Winterhawks, Cougars make a deal . . . Molleken back in coaching game . . . Raiders stay perfect on home ice . . . Americans win in OT once again

Guess how Dorothy and I spent part of our Friday? File it under the best laid plans. . . . We decided to take the Trans-Canada Highway (No. 1) rather than the Coquihalla simply because we felt that with snow in the forecast the odds were greater of avoiding accidents. . . . Then it started to snow. . . . We were about 10 kilometres south of Boston Bar, so turned around and found a restaurant, which helped us kill the couple of hours we were stuck there. . . . In the end, though, we did get where we were going — through the snow, slush, sleet, rain and fog — and the granddaughter is terrific. . . . If you’re travelling, slow down, take your time and stay safe.


MacBeth

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) has been assigned on loan by Zlín to Vítkovice Ostrava (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. With Zlín, he had three goals and five assists in 28 games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL) after requesting and receiving his release from Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). An alternate captain with Slovan, he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games. . . .

G Barry Brust (Spokane, Calgary, 2000-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). He was released by Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) on Dec. 5. In nine games with Kunlun, he was 4-3-1, 3.11, .895. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) on Dec. 15 after scoring four goals and adding four assists in 27 games. . . .

F Matěj Stránský (Saskatoon, 2010-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mora (Sweden, SHL) after obtaining his release from Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had three goals and three assists in 17 games. . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had eight goals and 10 assists in 32 games with Kölner Haie (Cologne) (Germany, DEL). . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has been released by mutual agreement by Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). He had five assists in eight games. . . .

F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) after obtaining his release from Rapperswil-Jona (Switzerland, NL A). He had four assists in 19 games.


ThisThat

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 1.

Conditional draft picks: 3.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


The Portland Winterhawks have acquired the WHL rights to F Bobby Brink, 17, from the PortlandPrince George Cougars in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . There also are a few conditions to this deal: Should the Winterhawks sign Brink, the Cougars will get a second-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. If he is on Portland’s roster before Jan. 10, Prince George will get an additional pick, this one a fourth-rounder in 2021. As well, if Brink is on the Winterhawks’ roster on or before Oct. 10, the Cougars will also get a sixth-round pick in 2021. . . . Brink, from Excelsior, Minn., is playing with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Going into Friday’s games, he was second in the USHL scoring race, with 33 points, including 15 goals, in 19 games. . . . He has been committed to the U of Denver Pioneers since Jan. 31, 2017.


Lorne Molleken is back in the coaching game. Molleken, the fourth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history, has been named the head coach of the Prairie Hockey Academy’s Elite 15s for the remainder of this season. . . . Molleken, a native of Regina, will be on the ice with his new team when it practises on Thursday in preparation for playing host to the Prairie Classic (Jan. 4-6). The PHA is based in Caronport, Sask. . . . PHA had fired Rodney MacPhee, the head coach of the Elite 15s when the season began, late in October. Kevin Watson stepped in as interim head coach until Molleken was hired. . . . Molleken put up 626 regular-season victories in stints with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Saskatoon Blades, Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants. He was fired by the Giants with two games left in the 2015-16 season.


Nathan Oystrick and the Humboldt Broncos have parted company. Oystrick, 36, took over as the SJHL team’s general manager and head coach in July, just three months after a bus accident had claimed the lives of 16 people, including GM/head coach Darcy Haugan. . . . The Broncos announced the move in a statement on the team’s website that was headlined ‘Humboldt Broncos part ways with Head Coach and General Manager Nathan Oystrick.’ . . . Assistant coach Scott Barney has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. . . . Alex MacPherson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Saskatoon PrinceAlbertBlades, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (33-2-1) has won five in a row and is 17-0-0 at home. . . . Saskatoon (21-11-5) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Raiders are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . On Thursday night, the Raiders won in Saskatoon, 4-3 in OT. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (9) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 16:23 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) tied it with his second goal of the game, and fourth in two nights, at 19:39 of the second period. . . . F Aliaksei Protas (7) snapped the tie at 10:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (12) added insurance at 19:50 with the empty-netter. . . . Gregor also had an assist for his second straight three-point night. . . . The Raiders won 45 of 68 faceoffs. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldhaus was tossed at 8:51 of the first period with a kneeing major and game misconduct. D Max Martin, who absorbed the hit, returned for the second period and finished the game. . . . The Raiders are 5-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are with Team Canada at the WJC.


