The Vancouver Giants opened a Central Division swing on Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. That was Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck’s 250th head-coaching victory. . . . Dyck, who is in his fifth season with the Giants, picked up 113 victories in three seasons (2006-09) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings, obviously in the early days of a rebuild, are carrying four 20-year-olds, one over the limit, so there will be something happening there. They had F Cole Carrier, D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golden and F Jaxsen Wiebe vying for the three spots. Carrier and Wiebe were scratched last night. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something dastardly that happened the other night in a game against the Saskatoon Blades. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening winning streak to 11 games on Wednesday, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-2. . . . The Rebels’ next game is scheduled for tonight when they are to play host to the Vancouver Giants. . . . A victory over the Giants will give the Rebels a share of the WHL record for victories to open a season; the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos began with 12 straight on their way to a Memorial Cup title. . . . The 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings hold the WHL record for longest unbeaten streak to begin a season; they opened with 24 wins and five ties. . . .
The WHL’s only other unbeaten team, the Seattle Thunderbirds (8-0-0), are in Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars (5-5-0). . . . The Cougars are coming off road victories over the Vancouver Giants (5-1) and Kamloops Blazers (4-3 OT), the first time this season they have won consecutive games. . . . The Thunderbirds and Cougars will make it three games in a row when they meet Tuesday in Kent, Wash. . . .
Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 12 games as he picked up one assist as the Pats dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. The game was to have been played on Sunday but was postponed due to inclement weather. . . . The Warriors scored two first-period PP goals — by F Jagger Firkus and F Brayden Yager — and got 19 saves from G Connor Ungar. . . . F Tanner Howe was back in Regina’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . D Denton Mateychuk was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Bedard’s assist was his 150th career regular-season point, coming in his 90th game. . . . Bedard continues to lead the WHL in points (20). He and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds lead in goals (10), while Bedard and F Owen Pederson of the Winnipeg Ice each has 12 assists. . . . Bedard also has the lead in game-winning goals, with four. . . .
In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees have opened the season on a 12-game winning streak, which is the best start in franchise history. The league’s only unbeaten team improved to 12-0-0 with a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Cranbrook Bucks on Wednesday night. . . . Remember, too, that the Vees closed out last season by winning their last 16 playoff games. Yes, Penticton is on a 28-game winning streak. . . . The Vees are back at home tonight against the West Kelowna Warriors (8-1-0).
Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “It’s a full-blown five-ring circus out there. Eight months have gone by since the Tokyo Olympics, and the U.S. figure-skating team, which finished behind the Russians in the team competition, still hasn’t been awarded a medal — any medal — while the ‘investigation’ into Russian doping continues. NFL replay looks competent by comparison.”
THE COACHING GAME:
The junior A South Shore Lumberjacks of the Maritime Hockey League have signed Kirk Tomlinson as their head coach. Tomlinson, 54, played one season (1984-85) with the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins before moving on to the OHL for three seasons. . . . He takes over from Brad Tesink, who was fired last week. . . . Tomlinson was behind the bench for the first time on Wednesday as the Lumberjacks lost, 5-0, to the visiting Campbellton Tigers. The Lumberjacks now are 2-8-2.
Dan Daly of DalyOnSports.com, with a pertinent observation: “Too many NFL games this season feel like Week 4 in 1987, when the Real Players were on strike and your gym teacher was playing linebacker.”
THINKING OUT LOUD — The World Series — you do remember that the MLB season isn’t over yet, don’t you? — begins tonight in Houston with the Astros facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Terry Puhl, the pride of Melville, Sask., will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. You may remember that he was a pretty fair centre fielder for Houston back in the day. . . . ICYMI, the Vancouver Canucks won for the first time in this NHL season when they beat the host Seattle Kraken, 5-4, on Thursday night. They now are 1-5-2 and will try to make it two in a row tonight against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Which team is the NBA’s biggest gong show/soap opera at the moment: Los Angeles Lakers, New York Nets or Philadelphia 76ers? . . . And then there are the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans are calling for a coaching change. It seems that Barry Trotz is the apple of their eye these days. Of course, the New York Islanders are paying him US$4 million not to coach this season, so perhaps he won’t be in a hurry to get back into the coaching racket. . . . Don’t forget that the NHL reaches a new low tonight when the Winnipeg Jets visit the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, the new home of the Arizona Coyotes. Hey, Saskatoon, there’s still hope!
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