Four quick anecdotes from back in the day . . .
The New Westminster Bruins beat the Portland Winter Hawks, 12-9, at Queen’s Park Arena on Nov. 5, 1978.
Hey, Ken Hodge, what happened?
“We had some bad bounces,” Portland’s head coach said. “The winning goal hit a knot in the boards behind the net and bounced out in front while our goalie as looking the other way. What can you do about that?
When you’re talking about the best defencemen in WHL history, Kevin McCarthy has to be in the discussion. He was a tremendous player while spending four seasons (1973-77) with his hometown Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs.
During his career, McCarthy knew what it was like to have to face the big, bad New Westminster Bruins in their home den, Queen’s Park Arena.
By the early 1980s, McCarthy was in the NHL. And it was while with the Vancouver Canucks that he and some teammates were mugged by a gang of youths near Chicago’s O’Hare International? Airport.
“One guy started it by suckering Jere (Gillis),” McCarthy said. “I thought I was back in Queen’s Park Arena.”
Who invented the goalie stick with a curved blade?
Well, there have been times when former WHL goaltender/coach Doug Sauter laid claim to having been first.
As he told New Westminster coach Ernie McLean while both were with the Bruins: “The curved blade makes it easier to fish the pucks out of the net.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings lost just five games out of 72 during the regular season of 1978-79. At some point during that season, someone from the U of Manitoba’s athletic department said something about its men’s hockey team being the second-best team in the province.
To which Brandon coach Dunc McCallum responded: “Where does that leave the Jets?”
Much has been made of F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats and the fact that he is riding a 32-game point streak, having been blanked in only the his first game of the season. But what about F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who has at least a point in every game in which he has played this season. . . . On Friday night, Stankoven had two goals and an assist in a 7-4 victory over the Royals in Victoria to run his point streak to 28 games. . . . Stankoven and the Blazers will complete a doubleheader in Victoria tonight. He has 64 points, including 25 goals, in 28 games. . . . Bedard and Pats were idle on Friday and won’t play tonight, either. They are to entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers before a sold-out crowd on Sunday afternoon. . . . Bedard goes into the game leading the WHL in goals (39), assists (42) and points (81). . . .Stankoven is third in the points derby.
Two WHL players were receiving medical attention as Friday turned into Saturday. . . .
Saskatoon lost F Justin Lies at 5:29 of the second period during a game in Red Deer after what Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran play-by-play man, said was a “high hit” from Red Deer F Carson Birnie. . . . Birnie was given an interference major and game misconduct. . . . The Blades tweeted that Lies “was taken off the ice on a stretcher following a hit in tonight’s game and will receive medical attention.” . . . After the game, the Blades tweeted that Lies was “stable and awaiting observation at Red Deer Hospital. He’s alert, in good spirits and thanks everyone for their concern and well wishes.” . . . Lies, 19, is from Flin Flon. He played three seasons with the Vancouver Giants before being acquired by the Blades prior this season. He has seven goals and 13 assists in 42 games this season. . . . The Blades were losing 1-0 when Lies was injured; they surrendered three more goals before the period ended as they dropped a 5-1 decision. . . .
Meanwhile, in Kennewick, Wash., F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans left after what one observer said was a “blind-side hit to the head” by F Andrew Petruk at 1:13 of the third period of a game with the Everett Silvertips. Petruk was ejected following the play that happened as Tri-City F Jalen Luypen scored for a 2-0 lead. Bell picked up an assist on the goal. . . . The Americans tweeted: “Parker Bell is being assessed by medical personnel. We will provide updates when we can.” . . . Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Bell was “at hospital” and that “all signs (are) positive . . . but he will be out for a while.” . . . Bell, 19, is from Campbell River, B.C. This season, his fourth with the Americans, he has 21 goals and 30 assists in 40 games. . . . Tri-City won the game, 2-1.
FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
F Blake Swetlikoff broke a 1-1 tie at 10:44 of the third period as the Hurricanes got past the Winnipeg Ice, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Swetlikoff won it with his eighth goal, his third in nine games with the Hurricanes since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Winnipeg F Connor McClennon (23) had tied the game 33 seconds into the third period. . . . F Hayden Smith (6) had a goal and an assists for the winners. . . . With G Daniel Hauser scratched, the Ice had Noah Stenvig backing up starter Mason Beaupit. Stenvig, who turned 17 on Jan. 16, plays for the U18 team at the Delta Hockey Academy. From Campbell River, B.C. he was an eighth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft. . . . The Ice also had D Chase Bambrick, 16, in their lineup after bringing him in from the U18AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was an eighth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft. . . .
