Estephan the OT hero as Broncos tie WHL final . . . Boschman recalls first-year Senators . . . NYT’s Branch on the late Jeff Parker

ThisThat

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-3 in OT, on Saturday night, tying the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, for the Ed SCBroncosChynoweth Cup, at 1-1. . . . The series now heads for Everett and the next three games — on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights. . . . Last night, F Giorgio Estephan (12) won it for the Broncos at 9:25 of extra time when he scored off a rebound. . . . The Silvertips had taken a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matt Fonteyne (7), at 3:14; F Martin Fasko-Rudas (5), at 10:11; and F Riley Sutter (7), at 14:26. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (9), who also had two assists, got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 8:17 of the second period. . . . D Colby Sissons (4) pulled the home side to within a goal at 6:22 of the third period. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen (12) tied it at 18:23, with G Stuart Skinner on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Skinner finished with 40 saves, six more than Everett’s Carter Hart. . . . Referees Stephen Campbell and Reagan Vetter gave the Broncos four of the game’s seven minors. . . . Everett had been 8-0 on the road in these playoffs. . . . According to Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow), this was the first time since Nov. 30, 2014, that Everett had blown a 3-0 lead. On that date, Brandow tweeted, Everett dropped “a 4-3 (OT) decision to the Kootenay Ice after going up 3-0. A span of 310 games between the regular season and postseason.” . . . Attendance was 2,890.


What does it say about the NHL that it didn’t put the clamps on Boston Bruins F Brad Marchand after the first time he licked an opponent’s face? And what is the difference between licking and spitting in someone’s face? Spitting surely would bring a suspension, wouldn’t it?


Kevin Mitchell, the superb writer from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, stopped by the intersection of Saskatchewan highways 35 and 335 on Friday, exactly four weeks after the tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. . . . “It’s a restless corner,” he writes. “Cars drive past, passenger necks craned. Kids peek out the window as a school bus makes its daily pass. People stop, exit, wander through paths carved out beside piled hockey sticks, flowers, brightly-spinning pinwheels.” . . . The complete piece is right here and it’s well worth you time.


According to Bleacher Report, the UFC heavyweight championship is “the hardest title to keep.” . . . RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com begs to differ, noting “For my money, it’s world’s oldest man.”


Laurie Boschman, who played on the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings, has memories from playing on the Ottawa Senators when they were an NHL expansion franchise. While the Wheat Kings lost only five games in that WHL regular season, that Senators team is remembered as one of the worst in NHL history. Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail chatted with Boschman and the result is right here.


Just the other day I posted something here about the OHL having suspended F Givani Smith of the Kitchener Rangers for two games after he flipped the bird to the Son Greyhounds’ bench after a playoff game. Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record did some digging into what Smith, who is black, has dealt with during his career. I’ll give you a hint: This isn’t pretty. . . . Brown’s piece is right here.


John Branch of The New York Times wrote the book on former WHL and NHL player Derek Boogaard — Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard — and has continued to write on the concussion issue and hockey. In his latest piece, Branch writes about Jeff Parker, “who played in the NHL from 1986 to 1991 and died last year at age 53, and will be seen as another link between hockey head hits and CTE; the league has denied such a link exists.” . . . That story is right here.


If you are paying attention to Major League Baseball, you will be aware that there are an insane number of strikeouts in the game these days. How much of it can be blamed on hitters searching for the perfect launch angle? Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle had a conversation about just that with Tim Flannery, a former player and long-time coach, and it’s all right here. . . . It’s all part of a three-dot column, and those almost always are fun and full of interesting info. Enjoy!


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Americans’ Valimaki on shelf . . . Winning debut for McDonald in P.A. . . . No stopping Blades or Giants

MacBeth

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had three goals and seven assists with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL), and was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Tri-City Americans, already without F Michael Rasmussen for up to eight weeks, are going to have to play without D Juuso Valimaki for the next while.

Valimaki has been with the Finnish national junior team at the World Junior TriCity30Championship in Buffalo.

The 19-year-old Valimaki is in his third season with the Americans. The Calgary Flames selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Wes Gilbertson, who covers the Flames for Postmedia, tweeted Saturday evening that Valimaki “was playing through injury” at the WJC.

Valimaki went from Buffalo to Calgary where he was examined by the Flames’ medical staff. According to Gilbertson, any injury isn’t major, but is enough to keep Valimaki on the shelf for “likely . . . a couple of weeks.”

Valimaki has five goals and 15 assists in 19 games with Tri-City, but missed five games between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8 with an undisclosed injury. He returned to play three games and then left to join Finland’s national junior team.

