Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

ThisThat

It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


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Will Rasmussen be back in WHL? . . . Giants, Royals prepping for tripleheader weekend. . . . Wheat Kings close on playoff spot


MacBeth

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-03, Kamloops, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, he has one goal and 15 assists in 43 games. Mulock, who is a dual German-Canadian citizen, is completing his 10th season in the DEL, his 13th overall in Germany. . . .

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season contract extension with the Sydney IceDogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 21 games. He was second in team scoring and was named the team’s MVP. This will be Toulmin’s fourth season in Australia. The AIHL regular season begins on April 20.


ThisThat

There is speculation that the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings may return F Michael Rasmussen, 19, to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

The 6-foot-6 Rasmussen was selected by the Red Wings with the ninth overall pick of the tri-city2017 NHL draft.

The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 48 games. A short time ago, they sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on a conditioning stint, and he had two goals in three games.

However, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to play in the AHL because of his age. If the Red Wings want him to be playoff eligible with Grand Rapids, Rasmussen would have to be returned to Tri-City, and he could be assigned to the Griffins whenever the Americans’ season might end.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings “are contemplating” returning Rasmussen to Tri-City.

Last night, Rasmussen was pointless, and minus-1, in nine minutes 36 seconds of playing time as the Red Wings dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

That was the fourth time in six games that he has played fewer than 10 minutes.

The Americans have 12 games left in their regular season. They are third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen had injury problems in each of the past two seasons, but still put up 63 goals and 51 assists in 97 games with Tri-City. Last season, he was tremendous in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and adding 17 assists in 14 games.


The cities of Vancouver and Victoria are separated by about 115 kilometres, including the Georgia Strait.

So you wouldn’t think it would be that tough for the cities’ WHL teams to complete a 10-game season series over the course of six months without having to play a tripleheader. You know, catch a ferry and play a doubleheader, or even just pop across the strait for a singleton.

The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals have three games remaining in the season series. At this point, Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1.

The Giants have 12 games remaining, with the Royals having 11 left on their schedule, meaning time is running out.

So, hey, why not do it up in fewer than 48 hours this weekend?

That’s right. The Giants and Royals are going to face each other three times this weekend — Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria.

The Giants (39-14-3) are atop the B.C. Division, 18 points ahead of the Royals (30-24-3), who appear headed to a second-place finish. The Giants, though, are hoping to finish atop the Western Conference — they are four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand — so still have something for which to play.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has extended the contracts of general manager Dave Drinkill Saginawand head coach Chris Lazary through the 2020-21 season. . . . Drinkill is in his fourth season as Saginaw’s GM, after working with the Barrie Colts for nine seasons in various roles. . . . Lazary, 36, signed on with the Spirit as the associate coach prior to 2016-17. He took over as head coach on Nov. 18 after Troy Smith was fired. Since then, the Spirit is 25-6-3. . . . Overall, the Spirit is 36-15-5, good for third place in the 10-team Western Conference.


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Evan Vossen is out as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. He had been with the Ice Wolves since taking over from the fired Shawn Martin early in the 2016-17 season. . . . Vossen, 32, played for the Ice Wolves in 2006-07 before going on to play five seasons with the McGill U Redmen. In fact, he was the team captain when the Redmen won the 2012 national championship with him scoring the title-winning goal in OT. . . . This season, the Ice Wolves are 10-42-2 and in fourth spot in the four-team Sherwood Division. . . . Gaelan Patterson, who played four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades (2006-10) will be the Ice Wolves’ GM and head coach for the remainder of this season. Patterson, 28, joined the Ice Wolves as an assistant coach prior to this season, after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos and F Cole Reinhardt each had four points as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregulardumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . Brandon (28-22-7) has won five in a row. With this victory, Brandon moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (30-22-5) had won its previous two games. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Mattheos and Reinhardt had two goals and two assists each, as they figured in each of Brandon’s last four goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead before this game was six minutes old, thanks to goals from F Ridly Greig (12), at 0:30; Mattheos, at 4:29; and Reinhardt, on a PP, at 5:32. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (4) scored at 15:10. . . . Reinhardt got his 21st goal at 19:43 of the second period, and Mattheos got No. 39 at 1:25 of the third. . . . Mattheos, who came awfully close to landing with the Everett Silvertips at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, now has 39 goals and a career-high 49 assists in 54 games. Since Jan. 10, Mattheos has 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games. . . . Reinhardt, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, has 21 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. He has career highs in all three major offensive categories. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 27 shots for Brandon.


The Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 5-4, in a shootout. . Pats. . Regina (17-38-3) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Ice. . . . Kootenay (11-37-9) has lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . The Ice got first-period goals from F Jakin Smallwood (11) and F Jaeger White (24), then went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Connor McClennon (9) and F Brad Ginnell (13). . . . D Brady Pouteau (3) started Regina’s comeback at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Pats tied it on third-period goals by F Brett Clayton, at 8:29; F Carter Massier (3), at 10:20; and F Logan Nijhoff (6), shorthanded, at 16:59. . . . The Ice had the only four shots of OT but wasn’t able to beat G Dean McNabb, who had replaced starter Max Paddock in the second period. McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced through OT. . . . Regina won it in the shootout when F Garrett Wright, the first shooter in the fifth round, scored. . . . Regina F Ty Kolle and Kootenay F Peyton Krebs and scored in the second round. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice added D Anson McMaster to its roster from the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers, and he played in this one. He now has played five games with the Ice this season. McMaster, 16, is from Siksika, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Rasmussen, Jokiharju sent to AHL . . . Hitmen open Corral series tonight . . . Hay busy learning more in Portland

ThisThat

Two players who could be playing monster minutes in the WHL this season have found themselves playing in the AHL this week.

F Michael Rasmussen, 19, played the past three seasons with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. The Detroit Red Wings selected him with the ninth pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Rasmussen opened this season with the Red Wings and had six goals and seven assists in 41 games when he was assigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins this week on one of those conditioning assignments. The Red Wings also have him on long-term injured reserve with a hamstring issue that has kept him out since Jan. 4.

Because he’s 19, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to stay in the AHL. The NHL-NHLPA CBA calls for him to play in the NHL or be returned to the Americans.

He scored twice in his AHL debut on Thursday, as the Griffins beat the host Texas Stars, 5-3.

Meanwhile, D Henri Jokiharju has been assigned by the Chicago Blackhawks to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. He spent the previous two seasons with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

Jokiharju, who was the 29th overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, had 12 assists in 37 games with the Blackhawks.

In December, Chicago freed him up to play for Finland in the World Junior Championship, where he had two goals and three assists in seven games as his team won the gold medal.

In his first 32 games with Chicago, Jokiharju was playing 20 minutes per game. Of late, however, he been playing fewer than 15 minutes and had been a healthy scratch three times in eight games.

I haven’t seen any mention of Jokiharju being on a conditioning assignment, so I have a feeling that he is there until further notice. Remember late in the summer of 2018 when there was discussion about whether he would have to play for Chicago or be returned to Portland? There was some chatter then that he had been on loan to the Winterhawks from his club team in Finland, so might not be covered by the same CBA clause as someone like Rasmussen.

Perhaps that’s what’s going on here.


The Calgary Hitmen and visiting Brandon Wheat Kings will open the three-game Corral CalgarySeries tonight. Before it’s over, the Hitmen will have played three games in the Calgary Corral and honoured three teams that used to call it home — the Centennials and Wranglers (WHL) and Cowboys (WHA). . . . The Centennials will be in the spotlight tonight, with the Cowboys to be saluted on Feb. 6 with the Regina Pats in town. The Wranglers will be feted on Feb. 8 when the Hitmen meet the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Todd Saelhof of the Calgary Sun has more right here, including lots of memories.


Don Hay, the winningest coach in WHL history, says he didn’t like the way things ended Portlandin Kamloops, but now he is really enjoying life as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . “I didn’t like the way it ended in Kamloops,” Hay told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune. “You want to go out under your own terms. This was a good way to stay active, to stay in the league, to continue educating myself in the game.” . . . Hay, whose 65th birthday is fast approaching, never tires of learning, and that’s what he’s doing as he works alongside Mike Johnston, Portland GM and head coach. Yes, Johnston is learning, too. . . . Eggers’ complete story is right here.


