Canucks’ situation goes from bad to worse . . . P.1 variant on the move . . . ESPN reports some players “in rough shape”

A tweet from the mother of a player from the Vancouver Canucks who has tested positive . . .

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If you are in management with a junior hockey team that is playing games these days, you have to be holding your breath. . . .

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are in dire straits. . . . When we went to bed on Friday, the Canucks had Canucksseven roster players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. As well, one player off their taxi squad had tested positive, as had one coach.

About 24 hours later, the count was 14 roster players on the COVID-19 list, meaning they had tested positive or were deemed a high-risk close contact, along with the taxi squad player, and now three coaches who have been reported as being positive.

A number of the positive tests have been reported to involve the P.1 variant that is more easily transmissible and more vicious than the original virus.

Roster players added to the list on Saturday were F Travis Boyd, G Thatcher Demko, F Jayce Hawyrluk, F Bo Horvat, F Tyler Motte, D Tyler Myers and F Brandon Sutter.

They joined F Adam Gaudette, D Travis Hamonic, D Alex Edler, F Zack MacEwen, G Braden Holtby, D Quinn Hughes and F Antoine Roussel on the list.

Postmedia confirmed that Hawryluk has tested positive for the second time. He had tested positive while with the Ottawa Senators in March.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported Saturday that “one source told ESPN that ‘there are some players in rough shape tonight.’ ”

Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that the number of Canucks on the protocol list “is likely to grow.” He also reported that the NHL “is now proceeding on the assumption that essentially the whole Canucks team will likely test positive.”

Meanwhile, the QMJHL now has five teams in mandatory isolation, having shut down the Gatineau qmjhlnewOlympiques, Quebec Remparts, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Rimouski Oceanic on Saturday. The Olympiques and Remparts each recorded a positive test. Both teams played against the other three teams in recent days, so they were put into isolation, too. The Sherbrooke Phoenix were shut down earlier in the week, but were given the OK to return to team activities on Friday after all players and staff tested negative. . . . Having put five teams into isolation, the QMJHL announced that it has delayed the start of its playoffs. Its Quebec-based teams completed their regular seasons on Friday and were to begin playoffs on Thursday. The teams in the Maritimes are scheduled to continue with regular-season games through May 1 and begin playoffs on May 4. . . .

The AJHL shut down the Okotoks Oilers on Friday, as they became the fourth team in the league to be put into that position. The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines, who had been playing in one cohort, went into isolation earlier in the week. . . .

And, of course, the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have experienced seven positive tests — four players and three staff members — and are in the early days of their 14-day isolation period.

What we haven’t heard from any of the 10 junior teams that now are on hold is whether any of the positive tests involved variants.

As Thomas Drance of The Athletic pointed out: “P.1 variant is a whole new beast . . . It’s here, spreading and even tough on pro athletes . . . P.1 ripped through a workplace with strict protocols, a huge PPE budget and daily testing in days.”

If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past year it’s that this virus — and now the variants — travel really well. And It would appear that P.1 is on its way east.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, tweeted Saturday afternoon that “we are currently investigating a significant outbreak in Alberta involving P.1 variants of concern (the variant that originated in Brazil) . . . Health officials are working hard to limit the future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure.”

Unfortunately, Alberta officials didn’t offer up any other details, it being the weekend and all that.
But if you’re in management with a junior hockey team surely you are wondering if your team should even be playing.

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Micaela Gaudette, the wife of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette, tried to enlighten the Twitterverse on the state of affairs in her household on Thursday with this:

“I’ve been feeling fine other than being tired and I just woke up with a bad headache. My hubby isn’t in great shape but I’m taking good care of him! Thank you to all that have said kind things to us during this time.”

Of course, the mouth-breathers on social media chimed in, too, resulting in Micaela later tweeting this:

“People on Twitter are ruthless. A human being gets sick with a virus we don’t know much about and (ya’ll) are angry at him because you can’t watch a game on TV?”

If you hadn’t already figured it out, it’s true that social media really knows no shame.



The MLB season began on Thursday. Thankfully. No more watching the Boston Bruins on Sportsnet, which means no more having to listen to the inanity that is Jack Edwards and his sidekick, the Brick. . . . No, we couldn’t watch the Edmonton Oilers play the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday, but the Whiner and the Brick were on four Sportsnet channels.

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On the subject of MLB, it might be that the best thing I discovered this spring was the Philadelphia Phillies because of Ruben Amaro Jr. The team’s former general manager now is part of its TV crew. He was the analyst on a Grapefruit League game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies and he was terrific. Unlike some team broadcasters, it was evident that he had done his research on the other guys, too, something that turned it into an enjoyable watching/listening experience. Unfortunately, he doesn’t supply analysis on every telecast.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “New idea nominated for instant oblivion: Farhan Zaidi’s support for the concept of making all MLB games seven innings. The Giants’ president of baseball operations pitched the idea in an interview on KNBR. That’s the worst solution to a problem since the bleach ‘cure’ for coronavirus.”


