F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) a signed one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the U of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and eight assists in 28 games. . . .
F Dominik Uher (Spokane, 2009-12) signed a two-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 48 games. . . .
F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). He had three goals and seven assists in 19 games. . . .
D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), he had two goals and 11 assists in 53 games. . . .
D Zack Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) signed a one-year two-way contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He had two goals and one assist in 21 games this season. He also was pointless in eight games with KRS Heilongjiang Harbin (China, Russia Vysshaya Liga).
Toigo says he will talk with assistant coach Dean Chynoweth about the gm job, Dean has been a gm before. Toigo admits he could go after a big name like Willie Desjardins but not likely. Scott Bonner is still held in high regard by Toigo.
The Vancouver Giants became the third B.C. Division team searching for a general manager when they revealed on Monday that Glen Hanlon is leaving after two seasons in that role. . . . The Prince George Cougars, who didn’t bring back Todd Harkins, and Kamloops Blazers, who dumped Stu MacGregor, also are looking to hire general managers. . . . According to a Giants news release, Hanlon “has decided to pursue other opportunities.” . . . Hanlon, 61, spent two seasons (2011-13) with the Giants as an assistant coach under Don Hay before spending a couple of seasons coaching in Belarus and Switzerland. . . . Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach, may be the leading candidate to replace Hanlon. Chynoweth, 49, spent five seasons (2004-09) as the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos. He just completed his first season with the Giants, working alongside head coach Jason McKee.
The Hamilton Bulldogs won the OHL championship on Sunday night. Here are a few paragraphs written earlier in the week by Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator:
When the Canadian Hockey League awarded the Memorial Cup to Regina, it cited the failings of FirstOntario Centre as the main reason why.
“At the end of the day, it was the facility that would not allow Hamilton to stay in the race,” CHL president David Branch said back then.
That may be true. Then again, the yellow-T-shirt-wearing, noise-making, atmosphere-creating, lower-bowl-filling crowd — which was 2,100 people bigger than will be at any of the Memorial Cup games at the Brandt Centre (capacity 6,500) — sure looked good and suggested the tournament really should’ve been here.
Not to mention the fact that Hamilton has a championship-calibre team that’s playing the country’s best outfit to a standstill right now. The host Regina Pats? They were eliminated from their playoffs 40 days ago.”
Here’s more from Radley:
Sure, most teams’ TV and radio announcers are homers to one degree or another. Many are employees of the team, so it’s hardly a surprise. Most keep it reasonably in check, however.
That said, is there any call in sports more finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard grating than Buck Martinez yelling “Get up, ball!” every time a Blue Jay hits a home run? It’s just one step short of running onto the field and hugging the guy as he rounds third base.
It seems that Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, didn’t give us all of the organization’s bad news when he announced the departure of four people from the front office on Thursday.
Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, reported Tuesday that the Blazers were told before the May 3 bantam draft that F Massimo Rizzo is “pursuing an NCAA scholarship and will not be coming to training camp in the fall.”
The Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall selection of the 2016 bantam draft. This season, Rizzo had 13 goals and 25 assists in 50 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He will be back with the Vees in 2018-19.
On Thursday, Gaglardi announced the departures of general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi.
The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers signed G Stuart Skinner of the Swift Current Broncos to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday. Skinner, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . He posted a record-tying six shutouts in helping the Broncos to the WHL championship.
So . . . if you’re Eli Manning, the New York Giants’ starting quarterback, what’s it like playing in Philadelphia?
“Philly, you just gotta get used to,” Manning tells Steiner Sports. “. . . because you’re not used to seeing a nine-year-old cursing at you and talking about my mom and stuff. Once you get used to it, it’s fine. It just takes a year or two. Now (15 years later) he’s 24 and training his four-year-old to curse at me.”
The Prince Albert Raiders have signed D Nolan Allan, the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Allan, from Davidson, Sask., had 12 goals and 32 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos.
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times notes that Kiyaunta Goodwin of Louisville, Ky., “is six-feet-seven, weighs 370 pounds, wears size-18 shoes, leg presses 1,000 pounds, bench presses 315, displays uncanny agility, likes art music and robotics, and has a football offer from Georgia in his pocket, according to Bleacher Report.” . . . Perry then adds: “Oh and did we mention that he’s only 14 years old and an eighth-grader?”
Seattle GM Russ Farwell on report that Sami Moilanen will play in Finland this coming season: “We’ve heard that rumor. We haven’t officially been told he is not coming back. It looks like he got a contract and he won’t be back.”
Sami Moilanen joins Tappara's Liiga team. A fast, energetic, gritty winger with very good speed and acceleration. Effective around the net, strong on his skates. Won WHL Championship with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2016-17 (https://t.co/vyKGlkeAoK) https://t.co/oQgDHOlUWs
It appears that F Sami Moilanen won’t be back with the Seattle Thunderbirds for what would have been his 19-year-old season. From Sipoo, Finland, Moilanen played two seasons with Seattle. He had 43 points, including 21 goals, in 70 games as a freshman, adding 16 points, seven of them goals, in 20 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. This season, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games as he was hampered by injuries. . . . Seattle’s second import, Russian F Nikita Malukhin, had five goals and four assists in 52 games as a freshman this season.
Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, is a hockey fan, and as he writes: “A difference between Canadian and U.S. hockey fans — at least Canadian fans can find Winnipeg on a map?”
“Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning should both do well with playoff ticket sales,” Hough notes. “As we get into mid- May, I’m guessing people in both cities will pay well for a chance to spend three hours inside out of 30-plus degree weather.”
“So the Leafs are bounced in the first round,” pens Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette, “the Raptors pull an epic choke after Drake makes an ass of himself, and the Jays get no-hit the night Stroman pitches. This Toronto 24/7 thing is entertaining.”
A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Reuters reports a Paris museum is offering special viewing hours to ‘naturists.’ Nudes taking in nudes? Busts before busts? Art-wise I’m not sure how to frame it.”
Currie, again: “The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey two days after he was named NBA coach of the year.It’s the fastest fall from grace for a Casey since the Mudville nine.”
Don Hay is many things . . . father . . . grandfather . . . runner . . . a man who works out regularly . . . proud Kamloopsian . . . an icon in the community . . .
One thing he isn’t is retired.
