WHL exempt from Alberta gov’t restrictions . . . AJHL has another team on virus leave . . . Rebels’ Sexsmith opens up about the season


If you’re paying attention, you already know that COVID-19 had another good day on Thursday.

In fact, you have to wonder if behind closed doors junior hockey operators are WHL2starting to wonder if the 2021-22 season is going to start anywhere close to on time, at least in Western Canada. Because — and let’s be honest here — we aren’t anywhere close to seeing the end of this.

When Alberta released its Thursday numbers, they were the worst the province has seen since the pandemic began in the early days of 2020.

So, from the Department of Better Late Than Never, the Alberta government responded with restrictions that cover various cities with particularly horrendous numbers, like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer, each of them home to a WHL franchise.

Part of those restrictions included this:

“All indoor fitness activities are prohibited. This includes: all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes and training sessions; all one-on-one lessons and training activities; all practices, training and games.”

But never fear WHL fans because it seems your favourite teams are exempt from these restrictions. With Red Deer playing on Thursday night, Rebels interim radio voice Troy Gillard tweeted that a “team official tells me the WHL does indeed remain exempt and games will continue as scheduled.”

Other areas under the restrictions are Airdrie, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Strathcona County, which includes Sherwood Park.

It would appear that the AJHL, like the WHL, is exempt from the restrictions because the Grande Prairie Storm is at home to the Sherwood Park Crusaders tonight (Friday) and Saturday, with the teams to play next weekend in Sherwood Park.


Plague


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of another team — the Calgary Canucks — after a positive COVID-19 test result was identified within the ajhlteam’s cohort. As per the league’s return-to-play protocols, the Canucks are on hold for at least 14 days. They were scheduled to play the Drayton Valley Thunder in Calgary tonight (Friday), on the road Sunday and May 7, and May 9 in Calgary, but those games all have been cancelled. . . .

On Tuesday, the AJHL halted team activities for the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days because of a positive test in the Wolverines’ group. Those two teams had played each other on Saturday and Sunday. . . .

On Sunday, the Okotoks Oilers were put on hold for 14 days because of a positive test in their cohort. . . .

On April 23, the Drumheller Dragons experienced a positive test and they, too, were shut down for 14 days. . . .

On Wednesday, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced that they were ending their season out of an abundance of concern for the safety of players, billets and their community, which is under a local state of emergency. . . .

The league has seven teams up and running — Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie Storm, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints in the North Division, and Brooks Bandits, Camrose Kodiaks and Olds Grizzlys in the South Division.

With seven teams and three two-team cohorts, the Spruce Grove Saints were left without a partner. That problem went away with the news regarding the Canucks. So the Saints are to play the Thunder tonight (Friday) in Spruce Grove and Saturday in Drayton Valley.

The AJHL schedule is to conclude on May 8.


File this under The Best Laid Plans: The Los Angeles Rams rented and outfitted a 9,000-square-foot beach house in Malibu from which their personnel was to set up shop and conduct the NFL draft. . . . On Thursday, general manager Les Snead announced that he has tested positive so will isolate at home and conduct the draft from there.


Retire


Mark Brennan, the Portland Winterhawks’ equipment manager, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this season. He has been the club’s equipment manager since 2012, after also working with, among others, the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. When Portland’s season ends on May 11, Brennan will have worked 2,251 games. The Winterhawks’ news release is right here.

Brennan wasn’t behind a bench on Thursday night — he’ll be there tonight with Portland playing host to the Everett Silvertips — but there were three other WHL games . . .

In Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with two shorthanded Tigersgoals and went on to beat the Hurricanes, 6-2. . . . Medicine Hat (13-6-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Lethbridge is 8-11-2. . . . F Brett Kemp gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 6:44 of the first period, with F Jett Jones (5) getting the Hurricanes even at 12:07. . . . D Cole Clayton (9) sent the Tigers out front with the first shorthanded goal, at 3:51 of the second period, with F Nick McCarry (7) adding the second one at 10:48. . . . Medicine Hat put it away with the next three goals, too — Kemp’s second and 12th of the season, and two from F Lukas Svejkovsky, who also has 12. . . . F Ty Nash (2) got Lethbridge’s second goal on a late PP. . . .