The host Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last five goals, four of them in the third period, to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-1 . . . F Harper Lolacher (11) and F Ryder Korczak (20) each scored twice for the winners. . . . Korczak, who had 25 goals in 68 games last season, got his 19th and 20th goals in his 28th game this season. . . . The Warriors took two of the game’s three minor penalties, one of which was for too many men. . . . Moose Jaw (29-15-3) moved past the Blades (28-11-4) into third place in the Eastern Conference. Saskatoon has four games in hand. . . .
F Chaz Lucius scored twice and added an assist as the host Portland Winterhawks skated to a 6-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, who were opening a U.S. Division swing. . . . Lucius, who starred for Team USA at the World Junior Championship, has four straight multi-point games — three goals and seven assists — since joining the Winterhawks. . . . The Broncos took a 2-1 lead into the middle of the second period but the Winterhawks scored three times before the period ended. . . . F James Stefan had two goals (17) and two assists for the winners, who finished the game by scoring two empty-netters. . . .
G Kolby Hay stopped 43 shots to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Hay, an 18-year-old from Monte Creek, B.C., recorded his first career shutout. It was a reward of sorts for what has been a rough season. After going 16-4-1, 3.11, .885 with the WHL champions last season, he is 5-24-2, 4.26, .886 this season. . . . The Oil Kings scored three unassisted goals — from F Gavin Hodnett (8), F Dawson Seitz (2) and F Noah Boyko (12). . . . Calgary was 0-for-7 on the PP. . . . The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes by inclement weather. . . .
F Kai Uchacz scored two goals to help the host Red Deer Rebels to a 5-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The victory lifted the Rebels (32-9-4) into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Ice (33-6-1). Winnipeg holds five games in hand. . . . Uchacz, who has 37 goals, had Red Deer’s first and fifth goals as it built a 5-0 lead. He also had an assist. . . . F Frantisek Formanek had three assists. . . . The Rebels, nursing a 1-0 lead, broke it open with three goals in 2:13 just past the midway mark of the second period. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers jumped out to a 3-0 lead — they scored at even strength, on a PP and while shorthanded — en route to a 7-4 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (16) scored the Blazers’ first two goals and later added two assists. . . . F Fraser Minten (22) also scored twice for the visitors and also had an assist. . . . D Olen Zellweger had three assists for Kamloops. He has four goals and eight assists in six games since moving over from Everett at the trade deadline. . . . The Blazers (27-9-6) lead the B.C. Division by 16 points over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers and Royals will complete their doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . .
The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first two goals and went on to a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kennewick, Wash. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic (11), at 16:06 of the second period, and F Jalen Luypen (5), at 1:13 of the third, scored for Tri-City. . . . F Caden Zaplitny (9) got the Silvertips to within one at 8:09 of the third. . . . The Americans (21-16-5) moved into fourth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Silvertips (22-21-1). . . .
F Jared Davidson scored twice and added an assist as his Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the host Spokane Chiefs, 7-2. . . . Davidson now has 25 goals. . . . F Luca Ciona added a goal, his 19th, and three assists for Seattle, with F Kyle Crnkovic scoring his 23rd goal and earning two helpers. . . . F Chase Bertholet (22) scored both Spokane goals. . . . Seattle (33-7-2) continues to lead the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (32-8-3). . . . Portland and Seattle will clash tonight in Kent, Wash. . . .
The Vancouver Giants erased an early 1-0 deficit as they beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . D Tyler Thorpe (2) tied the game at 4:50 of the second period and F Jaden Lipinski (15) pulled the Giants ahead at 14:41. Both goals came via the PP as Vancouver went 2-for-6. . . . The Rockets were 0-for-5. . . . The victory allowed the Giants (18-20-6) to pull into a sixth-place tie with the idle Prince George Cougars (19-20-4) in the Western Conference. They now are 11 points ahead of the Rockets (14-26-3) and Victoria Royals (13-28-5). . . . The Giants and Rockets will do it again tonight, this time in Kelowna.
The U of Calgary Dinos beat the Mount Royal Cougars, 4-2, on Friday night in Calgary, running their winning streak to 18 games. That’s a new Canada West record, breaking the record of 17 that was set by the Alberta Golden Bears in 1978-79. . . . The game was played before 11,083 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome as part of the annual Crowchild Classic.
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