Earlier this week, I posted a link to the impact statement that Scott Thomas read during the sentencing hearing for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck driver who was involved in the accident involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on April 6. . . . On Wednesday, Thomas, who lost his son, Eric, in the accident, spent 15 minutes meeting privately with Sidhu. . . . There’s more on that meeting right here.


Tweetoftheday

A few notes, thoughts on WHL, marijuana . . . Rasmussen staying in NHL . . . Everett gets goalie from Kamloops


MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has been assigned on loan by Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) to Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). This season, with Dinamo, he was pointless in nine games, while averaging 8:36 TOI per game.


ThisThat

A few thoughts on the WHL and cannabis, with recreational marijuana having become legal in Canada a couple of weeks ago . . .

——

The CHL, the umbrella under which the three major junior leagues operate, works under the anti-doping policy established by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). Cannabis remains a banned substance under that policy, as it has been since the CHL adopted the policy in 2008.

The CCES uses a list of banned substances that originates with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Interestingly, while WADA has cannabis listed as a performance-enhancing drug, the CCES doesn’t agree that it should be there.

“The CCES, to be completely frank, has always argued that marijuana should not be on the list,” CCES president Paul Melia told CBC In June. “We don’t believe there is sufficient scientific evidence supporting its performance-enhancing benefits.”

——

No matter, because it is a banned substance as far as the CHL is concerned, and you are going to hear the word ‘education’ over and over again.

“That policy is very clear for the players — they cannot participate in any use of cannabis or other performance-enhancing drugs,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, has said. “Consequently, it is incumbent on us to make sure we have a very effective education program to make sure the players are aware of that, first of all, and to really help promote a healthy lifestyle.”

——

There is an online course for WHL players, that includes video and a test based on comprehension. There also is a code of ethics that must be signed by players and coaches.

The CHL also has partnered with Health Canada on what is called #FocusedOn, a program that aims to educate players, coaches, management people, parents and others about cannabis.

——

If you are wondering, a first positive test will draw a warning. Suspensions will accompany further positive tests. Testing is conducted, without warning, after regular-season games, playoff games or any of the special events such as the Top Prospects game, a Canada-Russia game, or a Memorial Cup game.

——

Gare Joyce wrote an interesting piece for sportsnet.ca on the subject of the NHL and marijuana. The bulk of the story involved Joyce’s speaking with a former NHL player who now works in an NHL team’s front office.

Among other things, the ex-player told him: “I’d say right now, 60 to 70 per cent of the players in the league smoke marijuana. No doubt there are more players now using marijuana regularly than when I first came into the league. And I think there’ll be a greater awareness and understanding and acceptance (of marijuana use).”

That story is right here.

——

It stands to reason that there are WHL players using recreational marijuana. With it now being legal in Canada, chances are good that there will be more players at least experimenting with it.

One former WHL insider, when asked about marijuana use on today’s teams, told Taking Note that it “would not surprise me at all if it was in the 40-50 per cent range.”

(Recreational marijuana also is legal in the states of Oregon and Washington, but you must be 21 years of age in order to use it. That age is 19 in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C., and 18 in Alberta.)

——

Some figures from Health Canada, all which are from prior to legalization . . . “12 per cent of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21 per cent among youth, aged 15 to 19, and 30 per cent among young adults, aged 20 to 24.”

——

The area that may end up causing the most headaches for the WHL involves medical marijuana and especially cannabis-based products.

One parent with a son in minor hockey has told Taking Note that at least some midget-aged players are using cannabis-based creams — likely cannabidiol (CBD) without tetrahydrocannabinol (TTC) — in a search for pain relief, usually on joints like knees and hips.

The parent said this especially occurs when these teams play multiple games in compressed time periods on weekends. The parent also said that this is happening, at least in some instances, with parental approval and encouragement from coaches.

