RCMP investigating ‘fire incident’ that left three players hospitalized . . . Royals sign first-round pick

MacBeth

F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-10) wasn’t offered a contract for this season after his one-week ‘introductory’ contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga) expired on Sunday. Last season, with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games.


ThisThat

RCMP in Cochrane, Alta., are investigating a Saturday night incident that resulted in three hockey players being taken to a Calgary hospital.

Matt Alfaro of the U of Calgary Dinos, along with Jordy Bellerive and Ryan Vandervlis, both of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, remained in hospital Sunday night, being treated for Lethbridgeburns suffered in what the RCMP termed a “fire incident” that occurred “at approximately 11:43 p.m.”

According to the RCMP news release:

“Cochrane RCMP, along with Rockyview Fire and EMS were dispatched to a structure fire in the Bearspaw area of Rockyview County, located approximately 10 km east of Cochrane.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that a substance was placed into a fire-pit that caused an explosion. No structures were involved or affected by the incident.

“Three people who were in the area of the fire-pit sustained burn injuries. . . . The injured persons were transported via ground ambulance to a Calgary hospital, where they are being treated for their injuries. . . .

“The investigation into this matter is ongoing.”

While the RCMP has yet to release the identities of the three injured players, the Hurricanes revealed on Saturday night that they are Bellerive, Alfaro and Vandervlis.

The three players are in the Foothills Medical Centre. According to a report by Evan Radford of StarMetro Calgary, a spokesperson for Calgary EMS said that “one of the three is critical, one is in serious, potentially life-threatening condition, and one is in serious, non-life-threatening condition.”

Bellerive, 19, finished the 2017-18 season as the Hurricanes’ captain. Last summer, he went to training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins and earned a three-year entry-level NHL contract.

On Sunday, the Penguins issued a news release that indicated assistant general manager Bill Guerin “has spoken with Bellerive, who is in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery.”

Bellerive is from North Vancouver, B.C.

Vandervlis, 20, is from Red Deer. His 2017-18 season was short-circuited when he underwent shoulder surgery in December.

Alafaro, 21, has played one season with the Dinos. From Calgary, he played in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice, before being traded to the Hurricanes during the 2016-17 season.


The Victoria Royals have signed D Nolan Bentham to a WHL contract. Bentham, who is from Victoria, was a first-round selection, 13th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Last season, Bentham played at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., putting up five goals and 17 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . He is the son of John Bentham, a defenceman who had three assists in 35 games with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars in 1989-90.

——

The WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


In a news release following its annual general meeting in Vancouver last week, the WHL issued a news release that included this:

“The WHL took further measures to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head.”

Unfortunately, the WHL has yet to provide specifics. But anything less than a complete ban on headshots, including fighting, is a fail . . . a large fail.

If you’re wondering why, well, if you haven’t already seen it already, the always literate Ken Dryden wrote a piece for The Athletic on the NHL, commissioner Gary Bettman and its stance on concussions, CTE, checks to the head, etc.

Dryden’s essay is right here and it explains it all.


Josh Lee has signed on with the MJHL’s WayWayseecappo Wolverines as associate general manager and associate coach. Lee, 28, is from Edmonton. He will work under GM/head coach Taylor Harnett with the Wolverines.

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Three players hospitalized with burns after something goes wrong . . . Giants need head coach . . . Wheaties mourn death of Borotsik

MacBeth

F Roman Horák (Chilliwack, 2009-11) signed a one-year contract with the Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL), he had 10 goals and 16 assists in 54 games, while averaging 19:13 TOI per game. . . .

F Levi Nelson (Swift Current, 2004-08) announced his retirement through an interview in The Sheffield Star. Last season, with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 26 assists in 55 games.


ThisThat

Two members of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and a former teammate are being treated in hospital for burns received on Saturday night.

Matt Alfaro, Jordy Bellerive and Ryan Vandervlis were injured when something went awry involving a bonfire.

Lisa MacGregor of Global News reported that “sources tell Global News they were hurt in a fire in Calgary . . . and one of the players is in critical condition.”

According to a news release issued late Saturday by the Hurricanes:

“All three players are currently being treated in hospital for various injuries sustained in the incident. . . . The Hurricanes’ focus and priority is on the health of the players injured and will have no further comments at this time. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

Alfaro, from Calgary, was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Kootenay Ice during the 2016-17 season. He completed his junior eligibility by scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists in 20 games with the Hurricanes. In 263 regular-season games, 243 of them with the Ice, he had 62 goals and 93 assists. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 26 games with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive, a 19-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., is the Hurricanes’ captain. Last season, he had 46 goals and 46 assists in 71 games, and was named to the Eastern Conference’s second all-star team. In 206 regular-season games, he has 84 goals and 100 assists.

Bellerive, who wasn’t selected in an NHL draft, signed a three-year entry-level contract with Pittsburgh after attending training camp with the Penguins prior to last season.

Vandervlis, 20, is from Red Deer. In 162 regular-season games, all with the Hurricanes, he has 30 goals and 37 assists. Last season, he was limited by injuries to 19 games, and he finished with 11 goals and eight assists. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in early December and was hoping to be completely for his final junior season.


The Vancouver Giants fired head coach Jason McKee on Friday, making the announcement in a late-day three-paragraph news release.

McKee spent two seasons with the Giants, missing the playoffs in 2016-17, with a 20-46-6 record, and making the playoffs in 2017-18, at 36-27-9, good for third in the B.C. Division, Vancouver12 points behind the Kelowna Rockets and three behind the Victoria Royals. The Giants lost a seven-game series to the Royals in the first round of the playoffs.

Barclay Parneta, who is into his first year as the Giants’ general manager, pulled the trigger on McKee, who had one year left on his contract.

According to Steve Ewen of Postmedia, Parneta said: “For me, I’d like someone I’m more familiar with. I don’t want to be starting a (season) with someone I’m just getting to know.”

A couple of free-agent coaches with whom Parneta has at least some familiarity are Serge Lajoie and Brian Pellerin.

Lajoie just finished a three-year stint as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, guiding them to the 2017-18 Canadian championship. He took over the Golden Bears when Ian Herbers took a sabbatical to work as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. They chose to release Herbers after last season, and he has returned to the Golden Bears.

Parneta was the Tri-City Americans’ assistant general manager before signing with the Giants. The Americans selected Lajoie’s son, Marc, a defenceman, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft and also signed him, all on Parneta’s watch.

Pellerin, who played four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders, has been the associate coach with the Americans for four seasons. He also spent four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks.

In between Portland and Tri-City, he coach with the Central league’s Amarillo Gorillas, the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

The Giants join the Kamloops Blazers, Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos as teams in search of a head coach.

You would think McKee, 39, would be of interest to the Oil Kings. From Lloydminster, Alta., he spent 10 seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, the last six as general manager and head coach, before joining the Giants. Under McKee, the Saints won three AJHL titles in six seasons and he twice was the league’s coach of the year

The Oil Kings are looking for a head coach after firing head coach Steve Hamilton after four seasons on May 29. Hamilton had been an assistant coach for four seasons before moving up to head coach.

Of course, the Oil Kings also need a general manager, having parted company with Randy Hansch at the same time.

Ewen’s complete piece on McKee’s firing by the Giants is right here.


Jack Borotsik, who played two season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, died on June 8 at BrandonWKregularthe Brandon Regional Health Centre. He was 68. . . . Borotsik, who was from Brandon, played two seasons (1967-69) with the Wheat Kings when the WHL was the Western Canada Hockey League. He totalled 60 goals and 98 assists in 119 regular-season games. He got into one NHL game, that with the St. Louis Blues in 1974-75. . . . The family has asked that donations in his memory be made to a charity of one’s own choice. . . . In November 2016, Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun featured Borotsik in one of his stories on past Wheat Kings. That story is right here.


Myles Cathcart has resigned as general manager of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Cathcart, who had been in the position for seven seasons, left after the organization decided to charge each of its players a “travel fee” of $267 per month. “It’s just my philosophical view that junior hockey should be different than AAA (midget),” Cathcart told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun. “I’m not mad, I just decided that it would be a good time for somebody to put their stamp on whatever they wanted to do. I’m not leaving on bad terms, I just didn’t want to do it.” . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Phil Roy is the new general manager and head coach of the junior A Notre Dame Hounds, an SJHL team that plays out of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Roy had been an assistant coach with the Clarkson U Golden Knights since 2011. From St. Leonard, Que., Roy takes over from Clint Mylymok, who resigned in order to sign on as GM/head coach of the NAHL’s Maryland Blackbears, an expansion team. Mylymok had been with the Hounds for four seasons.


The junior B 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Dale Hladun, their general manager and head coach, to a three-year extension. Hladun is preparing for his fourth season with the Wranglers. Under Hladun, the Wranglers won the 2015-16 KIJHL championship, as well as the Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Keystone Cup.

Playoff matchups all set . . . Record night for Bajkov . . . Gerlach fills his hat . . . Burzan sinks ex-mates . . . McGovern votes for shutout


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The WHL’s regular season will reach a conclusion today with three games, none of which will have any bearing on the final standings.