Oh, he may be done as the head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, but it’s obvious he doesn’t feel that his coaching career is done.
That became evident Friday morning as Hay read a prepared statement and then answered questions from the media vultures outside the Blazers’ dressing room.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the WHL franchise, had
announced that Hay had decided to retire. Gaglardi also said that once he learned of Hay’s decision — as incredible as it sounds, Gaglardi didn’t speak to Hay— the owners decided to move out general manager Stu MacGregor, lead assistant coach Mike Needham and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel, as well.
Hay completed the fourth season of his second stint as the Blazers’ head coach in March. His first stint, with the Blazers’ then undercommunity ownership, included a couple of Memorial Cup titles. His second stint, under private ownership headed up by Gaglardi, didn’t go nearly as well.
In fact, the Blazers experienced two first-round playoff exits and two non-playoff seasons during Hay’s most-recent stop. This season, they lost their first nine games and weren’t able to dig out of that hole.
Between the end of the season, during which Hay never once indicated that he was the least bit interested in retirement, and Gaglardi’s announcement, Hay spent a month as the head coach of the Canadian under-18 team that played in the IIHF World Championship in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia. Does that sound like something a career coach would do just before retiring?
Also, do you really think that Hay, who turned 64 on Feb. 13, wants to go out on the kind of season his team had in 2017-18?
No. No. No . . . just no to everything.
At one point on Friday, Hay was asked: “Do you think cleaning house is the right way to go?”
Hay replied: “I don’t know if that is a good question to ask somebody who just got let go, so, you know . . . who just made the decision to move or go to a different role.”
Whether that was a slip of the tongue or a look into what really went on, Hay, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any coach in WHL history, isn’t retired. OK?
What he is right now, more than anything, is confused. That is what showed through on Friday.
He appeared to be confused and hurt by the fact that his decision to walk away from the Blazers’ bench apparently resulted in ownership clearing out three other people.
It seems that Hay had conversations with Don Moores, the franchise’s president, COO and alternate governor. (Moores, once a shareholder in the community-owned team, spoke out against the sale of the franchise in 2006 and 2007, then joined the front office two summers ago.) Moores obviously reported to Gaglardi, one thing led to another, and Hay’s decision led to three other departures.
MacGregor is gone after having completed three seasons in his second turn as general manager. He replaced Craig Bonner six games into the 2015-16 season and now, like Bonner, has had a soft landing on the Dallas Stars’ scouting staff. The Stars, of course, are owned by Gaglardi.
The Blazers also dumped Needham, who had been on the coaching staff, in either a part-time or full-time role, since 2010. Needham — wink! wink! — has been told that he can apply for the head-coaching position or the assistant’s spot from which he was just deposed.
Recchi spent 10 seasons as the director of player personnel. He is the brother of Mark Recchi, who is one of the four ex-Blazers in Gaglardi’s ownership group, the others being Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Darryl Sydor.
Hay will remain with the Blazers as an advisor, which is the same thing they did with Guy Charron after his first go-round as head coach.
I would suggest that Hay likely saw some writing on the wall and chose to walk away from the Blazers’ bench. I’m sure he is aware that this is an ownership group that has been stumbling around like a thirsty man in the Serengeti for the better part of 11 years. I’m sure Hay knows that the Blazers haven’t drafted well and that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. At this stage of his career, he has to know that there are a lot of different places to coach if he wants to continue, and he does. He also knows that the ownership group’s dream of playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament is a pipe dream, so that didn’t figure in any partof his decision.
In an interview with Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, Gaglardi said: “I think we have failed in all three facets. We haven’t coached well enough, we haven’t drafted well enough and we haven’t managed well enough . . . and I guess by extension, we haven’t owned well enough.”
No, they haven’t owned well enough. Not even close. And this is on ownership. All of it. The whole mess.
This goes back to when these guys bought the franchise. In 11 seasons under this ownership group, the Blazers have missed the playoffs four teams and lost out in the first round on five occasions. They have been beaten in the second round once and made it to the Western Conference final once.
This ownership group has burned through eight head coaches, nine if you count both of Charron’s turns. Dean Clark, Greg Hawgood, Barry Smith, Scott Ferguson, Charron, Dave Hunchak, Mark Ferner, Charron (again), and Hay. Hawgood, Ferguson and Ferner were interim head coaches, signalling midseason coaching changes.
None of those coaches has moved to a higher level. At least five of them, including Hay, aren’t even coaching, at least not now.
There has been a distinct lack of excitement around the organization, which didn’t even hold a news conference when Hay returned to Kamloops after a 10-season run as head coach of the Vancouver Giants.
What must happen now is that these owners have to find a general manager who has no loyalties to anyone in the organization, and who is prepared to make like he is taking over an expansion franchise. Yes, it’s time to start over, to rebuild this organization from the ground up.
How sad are things in Kamloops, whose WHL franchise once was so successful that the city was known in hockey circles as Little Montreal?
Had you visited the Blazers’ website on Friday evening, more than 24 hours after Gaglardi announced the purge, you would have discovered that Don Hay is the team’s head coach, and Stu MacGregor is the general manager, and Mike Needham is an assistant coach, and Matt Recchi is the director of player personnel.
Embarrassing? Yes. Sad? For sure. But that seems to be the way of the Kamloops Blazers these days.
You may be aware that the CHL, which is celebrating 100 years of the Memorial Cup, has provided a site where you are able to learn about the first 99 championships.
If you haven’t already, click right here and give it a look. I guarantee that it will be well worth your time.
As part of this, the CHL ran a promotion aimed at selecting the Team of the Century. The other day, it revealed the four finalists — the 1995 Kamloops Blazers, 2000 Rimouski Oceanic, 2005 London Knights and 2013 Halifax Mooseheads.
For what it’s worth, my top four, in order, would be the 1969 Montreal Jr. Canadiens, 1974 Regina Pats, 1973 Toronto Marlboros and 1978 New Westminster Bruins.