The Regina Pats jumped out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 3-2 victory over the visiting PatsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Pats (11-24-1) have won two in a row, both of them over the Wheat Kings. One night earlier, Regina won, 3-2, in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (15-12-6) have lost two straight. . . . F Garrett Wright (2), at 12:01 of the first period, and F Austin Pratt (14), at 9:09 of the second, staked Regina to a 2-0 lead. . . . Brandon D Cole Reinhardt (7) made it 2-1 at 13:56. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (2) restored Regina’s two-goal lead at 11:34 of the third. . . . F Luka Burzan (19) got Brandon back to within a goal at 17:19. . . . Regina held a 38-20 edge in shots and won 35 of 59 faceoffs. . . . Brandon was without F Stelio Mattheos, who leads it in goals, assists and points, after he was suspended for three games after taking a match penalty for intent to injury in Thursday’s game. Mattheos drew the penalty after retaliating against Pats D Brady Pouteau, who drew a TBD suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Regina F Robbie Holmes sat out a one-game suspension. He was ejected from Thursday’s game with a cross-checking major and game misconduct for hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who wasn’t injured.


F Tristin Langan scored the game’s last two goals as the Moose Jaw Warriors skated to a MooseJawWarriors4-3 OT victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Warriors (18-8-6) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos (7-25-3) had beaten the Warriors, 4-3 in OT, in Moose Jaw on Thursday. . . . Last night, the Broncos held a 2-0 lead only to have the Warriors tie it on goals from F Daemon Hunt (4), at 19:41 of the first period, and F Justin Almeida (9), at 0:41 of the second. . . . F Matthew Culling (6) gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead at 10:31 of the second period. . . . Langan, who has 26 goals, tied it at 15:40 of the second, then won it, on a PP, at 2:36 of OT. . . . Culling has goals in four straight games and in five of his past six games. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal, while Langan had one. . . . The Warriors won 41 of 69 faceoffs. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 35 shots. . . . The Broncos had Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi back in the lineup, but Finnish D Roope Pynnonen was scratched. Both missed Thursday’s game due to travel delays.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times in the first half of the second period en route EdmontonOilKingsto a 7-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (19-12-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The victory lifted the Oil Kings into first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes, both of whom were beaten at home. . . . Calgary (15-16-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . F Vladimir Alistrov (5), F Zach Russell (1), F Andrei Pavlenko (6) and F Andrew Fyten (10) scored for Edmonton between 1:58 and 9:12 of the second period. . . . Russell, a 19-year-old from Calgary, scored his first goal in his 11th game with Edmonton. He had played 40 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016-17 and one last season. . . . F Mark Kastelic scored twice for Calgary, giving him 25 goals. He had a career-high 23 last season.


F Dante Hannoun scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-VictoriaRoyals2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Victoria (17-13-1) has won three in a row. With the WJC in their home arena, the Royals are on the road. They’ll play in each of the six Central Division cities over nine nights. . . . Lethbridge (18-10-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Hannoun, who is gunning for his fourth straight season with at least 25 goals, now has 17. . . . This was Hannoun’s first four-goal game after two hat-tricks. . . . Hannoun is the fourth player in franchise history to enjoy a four-goal game, after F Tyler Soy (2016-17), F Brandon Magee (2012-13) and F Kevin Sundher (2011-12). . . . F Tarun Fizun added a goal, his ninth, and two assists for the Royals, who held period leads of 2-1 and 5-2. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould, who normally backs up Griffen Outhouse.


F James Hamblin scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Medicine Hat improved to 18-15-3, while Kootenay now is 8-23-6. . . . F Ryan Jevne (17), at 7:03 of the first period, and Hamblin, on a PP, at 4:27 of the second, gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. . . . D Martin Bodak (7) got the Ice’s goal at 19:15. . . . Hamblin upped the lead to 3-1 with his 19th goal, at 7:44 of the third, and F Ryan Chyzowski (12) got the empty-netter at 17:36. . . . The Ice won 36 of 60 faceoffs. . . . F Elijah Brown was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup for the first time since Nov. 13. . . . D Jonathan Smart, 19, who reportedly didn’t return to the Ice after the Christmas break, wasn’t in Kootenay’s lineup.


