Humboldt mourns loss of legend . . . Goaltenders shine in WHL games . . . Broncos win second OT in row


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SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

G Ethan Anders stopped 34 shots to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 1-0 victory over Red Deerthe Calgary Hitmen in an afternoon affair. . . . Red Deer (11-4-1) has won three in a row. . . . Calgary (5-10-2) is 0-3-1 against Red Deer this season, having lost three of those games by one goal. . . . Anders was especially busy in the third period when the Hitmen, helped by three straight PP opportunities, held a 16-1 edge in shots. He has one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Jeff de Wit (10) scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 17:34 of the first period, redirecting a point shot by D Dawson Barteaux past G Jack McNaughton. . . . D Alex Alexeyev had an assist to run his point streak to seven games. He has four goals and seven assists over that stretch. For the season, he has 21 points, 14 of them assists, in 16 games. Alexeyev is the only WHLer on the Russian roster for the first two games of the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Kamloops and Langley, B.C., on Monday and Tuesday nights. . . . G Cam Ward of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played with Red Deer, was in the Saddledome and stopped by to see the Rebels before the game. The Blackhawks played the host Flames last night.


F Keenan Taphorn scored two goals to help his new team, the host Moose Jaw Warriors, MooseJawWarriorsbeat his old team, the Kootenay Ice, 5-1. . . . The Warriors improved to 7-5-3. . . . The Ice (6-9-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Taphorn’s fourth goal, at 7:14 of the second period, gave the home team a 2-0 lead, and his fifth goal of the season, on a PP, handed Moose Jaw a 4-1 edge. . . . This was the first matchup between these teams since a mid-October trade in which F Nick Bowman joined the Ice and twins Kaeden and Keenan Taphorm moved to the Warriors. Kaeden, however, is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Warriors had a 43-18 edge in shots, including 21-7 in the second period and 14-4 in the third. . . . Warriors D Josh Brook had two assists. He’s got 15 points, including 10 assists, in 12 games.


The Regina Pats scored the game’s last two goals and beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, Pats6-5. . . . The Pats improved to 5-12-0, while the Blades slipped to 10-7-2. Saskatoon was 1-2-0 in playing three games in as many nights. . . . The Blades erased a 4-2 deficit and took a 5-4 lead with three second-period goals in a span of 3:14, the scores coming from D Seth Bafaro (1), F Max Gerlach (12) and F Chase Wouters (2). The latter two came via the PP. . . . The Pats tied it when F Jake Leschyshyn (9) scored at 9:03 of the third period, and F Nick Henry (8) won it, on a PP, at 15:48. . . . The Pats were 2-for-2 on the PP; the Blades were 3-for-6. . . . D Aaron Hyman had three assists for Regina, with Leschyshyn and Henry each scoring twice and adding an assist. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Kirby Dach. . . . Regina F Scott Mahovlich was awarded a penalty shot at 12:27 of the third period, with the score 5-5, but wasn’t able to beat G Dorrin Luding. . . . Gerlach scored twice for Saskatoon, giving him 198 career regular-season points, including 111 goals. . . . The Pats had F Logan Nijhoff back for a second straight game after he recovered from a concussion, but F Korby Morrisseau (concussion) and F Robbie Holmes (knee) remain out. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and his post is right here.


F Andrew Fyten, playing in his 200th regular-season game, scored in OT to give the Swift SCBroncosCurrent Broncos a 4-3 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (3-14-1) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They have won two OT games in as many nights. Their other victory came in a shootout. . . . The Oil Kings (10-7-2) have points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Fyten’s fourth goal of the season came 41 seconds into OT. He was playing in his 45th game with the Broncos, after spending 155 with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (7) gave Swift Current a 3-1 lead at 17:53 of the second period. . . . F Brett Kemp (11) pulled Edmonton to within a goal at 19:26, and D Matthew Robertson (2) tied it at 6:18 of the third. . . . Swift Current was outshot, 45-20, including 21-2 in the third period. . . . The Broncos got 42 saves from G Isaac Poulter, who recorded his first WHL victory. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky had three assists for the Oil Kings. In his last three games, he’s got one goal and 10 assists. He has at least a point in seven straight games and has moved into a tie for the WHL scoring lead. Fix-Wolansky and F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who had the night off, are tied, with 39 points. Fix-Wolansky has a WHL-leading 28 assists.