The final matchups were finalized on Saturday night, so the first round of the playoffs will look like this . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw: The Warriors, who finished atop the overall standings, open at home Friday against the Raiders, who wound up in the conference’s second wild-card spot.

Brandon at Medicine Hat: The Central Division-winning Tigers start at home on Friday against the Wheat Kings, who finished in the conference’s first wild-card spot. Brandon will morph into the Dauphin Wheat Kings as its home games will be played in Dauphin, Man.

Regina at Swift Current: The Broncos, who ended up second in the East Division, draw the third-place Pats in the first round. They’ll get started in Swift Current on Friday.

Red Deer at Lethbridge: The Hurricanes placed second in the Central Division and will start at home against the third-place Rebels on Friday.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett: The Silvertips finished first in the Western Conference, so they also led the U.S. Division. They will clash with the arch-rival Seattle Thunderbirds, who ended up in the conference’s second wild-card spot. That series opens Friday in Everett. . . . The Thunderbirds will close out their regular season today in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans.

Tri-City at Kelowna: The Rockets won the B.C. Division, so will play the first wild-card team, which is the Americans. This will be the first series to get rolling as it starts Thursday in Kelowna.

Spokane at Portland: The Winterhawks placed second in the U.S. Division and will open at home on Saturday against the third-place Chiefs. They also will play this evening in Portland to wrap up their regular-season schedules.

Vancouver at Victoria: The Royals are the B.C. Division’s second-place team, so they draw the third-place Giants in a first round that is scheduled to open Friday in Victoria.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4 in a shootout. . . . Brandon (40-27-5) has won three in a row. It will meet the Medicine Hat BrandonWKregularTigers in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-5) has points in five straight (3-0-2). The Warriors will go up against the Prince Albert Raiders in the opening round. . . . Moose Jaw went 5-2-1 in the season series; Brandon was 3-5-0. . . . The Warriors led 4-0 halfway through the second period. They got two first-period goals from F Branden Klatt, who has seven, and one from F Tanner Jeannot in first period and another at 6:17 of the second. The fourth goal, scored while shorthanded, was Jeannot’s 40th of the season. . . . F Evan Weinger (31) started Brandon’s comeback at 11:42 of the second. . . . F Luka Burzan, who came over from Moose Jaw in January, made it 4-2 at 13:49. . . . F Ty Lewis (44) scored, on a PP, at 7:36 of the third period to get the home boys to within one. That goal also gave him 100 points this season. . . . Burzan’s second goal, and 15th of the season, tied the score at 18:53. . . . Burzan then scored in the sixth round of the shootout to beat his former team. . . . Brandon got two assists from F Connor Gutenberg, with Lewis adding one. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Tracey picked up two first-period assists for his first WHL points. Tracey, from Calgary, was playing in his fifth game. He was a first-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . F Brett Howden also had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs of the Warriors wasn’t able to score — he was stopped on two overtime breakaways — so finished the season with 70 goals, which means he shares the franchise’s single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum (1988-89). . . . Halbgewachs finished with 129 points, so he will lead the WHL in goals and points this season. . . . Brandon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 17 shots for Brandon. . . . At the other end, Adam Evanoff made 30 saves. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke missed his seventh straight game. D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their fourth consecutive games, and D Kale Clague sat out his second straight game. F Barrett Sheen completed a four-game suspension . . . Announced attendance: 5,621.


At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen scored in OT to give the Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Swift Current (48-18-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . SCBroncosRegina (40-25-7) finished with points in its last eight games (7-0-1). . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Friday in Swift Current. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 5-0-1. The Pats were 1-4-1. . . . D Aaron Hyman (3) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 17:51 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it as F Kaden Elder (18) scored at 18:57. . . . The Pats went back out front at 12:27 of the second period when F Jared Legien (23) scored, on a PP. . . . The Broncos tied it again at 14:45 with F Beck Malenstyn (17) finding the range. . . . Steenbergen, who also had an assist, won it with No. 47, at 0:32 of OT. . . . Regina was 1-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-4. . . . The Broncos got 30 saves from G Stuart Skinner, while Regina’s Ryan Kubic stopped 31. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin returned from an illness-related injury on Friday night in Regina, but was scratched from this one. . . . The Broncos also were missing F Tanner Nagel, who completed a three-game suspension, and F Andrew Fyten, who drew a TBD suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct — he hit Regina D Libor Hajek — during Friday’s game. . . . Among Regina’s scratches were G Max Paddock, Hajek, D Josh Mahura, F Sam Steel, F Koby Morrisseau and F Cam Hebig. . . . The game was delayed in the third period after Regina F Matt Bradley broke a pane of glass. Presumably the WHL will be launching a thorough investigation in the interest of player safety to see why the glass was repaired with tape and not replaced. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Saskatoon, F Max Gerlach scored three times to lead the Blades to a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (35-33-4) won its last three games but didn’t Saskatoonmake the playoffs. . . . Prince Albert (32-27-13) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and meet the first-place Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . The Blades won the season series with Prince Albert, 6-1-1; Prince Albert went 2-6-0. . . . Gerlach, who finished with 35 goals, got the Blades on the scoreboard at 8:48 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it on F Spencer Moe’s ninth goal, at 16:45. . . . Saskatoon then rattled off three straight goals. D Mark Rubinchik (4) scored at 17:45, with Gerlach scoring at 18:49 and then completing the hat trick, on a PP, at 9:21 of the second period. . . . F Curtis Miske (27) got the Raiders to within one at 10:46, but D Evan Fiala (7) got an empty-netter for Saskatoon at 17:09. . . . Prince Albert made it interesting as D Sergei Sapego scored twice, at 18:12 and 19:19. He finished with four goals this season. . . . The Blades got two assists from F Kirby Dach and one from Rubinchik. . . . D Max Martin had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 27 shots for the Raiders, four fewer than Saskatoon’s Tyler Brown. . . . Blades F Braylon Shmyr, 20, played in his 300th regular-season game — the first 138 with Brandon and the last 172 with Saskatoon. He finished with 111 goals and 129 assists. . . . F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with Prince Albert. He was first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Raiders were without D Vojtech Budik, D Braydon Pachal, F Parker Kelly (suspended) and F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Kelly drew a one-game suspension after taking a spearing major — on Dach — and game misconduct on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 9,624.


At Cranbrook, B.C., G Dustin McGovern turned aside 19 shots to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Kootenay (27-38-7) finished with points in its Kootenaynewlast five games (2-0-3). The Ice missed the playoffs. . . . Red Deer (27-32-13) lost its last two games. It will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round. . . . Kootenay went 5-1-1 against Red Deer; the Rebels were 2-4-1. . . . In their final game, the Ice’s three 20-year-olds combined for the game’s first goal on their first shift — with Colton Veloso (25) getting the goal, on assists from F Colton Kroeker and F Alex Baer. . . . The Ice got two goals from F Cam Hausinger, who finished with 21, F Kaeden Taphorn (6), shorthanded, and Baer, who got his 30th. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . McGovern’s two shutouts this season are the first two of his career. . . . Red Deer got 41 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . F Mason McCarty and F Kristian Reichel were among Red Deer’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: Unavailable.


At Medicine Hat, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tigers, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (33-33-6) snapped an eight-game losing streak. Lethbridge Lethbridgefinished second in the Central Division and will open at home against the third-place Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat (36-28-8), which finished atop the Central Division, is to play the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. . . . Lethbridge went 4-3-0 in the season series with Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on two goals from F Tyler Preziuso, at 0:25 of the first period and shorthanded at 1:03 of the second. He has 17 goals. . . . F Zachary Cox (2) got Lethbridge to within a goal at 8:11 of the second period, and F Jordy Bellerive (46) tied it at 17:19. . . . F Logan Barlage (7) got what stood up as the winner at 1:14 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 33 stops. . . . G Jordan Hollett, who last played on Feb. 3, started for the Tigers and made 20 saves. He had missed 15 games. . . . F Mark Rassell and D Linus Nassen were scratched by Medicine Hat, each missing a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.


At Edmonton, F Jake Kryski had a goal and two assists to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (24-36-11) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . CalgaryEdmonton (21-42-8) had won its previous two games. . . . The teams will meet again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen took control with three first-period goals and another in the last minute of the second. . . . F Jakob Stukel started it, on a PP, at 7:55, with D Dom Schmiemann (1) making it 2-0 one minute later. . . . F Mark Kastelic upped it to 3-0 at 19:43. . . . F Luke Coleman (15) made it 4-0 at 19:21 of the second period. . . . Edmonton got its goal from F David Kope (14) at 4:47 of the third period. . . . Kastelic (23), on a PP, Stukel (37) and Kryski (16) finished Calgary’s scoring. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from each of F Hunter Campbell and F Riley Stotts. . . . Calgary was 2-9 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots for Calgary. . . . Edmonton starter Josh Dechaine gave up three goals on 15 shots in the first period. Boston Bilous finished up, stopping 22 of 26 shots in 40:00. . . . Announced attendance: 15,271.