G David Tendeck stopped 28 shots to lead the visiting Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory Vancouverover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Vancouver (23-8-2) has won two straight. . . . Red Deer (20-11-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Tendeck stopped 25 shots through two periods, then the Giants outshot their hosts, 18-3, in the third. . . . The Giants scored twice in the second period and added four in the third. . . . F Tristen Nielsen had a goal, his fourth, and two assists, as did F Jared Legien, 20, who was playing his first game with Vancouver after joining the team from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Vancouver also had D Landon Fuller, 18, of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers in its lineup. . . . Tendeck has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . With the WJC in Vancouver, the B.C. Division-leading Giants are on a six-game Central Division trek. They will play six games in 10 nights. . . . F Brett Davis (ill) was among Red Deer’s scratches.


F Zane Franklin scored the game’s last two goals to give the host Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 Kamloops1victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (13-16-3) had lost six in a row (0-5-1), all in the Central Division before Christmas. . . . Kelowna (16-17-3) will play host to the Blazers tonight. . . . F Lane Zablocki (4) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 18:50 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (10) got Kamloops even, while shorthanded, at 7:23 of the third. . . . D Kaedan Korczak (3) restored Kelowna’s lead, on a PP, at 15:26. . . . Franklin got Kamloops into a 2-2 tie, on a PP and with G Dylan Ferguson on the bench for the extra attacker, at 18:54 of the third. . . . Franklin’s 19th goal of the season won it at 4:18 of OT. . . . Ferguson won it with 36 saves. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff, who had been with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, made his debut with his hometown Rockets.


F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the visiting Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (18-12-2) has won four in a row, each of them in OT. . . . Portland (19-11-5) has points in four straight (1-0-3). . . . This was the third straight game between these teams and the Americans won each one in OT. . . . Before Christmas, the Americans won twice in OT — 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and 4-3 in Portland. . . . Tri-City won the first meeting of the season between the teams, 6-5 in a shootout, at home on Sept. 28. . . . After last night, they will meet four more times. . . . The Americans began their four-game OT winning streak by beating the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 8-7, on Dec. 8. . . . De Jong had given the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal, on a PP, at 8:04 of the first period. . . . F Sasha Mutala (8) tied it, on a PP, at 17:27. . . . F Blake Stevenson (6) gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at 6:08 of the second. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when F Ryan Hughes (14) scored at 16:38. . . . AuCoin won it with his 18th goal, at 1:17 of OT. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots. . . . Portland was left with four defencemen after Brendan De Jong left with an undisclosed injury in the first period, and John Ludvig was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 15:01 of the second.


The Prince George Cougars scored once in each of the last two periods and hung on for a PrinceGeorge2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Prince George (12-19-3) had lost its previous five games. The Cougars are six-games into an 11-game road trip from hell. They last played at home on Dec. 2, and won’t play there again until Jan. 11. They went 0-5-0 to open the trek, and will continue it tonight in Everett and Sunday in Kamloops. The Cougars will go home to do laundry, then play in Kelowna on Jan. 4. They then will spend a couple of days in the Okanagan before visiting the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 8 and the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 9. . . . Seattle (11-17-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (13) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 1:04 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (11) made it 2-0 at 10:38 of the third. . . . F Payton Mount (3) got Seattle’s goal at 13:12. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots to earn the victory.


F Connor Dewar scored twice to lead the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 3-1 victory over Everettthe Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (28-7-2) has points in 15 straight (13-0-2). . . . Spokane (9-12-4) had won its previous three games. It also had won seven in a row at home. . . . F Jack Finley (5) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead at 18:19 of the first period. . . . F Gage Goncalves (1) got Everett even at 1:21 of the second. His first WHL goal came in his 37th game, 36 of them this season. . . . Dewar put the visitors out front, on a PP, at 14:01, and he put it away with an empty-netter at 18:21 of the third. . . . Dewar has 26 goals this season. . . . Everett held a 43-15 edge in shots, including 19-2 in the second and 12-3 in the third. . . . Everett remains without F Sean Richards, who is serving an eight-game suspension. After this one, he has three left — tonight (Saturday) against visiting Prince George, and a home-and home with the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 4 and 5. He will be eligible to return on Jan. 6 against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Chiefs are without D Spokane Bobby Russell as he serves a two-game suspension. He also will sit tonight against the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . The Chiefs also are missing F Jaret Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC, and D Filip Kral, who is playing for Czech Republic.


Tweetoftheday

Mattheos hat trick finishes Blades . . . Almeida, Langan too much for Pats . . . Fyten shines in his Edmonton debut


On the fourth day of our annual Christmas countdown, here are the Three Tenors, with Silent Night, and it’s all right here.


