WHL loses Americans to positive test . . . Broncos end losing skid . . . Rockets return with offensive bang


Dorothy . . . Kamloops Kidney Walk . . . June 6, virtually . . . Join her team with a donation right here. Thank you!


While the Kelowna Rockets returned to WHL game action on Saturday after Americansbeing sidelined by positive tests, the Tri-City Americans have been shut down.

The WHL announced Saturday that the Americans have had a positive test to a player in their cohort.

While the Rockets and Calgary Hitmen had team activities suspended for 14 days because of positive tests, they are Canadian teams. Perhaps things are different in  Washington state because the WHL news release doesn’t mention a two-week shutdown.

From that news release: “The WHL is working in consultation with the Washington State Department of Health regarding the matter concerning the Tri-City Americans. Pending determination of close contacts and further test results, the WHL will provide further information.”

In the meantime, the WHL postponed a Saturday night game in which the Spokane Chiefs were to have visited the Americans. Also postponed were two Tri-City road games — today at Spokane and Wednesday in Kent, Wash., against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

At this point, only the seven teams playing in the Regina hub haven’t been impacted by COVID-19 positive tests. The Brandon Wheat Kings, Winnipeg Ice, Regina Pats, Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos, Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders have been staying in dormitories at the U of Regina and Luther College.

In the B.C. Division, the Rockets, who are with billets, and the Victoria Royals, who are sequestered in a hotel, are headquartered in Kelowna, with the Kamloops Blazers (billets) and Prince George Cougars and Victoria Giants (hotel) in Kamloops. The division schedule underwent some revisions because the Rockets were shut down on March 28 and ended up missing nine games.

In Alberta, the Hitmen got hit with a positive test on April 9 and have yet to get back on the ice. The Medicine Hat Tigers, who had played the Hitmen on April 5, were identified as close contacts so they, too, had team activities suspended. The Tigers returned to play on Friday night.

The Americans last played on Tuesday when they dropped a 4-2 decision to the host Thunderbirds. According to the WHL, “The Thunderbirds are not considered close contacts based on the time of the receipt of the positive test result for the Americans.”


The Vancouver Canucks, who haven’t played a game since March 24 because of a COVID-19 outbreak, will return to action against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, and you have to think that this one will draw some big TV numbers. After all, it’s going to be just like one of those train wrecks that you can’t take your eyes off.


Notes


Minnesota’s scheduled Saturday and Sunday games in Anaheim against the Los TwinsAngeles Dodgers have been postponed by MLB because the Twins are having issues with COVID-19. . . . The Twins reportedly have had at least four positive tests in the past few days. . . . OF Kyle Garlick, who played in the Twins’ 10-3 loss to the Angels on Friday, is one of the players who tested positive. . . . One other unidentified player and a staff member also have tested positive, as did SS Andrelton Simmons. . . . The Twins remain in Anaheim and are undergoing more testing and contact tracing. . . . Minnesota next is scheduled to play Monday against the A’s in Oakland. . . .

Simmons, who signed with the Twins in January after five seasons with the Angels, didn’t make the trip west after testing positive early in the week. He has been away from the team since Tuesday. . . . He had turned to Twitter last month and posted this: “I’ve received some questions and some requests regarding the vaccine. And for personal reasons and experience, I will not be taking it or advocating for it. I hope I don’t have to explain myself. And hope you all make the best decision for you and your family’s health.”

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic also reported that sources have told him “one major-league umpire as tested positive for COVID-19.”


With the IIHF Women’s world championship to open in Halifax on May 6, the U.S. national women’s team has moved assistant coach Joel Johnston into the head coach’s spot following the sudden resignation of Bob Corkum. . . . In a text to The Associated Press, Corkum explained: “I was not comfortable with the protocols. It was a difficult decision to make, but one that I am at peace with.” . . . John Wawrow of AP wrote: “Corkum has questioned the value of wearing masks and Canada’s coronavirus pandemic support plans in posts made on his LinkedIn account. In response to a post by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing a program to boost funding for vaccines, health care and for municipalities, Corkum wrote: ‘Propaganda . . . Think! What is there agenda? Your safety? I think not!’ ”


The NHL’s New Jersey Devils have told the owners of their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton, N.Y., Devils that the franchise is to be moved. . . . Interestingly, Robert Esche, the president of the AHL’s Utica Comets, who are hooked up with the Vancouver Canucks, has filed for a Utica Devils trademark. . . . There has been speculation for a few years that the Canucks are interested in moving their AHL affiliate closer to Vancouver. The Utica Observer-Dispatch has reported that the Comets’ contract with the Canucks has an opt-out after this seaosn. . . . There’s more right here. . . . Due to the pandemic, Binghamton actually is playing this AHL season in Newark.


Riot


The Kelowna Rockets didn’t show a whole lot of offensive rust on Saturday night as they opened their first game since March 28 with a goal just 23 seconds after the first puck was dropped. By game’s end, they had scored seven times. . . . All told, there were six games in the WHL last night. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four second-period goals en route to a 4-1 Brandonvictory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . F Brad Ginnell (2) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 19:15 of the first period. . . . Brandon took control in the second with goals from F Jake Chiasson (9), F Ben McCartney (12), who was playing in his 200th game, and F Lynden McCallum (12). . . . McCartney, who also had two assists, has 27 points, 15 of them helpers, in 19 games. . . . F Ridly Greig (8) added a shorthanded goal at 17:50 of the second. Greig has three shorthanded goals and the Wheat Kings have six, which is tied with the Portland Winterhawks for the league lead. . . . Brandon (14-3-2) has won three in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (7-11-1) has lost four straight. . . . The Wheat Kings are 3-0-1 against the Warriors this season, having won 8-2 and 8-3 after losing 4-3 in OT the first time the teams met. . . .