F Cael Zimmerman’s OT goal gave the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory Calgaryover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hitmen improved to 9-7-2. . . . The Rebels (2-15-3) have lost 13 in a row (0-12-1). . . . F Josh Prokop (9) put Calgary out front, while shorthanded, at 2:39 of the first period and the teams exchanged goals through game’s end. . . . F Carter Anderson (2) got Red Deer even at 13:19, with D Jackson van de Least (3) replying for Calgary at 17:40. . . . Red Deer tied it on D Jace Weir’s second goal at 19:52. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (5) put the Hitmen back out front, 3-2, at 10:18 of the second period. . . . F Chris Douglas (6) forced OT with a Red Deer score at 12:48 of the third. . . . Zimmerman won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 4:19 of extra time. . . . Calgary F Sean Tschigel had two assists, giving him 18 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games. He went into this season with five goals and nine assists in 64 games. . . .

BTW, if you are interested in a good story about what life’s been like with the RedDeerstruggling Rebels who have been living in the arena since this season began, here’s a taste from D Joel Sexsmith:

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really tough,” the 19-year-old told Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate. “It hasn’t been easy here. It certainly hasn’t been easy when you’re losing, too. I think the dynamic would shift if we’d been winning all the time and we haven’t been, that’s just the reality.

“We live here, we look at the rink every day and it kind of serves as a reminder that we are where we are in the standings. I think that’s really tough mentally. I would say I’m really grateful that I’m able to go through this with this group of guys. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love this group of guys on this team.” . . . Hackett’s complete piece is right here and it’s well worth a read. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff broke a 3-3 tie at 18:27 of the third period as the Kelowna RocketsRockets beat the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . The Rockets (7-2-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Giants (9-7-0) have lost four straight. . . . Swetlikoff’s fourth goal of the season stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna D Jake Lee (2) had tied the game at 14:29 of the third. . . . Vancouver led this one 2-0 on two first-period goals from F Zack Ostapchuk, at 9:03 and 9:40. . . . Ostapchuk, who has six goals in 16 games this  season, finished last season with five in 44 games as a freshman. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) got Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . The Rockets tied it on F Turner McMillen’s first WHL goal, shorthanded, at 4:19 of the second. That was Kelowna’s fifth shorthanded score in nine games. . . . McMillen was a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He played two games last season and this was No. 9 this season. . . . Vancouver went back out front when F Bryce Bader (4) scored at 7:40. . . . Watching the replay of the winning goal, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s changed to F Mark Liwiski, who appeared to score off a Swetlikoff rebound.


Belarus (2-1-0) secured a quarter-final berth in the IIHF U18 World U18Championship in Texas on Thursday, with a 6-2 victory over Latvia (0-3-0) in Group A. . . . Sweden (2-1-0) beat Switzerland (1-2-0), 3-1, in the other Group A game. . . . In Group B, G Kaidan Mbereko stopped five shooters in the shootout as Team USA beat Czech Republic, 2-1. . . . In the other Group B game, Russia (2-0-1) skated past Germany (0-3-0), 6-1. . . . There are two games scheduled for today — Canada (2-0-0) meets Switzerland in Group A, while Finland (2-0-0) plays Germany in Group B.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Monkees

First call for Memorial Cup ducats . . . Goaltender’s WHL days over . . . Giants get trade acquisition signed . . . Royals short on D, beat hurting ‘Hawks

MacBeth

F Ryan Olsen (Saskatoon, Kelowna, 2009-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had eight goals and 17 assists in 34 games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). . . .

G Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13) has signed a one-year extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste bank Liga). In 26 games, he is 2.82 and.923. He is fourth in the league in save percentage.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

If you are planning to attend the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, you now are able to call your banker and tell him the size of the loan you will be needing.