At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (34-27-10) will finish in the Western SeattleConference’s second wild-card spot and will face the first-place Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Portland (44-22-5) had won its previous two games. It will finish second in the U.S. Division. . . . The Winterhawks won the season series with Seattle, 8-1-3; the Thunderbirds were 4-7-1, but this was the first time the Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks in regulation time. . . . Seattle’s first three goals all came from defencemen. . . . Reece Harsch (10) got the first one, at 3:41 of the first period, with Austin Strand (25) scoring, on a PP, at 15:50. Turner Ottenbreit (9) made it 3-0 at 15:53 of the second period. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (12) scored Portland’s goal, on a PP, at 11:37 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (35), on a PP, and F Donovan Neuls (22) had Seattle’s other goals. . . . F Matthew Wedman and Neuls each had two assists for Seattle, with Andrusiak, Ottenbreit and Strand getting one apiece. . . . Seattle was 2-9 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler blocked 25 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 6,160.


At Prince George, F Nick Chyzowski, playing his final WHL game, scored in a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 6-5 victory over the Cougars. . . . Kamloops (30-37-5) had lost Kamloops1its previous five games. . . . Prince George finished 29-37-6. . . . Neither team made the playoffs. . . . The Blazers went 6-3-1 in the season series; the Cougars were 4-5-1. . . . F Brogan o’Brien, playing on St. Patrick’s Day, gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 6:10 of the first period. . . . The Blazers went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Brodi Stuart 916), at 3:37 of the second period, and D Devan Harrison (1), at 4:42. . . . The Cougars went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Reid Perepeluk (2), at 6:31, and F Connor Bowie (2), at 10:38. . . . The Blazers took a 5-3 lead with three goals before the period ended, from F Connor Zary, at 11:39, F Luc Smith (21), at 15:31, and Zary (11), on a PP, at 19:33. . . . D Cam MacPhee, back from a one-game suspension, got the Cougars to within one at 19:56. . . . O’Brien tied it 5-5 with his 17th goal at 12:56 of the third period. . . . Zary and Chyzowski both scored in the shootout, while the Cougars were blanked. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . G Max Palaga stopped 29 shots for Kamloops, two fewer than Taylor Gauthier of the Cougars. . . . Kamloops D Brady Reagan played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . Cougars D Joel Lakusta sat out the second game of a three-game sentence. His suspension will carry over to next season. . . . Announced attendance: 5,106.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs built a 3-1 lead and hung on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . Spokane (40-25-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It will SpokaneChiefsfinish third in the U.S. Division and meet the second-place Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Tri-City (37-25-9) had a five-game winning streak snapped. It will finish in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and meet the Kelowna Rockets, who won the B.C. Division, in the first round. . . . The Chiefs won the season series with the Americans, 7-3-2; the Americans were 5-3-4. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead when he scored No. 40, on a PP, at 17:14 of the first period. . . . Tri-City F Jordan Topping (38) tied it, on a PP, at 10:35 of the second. . . . F Riley Woods (25) put the Chiefs out front just nine seconds later, and D Filip Kral (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:10. . . . Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen (31) scored at 13:21 to make it a one-goal lead, but Chiefs F Jake McGrew (18) got that one back at 18:24. . . . F Morgan Geekie’s 30th goal, at 19:24, moved the Americans back to within a goal before time ran out. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from F Eli Zummack and one each from McGrew, Woods and Kral. . . . D Juuso Valimaki had two helpers for Tri-City, with one each going to Geekie and Topping. . . . Tri-City was 1-1 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 18 saves. . . . At the other end, Beck Warm blocked 25 shots. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto was scratched for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,003.


At Kelowna, F Leif Mattson and F Dillon Dube each had two goals and two assists as the Rockets romped to an 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (43-22-7) KelownaRocketsfinished with points in six straight games (5-0-1). It will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Vancouver (36-27-9) has lost two straight as it goes into a first-round series with the Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets went 5-2-1 in the season series with the Giants, who were 3-4-1. . . . Kelowna scored the game’s first three goals, from D Libor Zabransky (2), at 14:43 of the first period, Mattson, at 6:16 of the second period, and Dube, at 10:50. . . . F Milos Roman (10) scored Vancouver’s goal at 16:03. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (7), F Kyle Topping (22), Dube (38), Mattson (25) and F Kole Lind finished Kelowna’s scoring. . . . Dube hit the 100-goal mark for his career in the process. . . . The Rockets also got two assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Marek Skvrne, with Topping, Lind and Ballhorn getting one apiece. . . . Kelowna was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G James Porter stopped 21 shots for Kelowna, while Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 36. . . . The Giants scratched their two best forwards — Tyler Benson and Ty Ronning — along with F Brayden Watts and D Bowen Byram, among others. . . . Kelowna sat F Carsen Twarynski. . . . Announced attendance: 5,759.


At Victoria, F Patrick Bajkov scored three times and added a record-setting assist as the Everett Silvertips whipped the Royals, 8-1. . . . Everett (47-20-5) has won two in a row. . . . VictoriaRoyalsVictoria (39-27-6) has lost two straight. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the franchise’s sixth U.S. Division flag, will finish atop the Western Conference and meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Victoria, second in the B.C. Division, will face the Vancouver Giants. . . . Bajkov drew an assist on his club’s eighth goal to set a franchise record for career assists, with 176, one more than F Zach Hamill. . . . Bajkov’s four-point night also left him with 100 points, 33, of them goals, the first time in franchise history that an Everett skater has reached the century mark. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (24) and F Connor Dewar (38) had two goals each for Everett, with F Matt Fonteyne (35), who had four assists, adding one. . . . F Matthew Phillips (48) scored for the Royals, at 5:55 of the second period. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis had three assists, and Dewar had one. . . . Everett was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-5. . . . Everett G Carter Hart, who will be named the WHL’s top goaltender for a third straight season, finished 31-6-4, 1.60, .947. He also put up seven shutouts, giving him 26 in his career. That tied Tyson Sexsmith, who played for Vancouver, for the WHL’s career record. . . . G Kelly Guard holds the WHL record for lowest single-season GAA (1.56), set with the Kelowna Rockets in 2003-04. . . . Last night, Hart stopped 13 of 14 shots over 40 minutes, before Dustin Wolf came on to finish up, stopping all five shots he faced in the third period. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Dean McNabb. . . . D Scott Walford was among Victoria’s scratches. He left Friday’s game with an apparent arm injury. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki drew a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major — he hit Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas — and game misconduct in the first period of Friday’s game. . . . Fasko-Rudas was scratched from Saturday’s game. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Oil Kings a hurtin’ bunch . . . Youngster commits to Michigan . . . Chiefs’ Smith lights up Cougars

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings started one of those weekends — three games in fewer than 48 hours — on Friday night, and they went in with nine injured players, according to the EdmontonOilKingsWHL’s weekly roster report. That report also fails to include G Travis Child and F Andrei Pavlenko, neither of whom will play again this season. . . . Of the nine players listed, all are shown as being out at least one week, although G Boston Bilous, who is listed as being out a week due to illness, backed up Friday night. . . . As a result, the Oil Kings have added F Matthew Culling, F Raphael Pelletier and D Logan Dowhaniuk to their roster. . . . Culling, 16, is from Regina and was a 10th-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, and got into four earlier games with the Oil Kings. . . . Pelletier, from St. Albert, Alta., plays for the Northern Alberta Elite 15s. He was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Pelletier got into two games with the Oil Kings earlier this season. . . . Dowhaniuk, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, and got into two WHL games earlier in the season. He plays for the OHA Edmonton prep team.


F Connor Levis of Vancouver has committed to the U of Michigan, where he will play for the Wolverines starting in 2022-23. Levis, 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, plays for the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. This season, Levis has 42 goals and 46 assists in 29 games. . . . Levis is 13 years of age — he will turn 14 on Oct. 5 — so hasn’t yet been through a WHL bantam draft.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

At Calgary, F Jake Kryski scored twice to lead the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (19-33-7) has won two in a row. It is 11th in the Central CalgaryDivision, one point ahead of Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings (18-34-8) had points in their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . F Carson Focht (10) gave Calgary at 1-0 lead at 11:56 of the first period. . . . Kryski made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:22 of the second period. . . . F Tomas Soustal (17) scored for Edmonton at 4:29. . . . Kryski (13) got that one back at 6:02. . . . F Jakob Stukel (29), who also had two assists, got Calgary’s final goal, at 17:03. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Riley Stotts, while Kryski also added an assist. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 14 shots for the Hitmen. . . . At the other end, G Josh Dechaine turned aside 22 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 8,984.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-7) has won three in a row. It leads the Central Tigers Logo OfficialDivision by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Kootenay (25-35-3) has lost four in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . F Gary Haden (15) gave  the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Alec Baer (25), at 10:24 of the first period, and F Brad Ginnell (8), on a PP, at 17:18 of the second period. . . . D Cole Clayton (2) pulled the Tigers even at 18:23. . . . D David Quenneville (25) broke the tie, on a PP, at 9:00 of the third period. . . . F Jaeger White had two assists for the winners. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers got 32 saves from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 33 shots for the Ice. . . . The game’s start was delayed more than 90 minutes after the Tigers were late getting to Cranbrook. Their trip was delayed more than two hours by an accident in the Crowsnest Pass. . . . F Connor McClennon played in his fourth game with the Ice. He was the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . The Tigers again were without G Jordan Hollett, D Joel Craven, D Kristians Rubins, D Linus Nassen, F Hayden Ostir and F Mason Shaw. They also scratched F Dawson Heathcote. . . . Announced attendance: 2,279.