To take it one step further, here are five Memorial Cup matchups I would pay to see, if only they were possible:
1969 Montreal Jr. Canadiens vs. 1978 New Westminster Bruins — With the likes of Guy Charron, Bobby Guindon, Norm Gratton, Rejean Houle, Bobby Lalonde, Richard Martin, Gilbert Perreault and Marc Tardif among the forwards on the roster, the Jr. Canadiens would be my selection as the Team of the Century. They swept the Regina Pats in the best-of-seven final in 1969, winning twice in the Montreal Forum and twice in Regina’s Exhibition Stadium. . . . Ernie (Punch) McLean’s Bruins won the 1977 Memorial Cup in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, beating the Ottawa 67’s, 6-5, in the final of the three-team round-robin tournament. The big, bad and burly Bruins’ roster included Barry Beck and Brad Maxwell on the back end and it would be a lot of fun watching McLean’s gang try to corral the Jr. Canadiens’ high-flying forwards.
1974 Regina Pats vs. 1973 Toronto Marlboros — The Pats were led by F Dennis Sobchuk, who was one of the all-time great junior players; F Clark Gillies, a true power forward who went on to a terrific career with the NHL’s New York Islanders; D Greg Joly, who was selected first overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1974 NHL draft; and G Ed Staniowski, who would be named the CHL’s player of the year the following season. The Pats’ head coach was Bob Turner, who as a defenceman had been part of five straight Stanley Cup winners with the Montreal Canadiens. . . . The Marlboros featured the Howe brothers, Mark and Marty, along with the likes of Paulin Bordeleau, Bruce Boudreau, Wayne Dillon, and goaltender Mike Palmateer. Toronto could score, as it proved in a 9-1 victory over the Quebec Remparts in the three-team tournament’s championship game. . . . The Pats were a high-powered squad with a lot of toughness and great goaltending. This would have been a terrific series.
1952 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters vs. 1983 Portland Winter Hawks — To those of a certain generation, the Mad Hatters’ roster contained a number of magical names, such as Andy Bathgate, Lou Fontinato, Aldo (Bep) Guidolin, Harry Howell, Bill McCreary, Ron Murphy, Dean Prentice and Ron Stewart. Ohh, the memories! Yes, they could score, witness a four-game sweep of the Regina Pats in a final in which the victors held a 30-8 edge in goals. . . . These Winter Hawks were the first American team to win the Memorial Cup. They lost the WHL final to the Lethbridge Broncos, but then became the first host team to win it all in what was the first four-team tournament. Featuring the likes of Randy Heath, Ken Yaremchuk, Grant Sasser, Cam Neely and Alfie Turcotte, the Winter Hawks could wheel and deal. . . . A seven-game series between these teams might produce seven 10-9 scores.
1989 Swift Current Broncos vs. 1995 Kamloops Blazers — The Broncos may have had the best power-play in the history of the junior game. Although they had tough guy Mark McFarlane on the bench, it was the PP that intimidated the opposition. With Dan Lambert, Darren Kruger and Bob Wilkie running it from the blue line, players like Kimbi Daniels, Peter Kasowski, Sheldon Kennedy, Brian Sakic, Peter Soberlak and Tim Tisdale, who has never had to buy lunch in Swift Current after he scored the OT goal in the championship game, wreaked havoc on opposing goaltenders. When you think about what some of these players went through, from a bus accident two years earlier that claimed the lives of four teammates to the sexual abuse heaped on some of them by Graham James, their coach, this championship is even more spectacular. . . . The Blazers were the host team for the four-team tournament, but went in through the front door as WHL champions. They then won the franchise’s third title in four-year period. This may have been the best of the three championship teams, boasting the likes of Nolan Baumgartner, Shane Doan, Hnat Domenichelli, Ryan Huska, Jason Holland, Jarome Iginla, Aaron Keller, Brad Lukowich, Tyson Nash, Darcy Tucker and Randy Petruk. They whipped the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, 8-2, in the final.
1985 Prince Albert Raiders vs. 1966 Edmonton Oil Kings — Under head coach Terry Simpson, the Raiders were one of those teams that could play it any which way the opposition wanted. They had Ken Baumgartner and Dave Manson to keep the other guys honest. Dan Hodgson, one of the junior game’s greatest talents, keyed the offence, with help from snipers Pat Elynuik, Tony Grenier, Ken Morrison and Dave Pasin, and defenceman Emanuel Viveiros. . . . The Oil Kings, meanwhile, were in the Memorial Cup final for a seventh straight season. Led by defenceman Al Hamilton, they beat Bobby Orr’s Oshawa Generals in a six-game final in Maple Leaf Gardens. Unfortunately, the talented defenceman didn’t play a lot thanks to a groin injury that he apparently suffered in practice a week before the final series. In those days, teams were allowed to add players from elsewhere, and the Oil Kings brought in Jim Harrison, Ted Hodgson and Ross Lonsberry from the Estevan Bruins, all of whom contributed to the championship.
There you have it, for whatever it’s worth. Discuss among yourselves.
Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, announced Thursday that his organization, in conjunction with the city, Tourism Kelowna and Prospera Place, officially is in the bidding to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.
The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004, when they won it all. That season, the Rockets, under head coach Marc Habscheid, lost a seven-game Western Conference final to the Kevin Constantine-coached Everett Silvertips, who were in their first WHL season. The Silvertips then were swept from the championship final by the Medicine Hat Tigers.
What makes the Rockets’ decision to enter the 2020 fray so interesting is that it means officials from three of the five B.C. Division teams say they are preparing bids for the 2020 tournament.
The Kamloops Blazers announced on Nov. 9 that they will be in the chase, while the Victoria Royals also are expected to bid.
In November, I asked Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, if his organization is interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup and he gave me a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”
Around the same time, Hope told the Victoria Times Colonist that “we intend to bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup.”
Victoria and Vancouver will be the host cities for the 2019 World Junior Championship, and Hope sees a link between a successful WJC and the 2020 Memorial Cup. You can bet that ticket sales from the WJC will be a big part of Victoria’s bid presentation.
Any one of the other 19 WHL teams has until June 1 to make an expression of interest. Those who are still interested will make their bid presentations at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. Following the presentations, the governors will vote and a host team/city will be revealed at the conclusion of the meeting.
At this early date, I would suggest that the Rockets are the favourites, for at least three reasons. Firstly, the 2004 tournament was a fabulous show and really raised the bar for future Memorial Cups. Second, the Rockets, with super scout Lorne Frey on staff, have a history of icing competitive teams. Third, Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, carries a lot of weight at the executive level.
