For the first time since March, 11, 2020, the WHL had teams from each of its four divisions cleared to play on Friday night. . . . The longest of the night’s eight games took 2 hours 31 minutes to play (Everett beat Portland 2-1 in OT). Victoria and Kelowna finished in 2:10. The other game times were 2:15, 2:16, 2:17, 2:18 (twice) and 2:25. . . . Three of the games ended in shutouts, while G Dustin Wolf and the Everett Silvertips surrendered their first goal in four games. . . . If you’re on Twitter and interested in WHL numbers, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). . . . Some highlights and tidbits from Friday. . . .
D Aidan De La Gorgendiere drew four assists to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 7-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday. . . . F Chase Wouters had two goals and an assist for the Blades. The assist was the 100th of his career. He has 169 points in 267 regular-season games. . . . F Colton Dach also scored twice for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades (7-0-1) scored the game’s first three goals and never looked back. . . . Despite playing in their home arena, the Pats (2-4-2) are 0-2-2 in games when they have been designated the home team. . . . Spencer Welke, one of three goaltenders on the Pats’ roster, made his WHL debut with 40 saves. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard, 15, scored once, giving him at least a point in each of his first eight career games. . . .
In the other game in Regina, F Mathew Ward had four assists in helping the Swift Current Broncos to a 7-4 triumph over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Broncos, who scored the game’s first three goals, got two goals from F Aidan Bulych and a goal and two assists from F Michael Farren. . . . Ward, 17, is from Kamloops and has nine assists in eight games to start his first season. . . . F Peyton Krebs had a goal and two helpers for the Ice as he went over the 200-point mark for his career. Krebs has five goals and nine assists in eight games in the Regina hub. In 183 career regular-season games, he’s got 202 points, including 148 assists. . . . The Broncos (2-5-1) have points in three straight games (2-0-1), while the Ice (5-3-0) has lost two in a row. . . . The Ice has lost D Carson Lambos, 18, for the remainder of this season. He left Regina on March 17 and returned to Winnipeg in order to “meet with doctors at home in the Manitoba capital to deal with an unspecified medical condition,” the Winnipeg Free Press reported. This situation also takes Lambos out of consideration for the Canadian team that will play at the U18 IIHF world championship in Dallas, April 26 through May 6. Lambos is projected as a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings stayed perfect as they dropped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-3. . . . F Jalen Luypen had two goals and an assist for the Oil Kings (8-0-0), who got 26 saves from G Sebastian Cossa. . . . Goals by Luypen and F Josh Williams, each of whom has six, gave the Oil Kings a 4-1 lead by the middle of the second period. . . . Luypen has 10 points in eight games. . . . Edmonton has outscored its opponents, 38-12, in eight games. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 4-4-1. . . . Bob Stauffer, the host of Oilers Now on 630 CHED and the analyst on Oilers’ broadcasts, tweeted that there were 27 NHL scouts, including four assistant GM/head scouts, at the game. . . .
G Garin Bjorklund stopped 22 shots to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (5-3-0) got two goals from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Bjorklund’s first shutout of this season was the second of his career. Geoffrey Brandow reports that Bjorklund is 5-0-0, 1.94, .929 against Lethbridge in his career. . . . The Hurricanes (3-5-1) have lost three in a row. . . . F Corson Hopwo’s fifth goal, shorthanded at 3:41 of the first period, was all the Tigers needed. . . . Svejkovsky now has five goals this season. . . . Lethbridge G Carl Tetachuk stopped 44 shots. . . .
F Matthew Seminoff scored twice and added an assist in leading the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers, who got three assists from F Connor Zary, led 4-1 after the first period. . . . F Connor Levis, 16, also scored twice for Kamloops. It was his first WHL game. . . . The Giants got a goal and an assist from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Earlier Friday, the Giants announced that “due to off season surgery, Cole Shepard will miss the 2020-2021 season.” The Giants didn’t release any particulars on the surgery. . . . From West Vancouver, he first had surgery on a hip in May 2019. . . . Shepard, who turned 19 on Jan. 2, had 11 goals and 18 assists in 50 games in 2019-20. He played the previous season for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and was ticketed for Harvard before joining the Giants. . . .
In Kelowna, G Cole Schwebius stopped 19 shots to help the Rockets to a 5-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . He’s got two career shutouts. . . . The Rockets got two goals from F Alex Swetlikoff and a goal and and assist from each of F Elias Carmichael and D Jake Lee. . . . F Andrew Cristall, 15, had two assists in his first WHL game. . . . Kelowna held a 35-19 edge in shots. . . .