Ticket packages for what will be the Memorial Cup’s 100th anniversary will go on sale to MemCupRegRegina Pats season-ticket holders today (Thursday).

From a news release:

“Ticket packages for the 10-day event will include eight guaranteed games (plus a tie-breaker if needed), with season-ticket holder pricing set at $695 for Centennial-level seating and $645 for Festival-level seating.

“Regina Pats season-ticket holders will also enjoy an exclusive ticket presale opportunity from Jan. 18-26. Season-ticket holders aren’t guaranteed their current seat but the host committee in conjunction with the Regina Pats will do all they can to limit seat relocation.”

The complete news release is available at the Pats’ website (reginapats.com).

Tickets will be released to the general public on Jan. 30. At that time, those packages will be priced at $750 and $700.

If you visit mastercardmemorialcup.ca and click on TICKETS, you will be taken to a ticketmaster site that includes this message: “If selected, you will receive a specific seat allocation. All tickets packages are $847.50 including tax.”

Last year, in Windsor, Ont., regular bowl ticket packages went for $595 plus tax, with platinum packages at $885 plus tax.

When it came to single-game tickets in Windsor, round-robin games not including the Spitfires were $75, while games including the Spitfires were $90. The semifinal game was $95, with the final set at $115. You had to add HST to each of those prices, too.


The Victoria Royals were without two veteran defencemen as they beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-2, on Wednesday night. . . . Chaz Reddekopp (undisclosed injury) will be missing for up to six weeks. He was injured in Saturday’s 5-4 victory over visiting Kamloops. . . . Kade Jensen, meanwhile, began serving a four-game suspension that was delivered after he took a cross-checking major after the final buzzer of Saturday’s game. That was for a hit on Kamloops D Luke Zazula during a late scrum. . . . Dan Price, the Royals’ head coach, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist that Jensen’s penalty had nothing to do with a lack of discipline. The way Price saw it, Jensen was “trying to protect (Matthew Phillips) and sometimes things happen in the moment.” . . . With Reddekopp and Jensen out, the Royals have added D Remy Aquilon, 16, to their roster. He has been playing for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He got into two games with Victoria earlier in the season.


The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed via this week’s WHL roster report that G Travis Child’s EdmontonOilKingsjunior hockey career is over. According to the report, Child has a “season-ending” upper-body injury. Child, 20, is from Killam, Alta. He also played with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. This season, with Edmonton, he was 6-13-2, 4.21, .868, but last played on Dec. 15. . . . Edmonton acquired him from Brandon on May 31, giving up a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft in the swap. . . . In 107 regular-season appearances, Child was 33-39-10, 3.39, .893.

The Oil Kings are left with three goaltenders on their roster — Josh Dechaine, 19, Todd Scott, 17, and Boston Bilous, 16. Scott was acquired last week from the Vancouver Giants.


After choosing not to sign with the Swift Current Broncos, D Joel Sexsmith signed with VancouverVancouver on Wednesday, 10 days after being acquired by the Giants. . . . The Broncos selected Sexsmith ninth overall in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He refused to sign with the Broncos and observers thought he might be taking the NCAA route. Instead, he signed with the Giants, who gave the Broncos a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft for his rights. . . . This season, he has two goals and nine assists in eight games with the Calgary-based Edge School elite 15s. . . . Sexsmith is the last of the 22 first-round selections from the 2017 bantam draft to sign a WHL deal.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings and general manager Mike Hawes have signed a three-year contract extension that runs through May 31, 2021. His present deal was due to expire on May 31. . . . Hawes joined the Spruce Kings as an associate coach for 2005-06. After two seasons, he was named assistant GM and director of player personnel a role he filled for four seasons. He took over as GM during the 2010-11 season. . . . The Spruce Kings have made the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons.


