Mallette staying on Rockets’ staff. . . . Raiders, Oil Kings even after Game 4. . . . Holt everything! Giants have 3-1 edge


MacBeth

F Lauris Dārziņš (Kelowna, 2004-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, in 62 games, he had 18 goals and 26 assists. The team captain, he averaged 18:29 TOI per game. . . .

F Justin Kirsch (Calgary, Moose Jaw, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2), he had 29 goals and 31 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

The Kelowna Rockets have signed assistant coach Kris Mallette to an extension that runs KelownaRocketsthrough the 2020-21 season. Mallette’s contract was to have expired at the end of this season.

Mallette, 40, has been on the Rockets’ coaching staff since the 2014-15 season.

A defenceman, he played four seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Moose Jaw Warriors, 1996-2000), before going on to a nine-year pro career. He has been coaching since 2010-11 when he was an assistant coach with the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

With the Rockets, he works alongside head coach Adam Foote, who is preparing for his first full season with Kelowna.


For what it’s worth, Kris Mallette, who has signed a two-year extension with the Kelowna Rockets, was on my list of the ‘next ones’ — high-end candidates for head-coaching positions in the WHL or elsewhere.

Mallette just finished his fifth season on the Rockets’ coaching staff, and he obviously likes it just fine right where he is. Of course, re-signing with the Rockets means he’ll get whlto coach in the 2020 Memorial Cup, what with Kelowna being the host team.

At the moment, the Kamloops Blazers are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have a head coach under contract. They and head coach Serge Lajoie went their separate ways on April11, after just one season together.

Many hockey people are assuming that co-owner Darryl Sydor will be the Blazers’ next head coach, and that the feeling will prevail until/unless the team announces otherwise. Sydor was named a full-time assistant coach on Feb. 12.

In the meantime, Mallette is just one of a number of WHL assistant coaches who would seem ready to step up.

Jeff Truitt, 53, is a former Kelowna head coach who now is an assistant under Marc Habscheid with the Prince Albert Raiders. Before moving to the Raiders, he spent five-plus seasons on the Red Deer Rebels’ coaching staff.

Kyle Gustafson, 38, has been on staff with the Portland Winterhawks since 2003-04 and is more than ready to be a head coach. He has been with the Winterhawks in good times (a WHL title in 2013) and bad (11 victories in 2007-08). You can bet that he has learned the business and the game while working with the likes of Ken Hodge, Mike Johnston, Travis Green and Don Hay.

Ryan Marsh, 44, is a former WHL player (Tri-City, 1992-95), who has been in the coaching game since 2003-04 when he signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort Saskatchewan Traders. He later spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears and four with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He just completed his first season as the Saskatoon Blades’ associate coach.

Scott Burt, 42, is another former WHL player (Seattle, Swift Current, Edmonton, Red Deer, 1994-98) and now is in his fifth season on the Spokane Chiefs’ coaching staff. He spent the last three seasons of a 13-year pro career as the captain of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces and then began his coaching career by spending two seasons with them.

Luke Pierce, 35, is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings, but may be ready for a second stint as a WHL head coach. He spent five-plus seasons in his hometown as general manager/head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials before spending two seasons as head coach of the faltering Kootenay Ice. When looking at Pierce’s background, you can’t discount that fact he spent five seasons playing at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

Mark O’Leary, 34, just completed his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors. From Owen Sound, Ont., he played in the OHL with the Mississauga IceDogs and Guelph Storm (2003-06), before playing professionally for five seasons.

Brian Pellerin, 49, has been coaching since 2002-03 when he was a playing assistant coach with the CHL’s Amarillo Gorillas. He went on to spend four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks and now has been the Tri-City Americans’ associate coach for five seasons. As a player, he spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders.

Of course, let’s not forget that there are some really experienced head coaches who just may be available, too.

Don Hay, 65, the guy with more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history, isn’t retired. He spent this season as an assistant coach in Portland and you can bet that he wants to keep on coaching.

Don Nachbaur, 60, is the third-winningest regular-season head coach in WHL history. He has worked as the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. He signed on with the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach after the 2016-17 season. His posting in L.A. lasted a season and a bit; he was fired when the Kings dumped head coach John Stevens on Nov. 4. This spring, Nachbaur provided analysis on broadcasts of Tri-City playoff games.