F Nolan Foote and F Kyle Topping scored third-period PP goals to give the host Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rockets (7-10-0) are 3-0-0 under new head coach Adam Foote and have won five of six. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-4-5) went 2-3-2 on a seven-game road swing. That includes a 2-2-1 record in the B.C.Division. . . . Brandon, which was 3-for-6 on the PP, went ahead 3-2 when D Braden Schneider (3) scored at 11:55 of the second period. . . . Foote (10) tied it with his second goal of the game, at 3:46 of the third. . . . Brandon lost F Connor Gutenberg to a charging major and game misconduct at 15:57, and Topping broke the 3-3 tie with his seventh goal at 18:50. . . . F Luka Burzan (11) scored Brandon’s first two goals.


G Shane Farkas stopped 34 shots to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 2-1 victory over Portlandthe visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Winterhawks, who had beaten the Royals 7-3 in Portland on Friday, are 9-6-1. . . . The Royals now are 9-5-0. . . . The Winterhawks took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Cross Hanas (2), at 2:10, and F Joachim Blichfeld (12), on a PP, at 8:46. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (3) got Victoria’s goal, on a PP, at 5:31 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 36 shots for Victoria. . . . F Cody Glass had two assists for Portland. He’s got 29 points, including 23 assists, in 14 games. . . . The Royals, already without F Dante Hannoun due to an undisclosed injury,  scratched F Kaid Oliver and D Ralph Jarratt, both of whom played on Friday. . . . F Ryan Hughes of the Winterhawks left in the first period after absorbing a hard hit. He didn’t return.


G Taylor Gauthier stopped 37 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 2-0 victor over PrinceGeorgethe visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (7-7-3) had beaten the Thunderbirds, 4-1, on Friday night. . . . Seattle (7-6-2) has lost three in a row. . . . D Cole Moberg (5) opened the scoring at 6:19 of the first period, and F Jackson Leppard (4) added insurance, on a PP, at 6:57 of the second. . . . Gauthier was especially sharp in the third period when his guys were outshot 17-5. That was his first career shutout and came in his 45th appearance, 13 of them this season. He is 5-5-2, 2.90, .909 this season.


The visiting Everett Silvertips opened up a 5-0 second-period lead and cruised to a 6-2 Everettvictory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett now is 11-6-0. . . . The Chiefs are 8-5-3. . . . The Silvertips scored only two goals on 55 shots in a 4-2 loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night. Last night, Everett scored six times on 23 shots. . . . F Connor Dewar (12) got Everett started at 12:36 of the first period and F Jackson Berezowski (2) made it 2-0 at 13:56. . . . F Sean Richards (2) upped the lead to 3-0, on a PP, at 7:35 and the Silvertips were in clear control. . . . D Sahvan Khaira had three assists for the Silvertips. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 23 shots. He is 11-6-0, 1.84, .924. . . . The Chiefs remain without F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who has an undisclosed injury. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral played his second game since returning from an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the early part of the season.


G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants (12-3-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Blazers (6-7-2) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Milos Roman (8) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 19:18 of the first period as he ran his goal streak to three games. . . . F Yannik Valenti (2) made it 2-0 at 12:49 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Nielsen, acquired from the Calgary Hitmen in a swap for F James Malm earlier in the week, played his first game with Vancouver and drew an assist on Valenti’s goal. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal when F Zane Franklin (12) scored, on a PP, at 17:20 of the second. He’s got 12 goals in 15 games this season, after totalling 14 in 67 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season. . . . Tendeck, who is on the roster of the WHL team that will play against a Russian side on Monday and Tuesday in Kamloops and Langley, is 8-3-1, 2.33, .907. . . . The Giants, with three defencemen out with injuries, have added D Landon Fuller, 19, to their roster, at least for the short term. From 100 Mile House, B.C., he played 16 games with the Tri-City Americans over the previous three seasons. This season, he had one assist in eight games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. . . . Vancouver GM Barclay Parneta was with the Americans when they selected Fuller in the WHL bantam draft. . . . The Giants remain without D Dylan Plouffe, Matt Barberis and D Joel Sexsmith.


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Winds of change blow through Kelowna . . . Foote set to replace Smith . . . Taphorn twins are on the move


MacBeth

D Michael Fora (Kamloops, 2014-15) has rejoined Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A) after clearing unconditional NHL waivers on Saturday. This season, he was pointless in one game with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL). Last season, he was an alternate captain with Ambrì-Piotta and put up six goals and 21 assists in 50 games. . . . Fora signed a three-year extension through 2020-21 with Ambrì-Piotta in December with an out-clause allowing him to sign with an NHL team. He exercised the clause to sign with Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) in June. . . . Carolina wanted to assign Fora from Charlotte to the Florida Everblades (ECHL), but Fora wanted to return to Switzerland instead of reporting to Florida. Carolina and Fora mutually agreed to terminate his contract.


