Things heated up on the WHL playoff front on Wednesday as the Department of Discipline suspended two players under supplemental discipline.
When the Victoria Royals and host Kamloops Blazers met in Game 4 of their series last night, each team was missing one player after a hit in Game 3. Victoria won the game, 3-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
F Brodi Stuart of the Blazers was suspended for one game after the Royals requested supplemental discipline for his unpenalized hit on D Matt Smith at 14:45 of the second period. Smith, who was back in the lineup after missing 10 games with an undisclosed injury, didn’t return and was scratched from Game 4.
At the time of the check, it was evident that the Royals felt the hit involved a high elbow. At the Victoria bench, head coach Dan Price could be seen indicating to referee Sean Raphael that an elbow was involved and that the referee should “watch the replay.”
The Blazers, of course, felt otherwise.
This was the second time this season that the Royals asked for supplemental discipline. In the first instance, the Blazers also were involved after D Jeff Faith hit Royals D Remy Aquilon during a game in Victoria on Jan. 9. The league reviewed it, found it to be a headshot, and suspended Faith for five games. Aquilon missed 11 games, not returning until Feb. 5.
F Kobe Mohr of the Blazers was suspended for two games after Game 1 of this series for slashing a linesman following a faceoff. Mohr was quoted as saying that the Royals had filed for supplemental discipline in that instance, too, but that turned out not to be true. The league handled that situation on its own.
Cam Hope, who is in his seventh season as the Royals’ general manager, told Taking Note on Wednesday afternoon that other than the two requests for supplemental this season, he “can’t even recall the last time we made a request. Maybe one other in the last five years?”
As Hope put it: “With big hitters like Tyler Stahl and Ryan Gagnon (in our lineup), most of my calls with the league have been from the other side.”
Meanwhile, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had to deal with another review after the Vancouver Giants requested supplemental discipline following an incident in Game 3 of their series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Giants won that game, 6-4, in Kent, Wash., to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Seattle D Cade McNelly came out of it with a two-game suspension “under supplemental discipline and repeat offender,” according to the WHL.
Observers seemed to be at a loss for what McNelly might have done, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia indicated via Twitter that the Seattle player “did have some sort of exchange with (Vancouver defenceman) Bowen Byram from the penalty box.”
This is the fourth time this season that McNelly has been suspended.
McNelly was suspended for four games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Feb. 22. He also was hit with a three-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a game against the Winterhawks in Portland on Dec. 31. There also was a three-game suspension for a one-man fight in a game at Portland on Sept. 29.
Following Wednesday night’s playoff games, the Department of Discipline will have a couple of situations to deal with before Friday evening.
The Seattle Thunderbirds likely will be subjected to more discipline before Friday’s Game 5 against the Vancouver Giants after F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 4:16 of the first period for a hit on F Aidan Barfoot.
Seattle won Game 4, 4-3, in Kent, Wash., to tie the series, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday.
The Thunderbirds acquired Richards, 20, from the Everett Silvertips in January. He already has been suspended five times in his WHL career, including twice this season, each time for an infraction against Seattle. He got eight games for a boarding major and game misconduct on Dec. 8, and five games for a headshot major and game misconduct on Oct. 5.
Meanwhile, F Kody McDonald of the Victoria Royals almost certainly will be suspended after being hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure
McDonald had been given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 5:34 of the third period. As he skated to the penalty box, he was most unhappy and kept showing the officials that he was bleeding from the mouth area.
The Royals killed the penalty but, at 7:58, McDonald, while on the Victoria bench, swung his stick at the head of F Zane Franklin while the Kamloops player was on his bench. McDonald was given the match penalty, while Franklin was handed an unsportsmanlike minor.
The Blazers scored on the ensuing 4-on-4 situation and then added a PP goal to snap a 3-3 tie. They ended up with a 5-3 victory to tie the series, 2-2.
McDonald was last suspended during the 2017-18 season while with the Prince George Cougars. He got three games for being involved in a one-man fight in a game against host Vancouver. The Cougars later traded him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him in a deal with the Raiders on Jan. 3.