The Kings also hired Dave Lowry, 54, as an assistant coach prior to the 2017-18 season after he had been the head coach of the Victoria Royals for five seasons. Lowry was dismissed by the Kings on April 17 after Todd McLellan was hired as head coach.

Steve Konowalchuk, 46, was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons, guiding them to a WHL title in 2016-17. He was then hired as an assistant coach by the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, a job that lasted one season.  He now is an amateur scout with the New York Rangers. But, hey, maybe he’s got the coaching bug, again.

There also are other men out there with previous WHL playing and/or coaching experience who might be worth another shot, like Mark Ferner, the director of hockey operations and head coach with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers; Mike Vandekamp, the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals; Jason Becker, who has completed three seasons as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees; Ryan Papaioannou, the GM and head coach of the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits; Andrew Milne, the GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles; Paul Dyck, the general manager, director of hockey operations and head coach of the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons. . . .

Of course, in this day and age, there also are former WHL coaches like Mark Holick and Enio Sacilotto who now are coaching at hockey academies.

So . . . if your favourite WHL team ends up changing coaches, there are a lot of capable coaches out there.



The Selkirk College Saints, who play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League out of Castelgar, B.C., are looking for a new head coach. Brent Heaven, the head coach for the past four seasons, “is leaving to pursue other interests,” according to a news release. . . . Under Heaven, the Saints went 62-25-0-10 and won the BCIHL championship in 2016. . . . There’s more on Heaven and the Saints right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The four remaining WHL teams all were in action on Wednesday night, and they’ll be back on the ice Friday night after changing venues. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders beat the Oil Kings, 2-1, in Edmonton to tie the Eastern Conference final, 2-2. They’ll be in Prince Albert for Game 5 on Friday night, then return to Edmonton and play Game 6 on Sunday afternoon. . . .

This was the 68th playoff victory of Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. He had been tied with Willie Desjardins and Don Nachbaur, but now is seventh on the all-time list. . . . Ahead of Habscheid on the list are Don Hay, 108; Ken Hodge, 101; Ernie (Punch) McLean, 87; Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell, each 80; and Brent Sutter, 79. . . . (If you don’t recognize him, that’s Ginnell to the left of Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play voice Bob Ridley in the tweet at the top of this post.) . . .

In Spokane, the Vancouver Giants erased a 2-0 third-period deficit and beat the Chiefs, 4-3 in OT. Vancouver leads the Western Conference final, 3-1, with Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday night.

——

WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and hung on for a 2-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . That tied the Eastern Conference final at 2-2 with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . F Brett Leason (4) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the series at 13:01 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (6), off a nifty pass from F Ozzy Wiesblatt, made it 2-0 at 2:13 of the third period. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (4) got the Oil Kings to within a goal at 13:54 of the third period, but they weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots for the Raiders. In these playoffs, he now is 10-4, 1.96, .924. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . To refresh, the Raiders won 1-0 at home in Game 1, with the Oil Kings winning Game 2, 4-3 in OT. In Edmonton, the Oil Kings won 5-1 and then dropped a 2-1 decision last night. . . . Had the Raiders lost Game 4 it would have marked their first three-game losing skid of the season.


F Dawson Holt’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Chiefs in VancouverSpokane and a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final. . . . The Giants get their first chance to wrap it up on Friday in Langley B.C. . . . Last night, the Chiefs skated to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from F Adam Beckman (7, 8), at 18:38 of the first period and 10:06 of the second. . . . The Giants, outshot 26-13 through two periods, began the comeback when F Jadon Joseph (7) scored on a delayed penalty at 4:26 of the third period. . . . D Bowen Byram (6) tied it, on a PP, at 9:11, and F Brayden Watts (4) gave the Giants the lead at 10:04. . . . Chiefs F Riley Woods (7) forced OT when he scored at 16:25. . . . Holt won it with his fifth goal of the playoffs at 7:07 of OT. . . . F Davis Koch and F Milos Roman each had two assists for Vancouver, and Byram added one assist to his goal. Byram and his defence partner, Alex Kannok Leipert, drew the assists on the winner. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . The Giants got 28 saves from G David Tendeck, while Spokane G Bailey Brkin blocked 26 shots. . . . The Chiefs were without F Luc Smith, who hasn’t played since the early moments of Game 1. Last night, he was behind the bench in a coaching role. . . . Spokane also scratched D Filip Kral, who left Game 3 after taking a hit from Giants F Justin Sourdif in the first period. Kral returned in the second period and finished the game, but obviously wasn’t able to play last night. . . . With Kral out, D Egor Arbuzov got into the lineup. . . . Vancouver remains without F Adian Barfoot, who hasn’t played since being injured in Game 4 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.