Of course, when Valimaki does return, he will get to skate with D Jake Bean, one of the WHL’s top players, who was acquired from the Calgary Hitmen last night.

Rasmussen, meanwhile, had surgery before Christmas to repair a damaged wrist. A first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft, he has 31 points, including 16 goals, in 22 games this season. However, he didn’t play between Nov. 18 and Dec. 2, then came back to play five games. He last played on Dec. 16.


The Prince Albert Raiders got down to three 20-year-olds on Saturday by releasing F Devon Skoleski. The move became necessary after the Raiders acquired F Regan Nagy, 20, from the Victoria Royals earlier in the week. . . . From St. Adolphe, Man., Skoleski had eight goals and nine assists in 38 games this season, his third in the WHL. He played the previous two seasons with the Everett Silvertips. In 169 regular-season games, he has 31 goals and 39 assists. . . . The move leaves the Raiders with Nagy, F Curtis Miske and F Jordy Stallard as their 20-year-old players.


The Kootenay Ice has signed D Benjamin Zloty, who was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Calgary, he has three goals and six assists in 11 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals this season. . . . The Ice now has signed seven of the 10 players it selected in the 2017 bantam draft.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Prince Albert, F Kody McDonald, acquired in a trade earlier in the day, scored in OT to give the Raiders a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders (15-17-8) have PrinceAlbertpoints in three straight (2-0-1). They now are five points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . The Rebels (10-21-9) have lost seven straight (0-3-4). . . . The Raiders had D Vojtech Budik back after his stint with Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship and he opened the scoring with his third goal of the season, 48 seconds into the second period. . . . That goal came after a first period in which the home side held a 17-0 edge in shots. . . . F Reese Johnson (13) pulled the Rebels even at 19:33 of the second. . . . McDonald won it at 1:08 of extra time with his 20th goal of the season. . . . Budik earned an assist on the winner. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 18 saves. . . . Red Deer got 33 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Both teams will make it three games in fewer than 48 hours today as they hit the road — the Rebels will play in Swift Current, while the Raiders are in Regina. . . . Announced attendance: 1,901.


At Swift Current, the Broncos broke a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals and beat the Regina Pats, 4-2. . . . Swift Current (28-10-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). The SCBroncosBroncos are second in the overall standings, 10 points behind Moose Jaw and six ahead of Brandon. . . . Regina (20-19-3) had won its previous four games. The Pats hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Kaden Elder, at 9:34, and F Matteo Gennaro, at 11:42. . . . Regina tied it in the second period as F Bryan Lockner (6) scored, on a PP, at 4:41 and F Nick Henry (7) counted at 18:46. . . . Gennaro (26) broke the tie at 15:15 of the third period and Elder (11) added insurance at 18:31. . . . D Josh Mahura had two assists for the Pats. . . . Regina was 1-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-3. . . . The Broncos got 33 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . Regina starter Tyler Brown allowed two goals on 11 shots in 11:45 before being relieved by Jacob Wassermann, who made his WHL debut by stopping 15 of 17 shots in 48:15. Wassermann, who plays for the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, is on the Pats’ roster while G Max Paddock is sidelined. . . . F Austin Pratt, acquired earlier in the day from Red Deer, was in the Pats’ lineup. However, F Jesse Gabrielle and D Jonas Harkins, who came over to Regina from Prince George on Friday, didn’t play. . . . D Artyom Minulin played for the Broncos after returning from the World Junior Championship where he played for Russia. . . . Announced attendance: 2,284.


At Saskatoon, the Blades ran their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Blades (21-17-3) now have won 10 of their past 11 games. They Saskatoonare in the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Regina. . . . The Ice (18-21-3) has lost five in a row, going 0-4-1 as it played five games in six nights. This also was its eight game in 11 nights since the end of the Christmas break. Kootenay remains second in the Central Division, two points ahead of Lethbridge. . . . F Gage Ramsay, who went into the game with two goals this season, got his guys off to a quick start by scoring twice in the first period, at 3:07 and 12:46. . . . F Josh Paterson (20) made it 3-0 at 17:13. . . . Saskatoon F Cam Hebig (30) upped the lead to 4-0 at 8:33 of the third period. . . . The Ice got two late third-period goals from F Keenan Taphorn (4), at 15:48, and F Brett Davis (11), at 18:44. . . . Ramsay added an assist to his two goals, while Hebig had two helpers. . . . D Zachary Patrick had two assists for the Ice. . . . Kootenay was 0-1 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 27 shots. He’s got 10 victories in his past 10 starts. . . . Kootenay starter Bailey Brkin was beaten three times on 17 shots in the first period. Duncan McGovern finished up by stopping 14 of 15 shots in 38:51. . . . This was the first meeting of four between these teams this season. . . . D Libor Hajek, who played so well for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship, was back in the Blades’ lineup. . . . The Blades will make it three games in fewer than 48 hours when they meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon today. The Wheat Kings were idle last night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,241.