MacBeth

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste bank Liga). He was released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) on Friday for financial reasons. In 24 games, he had two goals and four assists. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had four goals and four assists in 27 games.


ThisThat

Germany won the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) by going 4-1 (four regulation victories, one in OT) in the five-team tournament that was played on home-ice in Fussen. . . . By finishing first, Germany moves up to play with the big boys next season when the 2020 WJC is scheduled for the Czech Republic. . . . The German roster included F Yannik Valenti of the Vancouver Giants and F Sebastian Streu of the Regina Pats. Valenti had two goals and an assist in five game, while Streu had one assist. . . . Germany beat France, 6-1, in the final round on Saturday. . . . Belarus, which finished second at 3-2, dropped a 3-1 decision to Latvia on Saturday. The Belarusian roster included D Vladislav Yeryomenko of the Calgary Hitmen, F Vladimir Alistrov (Edmonton Oil Kings), F Igor Martynov (Victoria Royals), F Alexei Protas (Prince Albert Raiders), D Sergei Sapego (Prince Albert) and F Andrei Pavlenko (Edmonton).


The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Chase Lacombe, 16, to a WHL contract. Lacombe, from Moose Jaw, has three assists in 29 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings dealt Lacombe to the Broncos on Aug. 21, along with F Matthew Culling, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a second-rounder in 2020 for D Jacson Alexander, D Chad Smithson and a sixth-round pick in 2020.


Scout Truman of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons has committed to the U of Massachussetts-Lowell and the River Hawks for 2021-21. Truman, 16, is from Lethbridge. He was a second-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . His brother Roc, 17, a forward who also plays for the Dragons, also has committed to the River Hawks for 2021-22.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after today games, don’t forget that there is a trade moratorium in place. It will be lifted on Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings fired head coach Wes Rudy on Saturday. Rudy started with the Red Wings as their goaltending coach, then was promoted to assistant coach for 2015-16. He was in his third season as head coach, having replaced Bryce Thoma after the 2015-16 season. . . . The Red Wings reached the playoffs each of the previous two seasons. . . . This season, they were 10-19-3-0 going into last night’s game with the visiting Estevan Bruins. The Red Wings gave up six third-period goals and dropped an 8-2 decision to the Bruins. . . .  Assistant coach Kyle Haines, a former player in his first season on the coaching staff, was listed as Weyburn’s head coach on the online scoresheet.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos completed his hat trick in OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-BrandonWKregular5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (15-10-6) had lost its previous three games. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The teams met Friday in Saskatoon, with the Blades prevailing, 3-2. . . . Last night, F Connor Gutenberg’s shorthanded goal, at 11:39 of the first period, gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead and was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on first-period goals from F Chase Wouters (5), at 15:04, and F Max Gerlach, at 19:09. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead as F Cole Reinhardt (5) scored 37 seconds into the second period and F Ben McCartney (8) counted, on a PP, at 3:43. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson (7) tied it at 11:34. . . . Brandon took a 5-3 lead before the period ended as Mattheos scored twice, at 12:15 and 16:32. . . . The Blades forced OT on third-period goals from Gerlach (19), at 10:05, and F Tristen Robins (6), at 11:30. Robins is a Brandon native. . . . Mattheos, who also had an assist, scored his 26th goal, at 2:25 of OT, to win the game and complete his third career hat trick. . . . F Luka Burzan drew four assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings got 35 saves from G Ethan Kruger, 10 more than Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon F Riley McKay was unsuccessful on a penalty shot at 1:07 of OT. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without five injured players — D Braden Schneider, D Jonny Lambos, D Vince Iorio, F Jonny Hooker and F Lynden McCallum. . . . F Nolan Ritchie, who played for the Wheat Kings on Friday, was returned to the midget AAA Wheat Kings after the game.