The Seattle Thunderbirds welcomed back D Jake Lee for Game 4 of their series with the Vancouver Giants last night. He served a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct with six seconds left Vancouver’s 7-1 victory in Game 1. That was for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif, who has yet to return to action.
Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck isn’t at all please with the two-game suspension or Lee’s return.
“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it,” Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia. “It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.
“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”
Dyck was a defenceman with the Regina Pats on March 1, 1987, when Hornung, a teammate, was hit from behind and left a quadriplegic.
Ewen’s complete story is right here.
NOTES: There were seven games again last night, with only two scheduled for tonight. . . . The Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans, who played last night after sitting out Tuesday, will play Game 4 in Kennewick, Wash., tonight, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Hitmen will do the same in Calgary. . . . Everett leads its series, 2-1, while Lethbridge also is ahead, 2-1. . . .
The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades both completed season sweeps last night. The Raiders ousted the Red Deer Rebels, while the Blades were taking care of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The second round will feature, yes, Saskatoon against Prince Albert. It will be the first time since 2011 that these teams have met in the playoffs. That spring, the Blades won a first-round series in six games. That was Saskatoon’s last series victory prior to ousting Moose Jaw last night. . . . The Raiders and Blades are expected to open in Prince Albert on April 5 and 6, then return to Saskatoon for games on April 9 and 10.
F Brett Leason returned from a one-game suspension to score twice and lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders won the series, 4-0, giving the organization its first series sweep and series victory since the spring of 2005. That year, the Raiders swept the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round series, then beat the Medicine Hat Tigers in six, before losing in seven to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Rebels were swept for the first time since losing to the Blades in 2010. . . . Last night, F Jeff de Wit gave the Rebels their first lead of the series when he scored with 9.7 seconds in the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (3) tied it at 9:08 of the second period and Leason (1) gave his guys the lead 58 seconds into the third period. . . . Leason (2) added a PP goal at 11:27, and F Cole Fonstad (1), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter at 16:26. . . . F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on Red Deer’s goal, meaning he was in on six of the seven goals the Rebels scored in the four games. . . . Prince Albert was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Raiders got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . G Ethan Anders topped 31 shots for Red Deer.
F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen scored at 4:36 of OT to give the Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon won the series, 4-0. . . . This was the first time the Blazers have swept a series since the spring of 2010 when they took out the Red Deer Rebels. . . . F Max Gerlach (5) put the Blades on top at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Luke Ormsby (1), at 18:03, and D Matthew Benson (1), at 2:06 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Robins (1) tied it at 9:40. . . . The Blades took a 3-2 lead when F Kirby Dach (3) scored, shorthanded, at 15:35 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw forced OT when F Tristin Langan (1) scored, shorthanded, at 17:43. . . . Roykas Marthinsen won it with his first playoff goal. A freshman from Norway, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 62 regular-season games. . . . Gerlach has goals in seven straight games. . . . Saskatoon was 0-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 23 stops from G Nolan Maier, while Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff blocked 44 shots. . . . F Yegor Buyalski was among the Warriors’ scratches. According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Buyalski was out “after taking a high hit” in Game 3.
The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last five goals, two of them by F Vince Loschiavo, to beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-1. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled to be played in Edmonton on Friday night. Game 6 is in Medicine on Sunday. . . . F Ryan Jevne (1) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield (2) tied it, on a PP, at 15:32, and F Andrew Fyten (1) put the visitors out front at 16:45. . . . Loschiavo (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 17:28. . . . Loschiavo (3), who also had an assist, added his second goal at 7:31 of the third period, and D Matthew Robertson (1) closed it out at 11:19. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-5. . . . The Oil Kings held a 36-15 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the first period and 13-5 in the third. . . . Edmonton got 14 saves from G Todd Scott, while Medicine Hat’s Mads Søgaard turned aside 31 shots. . . . The Oil Kings had F Dylan Guenther, the first overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his playoff debut. He played eight games with them during the regular season, scoring three times and adding an assist. In 28 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, he had 32 goals and 26 assists.