At Edmonton, F Jayden Halbgewachs, the WHL’s top sniper, scored twice to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (33-6-3) has points MooseJawWarriorsin eight straight (7-0-1) and is 10 points clear atop the overall standings. . . . The Oil Kings (10-24-6) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Warriors jumped out front 2-0 on first-period goals form F Tanner Jeannot (31) and Halbgewachs, at 5:05 and 10:32. . . . Edmonton tied it before the period ended on PP goals from F Davis Koch (18) and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (17). . . . The Warriors scored the game’s last five goals. . . . F Luka Burzan (6) broke the tie at 12:00 of the second period, and F Justin Almeida added insurance at 17:18. . . . Almeida (24) scored again at 2:14, Halbgewachs (44) got his second of the game, while shorthanded, at 14:25, and F Tate Popple (4) finished the scoring at 17:32. . . . F Brayden Burke, who leads the WHL points race, had three assists. . . . Fix-Wolansky and Koch each had an assist for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were 2-7 on the PP; the Warriors were 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 16 saves from G Brody Willms, while Edmonton’s Josh Dechaine stopped 25 shots. . . . Moose Jaw lost D Matthew Benson to a headshot major and game misconduct at 3:23 of the third period. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Colton Kehler, who served a one-game suspension after a slew-footing incident in Medicine Hat on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 7,375.


At Lethbridge, F Andrew Fyten scored Calgary’s first two goals and the Hitmen went on to a 6-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Calgary (13-21-6) has won four straight from CalgaryLethbridge and leads the season series, 4-2-0. Calgary is fourth in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . Lethbridge (17-19-3) has lost two in a row. It is 2-3-1 in the series with Calgary. The Hurricanes are third in the division, two points behind Kootenay with three games in hand. . . . Fyten gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 5:38 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive (24) tied it at 15:05 with his seventh goal in six games. . . . Fyten (6) put the Hitmen back out front at 17:34. . . . The visitors took control with three second-period goals, from F Luke Coleman (8), at 1:34; D Jameson Murray (1), at 6:34; and F Riley Stotts (9), at 8:53. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (4) closed out the scoring, on a PP, at 19:19 of the third period. . . . James and F Jake Kryski each had two assists for Calgary, with Coleman and Stotts each adding one. . . . The Hitmen were 1-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 0-3. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider stopped 37 shots. . . . The Hurricanes started G Stuart Skinner, who allowed five goals on 17 shots in 28:53. . . . Reece Klassen played the final 31:07, stopping 16 of 17 shots. . . . Calgary F Jakob Stukel came up short on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Hitmen will play their third game of the weekend today when they entertain the Kelowna Rockets, who didn’t play last night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,773.


At Medicine Hat, the Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Tigers, 5-3. . . . Vancouver (23-14-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and has won six straight road Vancouvergames. The Giants, who have missed the playoffs each of the previous three seasons, are tied with Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division. . . . Medicine Hat (22-16-3) had been 3-0-1 in its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by eight points over Kootenay. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (11) scored a shorthanded goal at 2:08 of the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. . . . F Dawson Holt pulled the visitors even at 6:51. . . . The Tigers went back out front when F Ryan Chyzowski (14) scored, on a PP, at 2:53 of the second period. . . . Vancouver pulled even again just 55 seconds later when F Brad Morrison (11) scored. . . . The Giants took their first lead at 8:27 as F Brayden Watts (12) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 9:53 when F Gary Haden (10) scored while on the PP. . . . The Giants won it with two third-period goals. . . . F Ty Ronning (36) broke the tie, on a PP, at 5:38, and Holt (6) provided insurance with his second goal of the game at 11:36. . . . Morrison and Watts had an assist each for Vancouver. . . . Chyzowski added an assist to his goal, too. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-7 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 23 shots for the Giants, two fewer than Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett. . . . F Ryan Jevne of the Tigers completed a three-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 3,353.