The Royals could upset the applecart, though, because as nice as Kelowna is in May, who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of weeks in Victoria at that time of year? They also have a recent history of being competitive, and Hope showed in January that he isn’t afraid to roll the dice at the trade deadline. It didn’t work this time, with the injury bug perhaps playing a role, but he definitely showed a willingness to pull the trigger.
Kamloops is the underdog in this three-horse race, having missed the playoffs in two of the past four seasons, and having lost out in the first round in the other two. The Blazers are rebuilding, witness their January deal with Everett in which Kamloops dealt two veterans — F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala — for two roster players in F Orrin Centazzo and D Montana Onyebuchi, two 2002-born prospects and two 2019 bantam draft picks.
By Oct. 3, however, the 2018-19 season won’t be nearly far enough along to give the voting governors a handle on the bidding teams’ expected level of competitiveness for 2019-20. That means it will be up to each team to convince the governors with a thorough scouting report.
In the end, of course, it may come down to money, meaning the team that guarantees the largest profit — and we’re talking a few million Canadian dollars here — may win the bid.
That being the case, Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, could use some of his family money to guarantee the profit, a move that just might give Kamloops an edge.
The 2018 Memorial Cup is to be held in Regina, with the 2019 tournament in Halifax.
BTW, the Blazers revealed their 2018-19 season-ticket prices this week, with premium tickets going for $657, adult for $582, senior for $478, and youth/student for $403. The premium price is up $16 from last season, with the other three each having gone up by $15. . . . The WHL, of course, is reducing its regular-season schedule from 72 to 68 games, meaning that increase is for two fewer home games than in 2017-18.
The WHL has 22 teams. What might be the over-under for the number of teams to increase season-ticket prices?
The WHL’s conference finals began on Friday night, with the host Swift Current Broncos skating to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and the Everett Silvertips getting past the visiting Tri-City Americans, also 3-2. . . . Game 2 in each series will be played in the same venue tonight. . . . When this season began, who had those four teams in the conference finals? . . . In Swift Current, G Stuart Skinner stopped 38 shots and F Aleksi Heponiemi broke a 2-2 tie at 11:11 of the third period. In 29 career playoff games, he has one goal and 27 assists. . . . Artyom Minulin didn’t finish the game for the Broncos, but head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, the team’s radio voice, that the third-year Russian defenceman has “a touch of the flu.” . . . In Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 24 shots and F Garrett Pilon scored twice for the Silvertips. . . . F Morgan Geekie had one of the Americans’ goals, meaning he has at least one goal in each of the club’s nine playoff games this season. Tri-City went into the game with an 8-0 record in these playoffs. . . . Everett now has won five straight games.
Please note that final is singular, so it is the Western Conference final and the other series is the Eastern Conference final. The next round will be the WHL final. OK?
The SJHL final continued Friday night, with the Nipawin Hawks beating the visiting Estevan Bruins, 3-1, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven final for the Canalta Cup. They’ll play Game 6 in Estevan on Sunday. . . . The Bruins got the game’s first goal, from F Michael McChesney at 2:24 of the first period, but weren’t able to get another one past G Declan Hobbs. D Josh McDougall pulled the Hawks even at 10:17, and F Chad McCartney got what proved to be the winner at 1:33 of the second period. D Gage Misskey also scored for Nipawin, at 19:55 of the second. . . .
In the MJHL, the Steinbach Pistons hold a 3-2 lead over the Virden Oil Capitals, who are scheduled to play host to Game 6 tonight. The Oil Capitals won the first two games in the series, only to have the Pistons roar back with three straight victories, including 4-0 in Virden on Monday and 7-1 in Steinbach on Thursday. . . . The MJHL and SJHL winners will meet for the ANAVET Cup, with a berth in the Royal Bank Cup on the line. That tournament opens in Chilliwack, B.C., on May 12. . . .
In the BCHL, the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild wrapped up its first championship on Thursday, beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 3-0, to win the Fred Page Cup in front of 3,845 fans in the Toyota Town Center. The Wild is in its third season in the BCHL. Wenatchee is the first American team to win the BCHL title since the Bellingham Blazers in 1979. . . . The Wild next will face the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints, starting in Wenatchee with games on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The winner of that series will advance to the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack. . . . The Saints won the AJHL title on Friday, beating the host Okotoks Oilers, 3-2, to take the Inter Pipeline Cup final, 4-1.
If you’re wondering how Wenatchee and Spruce Grove will handle the travel, here’s an excerpt from an AJHL news release:
“If one team sweeps the first two games (in Wenatchee), the remainder of the series will be played in Spruce Grove. If the teams split the opening two games, Game 3 will be played in Wenatchee before the series switches to Spruce Grove for the remainder of the series.”
Assistant coach Ian Herbers’ three-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers is soon to expire. He took a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears — he had been their head coach — to sign with the Oilers. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports right here that Herbers, should his deal with the Oilers not be renewed, could be headed back to the Golden Bears. . . . Matheson also reports that Serge Lajoie, who replaced Herbers at the U of A, “has interviewed for the vacant (head-coaching) job with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, which sounds like he’s being proactive (in case) Herbers moves back to the Bears.” . . . The Blades are looking for a head coach after firing Dean Brockman at the end of the regular season.
USA Hockey announced Friday that David Quinn will be head coach of its junior team that will play in the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . Quinn just completed his fourth season as the head coach of the Boston University Terriers. . . . Quinn’s assistant coaches with Team USA will be Mike Hastings of Minnesota State-Mankato, David Lassonde of Dartmouth and Steve Miller of Ohio State.
The Delta Hockey Academy has added a pair of former WHLers to its coaching staff. Milan Dragicevic takes over the Bantam Prep White team, while Rick Lanz will coach the U15 team. . . . Dragicevic played with the Regina Pats, New Westminster Bruins, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Cougars (1986-90), and later spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Americans and two (2000-02) as the Vancouver Giants’ head coach. He also spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . Lanz was on the Americans’ coaching staff for one season (1997-98).
If you’re young and thinking about a career as a play-by-play man, the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks may have a spot for you. They are looking for someone to handle play-by-play and to manage their social media accounts. . . . There’s more right here.
You see it before NHL games — a player seated on a bench cracks open a small packet, waves it under his nose and grimaces, and you know he’s ready. But what is that all about, and is it performance-enhancing? . . . The incomparable Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail checks it out in an entertaining read that is right here.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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 Tigers 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). . . . Regina (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 make 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 last 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 finished 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). . . . Edmonton (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.
