Prepping for Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . . Blazers will play in front of huge crowd. . . . Winner moves on; loser goes home

There will be more than 5,800 hockey fans in the Sandman Centre in Kamloops tonight (Tuesday) as the Blazers and Kelowna Rockets play in the WHL’s first tiebreaker game in three years.

The winner will head for Victoria to open a first-round series with the Royals on Friday night. The loser is done for this season.

A tiebreaker is held only when teams are tied for a final playoff position.

The Rockets and Blazers finished tied for third place in the B.C. Division, each at 28-32-8. Kamloops1With each team having 28 victories, the league had to go to its second tiebreaker — the season series between the teams — to determine a home for tonight’s game. The Blazers won the season series, going 6-3-1; the Rockets were 4-4-2.

These teams last met on March 8 and 9, with the Blazers winning 2-1 in a shootout at home in the first game, then posting a 2-1 victory in regulation time in the second game.

The Blazers have played 10 games in March, going 5-3-2, while outscoring the opposition, 36-31. In their past six games, they are 5-0-1, having scored 24 goals while surrendering 10.

The Rockets are 2-3-3 in March — but in four of those games they were able to score only one goal. They won’t win tonight if they score only one goal.

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Some notes before Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . .

The Rockets are expected to start G Roman Basran, who is 4-3-1, 1.61, .942 against the Blazers this season. It’s awfully hard to knock numbers like those ones. . . .

G Dylan Ferguson, 20, hasn’t dressed since appearing to suffer a groin injury during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6. He did skate with the Blazers on Monday. However, G Dylan Garand, 16, has started six games in a row since Ferguson was injured. The Blazers are 5-0-1 in those Garand starts. Two of those were against Kelowna — Garand is 2-0-0, 0.96, .964. . . .

D Lassi Thomson, Kelowna’s Finnish freshman who is terrific on the PP, suffered a KelownaRocketsconcussion when he was checked by Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen in that March 8 game and hasn’t played since. Thomson skated on Monday, but he was wearing a yellow non-contact sweater, which would seem to indicate that he won’t play tonight. . . . His return, if it were to happen, would be huge. Thomson finished the season with 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. Against Kamloops, he had three goals and five assists in eight-plus games. . . .

Kelowna’s Matt Barberis, a defenceman with 179 games of WHL experience, also was in a non-contact sweater yesterday. However, he has played only 20 games this season — nine with the Vancouver Giants and 11 with the Rockets — and hasn’t been in a game since Feb. 9. . . .

The Blazers may have F Logan Stankoven in their lineup after he skated with them on Monday. He won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League scoring championship, putting up 103 points, including 49 goals, in 38 games with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers. He was the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . He had one assist from seven earlier appearances with the WHL’s Blazers. . . .

The Rockets may get F Trevor Wong into their lineup. From Vancouver, he played for the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians, putting up 42 points, 30 of them assists, in 34 games. He was the 18th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. The consensus is that he would have been taken earlier had he not indicated that he would be going to the U of Denver. Wong, 15, skated with the Rockets on Monday. . . . Wong played four earlier games with the Rockets, scoring once. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff of the Rockets took a puck to the face during a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. That resulted in more than two dozen stitches. On Saturday, he scored Kelowna’s second goal and set up the OT winner as the Rockets beat the visiting Giants, 3-2. . . .

The Rockets will be host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They have missed the playoffs only once (2006-07) since moving to Kelowna from Tacoma in time for the 1995-96 season. . . . The Blazers, meanwhile, missed the playoffs last season and three of the past five seasons. . . .

F Kobe Mohr of the Blazers was on the Edmonton Oil Kings’ roster on March 22, 2016, the date of the last WHL tiebreaker game, but he didn’t get into the game. . . .

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There have been six other tiebreakers in WHL history. The road team has won five of them. Here they are, courtesy of whl.ca . . .

2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.

2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.

2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).

1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.

1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).

1980-81: Spokane Flyers 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9 (OT).

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Broncos prospect has committed to Michigan. . . . Scott, Raiders blank Swift Current, again. . . . Blades win playoff preview


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F Fin Williams, who will turn 16 on April 21, announced via Twitter on Sunday that he michiganhas committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. In fact, he was the the Broncos’ only selection in the draft’s first five rounds. You will recall that the Broncos sold the farm and everything on it in order to make what was a successful run to the WHL championship. . . . This season, with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team, Williams has 12 goals and 30 assists in 32 games. He was pointless in four games with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers won the B.C. Major Midget thompsonblazersLeague scoring title. He finished with 103 points, including a record 49 goals, in 38 games. . . . F Tyler Cristall of the Vancouver North West Hawks was second, with 63 points in 39 games. . . . Stankoven had a goal and three assists on Sunday as the Blazers closed out their regular season with an 8-4 victory over the Vancouver North East Chiefs. . . . The only other 15-year-olds to have surpassed 100 points in the BCMML were F Mat Barzal, who had 103 points in 34 games with the Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal, who had 100 points in 40 games with the Hawks in 2007-08. . . . The BCMML’s previous goal record was held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times in 36 games with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14.