At Lethbridge, F Jordy Bellerive had a goal and two assists to help the Hurricanes to a 7-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge (30-25-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Brandon (31-24-5) has lost two in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, five points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . F Brad Morrison gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 10:34 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (19) made it 2-0 at 12:39. Both goals came via the PP. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (17) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 2:20 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge scored the next five goals. . . . F Logan Barlage (6) and Morrison (25) struck on the PP, with other goals coming from Bellerive (43), F Egor Zudilov (6) and F Taylor Ross (17). . . . F Rylan Bettens (6) had Brandon’s other goal, on a PP. . . . D Calen Addison drew three assists for the winners, with F Jake Elmer and F Jadon Joseph getting two each, and Barlage one. . . . Lethbridge was 4-4 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 stops from G Logan Flodell. . . . The Wheat Kings started G Logan Thompson, who was beaten five times on 32 shots through two periods. Dylan Myskiw finished up, stopping six of eight shots in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Ty Lewis, but had D Daniel Bukac and D Chase Hartje back in the lineup. They also added F Ridly Greig to their roster, allowing him to play in his hometown. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,436.


At Red Deer, F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie at 19:16 of the second period and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Prince Albert (25-25-11) has PrinceAlbertwon two in a row. It is four points out of a playoff spot. . . . Red Deer (21-28-13) has lost two straight. It is third in the Central Division, two points ahead of Kootenay. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kody McDonald (31), at 0:14, and F Jordy Stallard (39), at 17:02. . . . The Rebels pulled even on second-period goals from F Alex Morozoff (5), at 3:02, and F Josh Tarzwell (9), on a PP, at 17:38. . . . Leason’s 14th goal stood up as the winner and ran his goal-scoring streak to five games. . . . D Vojtech Budik had two assists for the Raiders, with McDonald adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-8 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-1. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Ethan Anders stopped 20 shots for Red Deer. . . . F Jordan Borysiuk made his WHL debut with the Rebels. Borysiuk, 16, was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is from Mannville, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,428.


At Kelowna, F Kole Lind broke a 4-4 tie late in the third period to give the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna (37-18-6) has points in four straight KelownaRockets(3-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by five points over Victoria. . . . Seattle (28-23-9) has lost three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and six ahead of Kamloops. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Donovan Neuls (20), at 7:26, and F Dillon Hamaliuk (14), at 11:35. . . . The Rockets scored the next four goals. . . . D Cal Foote (16) started it 19 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (30) tied the score at 2:13. . . . F Leif Mattson (19) gave Kelowna the lead, on a PP, at 2:46 of the third period, and D Kaedan Korczak (3) made it 4-2 at 7:13. . . . Seattle tied it on goals 29 seconds apart from F Matthew Wedman (15), at 14:46, and F Zack Andrusiak (24), at 15:15. . . . Lind, in his first game since Feb. 12, won it with his 32nd goal, at 18:39. . . . Mattson added two assists to his goal, with Dube and Korczak getting one each. . . . F Nolan Volcan and Hamaliuk each had two assists for Seattle, with Wedman adding one. . . . Kelowna was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 24 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch returned to Seattle’s lineup after a 19-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 4,859.


At Spokane, D Ty Smith, who is likely to be the first WHLer selected in the NHL’s 2018 draft, had two goals and five assists as the Chiefs whipped the Prince George Cougars, 9-SpokaneChiefs2. . . . Spokane (34-21-5) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Prince George (20-32-8) has lost two in a row. . . . Spokane scored the game’s first six goals — two in the first period and four in the second. . . . Smith, who has 12 goals, scored 12 seconds into the second period and again at 4:02, giving the Chiefs leads of 3-0 and 4-0. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto (17), F Milos Fafrak (7), F Luke Toporowski (9), D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), F Carter Chorney (2), F Ethan McIndoe (19) and D Jeff Faith (5) also scored for Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got three assists from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, two each from McIndoe and Yamamoto, and one apiece from Hamaliuk, Fafrak and Toporowski. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (11) and F Aaron Boyd (10) scored for the Cougars, who got two assists from F Josh Maser. . . . Spokane was 0-1 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 32 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Cougars started G Tavin Grant, who was beaten six times on 28 shots through two periods. Isaiah DiLaura played the third period, allowing three goals on six shots. . . . Announced attendance: 7,906.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans got out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Tri-City (31-21-8) has won two straight. It is fourth TriCity30in the U.S. Divison, three points behind Spokane. . . . Kamloops (27-30-5) is six points from a playoff spot. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (24) opened the scoring at 16:16 of the first period, and F Nolan Yaremko (19) upped it to 2-0 at 3:51 of the second. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (18) got the Blazers to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki (8) restored the two-goal lead at 1:54. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) pulled Kamloops back to within a goal at 17:04, only to have F Parker AuCoin (16) get the empty-netter at 18:55. . . . Rasmussen also had an assist. . . . The Blazers got two assists from F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 31 shots for the Americans, five fewer than Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers. . . . The Americans remain without D Roman Kalinichenko and F Kyle Olson. . . . Kamloops continues to play without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith. . . . Announced attendance: 3,168.

At Saskatoon, the Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and went on to beat the Blades, 7-5. . . . Regina (33-24-6) has won four in a row. It is third in the East Division, five points ahead ReginaPats100of Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (31-28-3) had won its previous two games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Brandon and four ahead of Prince Albert. . . . F Kirby Dach (6) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:37 of the first period. . . . D Seth Bafaro (3) made it 2-0 at 16:49, and F Eric Florchuk (13) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:43. . . . The Blades took a 4-0 lead at 7:47 of the second period as F Gage Ramsay got his fifth goal. . . . The Pats tied it with four quick goals. . . . F Cam Hebig (40) got it started, on a PP, at 16:33, with F Koby Morrisseau (3) making it 4-2 at 18:08. . . . F Robbie Holmes (14) got Regina to within a goal 58 seconds into the third period, and F Matt Bradley tied it at 3:43. . . . F Chase Wouters (17) gave the Blades a 5-4 lead at 4:08, but the Pats scored the last three goals. . . . F Sam Steel (24) tied it at 7:23 and F Jared Legien (21) gave the Pat their first lead at 17:26. . . . Bradley (37) added the empty-netter at 19:43. . . . The Pats got two assists from each of F Emil Oskanen, Steel and Hebig, with Bradley getting one. . . . Steel had three points in his 250th regular-season game. He now has 325 points, including 211 assists. . . . F Max Gerlach had two assists for Saskatoon, with Dach and Bafaro each getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Jacob Wasserman made his first WHL start for Regina and finished with 23 stops. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon was without D Dawson Davidson, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina was without F Jesse Gabrielle, who completed a two-game suspension, and D Liam Schioler, who served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . With Schioler out, the Pats have added D Marco Creta to their roster from the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. . . . Announced attendance: 3,982.


At Victoria, G Shane Farkas stopped 29 shots to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (36-20-4) had lost its previous two games. It is second Portlandin the U.S. Division, three points ahead of Spokane. . . . Victoria (35-22-5) is second in the B.C. Divison, five points behind Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks got second-period goals from F Alex Overheard (14), at 13:43, and F Kieffer Bellows (30), at 18:44. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) scored the Royals’ goal, on a PP, at 18:10 of the third period. . . . Royals F Matthew Phillips picked up an assist to reach 100 points, including 44 goals. He is the first skater in Royals history to enjoy a 100-point season. . . . He also ran his point streak to 22 games. . . . Victoria was 1-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . The Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria D Chaz Reddekopp, who hasn’t played since Jan. 13, took the warmup but then was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 5,527.


At Langley, B.C., F Martin Fasko-Rudas broke a 1-1 tie at 12:16 of the second period and the Everett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (40-Everett17-5) has points in 10 straight (8-0-2). It leads the Western Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (31-21-8) has lost three in a row. It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Connor Dewar (31) scored, on a PP, to give Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:54 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Davis Koch (21) tied it at 10:54. . . . Fasko-Rudas won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 12:16. . . . Everett got two assists from each of F Matt Fonteyne and F Garrett Pilon. . . . Everett was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-4. . . . The Silvertips got 29 saves from G Carter Hart. The game’s first star, Hart now is 25-4-4, 1.55, .951. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck blocked 26 shots. . . . The Giants scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis and F Milos Roman, who are injured, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 2,536.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

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

Portland at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

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


TWEET OF THE DAY

Scattershooting on a Sunday . . . Pats take two from Warriors . . . Shmyr sparks Blades . . . Rebels roar through B.C.

Scattershooting

Will the Brandon Wheat Kings make the playoffs? . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings were third in the WHL’s overall standings, behind Moose Jaw and Swift Current, when the trade deadline arrived. Brandon’s brass chose to sell, and today the Wheaties are 10th in the overall standings. More importantly, they hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Saskatoon and 10 up on Prince Albert. So, yes, the Wheat Kings should be in the playoffs when they get here.


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Montreal Canadiens request to become NHL expansion team in hopes of becoming as good as Vegas Golden Nights.


