And then there were seven. . . . Yes, what once was a field of 16 WHL playoff teams is down to seven following the departure of the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night. The Edmonton Oil Kings now are 8-0 in these playoffs after completing a sweep of the Rebels with a 4-2 victory in Red Deer last night. . . . The Oil Kings await the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal in which the Winnipeg Ice holds a 3-1 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .
In the Western Conference, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds scored a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Winterhawks in Portland. The Winterhawks hold a 2-1 lead in the semifinal with the next game in Kent, Wash., on Friday. . . .
There is one game scheduled for tonight and it features the other Western Conference semifinal with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, holding a 2-1 edge, facing the No. 8 Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. The host Giants won, 3-2, on Tuesday night.
WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:
In Moose Jaw, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice rode three second-period goals to a 5-3 victory over the No. 4 Warriors. . . . The Ice holds a 3-1 edge in the conference semifinal. They’ll play Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . F Mikey Milne (8) got Winnipeg started at 16:28 of the first period, only to have F Jagger Firkus (5) tie it at 18:57. . . . The Ice took a 3-1 lead on two quick goals early in the second period, as F Jack Finley (6), at 6:45, and F Owen Pederson (5), on a PP, at 7:20, found the range. . . .Firkus (6), who also had an assist, cut into that lead, on a PP, at 13:09, but F Matt Savoie (4) got that one back just 29 seconds later. . . . F Cole Muir (1) stretched Winnipeg’s lead to 5-2 at 3:55 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw D Majid Kaddoura (2) rounded out the scoring at 11:22. . . . Finley has goals in five straight games during which time he has totalled six goals and four assists. . . . F Ryder Korczak had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 30 shots for the Ice, four more than Moose Jaw’s Jackson Unger. . . . The Warriors were without F Robert Baco, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Game 3. . . .
In Red Deer, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings unleashed a 51-shot attack as they beat the No. 3 Rebels to complete a sweep of their conference semifinal. . . . The Oil Kings, who led 1-0 after the first period, took control with two goals 31 seconds apart in the first minute of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (3) had scored at 15:51 of the first period. Then F Dylan Guenther (8), scored eight seconds into the second and F Carter Souch (5) made it 3-0 at 0:39. . . . F Jhett Larson (3) pulled the Rebels to within two at 8:20, but Guenther (9) stretched the lead to three at 18:34. . . . D Blake Gustafson (2) got a shorthanded score for the Rebels at 13:47 of the third period. . . . Guenther also had an assist for a three-point outing. He’s got 12 points in eight playoff games. . . . The Oil Kings held a 42-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 14 shots for Edmonton. In these playoffs, he is 8-0, 1.48, .932. . . . The Rebels got 47 stops from G Connor Ungar.
In Portland, F Lukas Svejkovsky scored once and added three assists, and G Thomas Milic turned aside 28 shots, leading the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . This was the Winterhawks’ first loss in seven playoff games this spring. . . . Portland holds a 2-1 lead in the conference semifinal. This series is following a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. They return to Kent, Wash., for Game 4 on Friday. . . . F Jared Davidson (5) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first period, the third time in three games that the Thunderbirds opened the scoring. . . . Svejkovsky (5) scored at 5:29 of the second period, and F Conner Roulette (1), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 7:29 of the third. . . . Seattle added two empty-netters, from Davidson (6), who also had an assist, and F Lucas Ciona (5). . . . Milic, who had three shutouts in the regular-season, posted his second of these playoffs. He is 5-3, 1.82, .929. . . . Seattle was 1-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-3. . . .
As an interesting aside to this series, it seems that Dan Leckelt, one of the Thunderbirds’ owners, wasn’t enthralled with the officiating in Game 1, a 4-2 victory by visiting Portland, on Friday night.
He retweeted a tweet by a fan that read: “The reffing in this game has been disgusting. Our boys have been absolutely molested with no calls, yet they (bleeping) call a soft penalty on us in a tied game with 4 (bleeping) minutes left. #whlrefssuck”
Portland D Clay Hanus broke a 2-2 tie on a PP at 16:21 of the third period.
Leckelt later tweeted: “Development leagues need to develop more than players.” He may or may not have been referring to the WHL. What do you think?
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Riley Kidney scored at 16:14 of the third OT period to give the Acadie-Bathurst Titan a 4-3 victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday night. It was the third-longest game in QMJHL history. . . . The Titan held a 72-46 edge in shots. . . . Halifax won the first two games of the best-of-five series on the road, but now has lost twice at home. The deciding game is scheduled for tonight in Bathurst, N.B. . . .
Tim Speltz, the former long-time general manager and governor of the Spokane Chiefs, is the latest recipient of the WHL’s Governors Award. According to the WHL, this is the “highest honour” that it “bestows on an individual who has been associated with the league.” . . . Speltz was the Chiefs’ GM for 26 years before leaving the join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as director of western area scouting in 2016. He was promoted to head of amateur scouting in 2018 and filled the role for three years. He now is the general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . .
Brett Smith announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team’s manager of communications and community relations, Smith had been with the Raiders for six years. . . .
The Dauphin Kings won the Turnbull Cup as champions of the MJHL on Wednesday night, scoring a 2-1 victory over the host Steinbach Pistons in Game 7 of the final series. F Brayden Dube broke a 1-1 tie at 11:33 of the third period. . . . Dube, 16, is from Roblin, Man. He was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2020 draft and has signed with them. . . . The Kings, who last won the MJHL title in 2010, will represent the league at the Centennial Cup tournament that opens next week in Estevan, Sask. . . .
Rylan Ferster is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. The team announced on Twitter earlier this week that Craig Didmon wouldn’t be back after 12 years with the organization. His contract expired and wasn’t renewed. . . . Ferster, who has spent the past two seasons working with the Philadelphia Hockey Club, previously has coached in Victoria. He spent two seasons (2004-06) as head coach of the BCHL’s Salsa and, after a regime change, spent 2006-07 as the Grizzlies’ head coach.
From The New York Times: Bill Gates, who has donated millions to pandemic relief efforts, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, in the world of MLB, the Cleveland Guardians were to have played against the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. But the virus had other ideas. From MLB: “Following multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization, their game vs. the White Sox has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing.”
My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.