Some members of the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks spent Saturday night inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., after weather conditions meant their bus couldn’t hit the highway and head for home. Because of the hockey game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Mavericks, along with a Dierks Bentley concert, hotel rooms were scarce. So at least some of the Mavericks had to make do. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has more in a neat story right here.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott and the visiting Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Swift Current Broncos for PrinceAlbertthe third time in a week, this time winning 6-0. . . . Prince Albert (53-9-4) has won three in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s overall standings. . . . Swift Current (10-49-6) has lost 18 straight games (0-15-3). . . . The Raiders won the season series, 7-0-1; the Broncos were 1-7-0. . . . The Raiders had a 44-15 edge on the scoreboard. . . . Earlier in the week, Scott and Raiders beat the Broncos, 6-0 and 8-0, in Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos were outscored 20-1 as they went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They were beaten 6-1 by the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday night. . . . With three games remaining, the Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending championship, still have won only four times in regulation time. . . . On Sunday, the Raiders held period leads of 1-0 and 5-0. . . . They got two goals and an assist from F Parker Kelly, who has 34, and one score each from F Brett Leason (36), F Noah Gregor (40), D Sergei Sapego (10) and F Sean Montgomery (28). . . . Leason also had two assists. . . . Scott has a franchise-record eight shutouts this season — he leads the league — and 11 in his career. . . . This season, he now is 37-7-3, 1.82, .932. . . . G Riley Lamb blocked 51 shots for the Broncos. He has a .906 save percentage in 13 appearances. . . . The visitors held a 57-14 edge in shots, including 22-2 in the second period and 16-3 in the third. . . . The Broncos lost F Tanner Nagel to a charging major and game misconduct at 1:24 of the third period. F Dante Hannoun, who took the hit, wasn’t injured on the play. . . . F Cole Fonstad was scratched by the Raiders.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Moose Jaw SaskatoonWarriors, 5-3. . . . Saskatoon (44-14-8) has won seven straight. . . . Moose Jaw (37-20-8) had won its past two games. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Warriors went 2-1-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Blades and Warriors will finish second and third, respectively, in the East Division. They will open a best-of-seven series in Saskatoon with games on March 22 and 23. These will be the Blades’ first playoff games since the spring of 2013. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Daemon Hunt (5), at 6:36, and F Tristin Langan (49), at 18:07. . . . F Max Gerlach got the Blades on the scoreboard at 12:03 of the second period, but Langan got that one back when he scored No. 50 just 20 seconds later. . . . D Dawson Davidson (13) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:29. . . . F Gary Haden tied the score at 1:51 of the third period and Gerlach gave the Blades the lead with his 40th goal at 5:24. . . . Haden scored his 31st goal into an empty net at 19:04. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . The Blades held a 50-24 edge in shots, including 18-7 in the second period and 17-9 in the third. . . . Gerlach and Haden added an assist each so had three-point outings. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic came up shot on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Saskatoon scratched D Nolan Kneen for a second straight game. . . . The Warriors now have had a 50-goal man in four straight seasons. F Dryden Hunt, who scored his first NHL goal for the Florida Panthers on Sunday, did it in 2015-16, and F Jayden Halbgewachs got there in each of the past two seasons.


G Todd Scott recorded the first shutout of his WHL career as the Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdumped the visiting Kootenay Ice, 4-0. . . . Edmonton (39-18-8) has won eight in a row. The Oil Kings are tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton has three games remaining; Lethbridge has two. No, they aren’t scheduled to play each other. . . . The Oil Kings are to play in Red Deer on Tuesday, then go home-and-home with Calgary in a pair of afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. . . . Lethbridge is to play in Red Deer on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Kootenay (12-44-10) has lost five straight. . . . This was the final road game in the history of the Kootenay Ice. The Ice has two games left, both in Cranbrook, before the franchise turns into the Winnipeg Ice. . . . This season, the Ice was 4-23-7 on the road, including 0-13-2 in the Central Division. Each of the other five Central Division teams won at least 15 road games. . . . Edmonton went 5-0-1 in the season series; Kootenay was 1-5-0. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (15) scored Edmonton’s first goal, shorthanded, at 8:00 of the second period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (36) made it 2-0 at 14:01, and F Scott Atkinson (13) upped it to 3-0 at 17:43. . . . D Conner McDonald (18) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 10:02 of the third period. . . . McDonald set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record had been set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . Fix-Wolansky became the fourth WHLer this season with 100 points — he also has 64 assists. He is the second player in franchise history to get to 100; F Michael St. Croix finished 2011-12 with 105. . . . Scott finished with 18 saves. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern, in his first appearance since Jan. 6, blocked 24 shots. This was his 24th appearance this season, with 21 of them coming prior to Dec. 3. . . . McGovern stopped 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Jan. 6. Between then and Sunday, he dressed once as the backup (Feb. 18). . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo had a five-game goal streak come to an end.


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Stankoven continues spinning records. . . . Almeida leads Warriors to win. . . . Sudden-Death Byram strikes in OT again


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A few WHL-related notes . . .