D Mat Ward missed on a second-period penalty shot but scored in the shootout Scurrentto give the Swift Current Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Regina. . . . The Broncos (4-14-1) snapped a seven-game losing streak. . . . The Blades (14-2-3) have points in seven straight (5-0-2). . . . Ward was the sixth and final shooter in the circus. . . . Blades D Charlie Wright, a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 59th game, 19 of them this season, just 43 seconds into the game. . . . D Owen Pickering (2) got the Broncos even at 4:59 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon D Chase Wouters (8) gave the Blades the lead again at 19:48. . . . F Braeden Lewis (2) forced OT with a goal at 2:03 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 35 shots, two more than the Broncos’ Reid Dyck. . . . Maier stopped Ward on a penalty shot at 11:48 of the second period. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last three goals and beat the PortlandAlternateSeattle Thunderbirds, 3-1. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (10) put Seattle out front at 13:23 of the second period. . . . F Reece Newkirk (7) tied it at 15:41 and D Nick Cicek (3) put the Winterhawks in front 12 seconds into the third period. . . . D Brody Tallman’s first WHL goal, at 5:59, provided the insurance. Tallman, an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was playing in his sixth WHL game. . . . The Winterhawks (6-4-3) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Seattle now is 7-7-0. . . . Seattle F Payton Mount missed a second straight game. He was injured Tuesday night when a puck glanced off the wall behind the team bench and struck him on the head. He was taken to hospital and was released on Wednesday morning. . . .

F Logan Barlage scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the LethLethbridge Hurricanes a 6-5 victory over the host Edmonton Oiler Kings. . . . Lethbridge now is 7-7-2. . . . Edmonton, which had won its previous four games, is 13-1-1. . . . The Hurricanes took a 5-4 lead into the third period. Edmonton D Ethan Cap, playing on his 21st birthday, tied it with his second goal of the season, on a PP, at 10:46. . . . Lethbridge had led 3-1 after one period, on two goals from F Noah Boyko and a singleton from F Justin Hall (12), but F Kaid Oliver and F Jake Neighbours (6), on a penalty shot, tied it early in the second. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, scored while wearing No. 16 — he usually wears No. 34 — in honour of his late grandfather Garnet (Ace) Bailey. If you aren’t familiar with Ace, let Google be your friend. . . . Boyko put Lethbridge back out front with his third goal of the game and eighth of the season at 7:12 of the second. That was his first WHL hat trick. . . . F Caleb Reimer, the 18th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft, got Edmonton back into a tie with his first WHL goal at 13:44, only to have F Zack Stringer (5) tie it at 17:34. . . . Lethbridge D Trevor Thurston left in the second period after sliding awkwardly into the boards. Edmonton F Tyler Horstmann received a major and game misconduct for slewfooting on the play. . . .

The visiting Medicine Hat Tigers erased a 2-0 deficit with five goals and beat Tigersthe Red Deer Rebels, 5-2. . . . The Tigers had posted a 5-2 victory over the Rebels in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . The Tigers improved to 11-3-1 and have points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-14-2) have lost 11 in a row. . . . The Rebels led 2-0 after one period, thanks to goals from F Arshdeep Bains (6) and F Ben King (8), who has scored in three straight. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (7), who also had two assists, got Medicine Hat started at 6:23 of the second period and D Reid Andresen (1) tied it at 18:20. Andresen, the 11th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, got his first goal in his fifth game. . . . F Corson Hopwo (13) broke the tie at 4:28 of the third. He’s got goals in eight straight. . . . D Cole Clayton (7) and F Brett Kemp (10) added insurance, both scoring on the PP. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky helped out with three assists. . . . Medicine Hat held a 34-17 edge in shots. . . . According to the Tigers, the victory was No. 375 behind their bench for Willie Desjardins, their general manager and head coach. That ties him with Shaun Clouston for No. 1 on the franchise’s all-time list. Clouston now is the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Desjardins gets his first opportunity to move atop the list on Monday when the Rebels are back in Medicine Hat. . . .

F Trevor Wong scored four times to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 7-5 victory Rocketsover the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . The Rockets hadn’t played since March 28 because of positive tests. . . . They improved to 2-1-0, while the Cougars now are 4-4-2. . . . Wong’s fourth goal, shorthanded, came 23 seconds into the third period and gave the Rockets a 6-2 lead. . . . Wong had completed his first WHL hat trick at 14:06 of the second. . . . The Cougars got to within one on a goal from D Keaton Dowhaniuk (2) at 1:06 of the third and two from F Karen Gronick (4) at 14:09 and 17:32, the first on a PP and the second while shorthanded. . . . Kelowna F Mark Liwiski (1) got the empty-netter at 18:35. . . . F Andrew Cristall scored his first career goal for the Rockets. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft.


VanGogh


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Nike

Only the vaccinated will be allowed at Bills, Sabres games . . . Memorial Cup tournament cancelled . . . Rockets, Tigers cleared to return

On March 30, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said that he expects the stadiums in which his league’s teams play to be open to full capacity when the next season begins.

On Tuesday, it was announced at a news conference in Buffalo that fans will have to have been vaccinated in order to attend games involving the NFL’s Bills and the NHL’s Sabres next season.

Mark Poloncarz, an Erie County executive, said: “You want to go to a Bills game later this year? Get vaccinated with your first dose of the Moderna vaccine today. You get your second dose of the Moderna vaccine in four weeks. Two weeks later, you’ll be able to fill out the pass, and in the fall, you’ll be cheering on Josh Allen at the stadium.

Poloncarz also said that religious and medical exemptions won’t be taken into consideration.

“Some people are like, ‘Well that’s unfair,’ but there’s no God-given right to attend a football game,” he said. 

In this instance, Erie County is able to set the rules for games in the home facilities for the Bills and Sabres because it owns both of them. According to Poloncarz, the country doesn’t need state approval either.

Needless to say, there was a lot of reaction on social media to the announcement, but Erie County officials don’t seem likely to budge on this.

“You have no guaranteed rights in the Constitution to inflict illness on other people, just like you have no guaranteed right in the Constitution to attend a Buffalo Bills football game,” Poloncarz said. “You can be removed at anytime. Our goal is to ensure that everyone in there is safe.”

Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News has more right here.

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Meanwhile, there are people doing the research to try and find out whether having fans attend sporting events in these pandemic times results in increased rates of infection in the areas in which the games were played. . . . One study, which hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, found definitive increases. . . . There’s more on that right here.


It was hardly a surprise when the CHL announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the 2021 Memorial Cup because of the pandemic.

While a host city/team for 2021 hadn’t been announced, the tournament was to have been played in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. The 2020 tournament that was to have been held in Kelowna also was cancelled.