With Jason Smith having been fired as the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets, you likely are wondering who’s up next?

John Shannon of Sportsnet, who is friends with Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, tweeted Monday night that it will be Adam Foote. He will be the franchise’s fifth head coach in six seasons.

In all likelihood, Foote will be the Rockets’ head coach in the 2020 Memorial Cup, an event that will be played in Kelowna.

KelownaRockets

Earlier Monday, Hamilton told a media scrum in Kelowna that he had “a couple of guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

A new head coach, Hamilton said, doesn’t necessarily have to have junior experience.

“I think that’s really important but I don’t think that’s everything,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s all about communication with these guys today. If you can’t communicate with them, then you’re not going to get them to play for you.”

If Foote doesn’t get to Kelowna before tonight, assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Kris Mallette will run the bench against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

Foote, 47, played three seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds — he was a rugged defenceman — before going on to an NHL career that included 1,154 regular season games and 170 more in the playoffs.

However, Foote doesn’t have any coaching experience, although he has been a development consultant with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. He also was the director of player development a year ago with Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup.

Foote’s son Nolan, a defenceman who will turn 20 on Dec. 13, played three seasons with the Rockets and now is a first-year pro with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected him 14th overall in the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Cal’s younger brother, Nolan, who turns 18 on Nov. 29, is in his third season with the Rockets. A forward, he has seven goals and five assists in 12 games. Last season, he finished with 13 goals and 27 assists in 50 games. He is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft and it is anticipated that he will be an early selection.

——

Despite winning 88 games in his first two regular seasons as the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets, Jason Smith was fired on Monday.

The Rockets, who were 45-22-5 two seasons ago and 43-22-7 last season, are 4-10-0 after going 2-1-0 on a three-game weekend swing in which they twice beat the Victoria Royals (8-2 and 5-1) before losing to the Vancouver Giants (3-1).

The Rockets reached the third round of post-season play in Smith’s first season, but were swept by the Tri-City Americans in the first round last spring.

Smith was in the final season of a three-year contract. Assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Kris Mallette also are in the final seasons of their contracts.

“Any time that you are doing something like this, there’s no fun attached to it at all,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told the media on Monday afternoon, “and yet, at the end of the day, how this hockey club does sits on my shoulders and this isn’t a decision, nor something that I just thought of this morning. It’s been on my mind now for a few weeks. I just felt that we were getting to a point where a decision needed to be made. . . .”

Hamilton admitted that he had been thinking about making a change for some time, but because the Rockets will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup he wanted to make sure he does the right thing.

“I didn’t just make my mind up on Friday night,” he said. “I made my mind up a while ago, but it’s working to find somebody that is going to be the replacement.

“If you’re going to make a change, we’re better off making the change now than waiting until the end of the (season) and starting over. Whoever is going to coach the team from here on in, I’ve got to believe is going to be the coach next (season) and that’s probably a good thing from our perspective. . . .”

Smith’s replacement will be charged with changing things in the dressing room and making sure that the Rockets become harder to play against, especially at home.

“One of the things that has concerned me now, for a while,” Hamilton explained, “has been we . . . had a culture in our dressing room for many years here through the Ryan Huska era, that everybody coming into Kelowna to play us knew that they were going to have their hands full.

“I just have sensed the last couple of years for sure . . . probably more than that, that it started to leave the room. . . . that a lot of the time is based on the characters you have in the room and that’s on me, that’s not on the coach. It’s my job to get the players here.

“I really hope the person that we bring in is going to bring a little bit of character back in there somehow.”

Hamilton also wants to see more discipline from his team, which has been at the top of the penalty tables in recent times.

“We’re not a tough team,” Hamilton said. “We’re just taking a lot of foolish, lazy penalties and that’s got to change.”

This is only the second time in franchise history that Kelowna has changed coaches in mid-season. In 1999-2000, Hamilton moved out Garth Malarchuk on Nov. 14, 1999, and brought in Marc Habscheid.

Habscheid stayed through 2003-04, finishing his run when the Rockets won the Memorial Cup as the host team.

Jeff Truitt, who had been on Habscheid’s staff, was promoted to head coach and lasted three seasons.

Ryan Huska, who had been a Kelowna assistant coach, was up next. He stayed for seven seasons, before joining the Calgary Flames’ organization and turning things over to assistant coach Dan Lambert.

The Rockets won the WHL title under Lambert in 2014-15, but he joined the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres after that season, at which point Hamilton hired Brad Ralph. That was the first time since Hamilton brought in Habscheid that someone from outside the organization was hired as head coach.