Defenceman Brooks Orpik of the Washington Capitals talked to the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell about a a memo that went from the NHL to its teams on legalization.

“I think they were nervous about guys bringing it across the border,” Orpik said, “because it’s still illegal (in the U.S.) and CBD oil, without the THC in it, is getting big, especially among athletes for pain management and sleep and stuff.”

As Pell explained, “CBD . . . is a cannabis extract. Unlike THC, another marijuana compound, it doesn’t make you high or intoxicated.”

The parent who spoke with Taking Note also admitted to having concerns about how long cannabis-based cream might stay in a player’s system, and also about, as Orpik noted, it being illegal in the U.S.

“What happens,” the parent wondered, “if a (young player) eligible for an NCAA scholarship gets caught taking cream across the border into the U.S.?”

For that matter, what would happen were a WHL player to find himself in that situation?

But you should know that the WHL says it is well aware of the medical side of all this.

“There is a medicinal application to the product,” Robison told Andrew McCormack of discovermoosejaw.com, “we’re very aware of that, as our medical staffs and training staffs are aware of that, and there is an ability within our national anti-doping program to get a therapeutic exemption should a player require that. It has to be accompanied by clear evidence from their doctor that this is something that’s required as opposed to something that might be used on a more recreational basis or casual basis from time to time.”


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

It appears that F Michael Rasmussen won’t be back with the Tri-City Americans. The tri-cityDetroit Red Wings have told Rasmussen that he will be staying in the NHL and, in fact, he is scheduled to play his 10th regular-season game tonight against the host Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . When a junior-eligible player gets into his 10th game it means the first year of his entry-level contract begins, something that’s important down the road when it comes to qualifying for free agency. . . . Rasmussen, the ninth overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, has one assist in his first nine games, while averaging 12 minutes 39 seconds of ice time per game. . . . Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 regular-season games with the Americans last season, then added 33 points, 16 of them goals, in 14 playoff games. In 161 career regular-season games, he put up 157 points, including 81 goals.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired G Max Palaga, 18, from the Kamloops Blazers, Everettgiving up a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, got into 17 games with the Blazers last season, going 5-7-1, 3.71, .875. . . . The Blazers released him earlier this season and he has been with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. He was 2-2-1, 1.77, .943 in five games with Vernon. . . . In Everett, Palaga will back up Dustin Wolf, 17. . . . Blake Lyda, who had been backing up, suffered an undisclosed injury during a morning skate on Oct. 12 and is expected to be sideline for at least another month. . . . With Lyda out, the Silvertips added Danton Belluk to their roster for their East Division trip that concluded Saturday. Belluk has since returned to the midget AAA Eastman Selects. . . .

Meanwhile, the Blazers have added G Rayce Ramsay, 17, to their roster where he will back up Dylan Ferguson, while Dylan Garand, 16, is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Quispamsis and Saint John, N.B. . . . Ramsay, from Saskatoon, has been playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, going 4-2-0, 3.03, .923.


The Kootenay Ice has returned G Will Gurski to the Shawnigan Lake School’s midget prep team. Gurski, 16, was brought in prior to the weekend. He practised with the Ice and backed up Duncan McGovern in one game with Jesse Makaj scratched. . . . Gurski, from Duncan, B.C., was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


Tweetoftheday

Will Red Wings return Rasmussen to Americans? . . . Swift Current adds defenceman . . . Designer of WHL logo dies at 58

MacBeth

F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in six games with Dinamo. He was injured (shoulder) in early October 2017 and was out for the rest of the season. . . .

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after obtaining his release from Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had two assists in five games with Nitra this season. . . .

F Kaspars Saulietis (Kelowna, Regina, 2006-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with HK MOGO Riga (Latvia, Optibet Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 25 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga).


ThisThat

Could F Michael Rasmussen soon be on his way back to the Tri-City Americans?

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA, tri-cityRasmussen, 19, has to play with the Red Wings or the Americans. Detroit selected him ninth overall in the 2017 NHL draft.

Rasmussen, from Vancouver, opened the season with the Red Wings, and was a scratch for the first time on Monday as Detroit, which is 0-4-2, lost 7-3 to the Canadiens in Montreal.