The Memorial Cup first was presented in 1919. It had been awarded every year since then . . . until 2020.

“Regrettably, we do not see a path in which we will be able to produce champions in our three member leagues due to border restrictions and quarantining requirements,” the CHL said in a statement. “The Memorial Cup is steeped in tradition and is one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sport. The CHL looks forward to presenting it next season to the championship club that has earned the right to hoist it.”

While the QMJHL continues to plan on starting its playoffs on April 23 — it has at least three Quebec-based teams with positive tests, one of them with 24 — one has to think that the OHL will get around to announcing one of these days that its season has been cancelled without getting started.

The WHL has all of its 22 teams playing games within their geographic areas, but hasn’t yet announced a plan for playoffs of any sort. Of course, there really is no need for any sort of playoffs without the Memorial Cup at the end of the rainbow.

The last team to win the Memorial Cup? That would be the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who beat the host Halifax Mooseheads, 4-2, in the final of the 2019 tournament. The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders and the OHL-champion Guelph Storm also took part.

The CHL said in its statement that “further decisions” regarding a 2022 host team/city and schedule would be announced at a later date.



DannyBoy


The Oil Kings don’t play until the weekend, but there were four games played in the WHL on Tuesday night . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the first period, the first two by BrandonF Ty Thorpe, en route to an 8-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . The Warriors (7-9-1) got to within a pair, at 5-3, late in the second period but the Wheat Kings (12-3-2) scored the last three goals. . . . Thorpe has three goals this season. . . . The Wheat Kings got a goal, his seventh, and two assists from F Nolan Ritchie and three assists from D Braden Schneider. . . . F Lynden McCallum added his 11th goal for Brandon. . . . F Brayden Yager, the third overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, scored his fifth and sixth goals and added an assist for the Warriors. He has 13 points in 17 games. . . . Yager came up short on a first-period penalty shot, with G Connor Ungar making the save. He finished with 37 stops. . . .

In the nightcap in Regina, the Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first four Raidersgoals and went on to beat the Pats, 4-2. . . . The Raiders (6-8-3) struck four times in a span of 6:36 in the second period. . . . F Tyson Laventure (2), F Justin Nachbaur (6), F Evan Herman (6) and F Logan Linklater (1) had the goals. Herman has goals in three straight games. . . . The Raiders have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Pats (6-8-3) got back in it on late third-period goals from F Logan Nijhoff (8) and F Ryker Evans (3). . . . For what it’s worth, the Pats are 2-3-3 as the home team and 4-5-0 as the visitor. They were the home team for this one. . . . F Tanner Howe, 15, made his WHL debut with the Pats. Howe, who is from Prince Albert, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 28. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2020 bantam draft. . . .

F Nico Myatovic scored his first two WHL goals in his first game to help the host SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Myatovic, a 16-year-old from Prince George, was a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. He gave Seattle a 1-0 lead on his first shift, at 2:25 of the first period, then made it 2-1 at 4:56 of the second period. He actually scored his first two goals on his first two shots. . . . F Jake Sloan (3) got the Americans to within one, at 3-2, at 17:42 of the third period, but Seattle F Henry Rybinski (3) got the empty-netter at 18:48. . . . Seattle improved to 7-5-0, while Tri-City slid to 5-7-0. . . . There was concern for Seattle F Payton Mount at game’s end. The 18-year-old from Victoria, who is in his third season with Seattle, was wearing a neck brace when he was placed on a backboard and then taken away from the bench area on a stretcher following the final buzzer. . . . Andy Eide of 710 ESPN tweeted afterwards that Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said “Mount was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. He was talking and alert. Puck skidded off the wall of the bench and hit him in base of the skull.” . . .

The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Silvertips, Spokane4-3, in Everett. . . . F Eli Zummack had a goal, his third, and three assists for the Chiefs. His second shorthanded goal in as many games broke a 3-3 tie at 7:31 of the third period. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman’s second goal of the game, and eighth of the season, had tied the game at 2:51. . . . F Brendan Lee (2) and F Cole Fonstad (8) put Everett out front 2-0 in the first period. . . . Beckman got Spokane’s first goal 31 seconds into the second. He has goals in five straight games. . . . F Austin Roest’s first WHL goal restored Everett’s two-goal lead just 34 seconds later. . . . F Copeland Ricker got Spokane’s comeback started with his first goal at 4:41 of the second. . . . Spokane now is 3-5-3, while Everett slipped to 9-3-0.



The WHL announced Tuesday night that the Kelowna Rockets will resume team activities today (Wednesday) after everyone in their cohort tested negative. The Rockets had been on hold for 14 days after experiencing seven positive tests. They are scheduled to face the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops on Saturday night. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have been cleared to return to play after having been shut down after having been deemed close contacts of the Calgary Hitmen, who had one positive test. The Hitmen remain on hold, but the Tigers will return with three weekend games against the Red Deer Rebels. They’ll play Friday in Medicine Hat, Saturday in Red Deer and Monday in Medicine Hat. On the original schedule, Red Deer was to have played a tripleheader with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The WHL news release on schedule adjustments impacting the five Alberta teams is right here.


FlinFlonThe SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers owe the City some money. But the City isn’t in a hurry to collect the $27,500. In fact, council has put the debt into abeyance, at least for now. . . . Should the Bombers show a profit of $100,000 in one season, they will pay the debt. Should someone purchase the team, the debut will have to be paid out of the proceeds. Councillor Tim Babcock explained things this way to Eric Westhaver of the Flin Flon Reminder: “The way it works is that they owe us money from two seasons ago now, because their playoffs were cut short and they didn’t get the money they were counting on from a deep playoff run. Then, they weren’t able to have a season this year, so they’re a little bit behind in their bills.” . . . Westhaver has more right here.


The 22-team Ontario Junior Hockey League has cancelled its 2020-21 season. “With the Province of Ontario currently under a 28-day Stay-at-Home order, and the official 2020-21 Hockey Canada season ending on May 31, the league has declared an end to its season.” . . . In the 2020-21 season, six OJHL teams were able to play a total of 56 exhibition games.


Wake


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . And a huge thank you to those who have already responded to this. Love seeing her smile every time she gets a notification of a new donor.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scholl

Stankoven continues spinning records. . . . Almeida leads Warriors to win. . . . Sudden-Death Byram strikes in OT again


ThisThat

A few WHL-related notes . . .