If you’re wondering why the Brandon Wheat Kings are on the road these days, the above tweet tells the story. The 2019 Tim Hortons Brier is scheduled to run from March 2 through March 9 in Westoba Place and the icemakers already are hard at work. . . . The Wheat Kings have nine games remaining. They will begin a six-game trek through the Central Division when they meet the Hitmen in Calgary on Friday. The Wheat Kings won’t play at home again until March 16 when they are to entertain the Regina Pats. . . . At this point, the Wheat Kings are hanging on to the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. Brandon is to play in Red Deer on March 8 and in Medicine Hat on March 9.

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Say what you want about WHL attendance figures — and there are a lot of times when the announced attendance doesn’t seem to match the number of butts in the seats — but the Everett Silvertips put 15,684 fans in the pews for back-to-back home games this weekend. . . . On the same nights, Friday and Saturday, the Spokane Chiefs played two home games and drew a total of 18,140 fans. . . . Just a thought but maybe the Memorial Cup would look good in one of those cities.

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When Kamloops lost, 2-0, to the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday night, the Blazers were credited with 18 shots on goal. . . . “That was 18 shots that the Kelowna scorekeepers kept,” Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “By our count, we had 27. It’s a little misleading. It’s a psychological advantage for them. We had some good chances, just like they did.” . . . Lajoie was saying out loud what a lot of WHL coaches think, and have thought over the years.

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When Wyatte Wylie scored his 10th goal of the season for Everett on Saturday night, it gave the Silvertips three defencemen with at least that many scores. Jake Christiansen has 12; Gianni Fairbrother has 10. . . . The three also have combined for 121 points.

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Mitch Love, in his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, spent the previous seven seasons on the staff of the Everett Silvertips. While Everett, which joined the WHL for 2003-04, has never missed the playoffs, the Blades clinched a berth on Saturday for the first time since 2013. . . . It’s neat that Love wasn’t able to conceal his excitement in the post-game media scrum. “There are a few guys in the room who obviously haven’t played a playoff game in their career,” Love said.“It is awesome for them. They are going to get that experience. We have a lot of guys that we have brought in here throughout the year that have had playoff experience. This is my eighth consecutive season of playoff hockey, so I may look like I’m not that excited tonight, but I am. I’m a hockey coach, and I am always looking to be better the next day. I’m excited for our guys.” . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, has more from the Blades’ clinching victory right here.

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You are free to wonder if the hockey fans of Saskatoon and area have re-discovered the Blades, now that they are playoff bound once again. Their last two home games have drawn crowds of 4,815 and 4,334 — the first time this season they have had back-to-back gatherings of 4,000-plus. . . . The Blades have six home games remaining.

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Headline at globalnews.ca: Saskatoon Blades clinch playoff birth with 4-3 shootout win over Kootenay Ice.

So . . . does that mean the Blades are due in April/May?

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There still is a lot to be decided, but the first round of the playoffs could feature the Prince Albert Raiders, who will finish atop the Eastern Conference, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, who may end up in the second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are the only team to have beaten the Raiders twice this season — 5-4 in OT in Prince Albert on Feb. 15, and 6-3 in Brandon the next night. . . . The Raiders then whipped Brandon, 7-1, at home on Saturday night. . . . “We were looking forward to this one,” Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Herald after Saturday’s game. “They were trying to take some liberties. They were running around at us and they were taunting us a bit after they got those two wins, so the guys were pretty excited to face them again.” . . . Habscheid, who just may have been priming the playoff pump, added: “That was probably as dominant a performance was we’ve had all season, which is good to see as we continue to get in that playoff mindset.”

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A tip of the Taking Note fedora to F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings and F Reece Vitelli of the Everett Silvertips. On Jan. 10, they were told that they had been involved in a trade and would be swapping teams. Shortly afterwards, they were told that, uhh, no, the trade was off. No one has spelled out exactly what happened, but both players handled the mess like true professionals, or true student-athletes. . . . Mattheos, 19, has put up 14 goals and 25 assists in 21 games since Jan. 10. . . . Vitelli, 17, has five goals and four assists in 18 games since then, but has been especially proficient of late with three goals and three assists over his past four games.

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The Swift Current Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending champions, won’t be in the playoffs this time around. They have played 57 games and are 10-42-5; they have won four times in regulation time. They begin a seven-game road trip on Tuesday in Edmonton as the Oil Kings hold their annual Hooky Hockey game. It starts at 11 a.m. . . . The Kootenay Ice (11-38-10) has won eight games in regulation time.

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It is information that is this that highlights why every WHL team should have an in-house historian.

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On the subject of attendance, according to hockeydb, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees are averaging 3,105 fans per game this season. Also of note are the Wenatchee Wild (2,426), Chilliwack Chiefs (2,147), Vernon Vipers (1,975) and Trail Smoke Eaters (1,873). . . . Penticton’s average attendance is higher than five WHL teams — the Medicine Hat Tigers (3,012), Prince Albert Raiders (2,602), Prince George Cougars (2,600), Swift Current Broncos (2,386) and Kootenay Ice (2,201).


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League put his name into the record book with his 45th goal of the season on thompsonblazersSunday.