Philp left the game in the third period with an apparent injury. O'Dette said he came out of the game as a precaution.
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 Conference’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 its 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 finish 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) finished 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. . . . Victoria (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
F Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. They selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Steenbergen, who turned 20 on Jan. 7, is from Red Deer. The Broncos selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he put up 41 goals and 39 assists in 72 games. He has followed that up with 44 goals and 54 assists in 51 games this season. . . . Steenbergen also scored the winning goal with 1:40 left in the third period as Canada won the 2018 World Junior Championship with a 2-1 victory over Sweden in Buffalo on Jan. 5.
The Regina Pats have signed F Carter Massier and G Matthew Pesenti, both 16, to WHL contracts. . . . Massier, from Peace River, Alta., is a list player who played for the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm, putting up 20 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. . . . Pesenti, also a list player, will turn 17 on Saturday. He was 9-14-0, 3.35, .900 with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. Pesenti was on the Pats’ bench in Medicine Hat on Tuesday night backing up Max Paddock with Ryan Kubic injured.
JUST NOTES . . .
G Rayce Ramsay, who turned 17 on Jan. 3, is practising with the Kamloops Blazers this week. A list player from Saskatoon, he was 15-14-0, 2.83, .910 with the midge AAA Saskatoon Contacts this season. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels have added F Zak Smith, 16, to their roster. This season, he had 22 points, including 11 goals, in 46 games with the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. . . . Smith, from Austin, Man., played in six games with the Rebels earlier in the season.
The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder is looking for a head coach after Ryan Rechner posted on Twitter on Monday night that “I regret to inform you I’ve resigned effective immediately.” . . . According to Laine Mitchell of rdnewsnow.com, “There have been five Thunder coaches leave the team since the 2015-16 season.” . . . Rechner took over from Kyle Adams as head coach in November after the Thunder started the season with three wins in 21 games. . . . The Thunder went on to finish 17-40-3. . . . Jason Nicholetts, the team’s director of player development, also has resigned. He also tweeted on Monday night, saying that “I have chosen to resign my position with the organization effective immediately.” . . . There also is speculation that general manager Joey Bouchard also is leaving. However, Mitchell reported that Monte Waronek, the franchise’s president and governor, “was unable to confirm if he was or not.” . . . On Tuesday afternoon, head scout Travis Gibson revealed that he, too, had resigned.
At Brandon, F Ty Lewis and F Stelio Mattheos joined the 40-goal club and G Logan Thompson put up the shutout as the Wheat Kings dumped the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-0. . . . Brandon (35-26-5) is fourth in the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Lethbridge (32-27-6) has lost two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes have two games in hand. . . . Mattheos opened the scoring, on a PP, at 6:45 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (12) upped it to 2-0 at 14:14, and Lewis made it 3-0 at 19:33. . . . Mattheos got his 40th goal, on a PP, at 3:35 of the second period, with Lewis getting No. 41, on another PP, at 16:41. . . . D Chase Hartje (3) scored Brandon’s last goal, at 16:42 of the third period. . . . Lewis also had two assists for a four-point night, while Mattheos added one helper. . . . The Wheat Kings also got two assists from each of F Rylan Bettens, F Linden McCorrister and F Cole Reinhardt. . . . Brandon was 3-6 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-8. . . . Thompson stopped 32 shots in recording his third shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. . . . Lethbridge starter Logan Flodell was beaten three times on nine shots in the first period. Reece Klassen played the final 40 minutes, giving up three goals on 24 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,312.
At Saskatoon, the Blades gave up a 3-0 lead before coming back to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 6-5. . . . Saskatoon (32-31-3) had lost its previous four games. It is two points behind Prince Albert, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Raiders have a game in hand. . . . Edmonton (19-39-8) has lost two in a row. . . . The Blades got that 3-0 lead on goals from F Michael Darren (9), on a PP, at 6:17 of the first period; F Eric Florchuk (15), on another PP, at 15:00; and D Dawson Davidson (10), who also had three assists, at 0:56 of the second period. . . . Edmonton tied it by scoring three times in 3:37 in the second period. . . . F Kobe Mohr (11) got it started at 5:36. F Carter Souch (4) got the visitors to within a goal, on a PP, at 6:59. F Brett Kemp (15) tied it at 9:13. . . . However, the Blades scored twice before the period ended, with F Max Gerlach (28) counting, on a PP, at 15:37, and F Josh Paterson getting his 39th at 17:44. . . . D Conner McDonald (7) scored for Edmonton at 9:54 of the third period, but Saskatoon F Braylon Shmyr (35) got that one back, on another PP, at 12:39. . . . F Colton Kehler (28) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:43. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Kirby Dach, two from Gerlach, and one each from Shmyr and Farren. . . . Soustal had two assists for Edmonton, giving him 100 for his career, and Kemp had one. . . . Saskatoon was 4-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-5. . . . The Blades got 26 stops from G Nolan Maier. . . . G Boston Bilous stopped 30 shots for Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 3,379.
I wonder if the @WHLPats are doing that hat contest again tonight for the first goal. I know a guy who's due … 🤫
At Medicine Hat, the Regina Pats scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Tigers, 6-3. . . . Regina (36-25-6) has won three in a row. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Medicine Hat (34-25-8) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It leads the Central Division, by six points over Lethbridge. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (12) opened the scoring for Regina at 2:05 of the first period. If you’re wondering, the Pats had 89 entrants in their contest and each person is eligible for a cap. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Tyler Preziuso (14), at 7:00, and F Henry Rybinski (3) just 56 seconds later. . . . F Koby Morrisseau pulled Regina even at 19:45. . . . F Emil Oksanen (16) gave Regina a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 4:12 of the second period. . . . F Mark Rassell (49) tied it again at 17:43. . . . Regina won it with three late third-period goals, from D Libor Hajek (12), on a PP, at 15:17; Morrisseau (5), at 15:52; and D Josh Mahura (22), on a PP, at 17:18. . . . Gabrielle, Oksanen, Mahura and Hajek each had an assist for Regina. . . . The Pats were 3-3 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-2. . . . G Max Paddock earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 23 shots for Medicine Hat. . . . Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Pats, called his 500th WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 2,878.