If you’re wondering why the Brandon Wheat Kings are on the road these days, the above tweet tells the story. The 2019 Tim Hortons Brier is scheduled to run from March 2 through March 9 in Westoba Place and the icemakers already are hard at work. . . . The Wheat Kings have nine games remaining. They will begin a six-game trek through the Central Division when they meet the Hitmen in Calgary on Friday. The Wheat Kings won’t play at home again until March 16 when they are to entertain the Regina Pats. . . . At this point, the Wheat Kings are hanging on to the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. Brandon is to play in Red Deer on March 8 and in Medicine Hat on March 9.

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Say what you want about WHL attendance figures — and there are a lot of times when the announced attendance doesn’t seem to match the number of butts in the seats — but the Everett Silvertips put 15,684 fans in the pews for back-to-back home games this weekend. . . . On the same nights, Friday and Saturday, the Spokane Chiefs played two home games and drew a total of 18,140 fans. . . . Just a thought but maybe the Memorial Cup would look good in one of those cities.

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When Kamloops lost, 2-0, to the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday night, the Blazers were credited with 18 shots on goal. . . . “That was 18 shots that the Kelowna scorekeepers kept,” Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “By our count, we had 27. It’s a little misleading. It’s a psychological advantage for them. We had some good chances, just like they did.” . . . Lajoie was saying out loud what a lot of WHL coaches think, and have thought over the years.

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When Wyatte Wylie scored his 10th goal of the season for Everett on Saturday night, it gave the Silvertips three defencemen with at least that many scores. Jake Christiansen has 12; Gianni Fairbrother has 10. . . . The three also have combined for 121 points.

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Mitch Love, in his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, spent the previous seven seasons on the staff of the Everett Silvertips. While Everett, which joined the WHL for 2003-04, has never missed the playoffs, the Blades clinched a berth on Saturday for the first time since 2013. . . . It’s neat that Love wasn’t able to conceal his excitement in the post-game media scrum. “There are a few guys in the room who obviously haven’t played a playoff game in their career,” Love said.“It is awesome for them. They are going to get that experience. We have a lot of guys that we have brought in here throughout the year that have had playoff experience. This is my eighth consecutive season of playoff hockey, so I may look like I’m not that excited tonight, but I am. I’m a hockey coach, and I am always looking to be better the next day. I’m excited for our guys.” . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, has more from the Blades’ clinching victory right here.

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You are free to wonder if the hockey fans of Saskatoon and area have re-discovered the Blades, now that they are playoff bound once again. Their last two home games have drawn crowds of 4,815 and 4,334 — the first time this season they have had back-to-back gatherings of 4,000-plus. . . . The Blades have six home games remaining.

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Headline at globalnews.ca: Saskatoon Blades clinch playoff birth with 4-3 shootout win over Kootenay Ice.

So . . . does that mean the Blades are due in April/May?

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There still is a lot to be decided, but the first round of the playoffs could feature the Prince Albert Raiders, who will finish atop the Eastern Conference, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, who may end up in the second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are the only team to have beaten the Raiders twice this season — 5-4 in OT in Prince Albert on Feb. 15, and 6-3 in Brandon the next night. . . . The Raiders then whipped Brandon, 7-1, at home on Saturday night. . . . “We were looking forward to this one,” Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Herald after Saturday’s game. “They were trying to take some liberties. They were running around at us and they were taunting us a bit after they got those two wins, so the guys were pretty excited to face them again.” . . . Habscheid, who just may have been priming the playoff pump, added: “That was probably as dominant a performance was we’ve had all season, which is good to see as we continue to get in that playoff mindset.”

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A tip of the Taking Note fedora to F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings and F Reece Vitelli of the Everett Silvertips. On Jan. 10, they were told that they had been involved in a trade and would be swapping teams. Shortly afterwards, they were told that, uhh, no, the trade was off. No one has spelled out exactly what happened, but both players handled the mess like true professionals, or true student-athletes. . . . Mattheos, 19, has put up 14 goals and 25 assists in 21 games since Jan. 10. . . . Vitelli, 17, has five goals and four assists in 18 games since then, but has been especially proficient of late with three goals and three assists over his past four games.

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The Swift Current Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending champions, won’t be in the playoffs this time around. They have played 57 games and are 10-42-5; they have won four times in regulation time. They begin a seven-game road trip on Tuesday in Edmonton as the Oil Kings hold their annual Hooky Hockey game. It starts at 11 a.m. . . . The Kootenay Ice (11-38-10) has won eight games in regulation time.

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It is information that is this that highlights why every WHL team should have an in-house historian.

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On the subject of attendance, according to hockeydb, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees are averaging 3,105 fans per game this season. Also of note are the Wenatchee Wild (2,426), Chilliwack Chiefs (2,147), Vernon Vipers (1,975) and Trail Smoke Eaters (1,873). . . . Penticton’s average attendance is higher than five WHL teams — the Medicine Hat Tigers (3,012), Prince Albert Raiders (2,602), Prince George Cougars (2,600), Swift Current Broncos (2,386) and Kootenay Ice (2,201).


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League put his name into the record book with his 45th goal of the season on thompsonblazersSunday.

Stankoven broke the record in leading the Blazers to a 7-2 victory over the South Island Royals in Kamloops’ Memorial Arena.

The previous record of 44 had been set by F Tyson Jost of the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. Jost now plays for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

Stankoven also had three assists on Sunday, and now has 90 points in 34 games. The Blazers have four games remaining in their regular season.

The league record for points in a season is 108 and belongs to F Alex Kerfoot, who did it in 38 games in 2010-11 with the Vancouver North West Giants. Kerfoot, who had 36 goals and 72 assists that season, is a teammate of Jost’s with the Avalanche.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Stankoven with the fifth overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, has one assist in seven WHL games this season.