F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-1. They’ll play Game 4 tonight in Kennewick, with Game 5 in Everett on Saturday. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:35 of the first period. He has scored in each game of this series and in five straight overall. . . . D Samuel Stewart (1) got Tri-City even, on a PP, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Everett went back out front at 19:51 as F Bryce Kindopp (1) scored, on a PP. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko (3) forced OT when he scored at 2:16 of the third period. . . . AuCoin’s first goal of the playoffs won it, on a PP, at 7:52 of extra time. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Everett was 2-5. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots for the Americans, 11 more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips had F Connor Dewar back in their lineup after he missed Game 2. . . . D Marc Lajoie made his debut with the Americans. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was the 14th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He also is the son of Kamloops Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie. This season, in 35 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, Marc had 11 goals and 24 assists.
The Seattle Thunderbirds, losing 3-0 early in the second period, scored four times and beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Friday night in Langley, B.C. They’ll be back in Kent for Game 6 on Saturday. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (3) got Vancouver into a 1-0 lead at 10:33 of the first period, and F Brayden Watts (2) made it 2-0 at 17:00. . . . The Giants took a 3-0 lead when F Davis Koch (1) scored at 2:19 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Keltie Jeri-Leon (1) started the comeback, on a PP, at 5:18 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds won it with third-period goals from F Noah Philp (1), at 7:11; F Andrej Kukuca (3), on a PP, at 11:13; and F Matthew Wedman (2), at 15:46. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds got 26 saves from G Roddy Ross. . . . Giants G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots. . . . Seattle F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barefoot at 4:16 of the first period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee returned after serving a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Game 1. F Justin Sourdif, who absorbed that hit, has yet to return to action.
F Adam Beckman scored a PP goal in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Chiefs hold a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 set for Saturday night in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead when D Ty Smith (1) scored 31 seconds into the first period. . . . Portland came back with the next three goals — from D Brendan De Jong (1), at 9:51; F Josh Paterson (3), at 18:30; and Paterson (4), again, at 7:46 of the second period. . . . Spokane got third-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (2), at 3:25, and F Eli Zummack (1), at 19:00. . . . Beckman (3) won it at 4:39 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP. The Winterhawks didn’t get even one PP opportunity. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 35 saves, two more than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . Spokane, which had the No. 1 PP in the regular season, is 5-for-9 with the man advantage in this series. . . . No, F Cody Glass (knee) wasn’t in Portland’s lineup.
The Kamloops Blazers broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals to beat the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-3, in a game that was highly emotional with a whole lot of nastiness. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday night. . . . They’ll return to Kamloops for Game 6 on Monday night. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (3) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead with a 45-footer at 6:52 of the first period. . . . Two goals from F Dino Kambeitz gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. The first one came shorthanded when two Blazers bumped a bit as they chased a soft dump-in and G Dylan Ferguson fell down as he left the crease to chase the puck. F Tarun Fizer got their first and slid the puck to Kambeitz for the two-foot tap-in at 10:37. . . . At 13:48, the Royals, on the PP, were able to take advantage of a poor Kamloops change to get another Kambeitz goal, his fourth of the series. . . . The Blazers tied it with 20.5 seconds left in the period, as F Connor Zary (2) scored off a rebound from a blocked shot on a 4-on-3 PP. . . . F Zane Franklin (1) gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead at 8:11 of the second period, only to have Victoria tie it on a bad-angle goal by F Igor Martynov (1) at 15:09. . . . The game turned early in the third period as Victoria F Kody McDonald was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:34. The Royals killed the penalty, only to have McDonald take a match penalty for attempt to injure at 7:58. Franklin was given an unsportsmanlike minor on the play. . . . At 8:19, with the teams playing 4-on-4, Zary gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead with his third goal in two games. . . . Kamloops D Luke Zazula (1), who also had two assists, added a PP goal at 10:52, and F Martin Lang (1) iced it, with another PP goal, at 15:11. . . . Kamloops was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . The Blazers got 15 stops from G Dylan Ferguson, while G Griffen Outhouse blocked 41 shots for the Royals. . . . Kamloops held a 17-5 edge in shots in the first period and 20-2 in the third. . . . Blazers F Kobe Mohr returned after serving a two-game suspension.