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WHL’s winds of change: Coaches and scouts on the move . . . and more news, too

MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) signed a one-year contract with the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 50 games with Kamloops (WHL). . . .

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with Linköping (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had two goals and six assists in 26 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), and three goals and two assists in 15 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL).


ThisThat


Luke Pierce has signed on as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pierce, 34, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s Paralympic sledge hockey team after working for two seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. . . . He lost his job with the Ice when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Prior to that, he was the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for five-plus seasons. . . .

In Edmonton, Pierce will work alongside head coach Brad Lauer, who is preparing for his first season in that role. Pierce replaces Ryan Marsh, who was fired on May 29, along with head coach Steve Hamilton, and has since joined the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach. Hamilton now is the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings also announced that Jamie Novakoski, their director of scouting, won’t be back. He had been with the Oil Kings since 2007, working as director of scouting for the past five seasons. . . . According to the Oil Kings, he “will assist with the transition to a new director of scouting before leaving to pursue an opportunity outside of hockey.”


The Prince Albert Raiders announced Monday that they have added Jeff Truitt, Dan Gendur and Mike Brodeur to their coaching staff. . . . Truitt, 53, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Dave Manson left to join the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Truitt and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid know each other well, having worked together with the Kelowna Rockets from 2000-04. When Kelowna won the 2004 Memorial Cup, Habscheid was the Rockets’ head coach and Truitt was associate coach. Truitt spent the past six seasons as the associate coach with the Red Deer Rebels. He also has AHL coaching experience, having worked with the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. . . . Last season, Gendur, 31, was the head coach of the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He joined the Raiders late in the WHL season and worked with them through the playoffs. He is a former WHL player, having played with the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2004-08). . . . Brodeur, 35, is the Raiders’ new goaltending coach. He spent one season  (2003-04) playing with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. With the Raiders, Brodeur takes over from Kelly Guard, now an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


Veteran coach Willie Desjardins has signed on to work with the Prairie Rose School Division in establishing a new hockey academy that will involve three schools in the Medicine Hat Area. The 61-year-old Desjardins, who was the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team last season, continues to live in Medicine Hat, where he coached the Tigers for eight seasons (2002-10). . . . Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Craig Goebel and Jared Crooks to their scouting staff. . . . Goebel spent the past 10 seasons scouting for the Regina Pats. His main assignment will be pre-scouting Seattle’s opponents. . . . Crooks, who played four seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, is the head instructor at the Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in Edmonton. He will scout for the Thunderbirds in northern Alberta.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Mark Sauer and Brennen York to their scouting staff. . . . Earlier this summer, the Wheat Kings lost veteran scout Mike Fraser when he left to sign on as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout. . . . Sauer, from Calgary, had been on the scouting staff at ISS for three years. . . . York is from Edmonton where he founded DraftGeek.


It’s official. The Vancouver Giants have added Jamie Heward to their coaching staff. The team announced Monday morning that Heward has been signed as the associate coach. . Vancouver. . He replaces Dean Chynoweth, who left after one season and has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . As a player, Heward spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL, after playing four seasons (1987-91) with his hometown Regina Pats. . . . Heward, 47, spent the past six seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, as an assistant coach and the director of player development. . . . This means that the Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, have lost three coaches since the season ended. Head coach Manny Viveiros now is an assistant with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, while assistant coach Ryan Smith has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers.

During his playing days in Regina, Heward was a member of what was known as the PUP Line. Its other members also were Regina natives — Frank Kovacs and Mike Sillinger. All three played as 16-year-olds, thus the PUP moniker.

On Monday, while Heward was busy with the Giants, Kovacs was busy, too, as you can see from this tweet . . .