Stankoven broke the record in leading the Blazers to a 7-2 victory over the South Island Royals in Kamloops’ Memorial Arena.

The previous record of 44 had been set by F Tyson Jost of the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. Jost now plays for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

Stankoven also had three assists on Sunday, and now has 90 points in 34 games. The Blazers have four games remaining in their regular season.

The league record for points in a season is 108 and belongs to F Alex Kerfoot, who did it in 38 games in 2010-11 with the Vancouver North West Giants. Kerfoot, who had 36 goals and 72 assists that season, is a teammate of Jost’s with the Avalanche.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Stankoven with the fifth overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, has one assist in seven WHL games this season.

Last season, Stankoven played for the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., putting up 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Justin Almeida scored once and added three assists to help the host Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriorsWarriors to a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Moose Jaw (34-16-8) has won three in a row. It is third in the East Division, eight points behind the Saskatoon Blades with two games in hand. . . . Kootenay (11-39-10) has lost nine straight (0-7-2). . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams. Moose Jaw finished 3-0-0). Kootenay actually was playing its fourth road game in five days — it went 0-2-2. . . . It was the 10th time in Almeida’s WHL career — and the fifth time this season — that he put up at least four points. He now has 87 points, including a league-leading 62 assists, in 54 games. . . . The Warriors scored the game’s first four goals. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (14) got the first one, scoring against his former team at 10:26 of the first period, and F Brayden Tracey (31) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:27. . . . Tracey’s goal proved to be the winner. He leads the WHL with 10 GWG. . . . F Tristin Langan (45) upped it to 3-0, at 6:52 of the second period, and Almeida (25) made it 4-0, on a PP, at 9:56 of the third. . . . F Owen Pederson (4) scored for the Ice, on a PP, at 12:18. . . . F Tate Popple (11) got Moose Jaw’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . Tracey added two assists to his goal and now has 73 points, including 42 assists in 58 games as a freshman. . . . Langan also had two assists. He’s got 96 points in 57 games. Langan is seven points off the WHL scoring lead that is held by F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks. Last season, Langan finished with 16 goals and 26 assists in 70 games. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 26 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while Curtis Meger also stopped 26 for the Ice.


D Bowen Byram scored his fourth OT goal of the season to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-Vancouver1 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Vancouver (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It will finish atop the B.C. Division, and now is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. The Giants have one game in hand. . . . Victoria (31-25-4) is second in the B.C. Division, nine points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . These teams met three times in fewer than 48 hours. The Giants won, 4-0, in Vancouver on Friday; the Royals won 5-4 in a shootout on home ice on Saturday. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 6-2-2); Victoria was 4-4-2). . . . F Justin Sourdif (19) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:18 of the first period. . . . The Royals tied it at 16:00 of the third when F Phillip Schultz (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Byram won it with his 22nd goal of the season, just 59 seconds into OT. He’s got seven game-winners this season. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Victoria was 1-8. . . . The Giants got 25 saves from G Trent Miner. G David Tendeck was back in a Vancouver uniform after missing one game for what the team said was “personal reasons.” . . . The Royals got 28 stops from G Brock Gould. . . . The Royals scratched F Kaid Oliver, who went heavily into the boards in the second period of Saturday’s game and left the game favouring a wrist. Oliver leads the Royals in goals (27) and points (49) so it really will sting if he is out for any length of time.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


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Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

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THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 386

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


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Captain Kastelic leads Hitmen to win . . . Warm maintains perfect shootout mark . . . Dewar’s six points spark Silvertips

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period as the host Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertbeat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . Prince Albert (42-7-2) leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Moose Jaw (28-12-8) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). It is third in the East Division, four points behind Saskatoon but with three games in hand. . . . F Cole Fonstad (21) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first period, with Moose Jaw D Josh Brook (10) tying it, on a PP, at 19:40. . . . Prince Albert went back in front at 4:50 of the second period as F Sean Montgomery (21) scored. . . . The Warriors tied it again, this time on a goal from F Brayden Tracey (23), on a PP, at 15:31. . . . The Raiders took the lead at 16:04 on a goal by D Kaiden Guhle (2). . . . Again, Moose Jaw tied it, this time on F Justin Almeida’s 20th goal of the season, on a PP, at 15:45 of the third period. . . . Leason won it at 17:35, with his 32nd goal of the season. He has nine game-winners this season. . . . In 43 games, he now has 75 points. He went into this season with 51 points, including 24 goals, in 135 games. . . . D Jett Woo drew three assists for the Warriors. . . . The Warriors were 3-5 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-6. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 28 shots for the Raiders, bouncing back after not finishing a 6-3 loss to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday. . . . The Warriors got 31 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Looking at the online scoresheet, Moose Jaw F Tristin Langan appears to have been given a minor penalty for leaving the penalty box and entering into a fight at the game’s final buzzer. If so, he likely will be hearing from Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s sheriff.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (29-15-8) has won four in a row. It beat the Raiders in Prince Albert, 6-3, on Friday night. The Oil Kings lead the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Saskatoon (30-13-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2) and is second in the East Division four points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Gary Haden gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period. . . . Edmonton took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Conner McDonald, at 15:29, and F Vladimir Alistrov (8), at 17:42. . . . Haden got the Blades into a tie, with his 25th goal, at 15:42 of the second period. A 19-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., Haden has goals in four straight games. In fact, he has nine goals over that stretch. This season, he has 48 points in 47 games. He also has scored eight times against the Oil Kings this season. . . . F Max Gerlach (29) gave the Blades a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 11:54 of the third period. . . . McDonald’s 16th goal, on a PP, got Edmonton back into a tie at 16:51. . . . McDonald, 19, has 35 points in 52 games this season. He has back-to-back two-goal games, and has scored twice in three of his past four games. In a six-game point streak, he has put up 10 points, seven of them goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky, who scored twice in Prince Albert on Friday, won this one 30 seconds into OT. It was his 28th goal of the season. He now has 81 points in 50 games. . . . The Oil Kings again were without D Matthew Robertson, but they did get F Jake Neighbours back after a 12-game absence. However, he left at 8:33 of the third period with a boarding major and game misconduct. . . . Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield celebrated his 21st birthday by playing in his 300th game. He picked up the primary assist on McDonald’s game-tying goal in the third period. Benjafield has 165 points, including 62 goals, in those 300 games. He played the first 261 of those with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Oil Kings got 38 saves from G Dylan Myskiw, while Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots for the Blades.