At Prince George, F Ty Kolle broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Cougars, 4-3. . . . Portland (41-20-5) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind Everett. . . . Prince George (23-35-8) has lost two in a row. . . . The visitors got out to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (23), at 13:53 of the first period, and F Reece Newkirk (7), at 19:03. . . . The Cougars got even on two quick second-period goals from F Josh Maser (27), at 17:13, and F Ethan Browne (1), at 17:31. . . . F Skyler McKenzie (42) gave the Winterhawks a 3-2 lead at 2:19 of the third period. . . . The Cougars tied it at 3:10 when former Portland F Ilijah Colina (11) scored. . . . Kolle won it with his seventh goal of the season, at 16:53. . . . D Dennis Cholowski, who was acquired from the Cougars in January, had two assists for Portland and was named the game’s first star. . . . Browne added an assist to his first WHL goal for the Cougars. . . . Each team was 0-3 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks got 20 stops from G Cole Kehler. . . . G Taylor Gauthier made 39 saves for the Cougars. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 2,278.
At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first four goals and then hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Seattle (31-25-10) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, nine points ahead of Kamloops, which has five games remaining. Seattle also is fifth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Tri-City. . . . Tri-City (32-24-9) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . D Austin Strand (21) scored Seattle’s first goal, at 5:19 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (31) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 4:31 of the second period, and F Nolan Volcan (30) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 9:15. . . . F Matthew Wedman (16) scored Seattle’s fourth goal at 1:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City’s first goal came from F Morgan Geekie (26), on a PP, at 5:25. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (25) got the Americans to within two goals, on a PP, at 6:19, and F Sasha Mutala (9) made it a one-goal game at 15:31. . . . Volcan added an assist to his goal. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of F Jordan Topping and D Dylan Coghlan. . . . Tri-City was 2-5 on the PP; Seattle was 2-7. . . . Seattle got a big game from G Liam Hughes, who made 40 saves. . . . G Patrick Tea stopped 29 shots for the Americans. . . . Announced attendance: 4,353.
At Victoria, the Royals broke a 3-3 tie with four third-period goals and beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . Victoria (37-24-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna, which has a game in hand. . . . Spokane (38-22-5) had a five-game winning streak snapped. It is third in the U. S. Division, six points behind Portland and eight ahead of Tri-City. . . . The Royals scored the only goals of the first period, from F Braydon Buziak (5), at 3:14, and F Dante Hannoun (23), on a PP, at 6:54. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (28) got Spokane’s first goal, at 11:48 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (28) restored Victoria’s two-goal edge at 16:08. . . . The Chiefs pulled even on goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (36), at 19:39 of the second, and F Kailer Yamamoto (20), at 4:22 of the third period. . . . D Scott Walford gave Victoria a 4-3 lead at 4:46, and F Matthew Phillips (45) added insurance, on a PP, at 10:05. . . . The Royals got an empty-netter from F Tanner Kaspick (23), at 17:29. . . . F Jeff de Wit (11) finished the scoring at 18:48. . . . De Wit, who also had an assist, was playing in his first game since Feb. 7. . . . Kaspick and F Tanner Soy had two assists each for the winners, with Phillips, Hannoun and Gregor adding one each. . . . Yamamoto and Anderson-Dolan each had an assist for Spokane. . . . Victoria was 2-5 on the PP; Spokane was 0-4. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals. In the process, he took over top spot on the franchise list for career victories. He now has 85, one more than Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). . . . The Chiefs got 16 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . They’ll do it all over again tonight in Victoria. . . . Announced attendance: 3,651.
WEDNESDAY (all times local):
Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Portland at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Brendan Leipsic 2 goals tonight incl winner, one assist in Vancouver. Wonder if he too puts ketchup in his spaghetti like his old pal @TeemuSel8nne here in old pic with him in Winnipeg. pic.twitter.com/ihUhTN3bYy
The WHL came under fire from two former players who appeared in front of Oregon’s Senate Committee on Workforce on Tuesday, reports TSN’s Rick Westhead. The Portland Winterhawks are seeking an exemption from the state’s minimum wage legislation. At a hearing on that subject, former WHL players Tyler Maxwell and James McEwan argued, according to Westhead, that “the WHL is a professional league and its teams are for-profit businesses.” . . . Maxwell played four seasons (2008-12) in the WHL, the first three-plus with the Everett Silvertips and the last 47 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Maxwell, Westhead wrote, told the committee “that he was given excellent school grades in exchange for autographed pucks, and was refused an X-ray for days and forced to play in games after breaking a kneecap.” . . . Maxwell said he played with the injury for seven games. “I was still scoring so they didn’t care what shape I was in,” he said. . . . As for McEwan, according to Westhead, he testified “that he has navigated bankruptcy and battled depression without the support of his former teams or the WHL.” McEwan played two seasons each with the Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds, fighting at least 72 times over four seasons (2004-08). . . . Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, informed the Oregon State Senate via letter that it is reviewing “the statements with the WHL clubs concerned.”
Other than a 20-minute delay at one point, the Vancouver Giants made it over the Coquihalla Highway to Kamloops in good shape on Friday.
But shortly after they arrived at the Sandman Centre, the Highway from Hell was shut down in both directions due to an accident.
Then, early in the first period of the Giants’ game with the Blazers, came word that the highway likely wouldn’t be open again until at least midnight.
During the warmup and the early minutes of the first period, Derek Holloway, the Giants’ bus driver, was glued to his phone and also getting highway updates from a friendly blogger seated next to him. Holloway also was in close contact with Giants general manager Glen Hanlon, who hadn’t travelled with the team.
The highway has been closed on numerous occasions of late due to accidents, and upon hearing that it wasn’t likely to reopen before midnight, Hanlon quickly gave Holloway the OK to park the bus and for the Giants to spend the night in a hotel.
The Giants and Blazers will both be on the Coquihalla today, though, as they are scheduled to play in Langley tonight.
F Liam Stewart, who played four seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, has had his 2017-18 ended by a concussion. The 23-year-old Stewart, who has been playing for the Guildford Flames of the Elite Ice Hockey League, had been sidelined for almost two months due to the brain injury. He posted on Twitter that he “tried coming back against Sheffield but the symptoms came right back.” . . . The result, he wrote, is that “I’ve decided to do what’s best for my health and well-being and hang up my skates for the rest of the season.” . . . He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games with the Flames. . . . Stewart’s decision means that he won’t be playing for Great Britain at the IIHF World Chamionship, Division 1 Group A, in Budapest, Hungary, April 22-28.