At Kamloops, the Victoria Royals erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and beat the Blazers, 5-4 in OT. . . . Victoria (23-15-4) has won two in a row and is third in the B.C. Division, one VictoriaRoyalspoint behind Kelowna and Vancouver. . . . Kamloops (17-19-3) now is eights points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Nick Chyzowski (13), at 0:51; F Garrett Pilon (18), who ended a six-game drought, at 4:44; and F Travis Walton, with his first goal in his 21st game, at 19:08. . . . F Tyler Soy (18) got Victoria on the scoreboard at 14:52 of the second period, but D Joe Gatenby (9) got it back for Kamloops just 1:07 later. . . . The Royals got to within two goals at 16:52 as F Dino Kambeitz scored his ninth goal. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) made it 4-3, on a Victoria PP, at 10:12, and F Matthew Phillips (30), who was the game’s best player and also had two assists, tied it at 14:36. . . . The game ended on the first shot of OT at 0:23. Soy won a puck battle deep in the Royals’ zone, and rifled the puck up ice to send Phillips and D Chaz Reddekopp in 2-on-1. Phillips made the pass to give Reddekopp a look at an open net and he didn’t miss for his fifth goal of the season. . . . Soy and Reddekopp also had an assist each. . . . The Blazers got two assists from D Nolan Kneen and one each from Pilon and Gatenby. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 32 shots to record the victory over Dylan Ferguson, who made 30 saves. . . . The Blazers had F Justin Sigrist back after his time with Switzerland at the World Junior Championship. . . . F Jeff de Wit, who finished Friday’s 5-0 victory over visiting Everett, was among Victoria’s scratches. . . . The Royals left immediately after the game for Everett where they are scheduled to play the Silvertips today. . . . Announced attendance: 4,740.


At Prince George, F Parker AuCoin scored two third-period goals to force OT then got the only goal of a shootout as the Tri-City Americans, who had trailed 4-1, came back to beat TriCity30the Cougars, 6-5. . . . Tri-City (21-12-5) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. . . . Prince George (15-18-7) has points in four straight (2-0-2) and is tied with Kamloops, eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Jared Bethune, who had scored three times in the Cougars’ 4-3 victory on Friday night, got his 13th goal at 7:32 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. . . . F Aaron Boyd (7) made it 2-0 at 8:51. . . . F Sasha Mutala (5) cut into the deficit, on a PP, at 16:40. . . . The Cougars went ahead 4-0 with a pair of second-period PP goals just 1:31 apart — F Jackson Leppard (9) scored at 11:24 and D Dennis Cholowski (13) followed up at 12:55. . . . The Americans got to within a goal by scoring twice before the period ended, as F Jordan Topping (20) scored at 13:11 and F Max James got his sixth goal at 15:55. . . . The Cougars went ahead 5-3 at 3:30 of the third period when F Max Kryski got the third goal of his freshman season. . . . The Americans tied it on a pair of AuCoin PP goals, at 10:41 and 12:16. He’s got 10 goals. . . . AuCoin, the shootout’s first shooter, scored and his goal held up as the winner. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of D Mitchell Brown and Topping, with James getting one. . . . Leppard and D Joel Lakusta had two assists apiece for the Cougars, with Cholowski and Bethune adding one each. . . . Lakusta, who went into his third season with three goals and 16 assists in 104 games, has four goals and 16 helpers in 40 games this season. He has recorded six assists in his past four games. . . . Tri-City was 3-5 on the PP; Prince George was 2-4. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 38 shots for the Americans, and that included a save on F Josh Curtis on a penalty shot at 1:19 of OT. . . . The Cougars got 34 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Newly acquired F Kjell Kjemhus, who came over from Regina, and D Rhett Rhinehart (Prince Albert) made their Prince George debuts. . . . The Americans were fined $250 on Saturday for a “warm-up violation” prior to Friday’s game. . . . Tri-City will complete a three-game weekend today in Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 2,841.


At Everett, F Jake Gricius scored at 19:21 of the third period to give the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Portland (23-13-3) had lost its previous Portlandthree games (0-1-2). The victory lifted it past Everett and into first place in the U.S. Division. . . . Everett (23-16-2) has lost two straight. . . . Portland scored the game’s first three goals. . . . Gricius opened the scoring at 17:41 of the first period, and F Ryan Hughes (6) made it 2-0 just 17 seconds later. . . . F Ilijah Colina (3) upped the lead to 3-0, on a PP, at 1:39 of the second period. . . . Everett tied it with the next three goals, all via the PP. . . . F Wyatte Wylie (3) made it 3-1 at 8:11 of the second period. . . . F Matt Fonteyne made it a one-goal game, at 9:49, then tied it with his 20th goal, at 7:59 of the third period. . . . The teams appeared headed to OT when Gricius won it with his ninth goal of the season. . . . F Mason Mannek had two assists for the Winterhawks. . . . Everett got two assists from each of D Kevin Davis and F Patrick Bajkov. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Portland was 1-2. . . . G Cole Kehler stopped 36 shots for the Winterhawks, two more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips brought in D Dylan Anderson from the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, but he wasn’t in the lineup. Anderson, 15, was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 7,019.