Two headlines that stood out to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .

At TheOnion.com: Nelson Agholor signs 2-year, 23-drop contract with Patriots.

At Fark.com: NFL owners approve increased profits for NFL owners.


Owls


There were seven games in the WHL’s developmental season on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the last five goals in beating the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . The Oil Kings (10-1-0) had won 9-2 in Red Deer on Friday night. . . . The Rebels (2-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . Edmonton D Logan Dowhaniuk, who had a six-point outing on Friday, had one assist. His six points tied a club record for most points in a game — F Jordan Hickmott had three goals and three assists in a 9-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Dec. 13, 2010. . . . On Saturday, F Liam Keeler had a goal, his third, and two assists. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Jakin Smallwood’s ninth goal of the season gave the Ice (8-4-0) a 3-0 lead at 18:49 of the second period. . . . F Carson Denomie got No. 11 for the Pats (4-6-2), who got two more assists from F Connor Bedard, both via the PP. . . .

F Brett Kemp scored at 4:43 of OT to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Kemp, who has seven goals, scored twice for the Tigers (9-3-0) as they won their fifth straight. . . . The Hitmen now are 5-6-2. . . . F Adam Kidd (4) scored twice for Calgary. . . . Each team scored three times in the first period and twice in the third. . . .

D Luke Zazula’s first goal of the season, just 18 seconds into OT, gave the host Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Samuel Huo, who drew the primary assist on the winner, also had goal, his fifth, for the Americans (3-4-0). He scored while shorthanded. . . . The Chiefs are 0-4-2. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Olen Zellweger scored his second goal, added an assist and was plus-4 for the Silvertips (7-1-0). . . . D Jackson Berezowski (2) had a goal and two assists for the winners, who got 33 stops from G Dustin Wolf, who is 6-1-0, 0.71, .975. . . . Portland (4-2-2) had won its previous two games. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt had three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders end a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Raiders improved to 4-6-2 with what was the 549th regular-season victory of head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. That moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the league’s all-time list, one ahead of Ernie (Punch) McLean. Mike Williamson is fifth on that list, at 572. . . . F Justin Nachbaur added a goal, his third, and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Broncos slipped to 3-8-1. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals 52-19 but had to go to OT to post a 4-3 victory in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers (4-0-0) are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. . . . The Royals (0-3-1) are one of two teams — Spokane is the other — with a regulation-time victory. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 48 shots for the Royals, who were outshot 23-3 in the third period. . . . F Logan Stankoven, back in the Blazers’ lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed injury, had two goals and two assists. He notched the winner at 1:39 on the only shot of OT. . . . Stankoven has five goals and three assists in three games. . . . F Orin Centazzo (1) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his first two career goals for Victoria.


Ex


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Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

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Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


KFC

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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Scattershooting after a football-filled Sunday . . . Peckford and Franklin enjoy five-pointers . . . Woods fills his hat for Chiefs

Scattershooting


It won’t be long until the Oakland Raiders are at their new home in Las Vegas. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle noted: “Usually when a high-rolling loser comes to Vegas, the casinos set him up with a comp hotel room. With (owner Mark) Davis, they’re giving him a comp stadium.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Sarah Huckabee Sanders Denies Doctoring Footage Showing Jim Acosta in Clown Makeup Blowing Up Gotham Hospital.



After word got out that President Trump was to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, comedian Argus Hamilton noted: “It was a brilliant move. Trump finally figured out a way to get a sports champion and a member of the entertainment industry not to refuse an invitation to the White House.”


The ex-husband of a good friend died recently. Here’s a line from his obit: “If you wish to honour Rod, boycott Trump by avoiding a trip into the United States. Now that would make him happy.” . . . They — he and his ex, not he and Trump — were friends until the end.


Headline at Deadspin: Most annoying Warriors player says he and second-most annoying Warriors player are cool now.



“Supporters of Rijnsburgse Boys, a soccer team in the Netherlands, hired a porn star named Foxy to run in nothing but shoes and socks across the field to unnerve rival Amsterdamsche FC players, but it didn’t work as first-place AFC breezed to a 6-2 win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Now that’s what you call a losing streak.”


There was a report the other day that American CEOs earn 312 times what the average worker takes home. To which Brad Rock of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City wrote: “Latrell Sprewell’s first thought: ‘Hey. They got families to feed.’ ”



The best sit-down/stand-up comedy act in the NHL? That’s easy . . . it’s the play-by-play team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, who give you the most-slanted coverage of an NHL team (Boston Bruins) that you can imagine. . . . Go in knowing what you are going to hear and the whining and whimpering becomes hilarious.



Slava Malamud, aka Twitter’s official Russian sports writer, tweeted this the other day, and it’s impossible to disagree with his premise: “Do any fans, ever, in the history of life, look forward to between-the-periods player interviews? Do you learn anything from them? Are they in any way whatsoever needed at all?”