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Fromm-Delorme played last season in Byfield, Mass., at The Governor’s Academy in the USHS-Prep league. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games. . . . He attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.


Bill Reddick will chair the committee that will prepare the bid by the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes and the City of Lethbridge for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Terry Huisman, the Hurricanes’ general manager of business operations, will be the co-chair. . . . Reddick is a partner with Mercer Wilde Group Chartered Accountants in Lethbridge and has long been involved with minor hockey in that city. . . . Huisman has been the general manager of business operations since 2012 and has played an integral role in leading the franchise out of the financial mess it was in not that long ago. . . . The Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals all are preparing bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They are scheduled to present those bids at a meeting of the WHL’s board of governors in Calgary on Oct. 3. A host city is expected to be named at the conclusion of that meeting.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs have added Alex Mandolidis, Josh Watson and Richie Hubbell to a coaching staff this is headed up by GM/head coach Tyler Drader. . . . Mandolidis has spent the past five seasons with either the midget AAA Calgary Flames or midget AAA Calgary Northstars, while Watson has worked with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Hubbell has been the goaltending coach with the women’s team at Olds College.


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Halbgewachs sparks Warriors . . . Portland’s McKenzie fills hat in P.G. . . . Chiefs get split in Victoria

MacBeth
F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga). He has 19 goals and 42 assists in 33 games. He started the season with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), with nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games. He signed with Selb on Nov. 13. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 22 goals and 18 assists in 51 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The WHL, it would seem, blundered into a landscape strewn with Lego pieces and garden rakes when it tried to get Oregon politicians to exempt the Portland Winterhawks from minimum-wage legislation. As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out, what followed was “a public relations disaster.”

Campbell continues:

“But so much of this story over the past year or so has not looked good for those who operate major junior hockey teams. The WHL and Winterhawks thought they would be able to breeze legislation through the way they had in Washington, Michigan and several provinces that would presumably buttress them against a class action lawsuit that is demanding minimum wage and back pay for junior hockey players. Until they got to Oregon, junior hockey had found lawmakers who were only too happy to carry their water and keep them in business. British Columbia exempted the WHL from its Employment Standards Act two years ago with little consultation and a fair bit of support from owners of WHL teams, three of whom donated to the ruling Liberal party in B.C. in recent years.”

Of course, this story is nowhere near its end and it’s all going to be worth watching.