How much green is it worth for a head coach to make a post-game visit to the referees’ room? . . . You know the WHL is in the stretch run and that the heat is on when a head coach checks in with the on-ice officials after a game. As I understand it, that happened on Saturday night. I’m thinking it might be worth $500. . . . We should find out early this week.


Have the Regina Pats found themselves? . . . The Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, have undergone something of a makeover since this season started. For a lot of the season, they have been wandering around like a thirsty man in a desert. But they took two in a row from Moose Jaw on the weekend, something that has to give Regina fans some hope. . . . It’s now looking like the Pats’ first-round matchup — against Moose Jaw or Swift Current — should be an Ed Whalen special, a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.


A big hello to the readers of this blog who are at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. There were nine of you visiting here on Saturday — although that may have been Sunday where you are. . . . Thanks, too, to the readers who are vacationing in Mexico. Keep cool!


I’m wondering why Canadian skip Rachel Homan didn’t cross-check — cross-brush? — the Danish skip the other day? But, then, that wouldn’t have been very Canadian, eh?


Yes, Larry Walker should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So . . . why haven’t the voters put him in there? Walker summed it up when he told TSN Radio in Montreal: “No needles went in my ass. I played the game clean, but I played in the ballpark, and it’s almost like Coors Field is my PED.”


Steve Simmons, a columnist with Postmedia, went to great lengths in a recent piece to point out that Willie Desjardins, the head coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team, isn’t at all like Mike Babcock. As Homer Simpson would say: “Doh!” . . . “The best coaches,” Simmons has observed, “exude a certain arrogance, a certain confidence: Desjardins has yet to demonstrate any of these skills.” . . . Hey, Willie is Willie, and he isn’t about to change now. . . . The Olympics aren’t yet near an end and Simmons already has done hatchet jobs on mixed curling and Desjardins. One more and he gets a tin medal.


Wouldn’t it be something if the NRA and its puppet Republicans got taken to the woodshed by the U.S.’s high school students?


You can’t make the playoffs in the first nine games of a WHL season. But the Kamloops Blazers are in the process of proving that you can miss them by starting 0-9-0. That’s how the Blazers started this season and that early damage is proving to be too much to undo.


After the New York Yankees acquired quarterback Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Times decker Brett Miller noted: “Imagine how the Jets and Giants feel, knowing that the Yankees have the best QB in New York.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Fired Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema will receive 37 monthly installments of $322,567.57 through Dec. 31, 2020 as called for his in buyout, the Hogs’ support foundation announced. Final score: Greenbacks $11,935,000, Razorbacks 0.”


MacBeth

F Zane Jones (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Everett, Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-15) has signed a contract for the 2018 season with the Newcastle North Stars (Australia, AIHL). He is playing for Sollentuna (Sweden, Division Division 1), where he has 16 goals and five assists in 28 games. . . . Jones played for Newcastle last summer, scoring 12 goals and adding six assists in 16 games. . . . The AIHL begins its regular season on April 21 and it ends on Aug. 26. The sudden-death semifinals are Sept. 1 and the league final is Sept. 2.


Dan

DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who is part of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials, is working men’s hockey games at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. He has been keeping Taking Note readers up to date, too. Here is his latest note:

“As expected, the Games are a success. The events are getting large numbers of Olylogospectators from around the world.

“The hockey has been interesting, to say the least. No clear team has the advantage, yet those weaker teams are making each game interesting.

“When the Korean team hits the ice, the building is electric. The venue is sold out and the fans, not being as knowledgeable of the sport, get really excited when Team Korea charges down ice. (There are a lot of knowledgeable fans which is nice to see.)

“Now the real hockey competition begins. The playoff brackets are set and it’s time to see who comes out on top.”


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Regina, the Pats scored two third-period goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . Regina (31-24-6) has won two in a row. It moved back into third in the East Division, one ReginaPats100point ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw (43-11-3) has lost two in a row. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have three games in hand. . . . This was the third time these teams met in five days. Moose Jaw won 6-3 in Regina on Wednesday; Regina won 5-3 in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . . On Sunday, F Jayden Halbgewachs (55) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead on a PP, at 8:59 of the first period. . . . The Pats went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Emil Oksanen (15), at 6:31, and F Sam Steel (23), at 9:31. . . . The Warriors tied it when F Brett Howden (21) scored at 19:44. . . . Pats D Cale Fleury (11), who had two assists, snapped the tie at 8:49 of the third period. . . . Regina F Matt Bradley (34) added insurance at 10:38. . . . Halbgewachs, the WHL’s leading sniper, also had an assist, giving him 101 points in 57 games. Last season, he finished with 101 points, including 50 goals, in 71 games. . . . He joins teammate Brayden Burke in the 100-point club. Burke, who sat out a third straight game, has 102 points. The last time the Warriors had two 100-point men in the same season was 1984-85 (F Kent Hayes and F Mark MacKay). . . . Halbgewachs is the first Moose Jaw skater with back-to-back 50 goal seasons since Hayes (84-86) and F Theo Fleury (1986-88). . . . Moose Jaw was 1-4 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 21 saves from G Max Paddock, including a first-period stop on Halbgewachs on a penalty shot. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 22 shots. . . . Prior to the game, the Pats honoured Jock Callander by retiring his number (15). If you were watching on TV, that was Kevin Gallant, a former play-by-play voice of the Pats, handling the emcee duties from ice level. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Calgary, F Braylon Shmyr scored three goals to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (30-27-3) holds down the Eastern Conference’s Saskatoonsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Calgary (17-33-7) has lost two in a row. . . . Shmyr scored the game’s first two goals — at 5:51 of the first period and 5:18 of the second, the latter on a PP. . . . F Jakob Stukel (27) got Calgary’s goal at 14:09 of the third period. . . . F Max Gerlach (27), F Bradly Goethals (14) and Shmyr (31) had third-period goals for Saskatoon. . . . Shmyr has two hat tricks this season and five in his career. . . . Gerlach also had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 0-4. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Hitmen got 25 saves from G Nick Schneider. . . . Saskatoon is 2-1-0 on a four-game swing into the Central Division that concludes Monday afternoon in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 8,455.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Jordy Bellerive broke open a scoreless game 16 seconds into the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes went on to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay LethbridgeIce. . . . Lethbridge (29-24-6) has won three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-33-3) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . Lethbridge beat visiting Kootenay, 5-2, on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Ice also played three times in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. . . . On Sunday, Bellerive opened the scoring with his 42nd goal. . . . D Ty Prefontaine (5) made it 2-0 at 2:06. . . . The Ice got its goal from F Colton Veloso (21), on a PP, at 7:37. . . . The visitors put it away with third-period goals from F Brad Morrison (23), at 18:06, and F Taylor Ross (16), into an empty net, at 18:26. . . . Bellerive also had an assist. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-1. . . . The Hurricanes got 38 saves from a solid Reece Klassen. . . . G Duncan McGovern made 20 saves for the Ice. . . . Kootenay played without D Martin Bodak, who got a one-game suspension after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes lost D Calen Addison to a headshot major and game misconduct at 6:25 of the second period. . . . D Tate Olson of the Hurricanes played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 2,608.


At Langley, B.C., F Brandon Cutler scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Red Deer (21-26-13) has won Red Deerfour in a row and now is in sole possession of third place in the Central Division. It is two points ahead of Kootenay. Red Deer has 12 games remaining, Kootenay 11. . . . Vancouver (31-20-8) has lost two straight. It went 2-2-0 in playing four times in five days. The Giants are third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Dawson Holt (11) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 17:32 of the first period. . . . Red Deer tied it on a goal by F Kristian Reichel at 6:34 of the second period. . . . Cutler broke the tie at 11:48, then gave his guys a 3-1 lead at 3:49 of the third period. Cutler, who turned 18 on Jan. 4, has five goals this season. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (13) got the Giants to within a goal at 5:19. . . . Reichel (27) added insurance at 11:35. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Brandon Hagel. . . . Vancouver was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 39 shots in winning for the seventh straight time for Red Deer. . . . The Giants got 37 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . The Giants played three games in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. They lost 4-3 in Victoria on Saturday night, while the Rebels were enjoying a night off in Vancouver. . . . The Rebels, who are 11-1-2 in their past 14 games, went 4-0-0 on a four-game trek into B.C., winning in Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria prior to Sunday’s game. . . . The Giants welcomed back D Darian Skeoch, who had been out since Feb. 3, but remain without D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Alex Kannok Leipert and F Milos Roman, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,769.