F Cole Fonstad scored at 4:17 of OT to give the visiting Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (4-0-0) got 35 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who had his shutout streak end at 16:32 of the second period. He had posted a shutout in each of his first three starts this season, and finished with a club-record shutout streak of 216:27. The previous record (195:12) belong to Carter Hart, who now is with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . F Gage Concalves gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the second period. . . . F Simon Knak pulled Portland even at 13:16 of the second. That was the third shorthanded goal — two of them from Knak — in two games for Portland (2-0-2). . . . Going back to last season, the Silvertips are 24-2-1 in their past 27 games. . . . Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Winterhawks (2012-13) and Calgary Hitmen (2013-14), was one of the linesmen. It was his first WHL game as an on-ice official. . . . Jackson Kozari was one of the referees. His father, Steve, is a former WHL referee who now works in the NHL. . . .
G Thomas Milic turned aside 35 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . Milic, a 17-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., put up his first career shutout in his fifth appearance, three of them this season. He is 2-1-0, 1.95, .938 this season. . . . The Thunderbirds (2-1-0) got two goals and an assist from F Conner Roulette, two goals from F Keltie Jeri-Leon, and a goal and two helpers from F Jared Davidson. . . . The Chiefs fell to 0-3-1. . . . Former WHL/NHL referee Dennis (Lash) LaRue worked the game as an analyst on the broadcast crew. He mentioned that one of the linesmen was Rance Hughes, whose brother, Bear, has played for the Chiefs.
The WHL announced Friday that it had 1,002 tests administered in its seventh week back and didn’t have any positive tests. Between Feb. 12 and March 26, it has received one positive test from 4,094 tests. . . . That news release is right here.
The virus took a third team out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Friday when the Michigan Wolverines had to withdraw from the regional in Fargo, N.D., because of positive tests. That allowed the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to advance to the regional final where they will meet the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, who beat the American International Yellow Jackets, 5-1, on Friday night. . . . Earlier in the week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were knocked out of a regional in Albany, N.Y., by positive tests, while St. Lawrence University Saints withdrew after their head coach, Brent Brekke, tested positive.
The junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League, an 11-team Saskatchewan-based league, announced Friday that its 2020-21 season is over. “With the current Sask Health rules in place,” it tweeted, “the PJHL will be unable to return to play, therefore the remainder of the 2020-2021 season has been cancelled.The league would like to thank the players, officials, fans, and sponsors for their commitment and support during these times.” . . . The league hadn’t played games since Nov. 26.
The Greater Toronto Hockey League announced on Friday that it has cancelled the balance of the 2020-21 season “after conducting an evaluation of the current situation in Toronto, Peel and York Regions and consulting with health experts from Toronto Public Health.” . . . The GTHL is the largest minor hockey organization in the world with more than 40,000 annual participants.
Hey, how are we doing in Canada? Thanks for asking, but the numbers are depressing. And with a long weekend just a week away . . . ahhh, I don’t even want to think about it. . . . While you’re partying on, Garth, just think about this lasting for another year. OK? Thanks. . . .
CBC News — Canada closes in on 1 million COVID-19 cases as mounting daily case loads are projected to reach as many as 12,000 a day. Canada’s top doctors urge more vigilance, saying that vaccinations can’t keep up to the spread of the virus.
Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 908 new cases of COVID-19 in BC, for a total of 95,677 cases in British Columbia. This one of the highest days in the pandemic for new cases. The 7 day average has jumped around 100 cases per day over the last week. . . . There are 294 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 81 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. The hospital number down 12, ICU up 2. . . . There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,449 deaths in British Columbia. . . . There are 6,245 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,996 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 87,866 people who tested positive have recovered. . . . There have been 140 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 1,912 cases. Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. . . . This includes 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 199 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.
CTV Edmonton — Alberta reported more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 for a second straight day as the province’s active and variant case counts continue their upward trends. . . . The province reported 717 new cases Friday, a day after adding 764 new cases on Thursday. . . . Alberta’s active case count surpassed 7,000 for the time since late January, and is now at 7,077. . . . A total of 1,976 Albertans have now died due to COVID-19 after three new deaths were reported Friday.
CBC News — 8 additional deaths in Saskatchewan and 213 new cases of COVID-19. That’s the province’s highest daily case total since February 13; the province’s 7-day average is now 186.
CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases, the 2nd day in a row above 100 and the highest daily total since February 18. There are also 3 new deaths.
CBC News — For the second day in a row, Ontario is reporting more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19. The province announced 2,169 new cases today, well above the 7-day average of 1,849. The province is also reporting 12 additional deaths. . . . 401 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, Ontario Hospitals Association says. Marks one of the highest totals since the pandemic began.
CBC News — New Brunswick is reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Edmundston region. There are 99 known active cases in the province, including 4 hospitalized patients.
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