At Kent, Wash., F Donovan Neuls scored twice and added an assist as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 4-1. . . . Seattle (20-14-5) has points in eight Seattlestraight (7-0-1). . . . Spokane (21-16-3) is tied with Seattle for fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. Seattle and Spokane hold down the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . Neuls opened the scoring at 18:10 of the first period. . . . Seattle D Jarret Tyska (6) made it 2-0 at 6:36 of the second period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (22) scored for Spokane at 12:44 of the second period. . . . Neuls (13) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 16:05. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman (7) stretched the lead, on another PP, at 5:54 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak and D Turner Ottenbreit each had two assists for the winners. . . . Andrusiak, 19, went into this season with six goals and five assists in 67 games. This season, he has 18 goals and 20 assists in 39 games. . . . Seattle was 2-5 on the PP; Spokane was 0-6. . . . G Liam Hughes earned the victory with 39 saves, 10 more than Spokane’s Dawson Weatherill. . . . Announced attendance: 5,180.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Brandon, 4 p.m.

Red Deer at Swift Current, 4 p.m.

Prince Albert at Regina, 4 p.m.

Kelowna at Calgary 4 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 4:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Kamloops, 5 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Hurricanes suspend Bowen … Semchuk leaves Giants … Silvertips set franchise record … Wednesday’s WHL roundup

MacBeth

D Jiří Smejkal (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, 2014-16) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had four goals and two assists in 26 games. . . .

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has been released by Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) for financial reasons. An alternate captain, he had one goal and 18 assists in 43 games. Later Wednesday, Blum signed with Sochi (Russia, KHL) for the remainder of this season.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

D Kale Clague wasn’t in Team Canada’s lineup on Wednesday night as it ran its World BuffaloJunior Championship record to 2-0 with a 6-0 victory over Slovakia in Buffalo. Clague, who is having a monster season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, blocked a shot with his right foot in Canada’s 4-2 victory over Finland on Tuesday. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “X-rays were negative, reportedly no fracture.” . . . After beating Slovakia, Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme said that he expects Clague to play Friday against the U.S., in the outdoor game.


Tim Wharnsby of CBC is in Buffalo for the WJC. He reports that Friday’s outdoor game may be in jeopardy because of a weather forecast that calls for “a frigid temperature of -8 C with a wind-chill making it feel more like -13 C.” . . . He also notes that the attendance woes continue to be a major story. . . . His piece is right here.


A note from Buffalo: If you would like to skate at New Era Field before Canada and the U.S. meet up in a WJC outdoor game on Friday, all you need is US$100. Fans were allowed on the ice Wednesday evening and there will be another 90-minute session today. Maki Becker of the Buffalo News adds: “Skaters must bring their own skates, and helmets are required for anyone under 12. Anyone coming into the stadium must have a ticket, even if they’re not skating.” . . . That $100 also gets you a ticket in the 300 level — the upper deck — to Friday’s game. . . . Sheesh, maybe I’m crazy, but that’s a lot of dough for a short skate.


Remember the Punch-Up in Piestany? Alan Maki of The Globe and Mail revisits the infamous 1987 WJC game between Canada and Russia and it’s all right here.


F Ryan Bowen has been suspended by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after refusing to report after being traded to an unidentified team. According to a news release from the LethbridgeHurricanes, Bowen “was notified of a trade to another team, but has been suspended after informing the Hurricanes and the acquiring team that he would not report.”

Bowen, 19, has 30 points, including seven goals, in 53 games over two seasons with Lethbridge. This season, he had a goal and five assists in 13 games. He didn’t play his first game until Nov. 21, thanks to a shoulder injury.

In 143 career games, split between Lethbridge and the Moose Jaw Warriors, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

Moose Jaw selected Bowen, who is from Chilliwack, B.C., in the fifth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Warriors dealt him to the Hurricanes on Nov. 8, 2016, along with a 2017 second-round bantam draft pick and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2019 draft for F Brayden Burke.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that “various WHL sources are saying that VancouverRW Brendan Semchuk has left the Vancouver Giants and is requesting a trade.”

Ewen tweeted the news prior to a game between the host Giants and the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night.

Semchuk, 18, is from Kamloops. He didn’t play last night, a healthy scratch for a third straight game.

According to Ewen, “The Giants are declining comment.”

The Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. In 127 regular-season games, all with the Giants, he has 17 goals and 24 assists.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has posted his final 31 Thoughts of 2017. He leads with memories of the late Johnny Bower, who died this week. The Prince Albert native was maybe the most beloved Toronto Maple Leafs player of them all. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored three times in the third period as they beat the Regina Pats, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-8-1) have won 16 of their last 18 games. They BrandonWKregularare third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Swift Current. . . . Regina (16-18-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Pats and Wheat Kings will play again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . Last night, the teams were 2-2 after two periods. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (26) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded, at 13:37 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Robbie Holmes, at 19:33 of the first, and F Logan Nijhoff (1), at 4:05 of the second. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Cole Reinhardt (11), at 14:36 of the second, and F Ty Lewis (18), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Holmes (9) pulled the Pats to within a goal at 7:25 of the third, but F Evan Weinger (15) got that one back for Brandon just 30 seconds later. . . . F Linden McCorrister (10) added insurance at 18:28. . . . Mattheos, Lewis and Weinger added an assist each for Brandon. . . . D Cale Fleury had two helpers for Regina. . . . The Pats were 0-3 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 0-6. . . . Brandon got 27 saves from G Logan Thompson, while Regina’s Max Paddock, playing in his hometown, turned aside 30 shots. . . . The Pats have F Sam Steel (Canada) at the WJC, while Brandon D Kale Clague also is with Team Canada. . . . Regina was without D Josh Mahura, who was released by Team Canada on Tuesday and has gone home to Edmonton for a couple of days. . . . The Pats brought in D Kjell Kjemhus, 16, from PoE and had him in the lineup. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,919.


At Saskatoon, F Cam Hebig scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades (16-17-3) have won two in a row. They moved out of a tie Saskatoonwith the Raiders and into a tie with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Raiders (13-15-7) have lost two in a row. . . . Saskatoon took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Josh Paterson (13), at 4:08, and Hebig, on a PP, at 9:56. . . . The Raiders tied it before the period ended, though, thanks to scores by F Brett Season (5), on a PP, at 12:44, and F Devon Skoleski (8), at 13:22. . . . Hebig, who has 28 goals, broke the tie at 12:16 of the second period and D Jackson Caller (2) added insurance at 13:18. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Braylon Shmyr and one from Paterson. . . . D Max Martin drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 20 saves, 18 fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . F Kirby Dach of the Blades didn’t return after the first period. . . . Each team has a defenceman playing with the Czech Republic at the WJC in Buffalo — Vojtech Budik of the Raiders and Libor Hajek of the Blades. . . . F Gage Ramsay returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury, while F Michael Farren was back after a two-game absence. However, F Caleb Fantillo won’t play for at least three weeks. . . . With Hajek gone, the Blades have added Majid Kaddoura, 16, to their roster, although he didn’t play last night. A list player from Chestermere, Alta., Kaddoura plays at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . The Raiders and Blades will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Announced attendance: 3,395.


At Swift Current, F Glenn Gawdin and F Matteo Gennaro had shootout goals as the Broncos got past the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . The Broncos (26-7-2) erased a 3-0 deficit SCBroncosin the third period as they ran their victory streak to six. . . . The Warriors slipped to 27-6-3 and now lead the overall standings by three points over the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw scored twice before the game was two minutes old — F Brayden Burke (17) counting at 1:14 and F Tanner Jeannot (26) following at 1:33 — and made it 3-0 when F Justin Almeida scored, on a PP, at 5:56 of the second period. . . . The Broncos got to within a goal on third-period scores from F Max Patterson (3), on a PP, at 4:56, and F Kaden Elder (7), at 6:29. . . . Almeida (21), on a PP, restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 7:52. . . . The Broncos forced OT when Gawdin (32) scored at 16:08 and Gennaro (21) tied it at 16:36. . . . Gennaro added two assists and Gawdin one. . . . Burke, F Tristin Langan and F Jayden Halbgewachs each had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The teams will play tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors were 2-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Logan Flodell. At the other end, Brody Willms turned aside 23 shots. . . . D Jacson Alexander, who left the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies to sign with the Broncos last week, didn’t make his WHL debut. That may happen sometime on the weekend. . . . F Beck Malenstyn, who was acquired by Swift Current from the Calgary Hitmen, in a rather large trade earlier in the month, made his Broncos debut after being out for all but the season’s first four games with a wrist injury. He was in the starting lineup, alongside Gennaro, who also came over in the deal with Calgary, and Elder. Malenstyn drew the primary assist on Gennaro’s tying goal. . . . D Carter Spenst, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme of the CSSHL, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. . . . The Warriors are missing head coach Tim Hunter and F Brett Howden, both of whom are with Canada at the WJC. . . . The Broncos have three players in Buffalo — D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 2,644.


At Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last three goals, with D Conner McDonald in on each of them, and beat the Rebels, 3-1. . . . The Oil Kings (8-22-4) had lost EdmontonOilKingstheir previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Rebels (10-19-6) had points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . D Alex Alexeyev (4) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 1:25 of the first period. . . . Edmonton tied it when F Davis Koch (15) scored, on a PP, at 12:19, then took the lead at 15:16 as F Trey Fix-Wolansky (13) scored. . . . F David Kope (3) added insurance at 2:00 of the second period. . . . McDonald drew three assists, while Koch and Fix-Wolansky each had one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 27 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Rebels also are missing F Kristian Reichel, who is in Buffalo with the Czech Republic. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 4,826.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Peyton Krebs scored at 1:30 of OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice (16-17-2) has points in four straight games (3-Kootenaynew0-1) and has moved into second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen (10-18-6) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . This was the third straight game these teams have played — the Ice won the previous two, 2-0 and 5-1. The teams will make it four in a row tonight in Calgary. . . . F Jakob Stukel put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Colton Veloso, who has 10. He scored on a PP at 9:12 of the first period and while shorthanded at 8:35 of the second. . . . Calgary F Jake Kryski (9) tied it 11:54. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (10) put the Ice back in front at 14:33. . . . F Orca Wiesblatt (4) got Calgary back into a tie at 17:54 of the third period. . . . Krebs, who has nine goals, won it with a PP goal. . . . F Brett Davis drew three assists for Kootenay, with Krebs adding one. . . . The Ice was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Kootenay got 20 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are without D Jake Bean (Canada) and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (Belarus), who are in Buffalo. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak is with Slovakia. . . . With G Bailey Brkin (ill) sidelined, the Ice had G Gage Alexander, 15, on the bench in support of McGovern. Alexander, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, signed a WHL contract last week. From Okotoks, Alta., he is playing with the minor midget AAA Rockyview Raiders (8-1-1, 1.60, .942). . . . Announced attendance: 2,625.


At Medicine Hat, head coach Shaun Clouston tied the franchise record for regular-season coaching victories as the Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Tigers (19-Tigers Logo Official14-2) have won two straight and lead the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes (15-17-2) had won their previous game. They are third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay. . . . The teams will meet again Friday in Lethbridge. . . . Clouston now has 323 victories with the Tigers, equalling the record held by Willie Desjardins. . . . The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a PP goal from F Jordy Bellerive (18) at 5:28 of the second period. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the third period. . . . Medicine Hat took the lead on goals from D David Quenneville, on a PP, at 4:53, and F Max Gerlach (13), at 10:14. . . . F Lane Zablocki pulled Lethbridge into a tie with his 10th goal at 10:36. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin (11) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Quenneville (14), who also had an assist, got the empty-netter, at 19:21. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . F Taylor Ross had two assists for the visitors. . . . The Tigers were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-1. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett made 27 saves, while Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen turned aside 36. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner (ill) was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 3,688.


At Portland, the Tri-City Americans broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals and beat the Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . The Americans (19-10-3) have won four in a row. They have TriCity30moved into fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Victoria and Portland. . . . The Winterhawks (21-12-1) have lost three straight. They trail U.S. Division-leading Everett by three points. . . . The Americans and Winterhawks will meet Friday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans skated to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 8:00, and F Kyle Olson (4), on a PP, at 12:06. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Cody Glass started it at 14:43 of the first period, with F Jake Gricius (6) twins it at 15:11. . . . Glass (22), on a PP, gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 6:15 of the second period. . . . Johnson (8) tied it at 14:29. . . . The Americans took over in the third period, getting goals from F Morgan Geekie (15), at 6:29; D Dylan Coghlan (11), at 7:17; and F Nolan Yaremko (10), at 9:30. . . . Geekie and Yaremko each had three assists, with D Mitchell Brown adding two and Coghlan one. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-3. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, 11 more than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Michael Rasmussen was among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki is in Buffalo with Finland. . . . The Winterhawks have three players at the WJC — F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark), F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and D Henri Jokiharju (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 5,719.


At Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips set a franchise record for goals in one game as they whipped the Vancouver Giants, 11-0. . . . The Silvertips (22-13-2) have won three in a row Everettand lead the U.S. Division. . . . The Giants (18-14-4) had won their previous six games. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . The Silvertips had scored 10 goals once before — in a 10-4 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 11, 2009. . . . The Giants and Silvertips will meet again Friday in Everett. . . . The Silvertips got four goals and an assist from F Riley Sutter and 24 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who has two shutouts and three assists in his eight appearances in his freshman season. He is 6-2-0, 1.75, .947. . . . The visitors scored four goals in the first period and five in the second. . . . Sutter now has 17 goals this season. He scored the game’s first two goals, at 2:28 and 12:43 of the opening period. . . . F Connor Dewar, who has 14 goals, made it 4-0 with goals at 16:00 and 19:05. He also had three assists. . . .F Orrin Centazzo (5) added two goals, with singles from F Matt Fonteyne (17), F Sean Richards (15) and D Jake Christiansen (3). . . . F Patrick Bajkov had three assists, with F Bryce Kindopp getting two and Richards one. . . . Everett was 2-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck played the first and third periods, allowing six goals on 19 shots. Todd Scott was beaten five times on 10 shots in the second period. . . . Vancouver F Milos Roman is at the WJC with Slovakia, while Everett G Carter Hart is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.