F Justin Almeida had two goals and four assists — his first career six-point game — to MooseJawWarriorshelp the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (17-8-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . The Pats slipped to 9-24-1. . . . On Friday night, the Pats beat the visiting Warriors, 2-1. . . . Last night, the Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Robbie Holmes scored 56 seconds into the game. . . . The Warriors tied it just 14 seconds later when F Tristin Langan scored the Teddy Bear goal, just like he did a year ago. . . . Almeida added a PP goal at 19:56. . . . F Austin Pratt (13) got Regina into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 11:41, only to have the Warriors grab a 4-2 lead on goals by D Dalton Hamaliuk (2), at 17:04 and Langan, at 18:57. . . . Holmes (6) scored Regina’s final goal, on a PP, getting the Pats to within 4-3 at 19:42. He also had an assist for a three-point game. . . . The Warriors put it away on goals from Almeida (8), on a PP, at 6:25 of the third period, and Langan (24), on another PP, at 14:59. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-7 on the PP; Regina was 2-6. . . . Almeida had six previous four-point games, but never more than that. He now has 42 points, including 34 assists, in 26 games. . . . Langan, who also had an assist, recorded his third career hat trick and fifth four-point outing while playing on his 20th birthday. . . . Langan has 54 points, including 30 assists, in 30 games. Last season, he finished with 42 points, 16 of them goals, in 70 games. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who, according to the WHL website, was suspended for two games “for g.m. at Regina on Dec. 14.” Originally, the online scoresheet from Regina’s 2-1 victory on Friday showed Ormsby as having received a roughing minor and a game misconduct at 17:26 of the second period. But that was changed to a misconduct at some point after the game. Then, sometime Saturday evening, it was switched back to a game misconduct. No matter. Ormsby sat last night and will sit again on Dec. 27 when the Swift Current Broncos come to town. . . . The WHL doesn’t indicate what Ormsby did to warrant a suspension, but he apparently may or may not have spit his mouthguard at an opponent during an altercation.


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their home-ice record to 16-0-0 with a 7-5 victory over the PrinceAlbertSwift Current Broncos. . . . The Raiders (31-2-1) have won three in a row, including a 6-4 triumph in Swift Current on Friday. . . . The Broncos (6-25-2) have lost two straight. . . . The Raiders, who had a 56-18 edge in shots, took a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the game when F Sean Montgomery scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Dawson Springer, 16, made his WHL debut with the Broncos after signing a WHL contract on Thursday and scored his first goal at 13:46 of the first period to forge a 1-1 tie. . . . Springer was acquired from the Everett Silvertips in a Dec. 3 deal that had F Max Patterson go the other way. Springer leads the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with 21 goals in 27 games for the Prince Albert Mintos. . . . F Justin Nachbaur scored for the Raiders, on a PP, at 15:35. . . . The Broncos then scored three in a row to take a 4-2 lead. F Ethan O’Rourke (2) counted at 18:16, with F Joona Kiviniemi (9) scoring at 2:14 of the second and F Matthew Culling (4) finding net at 6:08. . . . The home side took control by scoring four times before the second period ended. Nachbaur (9) got his second at 8:22, before F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7), on a PP, tied it at 12:38. F Noah Gregor broke the tie with two goals, at 16:14 and 19:12. He’s got 19 goals. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (11) got the Broncos’ final goal on a PP, with F Parker Kelly (15) finishing the Raiders’ scoring. . . . The Broncos got 49 saves from G Joel Hofer. . . . G Brett Balas made his WHL debut for the Raiders, coming on in relief of starter Donovan Buskey, who gave up four goals on 10 shots in 26:08. Balas surrendered one goal on eight shots in 33:52. . . . Kivniemi, a Finnish freshman who will turn 17 on Monday, scored for a third straight game and also earned his first WHL assist. He has nine goals and one assist in 31 games. . . . The Broncos scratched veteran D Garrett Sambrook, who left Friday’s game in the second period after absorbing a high hit from Kelly.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, to Lethbridgebeat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (17-9-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Kamloops (12-16-3) has lost six in a row going 0-5-1 on a Central Division trip that ended with this game. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (5) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:55 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn (21), at 6:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (14), on a PP, at 9:12. . . . F Connor Zary (9) got Kamloops back into a tie on a PP, at 13:34. . . . The home side won it in the third period as F Dylan Cozens (17) scored at 4:44, F Taylor Ross (19) counted at 10:12, and F Nick Henry (16) got the empty-netter at 18:35. . . . Bellerive added two assists to his goal. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension.