Campbell’s latest on this situation is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Luke Pierce, who spent the past two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the Kootenay Ice, is in PyeongChang for the Paralympic Games as an assistant coach with Canada’s sledge hockey team. . . . Pierce was dismissed as the Ice’s head coach while the franchise was going through an ownership change. . . . Brad McLeod of the Cranbrook Townsman reports that Pierce “has served as an assistant coach with Hockey Canada for the men’s national (sledge) team since September.” . . . Ken Babey is the team’s head coach. Canada opens play at the Paralympics on Saturday against Sweden. . . . McLeod’s story is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times and added two assists to lead the Warriors to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (49-14-3) has MooseJawWarriorswon two straight. It leads the overall standings with 101 points, one more than Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (32-28-6) has lost three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Halbgewachs now has a WHL-leading 64 goals. Not since 1998-99 has a player scored more than 64 goals in a season. Calgary F Pavel Brendl led the WHL with 73 goals that season. F Sergei Varlamov scored 66 times for Swift Current in 1997-98, and F Ronald Petrovicky of Regina scored 64 times in 1997-98. . . . D Brandon Schuldaus (8) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the game. . . . Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 4:07. . . . F Taylor Ross (21) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 6:49, but F Justin Almeida (39) got that one back, while shorthanded, just 11 seconds later. . . . The Hurricanes got back to within a goal at 8:38 of the second period when F Dylan Cozens (22) scored while shorthanded. . . . Halbgewachs added another PP goal, at 9:56. . . . F Brett Howden (24) upped Moose Jaw’s lead to 5-2, on a PP, at 2:39 of the third period. . . . Halbgewachs completed his hat trick at 16:56. . . . The Warriors got two assists from each of F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook, and one each from Almeida and Howden. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-6 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 33 shots for the Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors scratched F Brayden Burke, who is fourth in the WHL’s scoring race, with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,054.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (30-25-11) has won seven in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s PrinceAlbertsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (19-40-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from F David Kope (12) at 1:15 of the first period. . . . F Regan Nagy (24) pulled the Raiders even at 10:50. . . . F Colton Kehler (29) put the visitors back on top at 17:00. . . . F Curtis Miske (23) tied it for the Raiders at 1:22 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 14 seconds later as D Max Martin scored his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Parker Kelly (28) added insurance at 13:21 of the third period. . . . F Cole Fonstad had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Edmonton was 0-1 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 13 shots for the home side. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine turned aside 26 shots. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky was among Edmonton’s scratches as he sat out a one-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 1,991.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi scored once and added two assists to lead the Broncos to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (47-14-6) has points in SCBroncosfive straight (4-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . Calgary (20-36-10) has points in its previous four games (1-0-3). . . . F Jakob Stukel gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 19:46 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Tyler Steenbergen (45), at 1:20, and F Glenn Gawdin (56), on a PP, at 17:41. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (15) got the Hitmen into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 28th goal at 2:19 of the third period. . . . Gawdin added an assist to his goal. He leads the WHL with 124 points, six more than Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-6. . . . The Broncos got 26 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . G Nick Schneider of the Hitmen stopped 35 shots as he made his 200th regular-season appearance — nine with Regina, 133 with Medicine Hat and 58 with Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Prince George, F Skyler McKenzie scored three times and added an assist as the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Cougars, 7-1. . . . Portland (42-20-5) has points in eight Portlandstraight games (7-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, four points behind Everett. . . . Prince George (23-36-8) has lost three in a row. . . . F Connor Bowie gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period with his first WHL goal. It came in his seventh game. He was selected by Portland in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired him in a deal in January. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (9) got Portland even at 8:30. . . . McKenzie scored the game’s next two goals, one on a PP and the other while shorthanded, at 10:33 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . McKenzie completed his hat trick with the game’s last goal, at 16:29 of the third period. He has 45 goals, three more than he scored last season. . . . F Lukus MacKenzie (2), F Lane Gilliss (7) and F Kieffer Bellows (39) also scored for Portland. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists, with Gilliss and Jokiharju getting one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-1. . . . G Cole Kehler recorded the victory with 18 saves. . . . F Taylor Gauthier started for the home team and allowed six goals on 31 shots in 44:00. Isaiah DiLaura finished up by stopped 21 of 22 shots in 16:00. . . . On Tuesday, the Winterhawks beat the host Cougars, 4-3. . . . Announced attendance: 2,596.


At Kelowna, F Tyler Benson scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . Vancouver (34-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind VancouverVictoria. The Giants have two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (38-22-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by three points over Victoria. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Post media, the Giants had lost 26 straight games in Kelowna going into this one. . . . F Erik Gardiner (7) put the Rockets in front at 2:19 of the first period. . . . Vancouver went in front on goals from F Owen Hardy (11), at 7:44, and F Ty Ronning (56), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . The Rockets took a 3-2 lead on two PP goals from F Carsen Twarynski, at 6:33 and 19:12. He’s got 42 goals. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) got Vancouver into a 3-3 tie at 16:22. . . . Benson won it with his 24th goal, at 3:56 of OT. . . . F Brayden Watts had two assists for Vancouver. . . . The Rockets got two assists from F Kole Lind. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots for the Giants. . . . G James Porter turned aside 32 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,723.


At Victoria, the Spokane Chiefs scored four third-period goals to defeat the Royals, 5-2. . . . Spokane (39-22-5) is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland. . . . Victoria (37-SpokaneChiefs25-6) had points its previous three games (2-0-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna and three ahead of Vancouver. . . . One night earlier, the Royals beat the visiting Chiefs, 7-3. . . . F Luke Toporowski (10) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy tied it, on a PP, at 14:47. . . . The Chiefs took a 3-1 on third-period goals from F Kailer Yamamoto (21), on a PP, at 7:58, and F Eli Zummack, at 10:05. . . . Soy (35) got the Royals to within a goal, while shorthanded, at 16:02. . . . Zummack (14) and F Hudson Elynuik (29) added empty-netters. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal. D Ty Smith also had two assists for the Chiefs, with Toporowski and Zummack each getting one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 4,831.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.