Last season, Stankoven played for the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., putting up 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Justin Almeida scored once and added three assists to help the host Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriorsWarriors to a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Moose Jaw (34-16-8) has won three in a row. It is third in the East Division, eight points behind the Saskatoon Blades with two games in hand. . . . Kootenay (11-39-10) has lost nine straight (0-7-2). . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams. Moose Jaw finished 3-0-0). Kootenay actually was playing its fourth road game in five days — it went 0-2-2. . . . It was the 10th time in Almeida’s WHL career — and the fifth time this season — that he put up at least four points. He now has 87 points, including a league-leading 62 assists, in 54 games. . . . The Warriors scored the game’s first four goals. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (14) got the first one, scoring against his former team at 10:26 of the first period, and F Brayden Tracey (31) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:27. . . . Tracey’s goal proved to be the winner. He leads the WHL with 10 GWG. . . . F Tristin Langan (45) upped it to 3-0, at 6:52 of the second period, and Almeida (25) made it 4-0, on a PP, at 9:56 of the third. . . . F Owen Pederson (4) scored for the Ice, on a PP, at 12:18. . . . F Tate Popple (11) got Moose Jaw’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . Tracey added two assists to his goal and now has 73 points, including 42 assists in 58 games as a freshman. . . . Langan also had two assists. He’s got 96 points in 57 games. Langan is seven points off the WHL scoring lead that is held by F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks. Last season, Langan finished with 16 goals and 26 assists in 70 games. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 26 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while Curtis Meger also stopped 26 for the Ice.


D Bowen Byram scored his fourth OT goal of the season to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-Vancouver1 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Vancouver (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It will finish atop the B.C. Division, and now is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. The Giants have one game in hand. . . . Victoria (31-25-4) is second in the B.C. Division, nine points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . These teams met three times in fewer than 48 hours. The Giants won, 4-0, in Vancouver on Friday; the Royals won 5-4 in a shootout on home ice on Saturday. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 6-2-2); Victoria was 4-4-2). . . . F Justin Sourdif (19) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:18 of the first period. . . . The Royals tied it at 16:00 of the third when F Phillip Schultz (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Byram won it with his 22nd goal of the season, just 59 seconds into OT. He’s got seven game-winners this season. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Victoria was 1-8. . . . The Giants got 25 saves from G Trent Miner. G David Tendeck was back in a Vancouver uniform after missing one game for what the team said was “personal reasons.” . . . The Royals got 28 stops from G Brock Gould. . . . The Royals scratched F Kaid Oliver, who went heavily into the boards in the second period of Saturday’s game and left the game favouring a wrist. Oliver leads the Royals in goals (27) and points (49) so it really will sting if he is out for any length of time.


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Craven, Moar done for this season. . . . Silvertips stretch Cougars’ skid to 17. . . . Oliver leads Royals to victory


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F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11)  signed a contract for the rest of this season on Friday with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany DEL2) after obtaining his release from the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in 10 games with the Black Wings. . . . Hickmott hasn’t played a game since Oct. 14 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice the “past few weeks” with Linz. The club told Hickman last week there was no place in the lineup for him and that he was free to move to another club if he wanted. . . . Last Friday (Feb. 15) was the signing/transfer deadline for all European leagues except the KHL, whose trade deadline this season was Dec. 27.


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A few notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen continue to list F Jake Kryski as indefinite. Kryski, 20, was having the whlbest of his five WHL seasons, with 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games when he was injured. . . .

The Everett Silvertips list F Dawson Butt and F Riley Sutter as week-to-week. Besides being a point-a-game player (41 in 38), Sutter is one of the league’s top face-off men, at 54.0 per cent. . . . Butt has seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, but it’s his grinding style of play that the Silvertips miss. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets list D Matt Barberis, 20, as being out for six to eight weeks. He has one assist in 11 games since being picked up from the Vancouver Giants, but  his experience is missing from Kelowna’s back end. Of course, with less than four weeks left in the regular season, his season — and his WHL career — might be over. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have shut down D Joel Craven for the season with an undisclosed injury. Craven, 18, finishes his sophomore season with three goals and an assist in 32 games. He missed half of October and all of November with concussion-like symptoms. . . . Meanwhile, the Tigers are showing one of their top forwards, Ryan Jevne, as being out week-to-week. Jevne is their second-leading scorer, with 55 points, including 26 goals, in 57 games. . . .

D Matt Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks is shown as being out week-to-week, while it would appear that D Alex Moar of the Swift Current Broncos had his season come to an end on Monday afternoon in Brandon when he left a 3-2 OT loss to the Wheat Kings clutching a wrist. . . .

The Vancouver Giants list two key forwards — Dawson Holt and Brayden Watts — as being out week-to-week. Watts, who had one arm in a sling on Monday, has 33 points, including 12 goals, in 52 games, while Hardy has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.


The soon-to-be Winnipeg Ice has signed F Chase Bertholet to a WHL contract. Bertholet, from Thompson, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Ice acquired him from the Rebels on Nov. 30 in a deal that had F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger go to Red Deer for four players, four bantam draft picks and one conditional selection. . . . Bertholet, 15, has 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


The Calgary Hitmen have released D Andrew Viggars from their roster and he is returning to the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Viggars, who turned 19 on Jan. 3, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 39 games with Calgary. . . . This season, he has a goal and nine assists in 41 games with the Warriors. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