A full 117 days since the start of the 2017-18 regular season, the WHL’s Official Guide, with the Seattle Thunderbirds on the cover, is available for download. Featuring what appear to be training camp rosters, it arrived quietly this week, a few days after the league’s roster-shuffling trade deadline passed us by.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


If you enjoy stopping by here, and even if you don’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause by visiting my old site, taking note.ca, and clicking on the DONATE button. Thank you, in advance.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Prince Albert, F Matt Bradley scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . Regina (24-19-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and now has won more ReginaPats100games (24) than it has lost (23). The Pats are fourth in the East Division, seven points behind Brandon. . . . Prince Albert (16-20-8) is seven points away from a wild-card spot. . . . D Vojtech Budik (4) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:02 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it when F Jake Leschyshyn (15) scored at 19:55. . . . F Curtis Miske (14) put the Raiders back out front at 17:47 of the second period. . . . Bradley tied it at 18:12. . . . The Pats opened the third period by surviving a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:02, then scored two PP goals. . . . The first two came from Bradley, at 5:19. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (3) gave the Pats a two-goal lead, at 6:54. . . . Prince Albert got to within a goal when F Jordy Stallard (30) scored while shorthanded at 15:07. . . . F Cam Hebig had two assists for Regina. . . . Prince Albert got two assists from F Regan Nagy, with Miske adding one. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Ryan Kubic earned the victory with 34 saves, five more than the Raiders’ Curtis Meger. . . . F Cole Fonstad of the Raiders came up short on a penalty shot at 1:48 of the first period. . . . Regina leads the season series, 5-0-0; Prince Albert is 0-3-2. . . . Announced attendance: 2,045.


At Medicine Hat, F Brett Davis scored with 4.2 seconds left in the third period to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Tigers, who coughed up a three-goal lead. . . . KootenaynewKootenay (20-22-3) has won two in a row. The Ice is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat (24-18-4) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Ice went ahead 1-0 when D Martin Bodak scored, on a PP, at 6:04 of the first period. . . . The Tigers scored the next three goals, all of them in the first period. . . . F Mark Rassell (38) got it started at 7:17. . . . F James Hamblin (14) gave the home side a 2-1 lead at 9:59. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (15) upped the lead to 3-1 at 13:00. . . . Bodak (3) got the Ice to within a goal at 16:51 of the second period. . . . Kootenay F Michael King (7) tied the score at 11:20. . . . Davis snapped the tie with his 14th goal of the season. . . . Ice F Colton Veloso, playing in his 250th regular-season game, had two assists, but missed on a first-period penalty shot. . . . F Peyton Krebs also had two assists for the Ice. . . . Hamblin added an assist for Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice was 1-3 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-3. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 34 shots and picked up an assist for the Ice. . . . The Tigers got 19 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . In its previous nine games in Medicine Hat, the Ice had lost nine times and been outscored 54-20. . . . Announced attendance: 2,817.


At Portland, F Matthew Phillips had a goal and two assists to lead the Victoria Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-16-4) has won three straight. It is tied VictoriaRoyalswith Vancouver for second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna. . . . Portland (26-14-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, two point behind Everett with two games in hand. . . . F Tanner Kaspick (14), who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings a week earlier, broke a 2-2 tie at 11:14 of the third period. . . . Phillips, who has 31 goals, made it 4-2 at 12:02. . . . F Tyler Soy (20) had given Victoria a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded at 8:28 of the first period. . . . F Skyler McKenzie (34) pulled Portland into a tie, on a PP, at 9:09. . . . The Royals went back out front when D Matthew Smith (3) scored at 15:06 of the second period. . . . F Cody Glass (25) tied it for Portland, on a PP, at 7:21 of the third period. . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Henri Jokiharju and D Dennis Cholowski. . . . Portland was 2-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals, one fewer than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Kieffer Bellows was among Portland’s scratches after suffering an undisclosed injury on Saturday against visiting Everett. . . . Portland dressed nine forwards and eight defencemen, then lost F Ryan Hughes to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . With the shortage of forwards, Portland used D Conor MacEachern and D John Ludvig up front. . . . Announced attendance: 2,838.


At Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored five of the game’s last six goals and beat the Cougars, 7-4. . . . Seattle (22-16-6) had beaten the host Cougars, 5-2, on Tuesday Seattlenight. The Thunderbirds are tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Prince George (17-22-7) has lost two straight and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Seattle F Mike MacLean scored his first WHL goal at 7:53 of the first period, but Prince George F Aaron Boyd (9) tied it one minute later. . . . F Matthew Wedman (8) gave the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead at 9:36. . . . The Cougars took a 3-2 lead on goals by F Max Kryski (5), at 11:11, and F Josh Maser (21), on a PP, at 13:53. . . . Seattle followed with the next three goals for a 5-3 lead. . . . F Jaxan Kaluski (3) scored at 7:14 of the second period, with F Sami Moilanen (18), on a PP, counting at 11:29. F Dillon Hamaliuk (11) got the fifth goal at 4:55 of the third period. . . . Hamaliuk, who had one goal in 17 games last season, has 29 points in 44 games this season. He’s got four goals and five assists in his past four games. . . . D Jack Sander (2) pulled the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 7:47. . . . The Thunderbirds iced it on goals from F Zack Andrusiak (19), on a PP, at 16:31, and F Nolan Volcan (20) at 17:39. . . . Seattle got two assists from F Donovan Neuls, and one each from Andrusiak, Wedman, Hamaliuk, Volcan and MacLean. . . . The Cougars got two assists from D Ryan Schoettler. . . . The Cougars were 2-5 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 2-6. . . . Seattle got 18 saves from G Darrin Luding. . . . G Taylor Gauthier blocked 37 shots for the Cougars. . . . Announced attendance: 2,454.


At Kelowna, D Cal Foote scored in overtime to give the Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Kelowna (28-13-3) leads the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . Lethbridge (21-19-4) has points in five straight games (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes started OT on the PP — Foote was in stir for delay of game after he knocked the Rockets’ net off its moorings late in the third period — and hit two posts in extra time. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (26) put Lethbridge out front 42 seconds into the first period. . . . Kelowna F Dillon Dube (19) tied it at 8:08. He also drew the lone assist on the winning goal. . . . Dube was in the lineup for the first time since the WJC ended in Buffalo. Dube, who last played for Kelowna on Dec. 9, had been out with the flu. Team Canada’s captain last played for Kelowna on Dec. 9; all told, he missed 13 games. . . . F Kole Lind (22) gave the home boys a 2-1 lead at 4:05 of the second period. . . . The Rockets went ahead 3-1 when F Conner Bruggen-Cate (11) scored shorthanded, at 8:52. . . . D Tate Olson (1) got Lethbridge to within a goal at 13:27. . . . The visitors tied it when F Taylor Ross (14) scored at 12:27 of the third period. . . . Foote, who also had an assist, won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 2:55 of OT. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from F Dylan Cozens. . . . Kelowna was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-5. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 31 shots for the Rockets. Salmond played for the first time since Nov. 4. Prior to that, he last played on Oct. 15. Cole Tisdale, 15, was on the bench in support of Salmond. G James Porter Jr. (day-to-day) and Roman Basran (week-to-week) are out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Tisdale, an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, played in his hometown for the minor midget Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . G Reece Klassen turned aside 33 shots for Lethbridge. (No, Logan Flodell didn’t start). . . . The Rockets remain without F Erik Gardiner (concussion), who hasn’t played since Oct. 28. He took a puck to the visor the previous night, played in the next game but hasn’t played since then. He may have suffered a setback, however, as he is shown as being out week-to-week on the Jan. 9 roster report, after being shown as day-to-day one week earlier. . . . Announced attendance: 5,103.