At Everett, G Dustin Wolf stopped 20 shots to help the Silvertips to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (38-17-5) has points in eight straight (6-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference, by five points over Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (26-29-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It has 12 games remaining and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Wolf recorded the fourth shutout of his freshman season. It came in his 17th appearance. . . . Wolf’s partner, Carter Hart, has seven shutouts. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (5) opened the scoring at 11:05 of the first period. He also had two assists for his first career three-point game. . . . D Jake Christiansen (6) upped it to 2-0, on a PP, at 2:28 of the second period. . . . The Silvertips closed it out with PP goals from F Patrick Bajkov (28) and F Bryce Kindopp (18). . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists, with Bajkov adding one. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis, 20, played in his 335th regular-season game, tying him for top spot on the franchise’s list with F Shane Harper (2005-10). Davis is from Kamloops. . . . Everett was 3-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . The Blazers got 38 saves from G Max Palaga. . . . Both teams played three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Blazers played at home Friday and Saturday, then rode the bus to Everett for the Sunday afternoon game. . . . The Silvertips went home-and-home with Seattle so didn’t have quite the same travel. . . . Kamloops went 0-2-1 in the three games; Everett was 2-0-1). . . . This was the first meeting of the season between these teams since the trade deadline, when the Blazers dealt F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala to the Silvertips for D Montana Onyebuchi, F Orrin Centazzo, two prospects and three bantam draft picks. . . . Onyebuchi was in the penalty box for two Everett goals; Centazzo was in stir for one. . . . Kamloops was without D Nolan Kneen, who drew a one-game suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct in Saturday’s 7-6 shootout loss to visiting Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,417.


At Kent, Wash., F Kailer Yamamoto had two goals and an assist to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Spokane (33-20-5) has won three SpokaneChiefsin a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Seattle (28-21-9) has points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (24) got the Thunderbirds started with a shorthanded goal, at 16:40 of the first period. . . . D Nolan Reid (12) made it 2-0 at 17:51. . . . Yamamoto upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:01 of the second period. . . . D Austin Strand (19) got Seattle’s goal at 18:01. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (34) and Yamamoto (16) added third-period goals for the Chiefs. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Reid added an assist each. . . . Yamamoto has 14 goals and 23 assists in 16 games since Jan. 12. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 26 shots for Seattle. . . . Seattle went 1-1-1) in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Strand left in the first period after taking a stick to the face. He returned in the second period wearing a cage. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar left in the second period and didn’t return. . . . Announced attendance: 5,099. . . . Andy Eide of 710 ESPN in Seattle has a gamer right here.


MONDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Regina at Prince Albert, 4 p.m.

Saskatoon at Edmonton, 4 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Wheaties manage to beat Raiders . . . Hurricanes blow away Ice . . . Kambeitz breaks Giants’ hearts

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A number of former NHLers, including Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, were in Regina for the All-Star Celebrity Classic on Saturday.

During the lead-up to the game, Dave Struch, the Regina Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach, came face-to-face with Trottier for perhaps the second time in their lives.

The first time? That was during Struch’s four-game NHL career.

Struch relived that first meeting with Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, and it’s all right here. Hey, there might even be a coaching lesson buried in here somewhere, courtesy of Dave King.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings opened up a 3-0 first-period lead and, despite being badly outshot, beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. . . . Brandon (31-22-5) had lost its previous BrandonWKregularthree games, including a 5-2 setback in Prince Albert on Friday. It moved back into third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Prince Albert (23-24-11) is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon is 3-2-0 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-2-1. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the home side a 1-0 lead 26 seconds into the first period. F Marcus Sekundiak (3) made it 2-0 at 2:40, and D Ty Ettinger (2) upped it to 3-0 at 14:31. . . . The Raiders got the only two goals of the second period, both on the PP, from F Jordy Stallard (38), who is from Brandon, at 9:35, and F Brett Leason (11), at 10:47. . . . The Raiders outshot the Wheat Kings 15-5 in the first period and 16-4 in the second, but went into the third period trailing 3-2. . . . Brandon stretched the lead to 4-2 when F Rylan Bettens (5) scored at 2:15 of the third. . . . F Spencer Moe (8) cut the Raiders’ deficit to one at 13:39. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Kody McDonald. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 39 shots in earning the victory. . . . Curtis Meger started for the Raiders and gave up four goals on 10 shots in 42:15. Ian Scott came on to stop the three shots he faced in 16:14. . . . The Wheat Kings again were without F Stelio Mattheos, but also scratched D Chase Hartje, D Daniel Bukac and F Linden McCorrister (all ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,826.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes erased an early 2-0 deficit and went on to defeat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (28-24-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the LethbridgeCentral Division, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-32-3) is tied with Red Deer (20-26-13) for third in the Central Division, with the Rebels having a game in hand. The Ice has five more victories, but Red Deer’s loser points leaves it with a higher points percentage — .449 to .442. . . . The Ice and Hurricanes will meet this afternoon in Cranbrook. Each team will be playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Lethbridge is 5-1-0 in the season series; Kootenay is 1-5-0. . . . The Ice led 2-0 on first-period goals from F Cameron Hausinger (18), at 2:57, and F Gillian Kohler (5), on a PP, at 5:04. . . . F Dylan Cozens (18) started Lethbridge’s comeback at 13:17, and F Brad Morrison (22) tied it, on a PP, at 15:41. . . . F Jordy Bellerive put the Hurricanes in front with 18.7 seconds left in the second period, on a PP. Bellerive had left the game briefly at 17:03 after taking a knee from Ice D Martin Bodak, who was tossed with a major and game misconduct. . . . F Jadon Joseph (7) upped the lead to 4-2 at 14:44 of the third period. . . . Bellerive (41) added an empty-netter at 19:59. . . . F Brett Davis had two assists for Kootenay. . . . Lethbridge was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 37 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 3,680.


At Medicine Hat, F Ryan Jevne’s OT goal gave the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (29-24-7) had lost its previous two games. It leads the Tigers Logo OfficialCentral Division by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (42-13-5) has points in seven straight (6-0-1) and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold four games in hand. . . . One night earlier, the Broncos beat the visiting Tigers, 6-2. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 3-0-1; the Tigers were 1-3-0. . . . Earlier, Jevne gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:18 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Glenn Gawdin (51), at 3:35 of the second period; F Aleksi Heponiemi (25), at 4:01 of the third; and D Artyom Minulin (12), at 6:14. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal when F Bryan Lockner (11) scored at 9:21, then tied it when F Elijah Brown (6) scored at 15:00. . . . Jevne won it with his 16th goal, at 3:07 of extra time. . . . The Tigers got two assists from F Mark Rassell. . . . Heponiemi had an assist for the Broncos, as did Gawdin. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race with 111 points, eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Gawdin also is on a 19-game point streak. . . . The Tigers were 1-3 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-5. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for the Tigers. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Medicine Hat D Dylan MacPherson was back in the lineup after leaving Friday’s game early after taking a shot off one knee. . . . Announced attendance: 3,677.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars got two shootout goals to beat the Blazers, 7-6. . . . Prince George (20-30-8) had lost its previous four games. It is fifth in the B.C. Division, PrinceGeorgenine points behind the Blazers. . . . Kamloops (26-28-5) has lost four straight (0-3-1) and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Kamloops leads the season series, 5-2-1; Prince George is 3-5-0. . . . The Blazers, who lost 2-1 to visiting Kelowna on Friday night, are scheduled to play in Everett his afternoon. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (16) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead 15 seconds into the first period. . . . The Cougars took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, at 7:08, and F Josh Maser, on a PP, at 10:22. . . . The Blazers then went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Justin Sigrist (3), at 11:55, and F Jackson Shepard (9), on a PP, at 14:03. . . . Maser (25) tied it at 1:57 of the second period. Maser joined the Cougars during last season, after playing with the junior B Kamloops Storm. . . . F Josh Curtis (9) put the Cougars ahead, 4-3, at 4:14. . . . The Blazers got the next two goals to go ahead 5-4. F Jermaine Loewen (29) scored at 4:42, with F Quinn Benjafield (19), on a PP, scoring at 12:05. . . . The Cougars go the next two goals, going ahead 6-5 at Mikhalchuk (12) scored at 17:49 and F Jared Bethune (19) counted, on a PP, at 19:53. . . . After all that, F Tylor Ludwar (1) scored the only goal of the third period to get the Blazers into a 6-6 tie. . . . Mikhalchuk and F Ethan Browne scored shootout goals for the Cougars; Sigrist had one for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops was 2-3 on the PP; Prince George was 2-5. . . . The Cougars got 39 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started and allowed five goals on 24 shots in 37:49. Max Palaga finished up, stopping six of seven shots in 27:11. . . . The Blazers lost D Nolan Kneen to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 2:48 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bowie, 16, made his WHL debut with the Cougars. From Fort St. John, B.C., he was a seventh-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired his rights in a deadline deal that had D Dennis Cholowski go to Portland. . . . Announced attendance: 3,165.


At Kelowna, F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Edmonton (18-33-7) was 3-1-0 on a trek into the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (35-18-6) leads the B.C. Division by one point over Victoria. . . . The Oil Kings were able to dress only 10 forwards. . . . D Cal Foote (15) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first period. . . . D Conner McDonald (5) tied it with a PP goal, at 11:58. . . . D Braydyn Chizen (5) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 5:52 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Tomas Soustal (16), who moved over from Kelowna earlier in the season, tied it at 15:09. . . . Edmonton was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-2. . . . The Oil Kings got 29 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . James Porter Jr. turned aside 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . Announced attendance: 5,112.