F Mark Kastelic had two goals and an assist as the Calgary Hitmen got past the Rebels, 5-Calgary1, in Red Deer. . . . Calgary (26-19-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Hitmen also are fifth in the Central Division, but only three points out of third. . . . Red Deer (28-18-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points ahead of Calgary and one behind the third-place Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer won the season series, 6-2-0; the Hitmen were 2-5-1. . . . The Hitmen erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period goals. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (6) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:12 of the first period. . . . Calgary took control in the second period on goals by Kastelic, on a PP, at 3:07; F Carson Focht (15), at 8:09; F Kaden Elder (20), at 9:27; and Kastelic, on another PP, at 15:19. . . . Kastelic, Calgary’s captain, now has 36 goals. . . . F James Malm (21) got Calgary’s last goal at 8:24 of the third period. . . . Kastelic, a 19-year-old from Phoenix, has 10 points, including six goals, over his past four games. He has career highs in goals and points (58), in 50 games. He also has equalled a career-high in assists (22). . . . Elder also had two assists for a three-point outing. . . . Calgary held a 38-24 edge in shots, including 15-6 in the first period and 14-4 in the third. . . . The Hitmen got 23 saves from G Jack McNaughton, 10 fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Hitmen lost D Dakota Krebs at 5:36 of the first period when, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com, he was “knocked out by (Jeff) de Wit in a first-period scrap.” Krebs didn’t return to the game.


F Jordy Bellerive had a goal and two assists to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-2 Lethbridgevictory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-8) has won two straight. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and two ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-37-3) has lost three in a row. The franchise record for fewest victories in a season is 14, from 1968-69 when teams played a 60-game regular season. That season, the Broncos finished 14-44 with two ties. . . . D Danila Palivko (2) scored shorthanded, at 7:03 of the first period, as the home team took a 1-0 lead. . . . The Broncos tied it at 13:48 when F Ethan Regnier (8) scored on a penalty shot. . . . Lethbridge took control with the next three goals. Bellerive (24) got it started at 15:53, and F Noah Book (5) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 19:27. . . . D Calen Addison (8) gave the Hurricanes a 4-1 lead at 14:15 of the second period. . . . D Connor Horning (5) got the Broncos’ second goal, at 16:31 of the second. . . . G Riley Lamb gave the Broncos a chance to win, with 41 saves. . . . At the other end, Carl Tetachuk stopped 15 shots. . . . Bellerive, coming off severe burns suffered in an off-season incident, now has 62 points, including 38 assists, in 50 games.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 16 shots to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (28-18-4) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Central Division, two points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Brandon (22-20-7) had points in each of its past four games (3-0-1). It now is six points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . The Tigers took control with three first-period goals. . . . F James Hamblin (25) made it 1-0 at 3:46. . . . F Logan Christensen (6) upped it to 2-0 at 6:52. . . . F Brett Kemp (26), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 11:54. . . . The Tigers’ fourth goal, from F Ryan Jevne (22) at 5:10 of the second period, had assists from Hamblin and F Ryan Chyzowski. That was Hamblin’s 100th career assist, with Chyzowski picking up his 100th career point. . . . F Elijah Brown (10) accounted for the game’s final goal, at 5;58 of the third period. . . . The 6-foot-7 Søgaard, an 18-year-old freshman from Denmark, has two shutouts this season. He is 12-4-4, 2.31, .931.