Ralph lasted just one season, despite going 48-20-4 and getting into the third round of the playoffs.

Smith was hired to replace Ralph, lost in the third round in the spring of 2017, and was ousted in the first round last spring. There won’t be another go-round for him in Kelowna.

Late last week, Smith was named as an assistant coach with the WHL team that will play in the CIBC Canada-Russia series on Nov. 5 and 6.

What is apparent through Hamilton’s move is that he didn’t feel comfortable having Smith take the Rockets into a Memorial Cup season. Doing that would have meant signing Smith to a new contract, likely for another two or three seasons.

“I want to be real fair to Jason here,” Hamilton said. “The talent is part of it. He was doing the best he could with what he had.

“And yet when I’m looking forward to the Memorial Cup next (season), whoever coaches this team, I need to get them to get the group together and we need to decide who’s going to be here and who’s not going to be here when we finish this season.”

Hamilton was adamant that the firing of Smith didn’t have anything to do with the Rockets’ attendance, which after six home games is down 494 per game from the same point last season.

“The move today has got nothing to do with that,” Hamilton said. “Trust me.”


The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired the Taphorn twins — Kaedan and Keenan — MooseJawWarriorsfrom the Kootenay Ice. In return for the Taphorns, 18, the Ice got F Nick Bowman, 18, and a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Taphorn brothers are from Yorkton, Sask., so this deal gets them closer to home. Keenan was a second-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft, with Kaedan going to the Vancouver Giants in the third round. . . . Kaedan has 11 goals and 13 assists in 123 career games, while Keenan has 11 goals and 21 assists in 142 games. This season, Kaedan has a goal and two assists in 11 games, while Keenan has one of each in 11 games. . . . Bowman, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft. He has 13 goals and 14 assists in 127 career regular-season games. Last season, he had six goals and six assists in 56 games with Edmonton. This season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors acquired him from Edmonton, along with a sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in exchange for F Vince Loschiavo, 20, on May 3. . . .

The Warriors are at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night. That same evening, the Ice will play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Tri-City Americans have acquired F Wil Kushniryk, 18, from the Kelowna Rockets tri-cityfor a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Kushniryk is from Chilliwack, B.C. . . . Last season, as a freshman, Kushniryk had two goals and three assists in 51 games with the Rockets. This season, he was pointless in four games. . . . “Wil is a big guy with WHL experience,” Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, said in a news release. “He skates very well and will add depth to our forward group. With the long-term injury to Paycen Bjorklund we felt it was necessary to add a veteran forward.”


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The U of Lethbridge Pronghorns will retire the late Brock Hirsche’s number (10) on Friday night, prior to a Canada West game against the visiting Calgary Dinos. Hirsche, a former captain of the Pronghorns, died on April 8 after a battle with testicular cancer. From Lethbridge, Hirsche returned to his hometown to play for the Pronghorns after spending four seasons with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . The news release announcing this is right here.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan has been returned to the Spokane Chiefs by the NHL’s Los SpokaneChiefsAngeles Kings. Anderson-Dolan, a second-round pick by the Kings in the NHL’s 2017 draft, had one assist in five games with the Kings. In 212 regular-season games with the Chiefs, he has 93 goals and 100 assists. Last season, he had 40 goals and 51 assists, and was named to the Western Conference’s first all-star team. . . . Anderson-Dolan already has been added to Team WHL for its two-game part of the CIBC Canada-Russia series. Game 1 is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Kamloops, with Game 2 the next night in Langley, B.C. . . . Anderson-Dolan is expected to be in the Chiefs’ lineup on Friday when they entertain the Portland Winterhawks.


D Bobby Russell of the Spokane Chiefs has been suspended for one game after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in an 8-2 loss to the host Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. He won’t play Friday against the visiting Portland Winterhawks.


The Prince Albert Raiders have brought in D Nolan Allan, the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He could make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Everett Silvertips. From Davidson, Sask., Allan has six goals and five assists in 12 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have dropped F Hayden Clayton, 18, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. He was pointless in four games with the Hurricanes this season. The same thing happened a year, as he went pointless in four games before being dropped and joining the Wolverines.


D Jayden Lee, a 17-year-old from North Vancouver, has committed to Quinnipiac U for the 2020-21 season. Last season, he had one goal and four assists in 29 games with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. This season, with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, he had a goal and five assists in 15 games. . . . Lee was a 10th-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


Mitchell Kirkup has returned to the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders as their director of scouting. Kirkup, who is a former Stampeders player and scout, also is a longtime scout with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


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