“Fighting isn’t what it used to be in the WHL,” writes Dan Thompson in a story that has appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s got some quotes and anecdotes here from the likes of Dustin Donaghy and Kerry Toporowski, the latter once having skated his way to 505 minutes in penalties. . . . It’s all right here and it’s a good read.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Monday that they have “mutually parted ways” Winklerwith general manager Ken Pearson. . . . He had been the Flyers’ general manager and head coach for seven seasons (2011-18), before stepping aside as head coach prior to this season. . . . Jeff Jeanson has been named the interim general manager. . . . Steve Mullin took over as the Flyers’ head coach after working as Pearson’s assistant coach. . . . When Pearson stepped aside as the Flyers’ head coach, he had more regular-season victories (519) than any coach in MJHL history. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers passed Pearson earlier this season. . . . Winkler (22-29-5) is ninth in the 11-team league, four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in EverettPrince George. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the host Cougars by that same score on Monday. . . . Everett (41-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the Western Conference by four points over the Vancouver Giants, who hold two games in hand, and leads the West Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (16-35-7) now has lost 17 in a row (0-13-4). . . . F Ethan Browne (9) gave the Cougars the lead at 5:56 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (36) pulled Everett even at 17:29 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (34) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third. . . . The Silvertips put it away on two goals from Reece Vitelli, at 17:36 and 18:28 of the third. Vitelli, who has nine goals, put the second one into an empty net. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips never had even one opportunity. . . . Everett held a 37-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 and 16-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the decision over G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Everett was without F Connor Dewar (ill) for a second straight game. . . . D Sahvan Khaira was back in Everett’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He played in his 302nd career regular-season game.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals en route to a 6-3 tri-cityvictory over the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (32-21-3) move into third place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Red Deer (29-22-5) has lost three in a row. It holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans hustled home for this one after losing 3-1 in Kamloops on Monday afternoon. The Rebels hadn’t played since Saturday, so were well-rested. . . . The Rebels finished their U.S. Division swing at 1-3-1. . . . F Brandon Hagel (33) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin tied it, on a PP, at 5:18. . . . The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Chris Douglas (13), at 13:43 of the first period, and F Brett Davis (18), on a PP, at 1:12 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (17), at 4:17, and F Sasha Mutala (16), at 5:17. . . . AuCoin (35) scored on a PP at 6:43 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Kyle Olson (21), at 16:42, and F Krystof Hrabik (15), into an empty net, at 18:20 put it away. . . . Olson also had two assists. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 36 shots to earn the victory.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice and added two assists to help the host Victoria Royals to a 6-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Victoria (30-24-3) is second in the B.C. Division, 10 points ahead of Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (24-29-5) are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Blazers and Rockets have three games remaining in their season series. Kamloops is 4-2-1; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . On Monday, the Rockets opened the doubleheader on Vancouver Island by dumping the Royals, 5-2. . . . Last night, Victoria took control with three goals, two of them from Oliver, before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Logan Doust (5) got the Royals started 44 seconds into the game. . . . Oliver made it 2-0 at 4:31 and 3-0, on a PP, at 7:52. . . . Two early second-period goals put the home boys ahead 5-0. F Phillip Schultz (14) scored, on a PP, 23 seconds in, and F Tarun Fizer (12) scored at 5:21. . . . Oliver assisted on both second-period goals, giving him his second career four-point game. . . . F Leif Mattson (20), at 11:22, and F Nolan Foote (29), on a PP, at 16:41, counted for the Rockets. . . . Victoria’s final goal came from F Kody McDonald (17) at 11:39 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 34 shots for the Royals as he earned his 111th career regular-season victory. . . . The WHL record for most career regular-season victories by a goaltender is 120, and is shared by Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92) and Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09). The Royals have only 11 games remaining, so Outhouse, 20, is running out of time if he hopes to get to 120 victories. . . . The Rockets welcomed back F Liam Kindree (broken nose) after a nine-game absence, but they remain without F Ted Brennan and D Matt Barberis. . . . The Royals were without D Jake Kustra, who sat out a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Monday’s game.


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Broncos, Pats pay price of going all-in . . . Rockets get Wong signed . . . Leason and Raiders continue to dominate

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Is it too early to wonder if it is worth it for a major junior hockey team to really — make that really, really, really — go all-in as it attempts to win a championship?

Is it worth it even if that team wins the championship?

What about the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament? Is it worth it for that team to do the same thing?

Yes, this is all about the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats.

The Broncos, of course, wheeled and dealed their way to the 2017-18 WHL SCBroncoschampionship. As one observer told Taking Note the other day, “They sold the farm, animals, crop and the dirt.”

And now the Broncos are paying the price. After dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Saturday night, they are 1-13-0 and have lost six in a row. They are 0-4-0 at home; they are 1-9-0 on the road, the only victory a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Oct. 13.

Surely, the Broncos won’t challenge the WHL record for fewest victories in a season, but early indications are that they will be hard-pressed to win 20 games. That is the number of victories posted by the 2010-11 Calgary Hitmen, to date the fewest in one season by a defending champion. (The 1998-99 Portland Winterhawks are No. 2, with 23.)

Meanwhile, the Pats, who lost in the Memorial Cup final last spring, were 6-2 losers to Patsthe Raiders in Prince Albert last night. The Pats are 3-11-0 and have lost five straight games. They are 0-8-0 at home and 3-3-0 on the road.

The Pats and Broncos have met once this season, with Regina posting a 6-5 victory in Swift Current on Oct. 5.

They will play Game 2 of the six-game season series in Regina today, with the teams having a combined 4-24-0 record.

Of course, the question remains as to just how long the Broncos and Pats will pay for all the moves leading into last season’s playoffs?

The Saskatoon Blades went all-in as they prepared for their role as the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. Some people will tell you that the franchise still is in the process of recovering.


The Kelowna Rockets announced the signing of F Trevor Wong on Saturday, hours before they met up with the visiting Prince George Cougars. Wong, 15, made his WHL debut in KelownaRocketsthat game. . . . From Vancouver, the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Wong was selected by Kelowna with the 18th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Many observers felt he would have been selected sooner had he not made a verbal commitment to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers starting in 2020-21. . . . Last season, Wong had 64 goals and 77 assists in 30 games with the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. . . . This season, he has four goals and seven assists in 10 games with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . .

With Wong signed, you can bet that the Rockets, who will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, will turn their attention to attempting to sign F Ethan Bowen, who was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Bowen, 16, is from Chilliwack and is playing in his hometown for the BCHL’s Chiefs. He went into last night with six goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Bowen has made a verbal commitment to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21. . . . His older brother, Ryan, began this season with Kelowna but was released as the Rockets got down to the league-mandated maximum of three 20-year-olds.


No one in the WHL is having a better season than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. Leason, a 19-year-old Calgarian, had a goal and an assist, both in the first period, as the host Raiders beat the Regina Pats, 6-2, on Saturday night. That put him at 34 points in 16 games, breaking his career high of 33 from last season when he had one goal in 12 games with the Tri-City Americans and 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 54 games with the Raiders. . . . This season, Leason leads the WHL in goals (15), assists (19) and points (34). . . .