In five games, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen has one assist while averaging 12 minutes 34 seconds of playing time, including 2:05 per game on the PP.

Of course, the Red Wings have some time to make a decision because they won’t burn the first year of his three-year contract unless he plays a 10th game.

Last season, with the Americans, he had 59 points, including 31 goals, in 47 games. Then, in 14 playoff games, he added 16 goals and 17 assists.

In 161 regular-season games, all with Tri-City, he has 157 points, 81 of them goals.


The Swift Current Broncos, who open a tour of the B.C. Division tonight, have added D SCBroncosAustin Herron to their roster. Herron, 17, could be in the lineup tonight when the Broncos meet the Vancouver Giants. . . . This season, the native of Abbotsford, B.C., had one goal in eight games with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. Last season, he had one goal and five assists in 38 games with the major midget Okanagan Rockets, who play out of Kelowna. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the third round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Mike Ladyman to a WHL contract. Ladyman, from SpokaneChiefsWinnipeg, has been on the Chiefs’ protected list since November. The 17-year-old has one goal and eight assists in eight games with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. Last season, he had two goals and 21 assists in 60 games with the Blues. . . . Ladyman is expected to be in the Chiefs’ lineup tonight when they meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Regina Pats selected Ladyman in the fifth round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft.


There seems to be a he-said, he-said situation ongoing in Medicine Hat, where the one Tigers Logo Officialthing not in doubt is that veteran F Gary Haden has asked for a trade. . . . On Sunday, Haden told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, via text: “I asked for a trade on Thursday morning and was told to go home Thursday afternoon.” . . . On Monday, McCracken tweeted: “Tigers HC Shaun Clouston says Haden requested a trade then left on his own. The team is in no immediate rush to make a deal.” . . . Clouston is the long-time general manager and head coach in Medicine Hat. . . . Haden, 19, is from Airdrie, Alta. He has 25 goals and 28 assists in 115 career regular-season games with the Tigers. Last season, he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games. This season, he recorded a goal and two assists in nine games.


Keith Flynn, the owner/operator of Flynnagain Productions, died in hospital in whlKitchener, Ont., on Oct. 9. He was 58. . . . Flynn designed the WHL logo, along with numerous others. . . . This is from his Linked In site: “The company began in April 1997 with our first client, the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL. Over time, our company has created designs spanning North America with clients ranging from Roger Clemens to John Daly, Microsoft to the AHL. Our league logos include the WHL, IFL, SPHL, PASL, PBL and IHL as well as Baseball Canada’s logo. This last year Flynnagain Productions created designs for MTV’s Rob Dydek, the Raptor’s DNBA affiliate, Erie Bayhawks and the NHL Calgary Flames.” . . . Chris Creamer of sportslogos.net has more right here, including a look at some of the logos that were Flynn’s work.


The BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans have started their season with three straight victories, the latest a 4-1 victory over Simon Fraser U on Saturday night. . . . Interestingly, the Spartans won’t play again until Oct. 19 and 20 when they visit the Hamline University Pipers, a Division III team that plays out of St. Paul, Minn., and the U of Minnesota Gophers, a Top 10 team in Division I. . . . The Spartans are the BCIHL’s reigning champions, so the game with the Gophers will be an interesting test. . . . This season, the Gophers are 2-0-1, having tied (1-1) and beaten (7-4) the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and then dropped the USA U-18 side, 7-1.


Brandon West, who has been a BCHL head coach for four years, has joined the Penticton Vees as an assistant coach. West, with a career head-coaching record of 91-77-12-16 in the BCHL, was with the Surrey Eagles last season when they got into the second round of the playoffs. . . . West, who is from Kelowna, will work alongside Fred Harbinson, the president, general manager and head coach, and fellow assistant coaches Jason Becker and Matt Fraser.


One regular reader writes of Taking Note: “Definitely the best source of info for junior hockey, and really enjoy the writing. It’s one of my first visits every morning.” . . . If you agree, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a donation to the Taking Note cause.