D Lassi Thomson’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 2-1 victory over the visiting KelownaRocketsKamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-25-5) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and two ahead of the Blazer. . . . Kamloops (20-25-5) has points in three straight (1-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . With four games left in the season series, the Blazes are 4-1-1; the Rockets are 2-3-1. . . . Each team had one of its top prospects in the lineup, the Blazers dressing F Logan Stankoven, the fifth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, for a fifth game, while the Rockets used F Trevor Wong, the 18th pick in that draft, in his fourth game. . . . Wong scored his first career goal, on a PP, at 3:25 of the third period to give Kelowna a 1-0 lead. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (19) got Kamloops into a 1-1 tie at 7:29. . . . Thomson (12) won it, on a PP, at 4:14 of OT. . . . The Rockets had the only three shots of extra time. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-1. . . . Wong’s goal came after Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi was hit with a major and game misconduct for being involved in a one-man fight. . . . Kamloops got 22 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who is 5-0-2 in his last seven starts. . . . G Roman Basran stopped 17 shots for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna F Mark Liwiski sat this one out for what the WHL calls “an accumulation of kneeing penalties” this season. . . . Kamloops D Jeff Faith missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension.


F Jake Gricius scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a Portland6-5 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-14-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane (26-17-6) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Portland and three ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . On Wednesday night in Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Winterhawks, 7-2. . . . Last night, the Chiefs overcame 3-1 and 5-3 deficits to earn a point. . . . D Nolan Reid gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:18 of the first period. . . . Portland got the next three goals, from F Lane Gilliss (12), at 4:32; D Jared Freadrich (8), at 19:15; and D John Ludvig (3), at 0:20 of the second period. . . . Spokane tied it on goals from D Egor Arbuzov (3), at 12:54, and Reid (11), at 14:55. . . . The Winterhawks took their second two-goal lead as F Cross Hanas (7) scored, on a PP, at 16:32, and D Matthew Quigley (1) counted at 5:58 of the third period. . . . F Adam Beckman (22), at 9:11, and D Filip Kral (6), at 11:28, got the Chiefs into a 5-5 tie. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Portland F Reece Newkirk exchanged shootout goals before Gricius, the second shooter in the third round, won it. . . . Hanas added two assists to his goal, for his first three-point night, while Beckman and Kral added two assists each for the Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, to an interference major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane D Ty Smith at 9:59 of the first period. Smith left and didn’t return to the game.


D Dylan Plouffe had a goal and two assists, and F Milos Roman scored twice, leading the VancouverVancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (33-13-3) leads the B.C. Division by 16 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (16-29-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2) and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Roman scored on a PP at 3:15 to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. . . . D Cole Moberg (10) got the Cougars even at 11:13. . . . Plouffe (5) put the Giants back out front at 11:35 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (19) pulled the visitors back into a tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . F Justin Sourdif (13) broke the tie at 14:51 of the third period, and Roman (20) added insurance with the empty-netter at 19:13. . . . D Nic Draffin made his debut with the Giants. A 17-year-old from Lethbridge, he had a goal and four assists in 35 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs before joining the Giants. A third-round pick by Red Deer in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, the Giants acquired him from the Rebels on Jan. 10 for a seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft. . . . This was the first of four games in eight days, including three in a row, between these teams. The Giants will be in Prince George for games on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Cougars heading to Langley for a game on Feb. 10. . . . On their way home from Prince George, the Giants will stop for a Wednesday night game with the Kamloops Blazers. The Giants, who play four times in Kamloops this season, made their first visit there the previous Wednesday.


G Beck Warm recorded his seventh shootout victory of the season — in as many tri-cityopportunities — as the Tri-City Americans got past the host Victoria Royals, 2-1. . . . Tri-City (26-19-3) is safely ensconced in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Victoria (25-20-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period as F Parker AuCoin (26) scored on a PP. . . . The Royals tied it at 13:22 when F Phillip Schultz (8) scored. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and F Kyle Olson had shootout goals for Tri-City, with D-Jay Jerome getting the Royals’ only score. . . . Warm finished with 33 saves, 10 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . On Friday night, Victoria beat the visiting Americans, 5-2.


F Connor Dewar scored four goals and added two assists as the Everett Silvertips beat the Everettvisiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2. . . . Everett (37-12-2) has won three in a row. It leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (19-24-6) has lost two straight, both of them to the Silvertips. The Thunderbirds now are one point out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Dewar, who has two career hat tricks, enjoyed his first four-goal and six-point outing. . . . Dewar now has a career-high 70 points in 47 games. He finished last season with 68 points in 68 games. . . . Dewar fell one point shy of the Everett franchise record for points in a game. It is shared by F Zach Hamill and F Dan Gendur from a 9-0 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Jan. 26, 2007. They each had three goals and four assists. . . . Everett has had players score hat tricks in three straight games. F Zack Andrusiak did it on Jan. 26, in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, and F Bryce Kindopp, who billets with Dewar, had three goals in a 5-2 victory over host Seattle on Friday night. . . . The Silvertips scored the game’s first four goals, three of them from Dewar, who broke open a scoreless game at 19:30 of the first period. . . . D Jake Christiansen (9) had Everett’s other goal in that outburst. He finished with a goal and three assists for his first career four-point game. . . . F Andrew Kukuca (14) got Seattle on the scoreboard at 17:42 of the second period, but Everett opened the third period with three goals, two of them on the PP. . . . Dewar, who has 35 goals, got his fourth, with F Bryce Kindopp (29) and D Wyatte Wylie (8) adding one each. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (7) had Seattle’s other goal. . . . Everett got three assists from F Gage Goncalves in his first multi-point game. . . . Everett was 3-9 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . Seattle took 74 of the game’s 106 penalty minutes.