Stan Butler, the head coach of the North Bay Battalion, joined the OHL’s 700-victory club on Friday with a 2-1 victory over the host Mississauga Steelheads. . . . Butler has 630 victories with the Battalion (Brampton and North Bay) and 70 with the Oshawa Generals. He also spent one season in the WHL, with the Prince George Cougars, winning 28 games in 1996-97.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Regina at Medicine Hat
Brandon at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
At Swift Current, the Prince Albert Raiders scored twice in a shootout to beat the Broncos, 5-4. . . . Prince Albert (28-25-11) has won five straight and now holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Swift Current (45-14-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . The Broncos actually led this one 4-1 midway through the second period. . . . The home side took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kaden Elder (14), on a PP, at 3:49, and F Giorgio Estephan, at 14:45. . . . D Sergio Sapego (3) got the visitors on the scoreboard at 4:07 of the second period. . . . The Broncos took a 4-1 lead right after that, on goals from F Matteo Gennaro (39), at 5:38, and Estephan (30) at 6:52. . . . D Brayden Pachal (5) cut the Prince Albert deficit to a pair at 13:36. . . . The Raiders tied it on third-period goals from D Vojtech Budik (12), on a PP, at 16:29, and F Jordy Stallard (41), at 18:54, with the extra attacker on the ice. . . . Gennaro scored in the shootout to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead, but the Raiders won it on goals from F Regan Nagy and F Parker Kelly. . . . Stallard added two assists to his goal for the Raiders, with F Cole Fonstad also getting two assists and Sapego one. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos, with Gennaro getting one. . . . Prince Albert was 2-6 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-5. . . . G Ian Scott started for the Raiders, but he left after giving up three goals on 13 shots in 25:38. Curtis Meger finished up by stopping 22 of 23 shots in 38:21. . . . G Stuart Skinner made 34 saves for the Broncos. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.
At Saskatoon, F Jake Elmer scored the game’s last two goals as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Blades, 5-3. . . . Lethbridge (32-25-6) has won three straight. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (31-30-3) has lost three in a row. It is two points from a playoff spot. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (34) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 9:58 of the first period. . . . F Taylor Ross, who now has 20 goals, scored two second-period goals, at 0:49 and 2:11, to give Lethbridge a 2-1 edge. . . . F Bradly Goethals (15) got Saskatoon back even at 9:42. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (44) scored shorthanded at 7:32 of the third period to put the Hurricanes ahead. . . . F Eric Florchuk (14) got the Blades back into a tie at 10:26. . . . Elmer snapped the tie at 14:11, then added an empty-netter at 18:51. He now has 17 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from D Calen Addison, with Elmer and Bellerive adding one each. . . . Goethals added an assist to his goal. . . . Lethbridge was 1-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-6. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 43 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades got 27 stops from G Nolan Maier. . . . D Dawson Davidson was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after a brief absence. . . . Announced attendance: 3,988.
At Brandon, F Ty Lewis scored three times to lead the Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Brandon (34-25-5) moved into third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Moose Jaw (47-14-3) leads the overall standings, by one point over Swift Current. . . . Lewis opened the scoring, on a PP, at 7:48 of the first period. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (38), who assisted on that first goal, made it 2-0 at 11:33. . . . Lewis added his second goal at 14:51. . . . F Barrett Sheen (5) scored for Moose Jaw at 15:30 of the first and F Justin Almeida (37) got the visitors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:35 of the third. . . . Lewis completed his hat trick at 12:49. He’s got 39 goals. He also has seven goals over his past three games. . . . Brandon was 1-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Logan Thompson was outstanding for Brandon, with 41 saves. . . . G Brody Willms was beaten twice on six shots in 11:33, before he was replaced by Adam Evanoff, who went 46:39 and turned aside 13 of 15 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,656.
At Edmonton, F Colton Kehler scored 18 seconds into OT to give the Oil Kings a 4-3 victor over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (19-37-8) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It is last in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (19-35-9) has lost four straight (0-2-2). . . . Calgary led this one 3-0 in the second period. . . . F Zach Huber (1) got it started at 11:16 of the first period. The Hitmen then got second-period goals from F Jake Kryski (15), at 1:20, and F Jakob Stukel (32), at 4:25. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky (28) got the comeback started, shorthanded, at 9:09 of the second. . . . F Kobe Mohr (9) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal, on a PP, at 2:17 of the third period. . . . F Tomas Soustal (18) tied it at 19:25. . . . Kehler won it on a PP with his 27th goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen had a chance to go ahead 4-2 at 18:56 of the third period when F Luke Coleman was awarded a penalty. But he wasn’t able to score. . . . Edmonton was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 stops from G Josh Dechaine. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 25 shots for Calgary. . . . Earlier in the day, the Oil Kings announced that they have added F Jake Neighbours to their roster for the remainder of the season, but he was a scratch from this one. From Airdrie, Alta., he was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he had 26 goals and 31 assists in 33 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. In three earlier games with the Oil Kings, he had one assist. . . . Announced attendance: 10,431.
At Red Deer, F Mason McCarty scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Rebels a 5-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Red Deer (24-28-13) had won three in a row. It is third in the Central Division and now leads Kootenay (25-37-4) by seven points. The Ice, with six games left, has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . Red Deer took a 1-0 lead when F Alex Morozoff (6) scored, on a PP, at 8:30 of the first period. . . . F Colton Kroeker (13) tied it at 10:59. . . . Red Deer took a 3-1 lead on second-period goals from McCarty (35), at 3:52, and F Reese Johnson (21), at 14:16. . . . The Ice tied it as F Michael King (8) scored at 16:23 of the second and F Colton Veloso (24) found the range any 15:29 of the third. . . . F Chris Douglas (9) put Red Deer out front, 4-3, at 16:43, only to have F Brett Davis (24) pull Kootenay even at 19:02. . . . The Rebels got two assists from F Brandon Hagel and one from McCarty. . . . F Peyton Krebs had two assists for the Ice. . . . Red Deer was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-2. . . . G Riley Lamb recorded the victory with 27 saves. . . . Kootenay got 13 stops from Matt Berlin. . . . Red Deer was credited with two shots in the third period and three in OT. . . . The Rebels were without D Alex Alexeyev (hand), who left in the third period of their previous game and didn’t return. He could be gone for up to six weeks. . . . Announced attendance: 4,324.