The Raiders acquired Leason from the Americans on Oct. 26, 2017, giving up a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. That pick had originated with the Americans, who traded it to the Raiders as part of a deal in which G Rylan Parenteau moved to Tri-City. . . . In 2016-17, as a freshman, Leason had eight goals and 10 assists with the Americans, who picked him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games as they bounced the PrinceAlbertvisiting Regina Pats, 6-2. . . . Prince Albert scored the game’s first six goals as it improved to 15-1-0. . . . Regina (3-11-0) has lost five in a row. . . . The Raiders’ last two goals both were of the shorthanded variety, from F Eric Pearce (2) and F Jakob Brook (4). Brook drew an assist on Pearce’s goal and, yes, Pearce had an assist on Brook’s tally. Those goals came 2:58 apart midway through the second period. . . . Prince Albert got 19 saves from G Ian Scott, who now is 13-1-0, 1.57, .943.


F Connor Dewar scored two goals and added two assists in leading the Everett Silvertips Everettto a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Everett (10-5-0) has won three in a row; it went 4-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Broncos (1-13-0) have lost six in a row. . . . This was the first meeting between these two franchises since last season’ WHL championship final. The Broncos won that best-of-seven series in six games. . . . Dewar, Everett’s captain, was playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension. He opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 2:15 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (3) pulled the Broncos even at 11:43. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (1) of the Silvertips broke the tie with another shorthanded goal, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Dewar scored his 10th goal of the season, on a PP, 15 seconds into the third period.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists as the host Edmonton Oil Kings scored a EdmontonOilKings5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Oil Kings (8-7-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Blades (8-5-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Edmonton took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Quinn Benjafield got the first two, scoring on a PP at 18:33 of the first period and shorthanded at 5:16 of the second. He’s got five goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky got his 10th goal into an empty net at 19:06 of the third period. He has 28 points in 16 games this season, including four goals and six assists over his past four games. His 28 points trail only the 34 of F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Gary Haden, who was acquired Thursday from the Medicine Hat Tigers, scored both Saskatoon goals, the first while shorthanded. He’s got three goals this season. . . . D Keegan Slaney, the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Airdrie, Alta., he has six assists in 11 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary this season.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 3-0 deficit and got past the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-MooseJawWarriors3, in a shootout. . . . The Warriors (6-4-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Tigers (8-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Tristin Langan won this one with the only goal of the shootout. He was the second shooter in the third round. . . . F Brayden Tracey (4) pulled the Warriors into a 3-3 tie at 19:41 of the third period. . . . F Jaxon Steele (2) had given Medicine Hat a 3-0 lead at 2:25 of the third. . . . F Tate Popple (3) got Moose Jaw started at 4:39, and D Josh Brook (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 12:13. . . . Moose Jaw took the game’s only two penalties — both minors.


F Nolan Foote scored on a PP just 43 seconds into OT to give the host Kelowna Rockets a KelownaRockets4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets (6-10-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Cougars (5-6-3) have lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . Foote was back in the Rockets’ lineup after a brief absence. This was his first game with his father, Adam, as the Rockets’ head coach. The senior Foote is 2-0-0 as a WHL head coach since taking over from the fired Jason Smith on Tuesday. . . . F Kyle Topping (6) had given the hosts a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (3) got the Cougars into a tie at 4:52.


F Jermaine Loewen scored three goals to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-2 victory over Kamloops1the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Blazers (5-6-1) are on their first three-game winning streak of the season. . . . The Winterhawks (7-5-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will play again today in Portland as they conclude their season series. The Winterhawks won twice in Kamloops early in October. . . . Loewen was playing his second game after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Winterhawks on Oct. 5. Loewen returned Friday with a goal and an assist in a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. That was Loewen’s first game as team captain; he was named captain while he was suspended. . . . F Joachim Blickfeld (10) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:20 of the first period. . . . The Blazers scored the next four goals, three of them before the first period ended. . . . Loewen scored PP goals at 8:19 of the first period and 2:10 of the second, the latter providing a 4-1 lead. He completed his first career hat trick at 5:17 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had a goal, his fifth, and an assist, giving him six points over two games. . . . Portland lost D Jared Freadrich to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 18:40 of the first period.


The Tri-City Americans erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in beating the Chiefs, 5-3, in Spokane. . tri-city. . The Americans (9-4-0) have won five straight. . . . The Chiefs slipped to 7-4-3. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s second goal of the game, on a PP, at 7:39 of the third period gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . F Sasha Mutala (3) scored a PP goal to pull Tri-City even at 9:59, and F Isaac Johnson (6) got what proved to be the winner at 15:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (10), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . Anderson-Dolan’s goals were his first of this season and came in his second game since being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got 41 saves from G Liam Hughes as they skated to a 5-1 Seattlevictory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-3-2) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Giants (10-3-2) had points in their previous two (1-0-1). . . . The Giants had 17 shots in each of the last two periods but could only muster one goal, that from F Milos Roman (6) at 4:36 of the third period. . . . Seattle jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two goals in each of the first two periods. The outburst featured F Noah Philp’s ninth goal of the season, two from F Matthew Wedman, who has five, and F Samuel Huo’s first of the season.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice to help the host Victoria Royals to a 3-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Royals (9-3-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-3-4) have lost four in a row (0-2-2). Brandon now is 1-1-1 on a seven-game road swing that continues today against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (13) put Brandon ahead 1-0, on a PP, at 14:50 of the first period. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, tied it at 19:53 of the first, then broke the tie at 9:46 of the third. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (2) got the empty-netter while shorthanded. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals. He returned after missing some time with an undisclosed injury. It’s believed that he tweaked something during practice nine or 10 days ago. . . . The Royals are without F Dante Hannoun, a key offensive contributor, as well as F Phillip Schultz, a freshman import from Denmark, and F Logan Doust, all out with undisclosed injuries.


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Veteran forward off Tigers’ roster . . . Royals still perfect after seven games . . . Broncos get first win, head west


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Following a 4-1 victory by the Medicine Hat Tigers over the visiting Prince George Tigers Logo OfficialCougars on Friday, Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat Tigers tweeted: “Tigers not commenting on the status of Gary Haden, who was scratched from tonight’s game.” . . . Prior to Saturday’s game, in which Medicine Hat beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 4-3 in a shootout, McCracken reported that “Haden is no longer on the (Tigers’) roster.” . . . After the game, Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, told McCracken that Haden’s absence will be addressed on Monday. . . . Haden, 19, is from Airdrie, Alta., who was a ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . This season, he had one goal and two assists in nine games. Last season, he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games. . . . In 115 career regular-season games, he has 25 goals and 28 assists.


