it at 10:07 of the third period, on a PP, and Centazzo won it with his 11th goal of the season, going forehand-backhand and upstairs to beat G Roman Basran, who was stellar with 28 saves, five more than Dylan Ferguson of Kamloops. . . . Kelowna now is 13-1-2 when leading after two periods. . . . The Blazers, who lost 4-1 in Spokane on Friday night, left immediately after the game for Everett, where they are to meet the Silvertips today in a game that is to start at 4 p.m.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last three goals to beat the visiting Tri-City EverettAmericans, 4-1. . . . Everett (30-8-2), which has won 10 straight at home, leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (20-14-2) had won its previous two games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, nine points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Jalen Price (4) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period. . . . Tri-City pulled even at 4:13 of the second period when F Sasha Mutala (9) scored. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (27) snapped the tie at 18:11, and F Max Patterson (11) added insurance at 8:35 of the third period. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (19) rounded out the scoring at 19:19 with an empty-netter while on a PP. . . . F Justyn Gurney, who was added to Everett’s roster from the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles earlier in the week, had two assists. He now has three of them in three games. . . . Everett outshot the Americans, 39-22, including 18-4 in the first period.


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Giants add veteran Legien . . . More roster moves for Ice . . . Broncos want Moar, Moar, Moar! . . . Pachal’s return keys Raiders’ 32nd victory


ThisThat

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Thursday that the Vancouver Giants have added F VancouverJared Legien, 20, to their roster. He had been playing with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . With D Matt Barberis out since Nov. 18 with an undisclosed injury, the Giants have been utilizing two 20s — F Davis Koch and F Jared Dmytriw. Should Barberis return at some date, they would have to make a decision and get back down to three. . . . Legien, from Pilot Butte, Sask., was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 84 games over three seasons (2014-17) with the Ice, he had four goals and five assists. Last season, he played 36 games with the Victoria Royals (13-20–33) and 25 with the Regina Pats (10-7—17). . . . This season, Legien had 28 goals and 24 assists in 32 games with the Terriers. . . . Legien is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup tonight when they meet the Rebels in Red Deer.


According to a report out of Cranbrook, D Jonathon Smart, 19, didn’t return to the Ice Kootenaynewfrom the Christmas break. . . . Jeff Bromley (@JeffBromley1), a former newspaper reporter who covered the Ice for 15 years and a long-time season-ticket holder, tweeted that Smart left for “personal and hockey reasons.” . . . Smart, who is from Kelowna, had three goals and eight assists in 36 games this season. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected him in the first round of the 2014 bantam draft. In 216 regular-season WHL games — 68 with Kelowna, 64 with the Regina Pats and 84 with the Ice — he had 14 goals and 66 assists. . . . Smart is at least the fourth veteran WHLer to leave the Ice this season, following D Sam Huston, F Nick Bowman and F Brendan Semchuk. As well, F Jack Cowell refused to report after being acquired from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Ice also has traded away four veterans — forwards Brett Davis, Cam Hausinger, Kaeden Taphorn and Keenan Taphorn — since the start of the season. . . .

The Ice has added F Owen Pederson, 16, to its roster for the remainder of this season. He was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, Pederson, who is from Stony Plain, Alta., had 11 goals and 19 assists in 18 games with the Edmonton-OHA prep team. He also got into eight earlier games with the Ice, scoring twice. . . .

The Ice also has brought in D Carson Lambos, a 15-year-old from Winnipeg who plays for the Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team. Lambos, the second overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was pointless in one earlier game with Kootenay. . . .

The Ice is scheduled to visit the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added G Garin Bjorklund, 16, to their roster. From Calgary, Bjorklund will back up Jordan Hollett with Mads Sogaard playing for Denmark at the World Junior Championship. . . . Bjorklund is in his second season with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He was a first-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


I knew that I likely would miss someone when I listed players with WHL ties who are at the WJC. Sure enough. Thanks to Catherine Nielsen for pointing out that Slovakian F Milos Fafrak was a freshman with the Spokane Chiefs last season — he had nine goals and 10 assists in 66 games — before returning home to play with the two national U-20 sides.


In their first 32 games, the Portland Winterhawks met the Tri-City Americans once; the tri-cityAmericans won 6-5 in a shootout at home on Sept, 28. . . . Those two teams closed out the pre-Christmas schedule with back-to-back games — the host Americans won 3-2 in OT on Dec. 15, then won 4-3 in OT in Portland the next evening. So when those teams resume their schedules tonight it only makes sense that they should meet again. Right? . . . Yes, they’ll clash in Portland. . . . It’s also worth noting that the Americans will have faced the Winterhawks in three straight games with ace F Cody Glass out of the lineup. Glass, of course, is with Team Canada at the WJC. . . .