F Andrew Fyten, who was acquired in a Thursday trade, scored in OT to give the host EdmontonOilKingsEdmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (17-12-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (15-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Oil Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to win this one. . . . F Kaden Elder (13) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 18:30 of the first period, with F Jake Kryski (17) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:19 of the second. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (15), at 13:19 of the seocnd, and F David Kope (6), at 11:32 of the third, got Edmonton into a tie. . . . Fyten, in his first game with his new club, won it 40 seconds into OT with his ninth goal of the season. . . . Fyten also drew an assist on Kope’s goal. . . . The Oil Kings held a 44-34 edge in shots, including 16-8 in the third period. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton stopped 41 shots, nine more than Edmonton’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield were among the Oil Kings’ scratches. Both were injured in Wednesday’s 6-5 OT loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . F Kobe Verbicky, 15, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Victoria, he was a second-round pick by Edmonton in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Verbicky plays for the North Island Silvertips of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


F Leif Mattson scored twice, one of them of the bizarre variety, as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsskated to a 2-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Kelowna (16-17-2) had lost its previous two games. It went 2-2-0 on a four-game dip into the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (17-15-3) had won its previous four games. . . . Mattson was credited with the game’s first goal, an empty-netter, after G Jordan Hollett vacated the Medicine Hat net during a delayed penalty against the Rockets and an errant Tigers pass ended up in their vacated goal. . . . At 11:09 of the second period, Mattson scored a more conventional goal, on a PP, for a 2-0 lead. He’s got 16 goals. . . . F James Hamblin (17) had Medicine Hat’s goal at 14:08 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got 31 stops from G Roman Basran, including 12 in the second period and 10 in the third. . . . Among Kelowna’s scratches were D Lassi Thomson, who has joined the Finnish national junior team, and D Libor Zabransky, who is with the Czech Republic. . . . Hollett stopped 18 shots for the Tigers. . . . G Mads Søgaard of the Tigers was on the bench, but will be joining Denmark’s national junior team. Medicine Hat is bringing in Garin Bjorklund, a 16-year-old from the Calgary Buffaloes, to backup Hollett. . . . Bjorklund was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


D Aaron Hyman scored in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (16-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Portland (19-11-3) has points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . They’ll play again today, this time in Portland. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks held a 2-0 lead with fewer than six minutes left in the third period. . . . Portland had gotten goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (30), shorthanded, at 18:27 of the second period, and F Michal Kvasnica (4), at 12:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Yaremko got the Americans even with two goals, the first at 14:34 and the second, on a PP and with the extra attacker on the ice, with 9.6 seconds left in the period. . . . Hyman won it with his eighth goal at 3:26 of extra time. . . . Tri-City had an 18-9 edge in shots in the third period; Portland had a 4-1 edge in OT. . . . The Americans dressed 17 skaters — 10 forwards and seven defencemen. . . . F Booker Daniel, 17, made his WHL debut with the Americans. He plays for the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George.


F D-Jay Jerome scored twice, including the Teddy Bear goal, as the host Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the Vancouver Giants, 4-2. . . . Victoria (16-13-1) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (21-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Jerome, who has 14 goals, got things started at 4:50 of the first period. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, with F Owen Hardy (7) scoring at 9:22 and F Tristen Nielsen (3) scoring, on a PP, at 17:29. . . . F Ty Yoder (2) got the Royals into a 2-2 tie at 15:20 of the second period. . . . Jerome’s second goal, at 8:46 of the third, snapped the tie, and F Dante Hannoun (13) got the empty-netter at 19:40. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 25 shots in recording his 100th career regular-season victory. . . . F Milos Roman was among Vancouver’s scratches. He has left to join the Slovakian national junior team. . . . The Royals again scratched D Ralph Jarratt, who has played only 13 games this season, two of them since Nov. 2. . . . Vancouver leads the B.C. Divison by 10 points over Kelowna and 11 over Victoria. The Giants hold four games in hand on Kelowna; the Royals have one game in hand on Vancouver.


The host Everett Silvertips built a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle EverettThunderbirds. . . . Everett (27-7-2) has points in 14 straight games (12-0-2). . . . Seattle (11-16-3) has lost two in a row. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (9) started it for the Silvertips with the Teddy Bear goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . Everett added four more goals before the second period ended. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (17), D Gianni Fairbrother (4) and F Riley Sutter scored before the first period ended. F Jackson Berezowski (6) made it 5-0 at 19:11 of the second. . . . F Jaxon Kaluski (2) got Seattle’s goal at 4:15 of the third. . . . Sutter ended the scoring with his 13th, at 12:48. . . . Everett outshot Seattle, 39-22. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by 15 points over Portland; they lead the Western Conference by 12 points over Vancouver.