At Victoria, F Dino Kambeitz broke a 3-3 tie at 19:49 of the third period to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (35-21-5) had lost its previous three VictoriaRoyalsgames (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, one point behind Kelowna and five ahead of the Giants, who have three games in hand. . . . Vancouver (31-19-8) had won its previous two games. . . . Victoria won the season series, 7-3-0; Vancouver was 3-4-3. . . . Kambeitz won it with his 11th goal of the season. . . . Giants F Ty Ronning had tied the score with his 53rd goal, with 36.3 seconds left in the third period. . . . Ronning had scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 1:41 of the second period. . . . Victoria went ahead 2-1 on goals from Kambeitz, at 11:57, and F Tyler Soy, at 1:59 of the third period. . . . F Brayden Watts (15) tied it for Vancouver at 13:15. . . . Soy put Victoria back out front with his 32nd goal, at 16:06. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Matthew Phillips, but he wasn’t able to score on a first-period penalty shot. Phillips ran his point streak to 21 games. . . . Watts added an assist for Vancouver. . . . With 53 goals, Ronning is one off the WHL lead that is held by Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . The Giants were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 0-1. . . . G Griffen Outhouse, back after being out for a couple of games, stopped 24 shots for the Royals. . . . G Trent Miner was outstanding for the Giants. He finished with 38 saves, 19 of them in the first period. . . . The Royals also had D Ralph Jarratt back after he sat out a couple of games. . . . Victoria D Kade Jensen played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,816.


At Spokane, F Jake McGrew had a goal and two assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (32-20-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the SpokaneChiefsU.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (29-21-8) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane and one ahead of Seattle. . . . Spokane is 5-2-2 in the season series; Tri-City is 4-2-3. . . . The Chiefs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Ethan McIndoe (8), on a PP, at 3:54 of the first period, and D Ty Smith (10), at 4:14. . . . F Max James (7) scored Tri-City’s goal at 4:44. . . . Spokane got second-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (8), at 4:33, and McGrew (15), at 17:05. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk (2) had Spokane’s final goal, at 7:06 of the third period. . . . F Riley Woods had two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1. . . . The Chiefs got 18 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Patrick Tea stopped 27 shots for the Americans. . . . Announced attendance: 9,785.


At Everett, the Seattle Thunderbirds got two shootout goals and beat the Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Seattle (28-20-9) had lost its past four games (0-2-2). It holds down the Western SeattleConference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . Everett (37-17-5) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Western Conference standings by three points over Kelowna.  . . . On Friday, the visiting Silvertips beat the Thunderbirds, 4-3, in overtime. . . . Seattle is 4-2-1 in the season series; Everett is 3-2-2. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (4) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 16:54 of the first period. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar (11) tied it, on a PP, at 1:42 of the second period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (7) gave Seattle a 2-1 lead at 4:26. . . . Everett F Riley Sutter (23) tied it at 16:20. . . . F Noah Philp and F Zack Andrusiak scored shootout goals for Seattle, with F Matt Fonteyne replying for Everett. . . . Tyszka also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 41 shots through OT. . . . Everett got 30 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards after he drew a TBD suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka on Friday. . . . Announced attendance: 8,238.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 2 p.m.

Saskatoon at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 4 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 4:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 5:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Saturday night in the WHL: Hat tricks, loser points and improbable comebacks

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Brandon Sun reports that the naming rights deal for the home of the Wheat Kings will last for eight years. The Keystone Centre and Westoba Credit Union announced the deal on Friday, with the new name — Westoba Place — to come into play on Feb. 19. . . . “As part of the deal,” The Sun’s Jillian Austin reported, “Westoba renewed its long-term sponsorship of Westoba Agricultural Centre of Excellence, which has been in place for 10 years. The new contract covers both facilities at a value of approximately $2 million over the eight-year term.” . . . The arena had been Westman Communications Group Place for the past 10 years.

This is the second facility that is home to a WHL franchise to undergo a name change this season. In December, Xfinity Arena, the home of the Everett Silvertips, was renamed Angel of the Winds Arena. Naming rights, worth US$3.4 million over 10 years, were purchased by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, which owns the Angel of the Winds casino and resort.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Well, that was a wild Saturday in the WHL. . . . Four players had three-goal games. . . . Four teams got loser points. . . . One goaltender earned his first WHL victory. . . . Three teams trailing late in the third period scored improbable victories. Another, Prince Albert, almost did. . . . Lethbridge, down 2-0, got three goals from its captain late in the third period and won. . . . Calgary, down 5-2 late, got the first goals of the season from two players and went on to win in Kamloops. . . . Victoria, losing 2-0, came back to beat Seattle in Kent, Wash. . . . Junior hockey. . . . There’s nothing quite like it.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Justin Almeida scored his 30th goal and added two assists as the Warriors beat the Prince George Cougars, 4-1. . . . Moose Jaw (40-9-3) had lost its previous MooseJawWarriorstwo games. It leads the overall standings by five points over Swift Current. . . . Prince George (19-27-8) went 1-4-1 on its swing through the East Division. . . . F Brayden Burke (25) scored the game’s first goal for Moose Jaw, at 17:26 of the first period. . . . Almeida, who was acquired from the Cougars in a deal last season, made it 2-0, on a PP, at 14:34 of the second period. . . . F Tate Popple (6) stretched the lead to 3-0 at 10:43 of the third period, and D Brandon Schuldaus (3) made it 4-0 at 12:37. . . . The Cougars got their goal from F Josh Maser (23), on a PP, at 16:50 of the third. . . . Almeida has 72 points in 52 games this season. He went into the season with 13 goals and 21 assists in 120 games. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-7. . . . The Warriors got 22 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . Prince George G Taylor Gauthier, 16, who stopped 56 shots in a 4-1 loss in Regina on Wednesday, turned aside 44 shots in this one. . . . D Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 3,218.


At Regina, F Cam Hebig scored with 46.5 seconds left in OT to give the Pats a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina (27-22-5) has won two in a row and is back to ReginaPats100.500. It is fourth in the East Division, four points behind Brandon. The Pats also hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Prince Albert and Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (21-20-11) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The loser point moved the Raiders into a tie with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Prince Albert has 11 loser points and Saskatoon has three. Might that be the difference between making the playoffs and missing out? . . . The Pats actually held a 4-1 lead more than halfway through the third period. . . . F Emil Oksanen (13) and F Sam Steel put the home team ahead with goals at 4:22 and 5:14 of the second period. . . . F Brett Leason (9) got the Raiders on the scoreboard at 5:26. . . . Steel, who also had two assists, got his 20th goal, on a PP, at 8:06, and D Josh Mahura (18) made it 4-1, on another PP, at 16:17. . . . The Raiders tied it with three late goals. . . . F Regan Nagy (22) got it started at 12:30 of the third period, and F Parker Kelly (24) got the Raiders to within a goal at 12:45. . . . F Kody McDonald (26) pulled the visitors even with 37.2 seconds left in the third period. . . . Hebig, who was acquired from Saskatoon at the trade deadline, won it with his 36th goal. He also had two assists. He has six goals and eight assists in 10 games with Regina. . . . Mahura added an assist to his goal. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-6. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 33 shots for the Pats, two fewer than Ian Scott of the Raiders. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Brandon, F Stelio Mattheos scored his third goal of the game in OT to give the Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon (29-18-5) had lost its previous BrandonWKregularnine games (0-6-3). It is third in the East Division, 15 points behind Swift Current. . . . Red Deer (15-25-13) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It is fourth in the Central Division, six points behind Kootenay. . . . The Rebels completed a stretch in which they played six games in eight nights in three provinces. . . . Mattheos opened the scoring at 11:19 of the second period. . . . F Alex Morozoff tied it, on a PP, at 13:37. . . . Mattheos put Brandon ahead 2-1, on a PP, at 19:54. . . . Morozoff (4) tied it again, at 2:21 of the third period. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (7) gave Red Deer the lead, on a PP, at 7:12. . . . Brandon D Chase Hartje tied it 3-3 with his first WHL goal, at 16:21. It came in his 42nd game. . . . Mattheos, who had an assist on Hartje’s goal, won it with his 36th goal, at 0:55 of OT. . . . Red Deer thought it had won earlier in OT, but a potential goal by F Kristian Reichel was wiped out when officials ruled that there was goaltender interference on the play. . . . “That’s a tough one,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “You’d better be 100 per cent right that’s what you’re calling because there’s no video on that, it’s not like the NHL. I didn’t agree with the call. It’s one thing to say the goalie was interfered with . . . the other thing is (Brandon Hagel) tries to make the play and, yes, the goalie does get pushed in, but he has no chance at all of getting the rebound because he’s already down from trying to make the initial save. Any contact made was very minimal. It’s just frustrating when you feel like you had the game won. It’s tough to get a call like that go against you.” . . . F Ty Lewis had two assists for Brandon. . . . Red Deer was 2-4 on the PP; Brandon was 1-4. . . . The Wheat Kings got 33 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 20 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings lost F Baron Thompson to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 3:40 of the third period. D Colin Paradis, who was hit on the play, went to the dressing room. . . . Announced attendance: 3,712.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Glenn Gawdin struck for three goals to help the Swift Current Broncos to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Swift Current (37-13-4) is second in the SCBroncosoverall standings, five points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Kootenay (23-26-3) has lost three in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . . F Brett Davis gave the Ice a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:10 of the first period. . . . D Artyom Minulin (11) tied it, on a PP, at 11:55. . . . Gawdin put the visitors in front at 13:23, only to have Ice F Alec Baer (21) tie it at 14:34. . . . Davis (20) scored a PP goal at 4:46 of the second period to give Kootenay a 3-2 lead. . . . Gawdin tied it at 19:11 of the second period, then completed his hat trick at 10:09 of the third period. He’s got 44 goals. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (33) added insurance at 10:45. . . . The Broncos got four assists from D Colby Sissons, with Minulin, Gawdin and Gennaro adding one each. . . . Baer had an assist for the Ice. . . . Kootenay was 2-7 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-5. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 36 shots for the Broncos, who were outshot 21-9 in the first period. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern allowed three shots on 26 shots in 46:44. Matt Berlin finished up, giving up one goal on eight shots in 8:22. . . . McGovern was ejected with a match penalty for attempt to injury at 10:05 of the third period following Gawdin’s third goal. Gawdin was given a double minor spearing at the same time. . . . Gawdin is riding a 13-game point streak, with 24 points in that stretch. He has 97 points, second to Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke, who leads the scoring race with 98. . . . The Broncos again were without D Sahvan Khaira, F Kaden Elder and F Aleksi Heponiemi. . . . Announced attendance: 2,391.