The owner of Benshot, a Wisconsin company, chose to offer handguns to its 16 employees as Christmas presents because they are “kind of fun and exciting gifts.” . . . Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, offered: “And you thought your office Christmas party got out of control after people get drunk and argumentative.”


Ever wonder what the late Howard Cosell would have thought of today’s sports-media landscape? “He would hate social media,” said Al Michaels, NBC-TV’s top football play-by-play man. “He would hate talk radio. . . . He would describe it as a ‘cacophony of crap.’ ”


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Austyn Playfair spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL, playing for the Tri-City Americans, while dreaming of following his father Jim’s path to the NHL. However, a shoulder injury derailed those plans and he ultimately left hockey and jumped into the world of fashion design. . . . Audrey Lim of dailyhive.com has that story right here.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit fired head coach Troy Smith on Sunday, replacing him with associate coach Chris Lazary. The Spirit is 11-9-2, after losing twice on the weekend — 5-2 to the Rangers in Kitchener on Friday and 5-1 to the visiting Windsor Spitfires on Saturday. Saginaw is tied for second with Windsor (11-10-2) in the five-team West Division, six points behind the Soo Greyhounds. . . . Smith was in his second season as the Spirit’s head coach.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Peckford scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to MooseJawWarriorsa 9-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Warriors (10-5-4) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Ice (7-14-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Ice went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. Kootenay lost 5-0 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday night, then dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors scored the game’s first four goals as they took a 4-0 lead on Peckford’s second goal of the game at 12:17 of the opening period. . . . He added his third and fourth goals at 5:05 and 10:56 of the second period. . . . Peckford went into the game with four goals this season and came out with eight. This was his first four-goal game and second five-point outing; he had a six-pointer (one goal and five assists) while with the Victoria Royals in 2016-17. A 19-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., who was acquired last season from the Royals, Peckford now has eight goals and eight assists in 18 games. . . . F Tyler Smithies added his first two goals and an assist for the Warriors. He went into the day with one goal in 54 career regular-season games. . . . The Ice’s goal came from F Owen Pederson, who has goals in two straight games since being brought in Saturday from OHA-Edmonton’s prep team. . . . Moose Jaw had a 43-20 edge in shots. . . . The Ice scratched F Peyton Krebs, while the Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida.


F Zane Franklin scored once and added four assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 Kamloops1victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (8-9-2) have won two in a row. On Saturday night, they beat the host Cougars, 5-1. . . . Prince George (9-10-3) has lost two straight. . . . The Blazers have won their last eight games in Prince George. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, assisted on four of the Blazers’ first five goals as they took a 5-0 lead before the second period was 14 minutes old. . . . Franklin, 19, had never had a four- or five-point game in 155 regular-season outings prior to this one. He had three three-point games to his credit. Franklin now has 14 goals and 11 assists in 19 games. He finished last season with 14 goals and 24 assists in 67 games. . . . The Blazers were 2-3 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. The Cougars went 1-9 on the PP. . . . F Orrin Centazzo and F Luc Smith each had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with D Nolan Kneen and D Luke Zazula each recording three assists for the Blazers. Smith has eight goals, while Centazzo has four.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals as they skated to a 3-1 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Victoria (12-6-0) has won two in a row. This was the Royals’ fifth road game of the season; they are 3-2-0. . . . The Giants (14-6-2) have lost two straight. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (2) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Logan Doust (1) got Victoria into a tie at 7:43, and F D-Jay Jerome (11) broke the tie at 13:12. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (4) added insurance with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:47 of the third. . . . Doust, who notched his first WHL point, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Giants had been 9-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal. . . . The Royals got 28 saves from G Griffen Outhouse as he posted his 98th career regular-season victory. . . . Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 22 shots. . . . Outhouse made his 165th appearance, which tied Coleman Vollrath’s franchise record (2012-16) for most appearances by a goaltender.


F Riley Woods scored three times to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 OT victory over the SpokaneChiefshost Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane now is 12-8-3, with Everett at 16-7-1. . . . Woods, who has 18 goals, opened the scoring with two PP goals — at 6:24 and 8:42 of the first period. . . . Everett pulled even on goals from D Wyatte Wylie (5), on a PP, at 11:15 of the first, and F Dawson Butt (5) at 6:00 of the second. . . . Woods won it at 2:27 of the extra period as he completed his first WHL hat trick. . . . Woods, who was acquired from the Regina Pats during 2016-17, has 18 goals and 15 assists in 23 games. Last season, the 20-year-old from Regina finished with 25 goals and 32 assists in 72 games. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 38 shots and picked up an assist on the game’s first goal for Spokane. . . . D Ty Smith had two assists for the Chiefs; he’s got three goals and 28 assists in 20 games. . . . For the second straight weekend, Everett played three games in fewer than 48 hours. After going 3-0-0 the first time, the Silvertips were 1-1-1 this time. . . . The Chiefs also went three times in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, finishing 2-1-0.


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