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Americans looking for head coach . . . Lajoie hopes to make hay with Kamloops . . . Broncos are poised to introduce their man

MacBeth

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had four goals and eight assists in 45 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with  Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga). Last season, with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite, he had eight goals and seven assists in 15 games, and he had nine goals and 13 assists in 31 games with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was tied for second on the Slovakian team in assists. . . .

F Lane Scheidl (Vancouver, Red Deer, Regina, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 56 games. . . .

F Justin Hickman (Seattle, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with the Providence Bruins (AHL), he had five goals and three assists in 32 games. . . . Hickman is Lillehammer’s ‘Public Player’ for the coming season. The club pays the salary of the team’s public player in part from funds raised from fans. As of Monday morning, the club had raised NOK 186,837 (Cdn$30,662.00, US$23,026.00) from 499 donors since May 7. That was 110 per cent of the team’s goal. The donations ranged from NOK 1 (16 cents Cdn, or 12 cents U.S.) up to one donation of NOK 10,000 (Cdn$1,640.00, US$1,232.00). Donors are eligible to win prizes such as game-worn sweaters, game-worn warmup jerseys and free ice time at the team’s arena.

F Tomáš Karpov (Mosse Jaw, Calgary, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract with the Bracknell Bees (England, National). Last season, with the Basingstoke Bison (England, National), he had 29 goals and 38 assists in 32 games. An alternate captain, he led the team in goals and points. . . .

F Karel Hromas (Everett, 2004-06) signed a one-year contract with Montpellier (France, Division 1). Last season, with Annecy (France, Division 1), he had eight goals and 11 assists in 26 games. He was second on his team in points. . . .

F Mads Eller (Edmonton, 2013-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Rødovre Mighty Bulls (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). In 38 games, he had 15 goals and 12 assists. He was second on the club in goals.


ThisThat

With the Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos having filled head-coaching vacancies (see below), there now are three WHL teams with empty offices.

The Tri-City Americans have joined the Edmonton Oil Kings and Vancouver Giants on that list. The Americans started their search on Monday after announcing that head tri-citycoach Mike Williamson won’t be returning.

According to the Americans’ news release, “Mike has decided to pursue other opportunities” after four seasons with them.

Later in the day, Bob Tory, the Americans’ co-owner and general manager, told Taking Note that “Mike has being doing this since he was 20; he just wants to do something else.”

Williamson, 44, played three seasons (1991-94) with the Portland Winter Hawks, then began his coaching career as an assistant with them in 1995-96. He later worked as Portland’s head coach, then spent five seasons as the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen, guiding them to a WHL championship in his first season (2009-10).

Williamson is the fifth-winningest head coach in WHL history, his 572 victories trailing only Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

With Hay and Williamson no longer active, Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels is the winningest active WHL head coach, with 468 regular-season victories.

Williamson was only Tory’s third hire as a head coach, following Don Nachbaur (2003-09) and Jim Hiller (2009-14). Nachbaur now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, while Hiller is with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tory told Taking Note that he had received about 300 resumes by late Monday afternoon. He added that he plans to narrow it to “five or six for interviews” and that he is working on an Aug. 1 timeline, although that isn’t written in stone.

Brian Pellerin, who has spent the past four seasons as the Americans’ associate coach, will be one of those interviewed by Tory.

The Oil Kings, meanwhile, have yet to name a replacement for general manager Randy Hansch, head coach Steve Hamilton or assistant coach Ryan Marsh, all of whom no longer are with the club.

It is widely believed that Kirt Hill, a former WHL player who spent last season as a scout with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, has been hired as director of hockey operations, but an announcement has yet to be made.

According to the Oil Kings’ Twitter account, they also are looking to hire a manager, game presentation and digital media, and a manager, communications.

The Giants will be replacing Jason McKee, who was fired on June 15 after two seasons with them. Barclay Parneta, who was hired as GM on May 23, made the announcement, telling Steve Ewen of Postmedia that “for me, I’d like someone I’m more familiar with. I don’t want to be starting a (season) with someone I’m just getting to know.”

Parneta had been Tri-City’s assistant GM and there has been speculation that he might be interesting in Pellerin as head coach.


As expected, the Kamloops  Blazers have signed Serge Lajoie as their newest head coach.

Lajoie takes over from Don Hay, 64, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any coach in WHL history. Hay remains with the Blazers in an advisory role.

On June 21, you read here that “Lajoie is expected to sign on as head coach of the Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers, if he hasn’t already.”