Scattershooting on a rainy Sunday . . . Rasmussen on Wings’ roster . . . Raiders win fifth straight . . . It’s a milestone for Mayer

Scattershooting

Brad Rock of the Deseret News proved that he’s ready for NBA training camps with this:

“The NBA season is nearly here, but there’s nothing to see until the playoffs.

“Well, maybe a few things.

“Last season went like this: Kawhi Leonard dissed Gregg Popovich, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face, Dwane Casey was fired before being named Coach of the Year, and Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

“Next they’ll be telling us a player is dating a Kardashian.

“Never mind. That’s not news.”

——

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post:

“The hockey community as a whole should dispense with the dopey double talk and fully embrace the concept of player safety. Severe sanctions should be imposed for fighting. The pugilism is especially appalling at the major-junior level, with people paying money to watch barely compensated teenagers punch each other in the head. Hockey should have evolved far beyond that by now, but so many coaches, general managers and administrators are woefully stuck in the 1970s.”

——

You may have heard that HBO has decided boxing no longer will be a part of its programming. Larry Merchant, a long-time boxing insider with HBO, put it like this: “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired. So long, champ.”

——

Paul Gosar is a Republican candidate in Arizona who has six siblings endorsing his opponent. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “And you think your Thanksgiving family dinner might be awkward.”

——

The Saskatoon Blades are two games into a stretch of four games in five nights and six in eight nights, with the last five of those on the road. I guess I was rather naive to think that kind of scheduling would disappear when the WHL cut its regular-season schedule from 72 games to 68.

——

“Richard Mietz of Germany broke a Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a guy dressed as a landmark,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It was a monumental achievement.”

——

It would seem that Currie is a big fan of marathons. After Jamie Buckland of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a man dressed as a French maid, Currie noted: “Not only that, he dusted the competition.”

——

Who knew there were such records? Other than Currie, that is?

——

Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express passes along this one from a fake John Gruden account on Twitter: “I’ll tell ya what. Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football is like music to my ears, man. He reminds me of that one West Virginia song. Take Mahomes country road.”

——

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “I’m looking for a smartphone that tells you to get off the stupid phone and get a life.”


ThisThat

If you were an early visitor to this site after I posted on Saturday night, you will have seen a lead item that was critical of the WHL for its focus on video at the expense of what whlI referred to as “old-fashioned news releases.”

I also posted a tweet in which there was a link to a season-opening interview with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Shortly after that post went live, I heard from Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, pointing out that the WHL did post an old-fashioned news release on its website, one that included most, if not all, of what Robison touched on in his video appearance.

Apologies to all involved for my having missed that news release, which was posted on Sept. 20.

A couple of things from that news release, which you are able to find right here . . .

On the trading of young players: “The WHL has adopted new restrictions on the trading of 15- and 16-year-old players. Effective this season, a 15- or 16-year-old player who has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement cannot be traded under any circumstance.”

The trading of first-year import players, which has been prohibited prior to now, apparently will be allowed between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trade deadline. But there isn’t any mention of this in the news release.

On new disciplinary standards: “The WHL has taken further steps to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

“In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety Seven Point Plan, Kevin Acheson was appointed the WHL Director, Player Safety and is responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games. In addition, new standards have been implemented with a particular focus on repeat offenders and checks to the head.”

There also was a paragraph further down that I was thrilled to see. It had to do with a promotion the WHL was involved with last season and will do again in 2018-19: “The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2018-19 season, including the second run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.”

Last season, the WHL’s 17 Canadian franchises took part in this promotion and raised $265,500 on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


The Saskatoon Blades played without F Brad Goethals, 20, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Raiders in Prince Albert on Sunday night. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Goethals has left the team. . . . A native of Ile Des Chenes, Man., Goethals had one goal in three games this season after recording 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season. . . . Without Goethals, the Blades are down to a pair of 20-year-olds — F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson.