At Kamloops, F Luc Smith scored twice to help the Blazers to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (29-32-5) has won two in a row but remains six points from a playoff spot. . . . Vancouver (32-22-9) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . F Ryley Appelt (4) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period, and F Connor Zary; (8) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 5:42 of the second period. . . . Smith upped it to 3-0 at 0:40 of the third period. . . . Vancouver got its goal from F Ty Ronning(55) at 7:34. . . . Smith (19) scored at 13:05 of the third, and D Brady Reagan (2) closed it out at 15:07. . . . F Jermaine Loewen had two assists for the winners, and Smith and Reagan each added one. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Blazers got 30 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who was sharp again. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots at the other end. . . . Kamloops continues to play without D Luke Zazula, whose return this season is in doubt. They also scratched D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . The Giants continue to play without D Dylan Plouffe, F Owen Hardy and F Milos Roman. . . . Announced attendance: 3,479.
At Portland, F Zack Andrusiak, who had two goals and two assists in regulation time, scored a shootout goal that gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (30-24-9) has won two in a row to remain six points ahead of Kamloops in the chase for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Thunderbirds hold three games in hand. . . . Portland (38-20-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of Spokane. . . . Andrusiak gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 14:27 of the first period, but Portland F Ty Kolle (6) tied it at 17:17. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead with the only goals of the second period, from Andrusiak (29), at 2:13, and F Donovan Neuls (21), at 8:19. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 4-3 third-period leads on goals from F Cody Glass (31), on a PP, at 9:47; F Joachim Blichfeld (22), at 9:53; and F Ryan Hughes (15), at 12:31. . . . Seattle forced OT when F Noah Philp (13) scored at 15:58. . . . Andrusiak and Philp scored shootout goals for Seattle, with Glass scoring for Portland. . . . Philp also had two assists, with Neuls getting one. . . . Philp has 45 points, including 13 goals, in 63 games with Seattle this season. In 132 games with Kootenay, prior to this season, he had 41 points, 14 of them goals. . . . Andrusiak has 63 points, including 29 goals, in 63 games. He went into this season with six goals and five assists in 67 games — 52 with Seattle, eight with Prince Albert and seven with Tri-City. . . . Portland got two assists from D Henri Jokiharju and one from Glass. . . . The Winterhawks were 1-1 on the PP; Seattle was 0-3. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 36 shots through OT for Seattle. . . . The Winterhawks got 29 saves from G Cole Kehler. He started after watching G Shane Farkas go the distance in the previous three games. . . . Seattle had F Sami Moilanen back in the lineup after a 14-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 6,124.
At Prince George, D Ryan Schoettler’s goal in OT gave the Cougars a 2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (23-33-8) has won three straight games. . . . Victoria (35-24-6) has lost four in a row (0-3-1), but the loser point was enough for it to clinch a playoff spot for the seventh consecutive season — or each season since the franchise relocated from Chilliwack. It is second in the B.C. Division, six points behind Kelowna. . . . Prince George D Joel Lakusta (8) scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 5:00 of the third period. . . . Victoria tied it at 8:07 when F Noah Gregor scored his 26th goal, on a PP. . . . Schoettler won it with his seventh goal of the season, at 4:04 of extra time. . . . Victoria had F Tyler Soy and F Matthew Phillips back in the lineup, after both sat out Wednesday’s 5-1 loss in Kamloops. . . . Phillips drew an assist on Gregor’s goal, giving him 101 points this season. That ties the Chilliwack/Victoria franchise record that was set by F Mark Santorelli in 2007-08. . . . Victoria was 1-4 on the PP; Prince George was 1-9. . . . The Cougars got 32 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . At the other end, G Griffen Outhouse, who also sat out the game in Kamloops, stopped 36 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,035.
At Kennewick, Wash., F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s goal in OT gave the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (37-21-5) has won four in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, six points ahead of Tri-City. . . . Tri-City (32-22-9) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . Spokane jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ethan McIndoe (21), on a PP, at 9:03 of the first period. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk (4) upped it to 2-0 just 36 seconds later. . . . The Americans scored the next three goals, with F Jordan Topping (36) counting at 12:29, F Morgan Geekie (24) scoring at 19:10, and D Dylan Coghlan (17) adding the third goal at 5:00 of the second period. . . . The Chiefs tied it on D Filip Kral’s seventh goal, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Tri-City F Morgan Geekie (25) gave his guys the lead 50 seconds into the third period. . . . Spokane F Jake McGrew (17) tied it at 5:35. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 35th goal at 3:51 of OT. . . . D Nolan Reid and F Hudson Elynuik each had two assists for the Chiefs, with Anderson-Dolan adding one. . . . Topping added an assist to his goal. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 36 shots for the Chiefs, three more than Tai-City’s Patrick Dea. . . . Announced attendance: 4,345.
At Everett, the Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Everett (42-18-5) leads the Western Conference standings, by seven points over Kelowna. . . . Kelowna (38-21-6) has lost three in a row. . . . The Rockets led 2-0 on goals from F Carsen Twarynski (39), at 12:51 of the first period, and F Kole Lind (36), at 5:17 of the second. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (32) scored Everett’s first goal at 18:41. . . . The Silvertips tied it on F Patrick Bajkov’s 29th goal at 11:39 of the third period. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar broke the tie at 16:51, then added insurance with his 34th goal, on a PP, at 19:11. . . . F Garrett Pilon drew two assists for Everett, with Fonteyne getting one. . . . Bajkov’s goal was the 108th of his career and gave him the franchise record. That’s one more than F Tyler Maxwell scored with Everett. . . . The Silvertips were 1-4 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-1. . . . G Carter Hart recorded a 22-save victory. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 36 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 5,778.
SATURDAY (all times local):
Saskatoon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Regina at Calgary,7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kamloops vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.
Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY
We just wanted to say thank you to the BCHL teams that have reached out and to everyone that has reached out to help the 3 players and the Culbertson family! Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!