At Spokane, G Bailey Brkin recorded his first WHL shutout to led the Chiefs to a 3-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Spokane (23-19-3) holds down the Western SpokaneChiefsConference’s second wild-card spot, but is only one spot out of third in the U.S. Division. . . . Brandon (28-13-3) opened a U.S. Division swing with its first regulation loss in six games. It had been 3-0-2 in its previous five games. The Wheat Kings are third in the East Division, eight points behind Swift Current. . . . Brkin stopped 21 shots. The 18-year-old was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Jan. 8 for a 2019 eighth-round bantam draft pick. He has been with the Chiefs with Dawson Weatherill out with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto (4) scored the game’s first goal, at 14:40 of the first period, then set up F Ethan McIndoe (12) at 18:34. . . . F Milos Fafrak (6) rounded out the scoring at 17:57 of the second. . . . Yamamoto has two goals and four assists in three games since returning from the WJC where he played for the U.S. . . . Each team was 0-5 on the PP. . . . Brandon got 32 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . Announced attendance: 3,113.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Aleksi Heponiemi’s second goal of the game, in overtime, gave the Swift Current Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Swift Current (32-SCBroncos10-3) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). The Broncos are second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Tri-City (22-16-6) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It is tied with Seattle for third in the U.S. Division. . . . The Broncos took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matteo Gennaro (30), at 14:58, and Heponiemi, at 19:03. . . . Tri-City tied it on goals from F Jordan Topping (23), on a PP, at 10:52 of the second period and D Jake Bean (7), at 16:59 of the third period. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 23rd goal of the season at 2:23 of OT. . . . F Morgan Geekie had two assists for the Americans. . . . The Americans were 1-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-1. . . . G Stuart Skinner recorded the victory with 24 saves. . . . The Americans got 37 stops from G Patrick Dea. . . . Tri-City F Max James was eligible to return after serving a three-game suspension, but he was scratched. . . . The Americans remain without D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, D Roman Kalinichenko and F Kyle Olson, all of whom are injured. . . . Announced attendance: 2,428.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Calgary 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Portland, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Brandon vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.

Two more Sunday WHL deals: Vancouver gets rights to highly touted d-man . . . Belcourt asks out, lands in P.A.

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 27

PLAYERS: 56

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 37

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5

THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)


THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired D Joel Sexsmith, 15, from the Swift Current Broncos for a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Sexsmith, 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, was picked by the Broncos with the Vancouverninth overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he had four goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team at the Rink Hockey Academy. . . . This season, he has a goal and three assists in eight games with the Northern Xtreme midget prep team.

THE INFO: Sexsmith is the only first-round pick from the 2017 bantam draft who has yet to sign a WHL contract. He is represented by Gerry Johnson, whose firm includes former Vancouver GM Scott Bonner. . . . Sexsmith, who is from Edmonton, played for Team Alberta at the WHL Cup earlier this season, scoring once and adding two assists in five games.

WHY: The Giants didn’t make the playoffs in any of the previous three seasons and now are in the chase for top spot in the Western Conference. This deal allows them to add a highly touted young defenceman to their protected list without surrendering anything off their roster; of course, they still have to sign him. . . . At the moment, Vancouver also holds three second-round picks in the 2019 bantam draft, so could afford to give up a first-rounder.


THE DEAL: The Prince Albert Raiders acquired D Konrad Belcourt, 17, from the Kelowna Rockets for fifth- and eighth-round picks in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Belcourt had one goal and three assists in 64 PrinceAlbertgames over two seasons with Kelowna. This season, he has one goal and two assists in 20 games.

THE INFO: From Sherwood Park, Alta., Belcourt was a fourth-round pick by Kelowna in the 2015 bantam draft.

WHY: Belcourt had asked for a trade in the hopes of getting more playing time. . . . Including Belcourt, the Raiders show eight defencemen on their roster. But Sergei Sapego is injured and Kaiden Guhle, 15, will have to go back to the OHA Edmonton bantam prep team at some point. . . . The Rockets show eight defencemen on their roster, but four of those are freshmen. You can expect Kelowna