At Victoria, the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to beat the Royals, 5-3. . . . The Cougars (13-17-5) had lost their previous three games. They are fifth in the PrinceGeorgeB.C. Division, three points behind Kamloops. . . . The Royals (20-14-3) have lost four in a row and are second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . They will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . D Joel Lakusta gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 3:58 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (16) tied it, on a PP, at 6:31. . . . F Nic Holowko (4) put Prince George back in front just 12 seconds later. . . . F Tyler Soy (14) tied it again, at 10:28, and F Matthew Phillips (25) gave the home side the lead, on a PP, at 12:03. . . . The Cougars tied it when F Jackson Leppard (8) scored, on a PP, at 14:48. . . . F Josh Maser’s 14th goal, on a PP, broke the tie at 2:54 of the second period. . . . Lakusta, who has four goals, put it away with an empty-netter, at 19:56 of the third period. . . . Prince George got three assists from F Kody McDonald, while Maser and Leppard each had one. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for the Royals, with Phillips and Soy adding one each. . . . Soy has 147 career assists, which equals the Royals franchise record that he now shares with Jack Walker. The Victoria/Chilliwack franchise record (151) belongs to F Brandon Magee. . . . The Cougars were 2-8 on the PP; the Royals were 2-7. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 36 shots for the Cougars, 14 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars is in Buffalo with Belarus. . . . The Royals are missing F Ivan Martynov, who also is with Belarus. . . . Soy, who left Victoria’s last game before the Christmas break with an apparent injury, and Hannoun, who had been ill, both were in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Victoria F Regan Nagy (finger) remains sidelined. . . . This is the sixth straight season in which these teams have returned from Christmas to play twice in Victoria. The Royals are 8-2-1 in the previous 11 meetings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,637.


At Kelowna, F Liam Kindree scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the Rockets a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-11-3) has won three in a KelownaRocketsrow and is alone atop the B.C. Division. It is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (16-17-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1) and is one point out of a wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna and Kamloops have met in the first game after the Christmas break for six straight years. The Rockets are 6-0-0; the Blazers are 0-5-1. . . . They will play the rematch in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Kole Lind (17) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the second period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby, who was acquired prior to last season from the Rockets, forced OT with his eighth goal of the season. He scored at 18:42 of the third period on the Blazers’ 43rd shot of the game. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 46 saves through OT — and four in the shootout — from G James Porter Jr. . . . G Dylan Ferguson blocked 21 shots, including a first-period penalty-shot attempt by Lind. . . . Kelowna remains without F Erik Gardiner (concussion). Gardiner, 18, last played on Oct. 28. . . . Each team was missing two players who are in Buffalo at the WJC. Kamloops D Ondrej Vala is with Czech Republic, while F Justin Sigrist is with Switzerland. Kelowna F Dillon Dube is captaining Team Canada, while D Cal Foote also is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 6,238.


At Spokane, F Zach Fischer’s goal at 3:46 of OT gave the Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Chiefs (19-13-3) had lost their previous game, 10-3 to the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Thunderbirds. Spokane is tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Seattle (15-14-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fifth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane, and holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The rematch — and the third straight game between these teams — is set for Friday in Kent, Wash. . . . F Nolan Volcan (14) put Seattle out front 1-0, on a PP, at 17:54 of the first period. . . . Fischer tied it at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman (5) at 14:14, and D Reece Hirsch (7), on a PP, at 17:20. . . . The Chiefs tied it on third-period goals from F Hudson Elynuik, on a PP, at 6:28, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (17), at 11:02. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) put Seattle ahead, again, at 14:18, only to have F Riley Woods (14) force OT by tying it at 16:12. . . . Fischer, who also had an assist, won it with his 16th goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Elynuik added an assist each for Spokane. . . . D Turner Ottenbreit had two helpers for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-3 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-6. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 25 shots for Spokane, while Seattle got 37 saves from Matt Berlin. . . . F Sami Moilanen didn’t play for Seattle after suffering an undisclosed injury while in the selection camp of the Finnish national junior team. . . . The Chiefs have two players at the WJC — F Kailer Yamamoto (U.S.) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic). . . . Announced attendance: 5,082.


THURSDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

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


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