At Lethbridge, F Jordy Bellerive scored three times in the third period to lead the LethbridgeHurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge (25-21-6) has points in five straight (3-0-2). It is second in the Central Division, three points behind Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes have three games in hand. . . . Edmonton (14-30-7) is 3-6-1 in its past 10. . . . The Oil Kings led 2-0 late in the third period on goals from F Brett Kemp (13), at 15:28 of the first, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (22), at 5:36 of the second. . . . Bellerive won it with three goals in 3:44, the first and third ones on the PP. He cut the deficit to one at 15:16, tied the game at 17:15, and won it with his 37th goal at 19:00. . . . F Brad Morrison drew assists on the two PP goals. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Reece Klassen recorded the victory with 25 saves. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 27 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 3,361.


At Portland, F Kieffer Bellows scored twice, leading the Winterhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (31-18-4) is second in the U.S. Division, five Portlandpoints behind Everett and five ahead of Tri-City. . . . Tri-City (27-17-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . On Friday night, the Americans beat the visiting Winterhawks, 6-3. They will play in Portland again on Friday. . . . Last night, D Dylan Coghlan (16) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:36 of the first period. . . . Bellows tied it, on a PP, at 10:19. . . . F Ryan Hughes (8) gave the home team a 2-1 lead at 14:49. . . . Bellows, who has 26 goals, stretched the lead to 3-1 at 9:34 of the third period. . . . Tri-City F Isaac Johnson (16), who also had an assist, made it a one-goal game at 15:57. . . . F Cody Glass had two assists for Portland. . . . The Winterhawks were 1-4 on the PP; the Americans were 1-5. . . . G Shane Farkas stopped 29 shots for Portland, while Tri-City’s Patrick Dea blocked 36. . . . With F Joachim Blichfeld back from a two-game suspension, the Winterhawks had all hands on deck. . . . Announced attendance: 9,879.


At Kamloops, the Calgary Hitmen scored the only two goals of a shootout and beat the Blazers, 6-5. . . . Calgary (16-30-6) had lost its previous four games — two in Victoria and Calgarytwo in Langley, B.C., against Vancouver. . . . Kamloops (24-24-4) is seven points from a playoff spot. . . . Calgary actually held a 2-0 lead in this one, then trailed 5-2 late in the third period. . . . F Jakob Stukel and F Mark Kastelic (15), on a PP, scored for Calgary at 5:17 and 16:06 of the second period. . . . The Blazers seemingly took control with five straight goals, the last four of them in the third period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (25) started it at 17:03 of the second. . . . In the third, the Blazers got goals from F Nick Chyzowski, at 4:47; D Joe Gatenby (11), on a PP, at 9:09; Chyzowski (15), at 11:50; and F Ryley Appelt (1), at 14:56. . . . The Hitmen got back into it when two players — F Dakota Krebs and F Egor Zamula — scored their first goals this season. Krebs struck at 15:21, with Zamula scoring on a PP at 17:37. . . . With G Matt Armitage on the bench for the extra attacker, Stukel tied it with his 26th goal of the season with 52.5 seconds left in regulation time. . . . Calgary got shootout goals from F Jake Kryski and F Carson Focht to win it, both scoring on dekes to the backhand. Interestingly, Kryski, who spent time with the Blazers, was booed when he skated to centre ice before taking his shot. . . . Calgary got three assists from F Tristen Nielsen, with Kastelic getting one. . . . F Luc Smith had two assists for Kamloops, with Gatenby, Loewen and Chyzowski each getting one. . . . Calgary was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-3. . . . The Hitmen got 36 stops from Armitage, who posted his first WHL victory in his 14th appearance. He’s 1-6-0. . . . The Hitmen chose to rest Nick Schneider, who had started 46 of their first 51 games. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 5,012.


At Langley, B.C., D Alex Kannok Leipert broke a 4-4 tie at 16:54 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-4. . . . Vancouver (28-16-8) has points in Vancouverfour straight (3-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, four points out of first. . . . Medicine Hat (26-22-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). It leads the Central Division by three points over Lethbridge. . . . F Tyler Popowich (6) put Vancouver ahead 1-0 at 13:07 of the first period. . . . D Dalton Gally (2) tied it at 5:17 of the second period. . . . The Giants took a 3-1 lead on goals from D Bowen Byram (6), at 8:47, and F Ty Ronning (47), at 9:33. . . . The Tigers came right back and tied it as F Gary Haden (13) scored at 16:11 and F Elijah Brown (3) counted at 18:09. . . . The Giants went back out front at 9:00 of the third period on F Dawson Holt’s ninth goal, but Medicine Hat pulled even at 10:12 when D Dylan MacPherson got his third goal. . . . Kannok Leipert won it with his third goal of the season. . . . Vancouver got two assists from each of F James Malm, F Tyler Benson and F Brayden Watts, with Ronning and Holt adding one each. . . . Ronning’s two points left him with 200 for his career. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Giants took the game’s only two minor penalties, so their PP unit didn’t get off the bench. . . . G David Tendeck blocked 38 shots for Vancouver. . . . G Jordan Hollett started for the Tigers and stopped 15 of 17 shots in 24:53. Michael Bullion came on to stop 19 of 22 shots in 34:21. Hollett went to the dressing room with 5:39 left in the second period with an apparent injury to his right leg. . . . D David Quenneville was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 3,887.


At Everett, F Patrick Bajkov scored three times and added two assists to lead the Silvertips to an 8-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Everett (34-17-3) has won two in Everetta row. It leads the Western Conference by three points over Kelowna and Victoria. . . . Kelowna (32-16-4) has lost two straight. It is tied with Victoria atop the B.C. Division, but the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . Everett scored the game’s last five goals to win going away. . . . Bajkov got the game’s first goal, on a PP, 45 seconds into the first period. . . . D Cal Foote tied it 14 seconds later. . . . Everett took a 3-1 lead on goals from D Kevin Davis (7), at 11:51 of the first, and F Garrett Pilon, at 2:19 of the second. . . . Foote (13) got his guys to within a goal at 5:39 but that was all for the Rockets. . . . F Riley Sutter (21) stretched Everett’s lead to 4-2 at 10:57. . . . Bajkov then scored twice, giving him the hat trick and 27 goals. . . . Pilon (25) and F Martin Fasko-Rudas (3) finished Everett’s scoring. . . . Bajkov now has 269 career points, including 106 goals. Earlier, he broke F Zach Hamill’s franchise record for career points. Now he is one goal shy of tying F Tyler Maxwell’s career record for goals. . . . Pilon and F Sean Richards had two assists each for the winners, with Davis adding one. . . . Everett was 2-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips got 23 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . Kelowna starter Cole Tisdale surrendered five goals on 31 shots through two periods. Brodan Salmond stopped eight of 11 shots in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 6,758.


At Kent, Wash., the Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, in OT. . . . Victoria (32-18-4) has won two in a row. It went 4-0-0 against VictoriaRoyalsSeattle this season. . . . Seattle (26-18-7) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is tied with Seattle for fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. Seattle and Spokane also are tied for the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . The Thunderbirds led 2-0 on goals from F Matthew Wedman (12), on a PP, at 8:25 of the first period, and D Austin Strand (17), at 16:36 of the second. . . . F Matthew Phillips cut into the deficit at 14:43 of the third period, and F Jeff de Wit (10) tied the score at 15:59. . . . Phillips (38) won it at 4:22 of OT, scoring while his side was shorthanded. He’s got three OT goals this season. . . . Phillips ran his point streak to 14 games. He’s got 10 goals and 16 assists in that time. . . . F Tyler Soy drew the primary assist on the winner, giving him 300 career regular-season points in 306 games. He is the first player in franchise history with 300 points. Soy also has 139 goals, one shy of the franchise record held by F Ryan Howse. . . . Seattle was 1-8 on the PP; Victoria was 0-7. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 38 shots for Victoria, seven more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes. . . . Announced attendance: 5,356.


SUNDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Regina at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


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