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SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Kaid Oliver scored with 25 seconds left in OT to give the host Victoria Royals a 3-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Royals are 7-0-0 overall, including 5-0-0 at home. All seven victories have come against B.C. Division opponents. . . . The Giants (7-1-1) have points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Oliver (6) finished with two goals and an assist. . . . F Brandon Cutler (3) gave Victoria a 2-1 lead at 13:08 of the second period. . . . F Milos Roman (3) scored on a PP at 3:36 of the third period to tie it 2-2. . . . The same teams will play in Victoria again today, 3:05 p.m.


G Joel Hofer stopped 53 shots through OT and his Swift Current Broncos went on to win SCBroncosfor the first time this season, beating the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2 in a shootout. . . . The Broncos got shootout goals from F Alec Zawatsky and F Max Patterson. . . . Swift Current improved to 1-7-0. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-0-2) have yet to lose in regulation time. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (7) had both Brandon goals. . . . D Garrett Sambrook, acquired from Brandon earlier in the week, was in the Broncos’ lineup. . . . After the game, the Broncos boarded their bus and headed west. They next are scheduled to play on Tuesday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Broncos will play all five B.C. Division teams on the trip, covering it in eight days. Interestingly, they will go Kamloops-Prince George-Kelowna, playing the last three games of the swing in five nights. Most teams on a B.C. Division trek play in Kelowna and Kamloops on back-to-back nights, then finish in Prince George two nights later.


F Brett Leason had a goal and an assist as the Prince Albert scored a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Leason’s goal, his seventh, broke a 1-1 tie five minutes into the third period. . . . He now is riding a 10-game point streak, with seven goals and 12 assists over that stretch. Last season, he had one goal in 12 games with the Tri-City Americans, then added 15 goals and 17 assists in 54 games after being dealt to the Raiders. . . . The Rebels had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games. . . . The Raiders (9-1-0) are to play in Saskatoon on Sunday afternoon. The Blades are 7-2-0 and have won four in a row.


F Daemon Hunt had two goals and an assist to help the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-3 MooseJawWarriorsvictory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs had points in their previous six games (4-0-2). They are 1-1-0 on their East Division trip. . . . The Warriors have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . Hunt, 16, is from Brandon. He was a first-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . Hunt’s first WHL goal gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 4:17 of the third period. His second goal broke a 3-3 tie at 11:49. . . . D Ty Smith scored twice for Spokane, his first goals this season. . . . The Warriors lost D Josh Brook to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane F Ethan McIndoe at 6:02 of the third period.


D Jake Lee had four assists — giving him seven in two games — as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . F Noah Philp had two goals and an assist for Seattle. Philp had never scored more than once in a game before scoring four times on Wednesday. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk had a goal and two assists for Seattle, and has points in all seven games this season. He’s got 15 points, including six goals. . . . Seattle is 3-0-1 in its past four games. . . . The Oil Kings went 0-5-0 in a five-game U.S. Division trip. Overall, they have lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . Edmonton D Conner McDonald played in his 200th regular-season game.


The Everett Silvertips scored five PP goals as they beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 7-2. . . . The Silvertips, who had a 57-20 edge in shots, held a 3-1 lead when Kamloops F Riley EverettAppelt was given a headshot major and game misconduct at 13:34 of the second period. Everett blew it open with three goals on the ensuing PP. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension. He won’t play Friday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos, and may be joined by Appelt and D Montana Onyebuchi on the sideline. Onyebuchi was given an interference minor, misconduct and game misconduct at 6:43 of the third period, and may be hearing from the WHL office. . . . F Riley Sutter (4) had two goals and an assist for Everett, with D Jake Christiansen drawing three assists. . . . Everett F Dawson Butt scored for a second straight game. He finished last season with one goal and two assists in 45 games. This season, he has three points, two of them goals, in five games. . . . The Blazers’ losing streak has reached seven (0-6-1) after they opened the season with two victories. . . . The Silvertips, who beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-3, on Friday, are scheduled to visit the Portland Winterhawks today, 5 p.m. That will be Everett’s third game in fewer than 48 hours; the Winterhawks haven’t played since dropping the visiting Oil Kings, 8-2, on Wednesday.


The Prince George Cougars scored three shootout goals and beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in PrinceGeorgeLethbridge. . . . D Cole Moberg (2) of the Cougars forced OT with a goal at 15:26 of the third period. . . . Prince George then outscored the hosts 3-2 in the shootout to snap a four-game losing skid. . . .  Moberg got the winner, breaking a 2-2 tie in the third round of the shootout. . . . G Isaiah DiLaura stopped 49 shots for the Cougars. . . . F Josh Curtis (3) had two goals and an assist for the visitors. . . . Prince George lost F Mike MacLean to a boarding major and game misconduct at 6:54 of the second period. . . . The Cougars, who lost 4-1 to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday, are to meet the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C., this afternoon for their third game in fewer than 48 hours.


F Ryan Jevne scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the host Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Goals from ex-Tigers F Jaeger White (3) and F Jakin Smallwood (1) had given the Ice a 3-2 lead midway through the third period. . . . The Tigers forced OT when F Ryan Chyowski (3) scored at 15:59. . . . F Tyler Preziuso drew three assists for Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice, which lost 3-2 to the visiting Regina Pats on Friday night, is at home to the Prince George Cougars this afternoon. That will be Kootenay’s third game in fewer than 48 hours.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Rockets, 5-4, in tri-cityKelowna. . . . F Riley Sawchuk (4) tied the game, 4-4, with his second goal of the game, at 14:35 of the third period, and F Isaac Johnson (5) snapped the tie, on a PP, just 27 seconds later. Johnson finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Rockets (2-9-0) are 0-6-0 on home ice. . . . Kelowna had beaten the Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday. . . . G Talyn Boyko stopped 24 shots in his first WHL start for the Americans. The 6-foot-6 Boyko, who is from Drumheller, Alta., will turn 16 on Nov. 16. Tri-City selected him in the third round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Michael Farren, acquired on Thursday from the Saskatoon Blades, was pointless in his debut with the Rockets.


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