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Winnipeg Ice owner expects 4,500-seat arena to be full . . . Grrr! Chiefs sign a Bear . . . Battle of Kings goes to Edmonton

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For those who are wanting more on the Winnipeg Ice. . . .

“There’s no doubt we’re going to be in a competitive landscape for hockey dollars in Winnipeg,” Greg Fettes, one of the Ice’s owners, told a news conference in Winnipeg on wpgiceTuesday. “We’re building a 4,500-seat arena. We’re expecting it to be full.” . . .

The company that owns the Ice started out as 497840 Manitoba Ltd. It now has been renamed 50 Below Sports and Entertainment. . . . Mike Keane, a Winnipegger who played three seasons (1984-87) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, owns a piece, too. . . .

Ticket prices haven’t been set yet for whenever it is that the Ice will move into a new 4,500-seat arena, but Matt Cockell, the president and general manager, told the news conference that ducats will cost from $15 to $35 apiece. . . .

The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets have yet to offer any kind of comment on the Ice’s move to the Manitoba capital. However, they have shown no inclination to move their AHL franchise, the Manitoba Moose, to another locale. It’s worth noting that the Moose isn’t drawing nearly as many fans today as it did when it first arrived on the scene. . . .

Cockell also told the gathering that the plan is to bid on the Memorial Cup at some point down the road.

There’s all that and more right here in a column by Paul Friesen and a story, all from the Winnipeg Sun.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Bear Hughes to a WHL contract. Hughes, who will turn SpokaneChiefs18 on May 30, is from Post Falls, Idaho, and plays for the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. In fact, he leads all KIJHL freshmen with 59 points, including 39 goals, in 38 games. A list player, he actually is fourth in the KIJHL’s scoring race.


F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, will be in the Kamloops Blazers’ lineup tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. Stankoven, Kamloops1who is from Kamloops, played two earlier games with the Blazers, earning one assist.

Stankoven will fill a spot in the lineup vacated by F Riley Appelt, who suffered a finger injury during a fight in a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Saturday night.

The Blazers may have D Luke Zazula (shoulder) back in their lineup tonight . Zazula, 18 and in his third season, has missed the past seven games.

However, D Quinn Schmiemann, a 16-year-old freshman, has been in concussion protocol since being injured on Jan. 20, and isn’t yet ready to return.

D Ethan Brandwood, 16, who played two games with the Blazers last weekend, has returned to the South Island Royals, the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League team that he captains. He was a seventh-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


As you likely are aware, a sentencing hearing began on Monday for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, HumboldtBroncosthe driver of the truck that was involved in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on April 6. . . . Laurie and Scott Thomas,  whose son, Evan, was killed in the accident, wrote a letter to their son as their victim impact statement. Scott, a former WHL player, read it in court.

You will find it right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Mark Kastelic and F Carson Focht each scored twice to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 Calgaryvictory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Calgary (24-19-4) has won three in a row. . . . Regina (13-34-3) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The Hitmen held a 17-3 edge in shots in the first period but could only get two pucks behind Regina G Max Paddock, who had missed the previous six games due to illness. . . . Kastelic opened the scoring at 5:03, with Regina F Austin Pratt (19) scoring, on a PP, at 9:22. . . . Kastelic, who has 32 goals, put Calgary back in front at 17:11. . . . F Sergei Akhimov (10) pulled Regina back into a tie, on a PP, at 7:28 of the second period. . . . Focht broke the tie at 15:37, then gave the Hitmen some insurance with his 14th goal, on a PP, at 19:33. . . . Calgary F James Malm (18) added another PP goal, at 13:04 of the third period. . . . Regina was 2-3 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . Kastelic also had an assist, giving him a three-point outing. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Kaden Elder. . . . Paddock finished with 33 saves, 12 more than Calgary’s Jack McNaughton, who made his 22nd consecutive start. . . . Regina lost F Cole Dubinsky to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 15:11 of the second period.


The Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 3-0 deficit and went on to beat the visiting Brandon EdmontonOilKingsWheat Kings, 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Edmonton (27-15-8) has won two in a row. . . . Brandon (20-19-7) has points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead on a first-period goal from F Ridly Greig (10), at 1:01, and second-period goals from F Ben McCartney (13), at 1:05, and F Luka Burzan (27), at 6:44. . . . F Vladimir Alistrov (7) started Edmonton’s comeback at 9:51 of the second. . . . F Josh Williams (12) got the Oil Kings to within at goal at 12:53 of the third period, and F Andrew Fyten (12) tied it, on a PP, at 17:38. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen was hit with a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:39 of the third period. Fyten scored on the ensuing PP. . . . Edmonton was 1-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-1. . . . The Oil Kings won it on a shootout goal by F Trey Fix-Wolansky, who was the first shooter of the third round. . . . Brandon G Ethan Kruger stopped 46 shots through OT, 25 more than Edmonton’s Todd Scott. . . . F Jake Chiasson made his WHL debut with the Wheat Kings. Chiasson, 15, was the 15th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the Yale Hockey Academy prep team in his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C.