When this regular season is over, it will be interesting to look back and see how much of SpokaneChiefsan impact the Kootenay Ice will have had on the outcome of the U.S. Division race. Yes, the Everett Silvertips (27-7-2) are well on their way to the division title, what with a 14-point lead over Portland and the Spokane Chiefs, both of whom are 19-11-4. . . . The Winterhawks were scheduled to meet the Ice (8-22-6) once this season — Portland beat the visiting Ice, 10-2, on Dec. 2. . . . The Chiefs, meanwhile, will face the Ice on five occasions. Spokane won 7-4 in Cranbrook on Sept. 28, and then beat the Ice 6-3 at home the next night. The Chiefs also won 4-3 in OT in Spokane on Dec. 8. They’ll meet again Jan. 5 in Cranbrook and Feb. 9 in Cranbrook. . . . Should the Chiefs win the last two meetings, they’ll have picked up 10 points in games with the Ice, while Portland will have claimed two.


The WHL’s Christmas trade moratorium is over, having ended on Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 14.

Players: 30.

Bantam draft picks: 23.

Conditional draft picks:6.

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


Steve Wulf, a senior writer with ESPN, has written a wonderful feature about a team of hockey players that includes a 95-year-old and a few other youngsters. It’s great stuff and it’s right here.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Sergei Alkhimov scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 3-2 victory over the Wheat PatsKings in Brandon. . . . Regina improved to 10-24-1, while Brandon slipped to 15-11-6. . . . The Pats took a 2-0 first-period lead on PP goals from F Robbie Holmes (7), at 3:29, and Alkhimov, at 11:30. . . . F Ridly Greig (8) got Brandon on the scoreboard with a PP goal at 5:07 of the second period. . . . Alkhimov gave the Pats a 3-1 lead with his ninth goal at 2:32 of the third period. . . . D Cole Reinhardt (6) scored Brandon’s second goal at 10:56. . . . Each team may have a player suspended before tonight’s rematch in Regina. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos, who leads the Wheat Kings in goals, assists and points, was hit with a  match penalty for attempt to injure at 6:39 of the first period. He apparently reacted after F Linden McCorrister was helped off the ice following a hit. . . . The Pats lost Holmes to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:46 of the second period for a hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who went to the dressing room then returned for the third period. . . . G Jiri Patera, Brandon’s go-to guy, is at the WJC with Czech Republic. With him gone, the Wheat Kings will run with Ethan Kruger, 17, and have Connor Ungar, 16, backing up. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after not playing since Nov. 17 because of an undisclosed injury.


D Alex Moar’s first WHL goal gave the Swift Broncos a 4-3 OT victory over the Warriors SCBroncosin Moose Jaw. . . . Swift Current (7-24-2) had lost its previous two games. It now is 2-16-0 on the road. . . . Moose Jaw is 17-8-6. . . . The Warriors will get another shot at the Broncos tonight in Swift Current. . . . Last night’s winner came as Moar successfully completed a 2-on-1 break with F Matthew Culling at 1:58 of OT. . . . Goals from Culling (5) and D Matthew Stanley (1) at 14:29 and 17:07 of the third period had given Swift Current a 3-1 lead. . . . The Warriors scored twice with G Brodan Salmond on the bench for the extra attacker, with F Brayden Tracey (11) making it 3-2 at 18:51 and F Keenan Taphorn (9) tying it at 19:13. . . . Moar, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips, won it with his first goal in 22 career games, 18 of them with the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw held a 42-21 edge in shots, including 10-3 in the first period and 20-7 in the second, but Swift Current G Joel Hofer continued his fine season. Despite a 5-19-2 record, and a 4.15 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . The Warriors were 0-4 on the PP; the Broncos didn’t get even one opportunity. . . . The Broncos scratched both of their 17-year-old Finnish freshmen imports — F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen — due to travel-related issues on their way back from the break. Both players are expected to be available tonight. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who completed a two-game WHL-issued suspension. . . . Moose Jaw also is missing head coach Tim Hunter and D Josh Brook, both with Team Canada at the WJC. In Hunter’s absence, associate coach Mark O’Leary is in charge of the bench.


D Brayden Pachal, who sat out the previous two games with a suspension, scored twice, including one in OT, as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the Blades, 4-3, in Saskatoon. . . . PrinceAlbertThe Raiders (32-2-1) have won four in a row. . . . The Blades (21-10-5) have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . They’ll play the rematch tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (2) staked the Blades to a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:59 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Noah Gregor (21), at 13:37 of the first and 2:52 of the second. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (10), at 4:28, and F Max Gerlach (20), on a PP, at 6:22. . . . Pachal tied it at 6:28 of the third and won it with his ninth goal of the season, banging home a rebound 33 seconds into OT. . . . Pachal has 20 goals in 206 career regular-season games. This was his second career two-goal game. . . . F Cole Fonstad drew three assists for the Raiders, the fourth straight game in which he had at least two points. He has a goal and nine assists in that stretch. . . . Gregor also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Gregor has seven goals and three assists in helping the Raiders go 4-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC.


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

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


MacBeth

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

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



COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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



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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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