Here’s what I wrote about Lajoie on June 18:

“Lajoie, now 49, is from Bonnyville, Alta. He played for five seasons with the Golden Bears, then spent four seasons playing in Germany. He returned to the U of Alberta and was an assistant coach for five seasons (2005-10). Lajoie was the head coach at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) for five seasons before stepping in as the Golden Bears’ head coach for the 2015-16 season.

“Lajoie took over the Golden Bears after Ian Herbers, who had been the head coach, joined the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach. Herbers, who was on a three-year sabbatical, returned to the Golden Bears after last season.

“Lajoie has a tie to the Blazers through Don Moores, the WHL franchise’s president and COO. Moores’ brother, Billy, was on the U of Alberta coaching staff for 17 seasons (1976-85, 1986-94) before going on to work with the NHL’s New York Rangers and the Oilers.

“Billy Moores was the head coach of the Golden Bears in 1992 when they won the Canadian university championship. Herbers and Lajoie were defencemen on that team.

“Last season, the Golden Bears won another Canadian university title, this one with Lajoie as the head coach.

“Lajoie also is a former Blazers player. He had two assists in seven games with Kamloops in 1986-87. Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of that team, with Hay and Don Moores on staff as assistant coaches.”

Lajoie is the first hire by Matt Bardsley, who was named the Blazers’ general manager on June 1. He replaced Stu MacGregor, who was moved to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Tom Gaglardi is the Stars’ owner and the Blazers’ majority owner.

The Blazers still are without a lead assistant coach and a director of player personnel. Mike Needham, the club’s lead assistant, and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel, were dismissed when the Blazers moved Hay and MacGregor aside.

The Blazers announced Lajoie’s signing via a news release that is right here. The news release doesn’t give any indication as to length of contract.


The Swift Current Broncos, who are the WHL’s reigning champions, are expected to introduce Dean Brockman as their director of hockey operations and head coach at a SCBroncosnews conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Brockman takes over from Manny Viveiros, whose title was

Here’s what I wrote here on June 21:

“Taking Note has been told that Dean Brockman will be joining the Swift Current Broncos . . .

“Brockman, 51, spent the previous four seasons on the staff of the Saskatoon Blades, the past two as head coach. He was fired following the 2017-18 season.

“Before joining the Blades, Brockman spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Many observers thought he would end up back in Humboldt, where he would have taken over from the late Darcy Haugan, the team’s general manager and head coach who was killed in the crash involving the Broncos’ bus on April 6.

Meanwhile, there are rumblings that Jamie Porter, who had been the Broncos’ director of player personnel, has left the organization. Porter has been with the Broncos through 15 seasons.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is out of a medically induced coma and has been visited by teammates in Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre.

Vandervlis and two other players suffered burns when something went wrong as they Lethbridgesat around a fire at a home near Cochrane, Alta., on June 15.

F Matt Alfaro of the U of Calgary Dinos was released from hospital on Thursday, while F Jordy Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, may be released today (Tuesday).

Peter Anholt, Lethbridge’s general manager, told Vanessa Hrvatin of the Calgary Herald that Vandervlis, who isn’t yet able to speak, has been “responding well” to visitors.

Hrvatin reported that Vandervlis, 20, is expected to “remain in the ICU for some time before moving to the burn unit of a hospital in Calgary for extensive skin grafting.”

Hrvatin’s story is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have acquired D Bobby Russell, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a SpokaneChiefsconditional fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft. . . . Russell, from Surrey, B.C., was a sixth-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 41 games. He played most of the previous season with the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, but got into five games with the Ice, going pointless.


F Yegor Zudilov won’t be back for a second season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, which will allow them to pick twice in the CHL import draft on Thursday. . . . Zudilov, who will turn 18 on Sept. 10, is from Russia. Last season, he had seven goals and 16 assists in 23 games with the Hurricanes.


“The growth of European talent is immensely significant for the growth of the game (of hockey); however, it is not widely known that European players are treated differently under the Collective Bargaining Agreement from their North American counterpart,” writes Ryan Lake at forbes.com, referring to the NHL-NHLPA CBA. “Teams that draft a player from a European club have exclusive rights to sign the player to a contract for four years. However, if the player is from a North American club, the NHL team has only two years of exclusive rights.”

Lake’s complete story is right here. It explains the ins and outs of the CBA and its impact on European draft choices.


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