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Record isn’t Stankoven’s just yet . . . Makaj, Ice freeze out Broncos . . . Almeida sparks Warriors past Blazers

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MacBeth

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Bayreuth Tigers (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 22 games, he is 10-10-0, 3.72, .892.

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Whoops!

It seems that F Logan Stankoven doesn’t own the major midget Thompson Blazers’ thompsonblazerssingle-season points record. At least, not yet.

The Kamloops-based Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, sent out a tweet on Monday that indicated Stankoven, now with 63 points, had broken the record of 59 that had been set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06.

Except it seems that F Alex Rodgers finished that season with more points than did Nash, and it seems that Nash actually finished with 60.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked a few questions and got a response from Nash, who now plays for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash told Hastings that Rodgers “actually holds the scoring record.”

Hastings got in touch with Rodgers “who thinks he had 67 in 2005-06.”

Or as a laughing Rodgers told Hastings: “Who is this kid coming after my record? Just write down 87 to keep him motivated.”

So, for now, the record doesn’t belong to Stankoven. But it will in time.

While Stankoven keeps piling up the points, the search for evidence of Rodgers’ 67-point season will continue.

Hastings’ story is right here.

Meanwhile, Stankoven played his second career WHL game on Tuesday night. His hometown Kamloops Blazers selected him fifth overall in the 2018 bantam draft. He had one assist in his first WHL game. Last night, he played his second game as the Blazers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report:

F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Kryski, 20, is in his fifth WHL season and this one was shaping up as the best of them all. He has 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games. His goal total is one off his single-season high from 2016-17. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have dropped F Bronson Sharp from their roster. Sharp, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is from Mission, B.C. He was pointless in seven games with Everett, but hadn’t played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. . . . His junior A rights were traded on Thursday, going from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials to the Langley Rivermen. . . .

The Regina Pats are showing G Max Paddock as being out indefinitely with an illness. With him out, G Matt Pesenti, 17, has been backing up Dean McNabb. . . . Pesenti, from Saskatoon, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . .

F Eli Zummack of the Spokane Chiefs is out week-to-week with a lower-lower-body injury. Zummack, 18, is in his third WHL season and already has single-season career highs in assists (33) and points (45), in 41 games. . . . He had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Jan. 12.

The weekly roster report is right here.

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The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Dube, 30, joined the Bobcats in mid-November, replacing the fired Travis Clayton, who was in his third season in Lloydminster. . . . At the time he joined the Bobcats, Dube was in his second season as the associate coach with the aJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Bobcats are 8-33-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North.

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The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that assistant coach Dean Maynard has been named interim head coach. . . . He replaces Mark Chase, who was fired on Monday.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jesse Makaj stopped 16 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 2-0 victory over the Broncos Kootenaynewin Swift Current. . . . Kootenay (9-29-7) had lost its previous nine games (0-8-1). . . . The Broncos (9-31-3) now trail the Ice by four points in the race to stay out of the WHL’s cellar. . . . Makaj, who will turn 18 on Jan. 27, posted his first career WHL shutout by making 16 saves. It came in his 27th appearance, 26 of them this season. . . . The Broncos got 32 stops from G Isaac Poulter. . . . F Jaeger White (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 0:51 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, on a PP, at 4:55 of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker made his WHL debut with the Broncos. Thacker, 16, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is in his second season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . Thacker is the 37th player to have suited up for the Broncos this season. . . . The Ice has had 43 players dress for at least one game.

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F Justin Almeida scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors MooseJawWarriorsto a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Moose Jaw (22-11-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Warriors, who began a seven-game road trip with this one, are 13-3-1 on the road. They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kamloops (15-23-3) has lost five in a row, and remains two points away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Tristin Langan (33) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:26 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (13) tied it at 6:40. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead before the period ended on goals from Almeida, on a PP, at 9:59, and F Daniil Stepanov (4), at 16:01. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (15) got the Blazers to within a goal at 12:03 of the second period. . . . The Blazers hung around but weren’t able to get the equalizer past Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff, who finished with 34 saves. . . . Moose Jaw put it away with two late third-period goals from Almeida (13), at 15:27, and D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Moose Jaw had either D Josh Brook or D Jett Woo, or both of them, on the ice for every shift in the third period until the score was 5-2. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Dylan Garand played the last two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots. . . . Almeida enjoyed his third four-point game this season. He has 55 points, including 42 assists, in 36 games this season. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, played his second game with the Blazers. . . . F Carson Denomie, who was acquired Thursday by the Warriors, played his third game with his new teammates and his first against his ex-teammates. Yes, head coach Tim Hunter had him in the starting lineup. . . . Blazers F Jeff Faith sat out the third game of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . With Faith, who can also play on the back end, and the injured Quinn Schmiemann out, the Blazers dressed five defencemen. . . . The Warriors are without D Daemon Hunt, who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . According to the Warriors’ Twitter account, this road trip will involve playing seven games in 14 days, and spending 51 hours on the bus to travel 4,629 km.

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