The Tri-City Americans are going to be without F Michael Rasmussen for a while, perhaps even for the remainder of the WHL season. Rasmussen, 19, will be on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster when they open the NHL’s regular season against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. . . . Rasmussen, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, is from Vancouver. The Red Wings selected him with the ninth overall pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 58 games with the Americans. In 161 regular-season WHL games, he has 81 goals and 76 assists.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders struck for three goals in 16 seconds en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders broke open a scoreless game with second-period goals from F Justin Nachbaur (7:30), F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7:39) and F Parker Kelly (3) as they ran their record to 5-0-0. . . . That established a club record for fastest three goals and was four seconds off the WHL record. The Raiders’ record of 22 seconds had been set by F Wayde Bucsis, F Mike Modano and F Pat Elyniuk on Feb. 25, 1987 in Brandon. . . . The Blades went into the game at 3-0-0. . . . 

F Brayden Watts tied the game at 19:15 of the third period and then won it in a shootout as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . Watts also had two assists. . . .

F Tristin Langan scored twice to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Langan, 20, has two goals and four assists in four games. . . . The Pats now are 0-4-0. . . . G Brodan Salmond, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, stopped 31 shots in winning his first start with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brandon Schuldhaus back in the lineup after he served a three-game suspension left over from last season. . . .

F Brandon Hagel had a goal and three assists, and D Dawson Barteaux had four assists as the Red Deer Rebels beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev, a Russian freshman, won the game 31 seconds into OT. Hagel and Barteaux drew assists on the winner. . . . Hagel, 20, has 10 points, including seven assists, in five games. . . . Calgary F Tristen Nielsen took a boarding major and game misconduct at 2:04 of the second period for a hit on Red Deer D Carson Sass.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Saturday night:

Eastern Conference matchups set . . . Halbgewachs reaches 70 in loss . . . Glass latest to get to 100 points

MacBeth

D Renat Mamashev (Moose Jaw, 2000-01), D Shaone Morrisonn (Kamloops, 1999-2002) and three other players with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) have had their contracts terminated and have been declared unrestricted free agents by the KHL. In announcing the terminations, the KHL said: “The basis for the decision was the debt of the hockey club ‘Admiral’ to the players on wages for more than two months.” . . . Morrisonn had one goal and six assists in 29 games with Admiral. This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), Mamashev had two goals and one assist in 18 games. With Sarov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and 11 assists in nine games. He signed with Admiral on Nov. 24, and had one goal and three assists in 19 games. . . . If you were wondering about Admiral’s salary levels, the total players’ salaries for this season was US$6.4 million plus US$1.6 million in bonus money. That total of US$8.0 million is the third-lowest in the KHL. . . . The top paying team in the KHL was SKA St. Petersburg at US$39.3 million in salaries and US$6.0 million in bonuses, for a total of US$45.3 million. . . . The lowest-paying team was Dinamo Riga at US$5.1 million in salaries and US$600,000 in bonuses, for a total of US$5.7 million.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

So . . . what’s left to be decided as the WHL regular season heads into its final two days?

Not much.

Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where the playoff matchups all have been decided.

The Moose Jaw Warriors will lead the WHL in victories. They have clinched the Scotty whlMunro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions, meaning they also won the Eastern Conference and East Division pennants. They will meet the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round of the playoffs with that series opening Friday night in Moose Jaw. . . . The Raiders will finish in the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Swift Current Broncos will finish second in the overall standings, the Eastern Conference and the East Division. They will open the playoffs at home against the third-place Regina Pats, who will be host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament. The Pats beat the visiting Broncos, 3-2 in OT, in a penalty-filled game on Friday night. They will meet again tonight, this time in Swift Current, before opening that first-round series in Regina on Friday.

The Medicine Hat Tigers, who won their second straight Central Division pennant, will face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. The Wheat Kings will finish in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. That series is to open Friday in Medicine Hat. The Wheat Kings will play their home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in their home arena. Last season, the Tigers swept the Wheat Kings from a first-round series.

The other Eastern Conference series will have the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who will finish second in the Central Division, face the third-place Red Deer Rebels. They will open in Lethbridge on Friday.

As for the Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice, Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oil Kings, well, they’ll have to buy tickets to watch playoff hockey.

——

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference . . .

The combatants in one series, that involving the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants, now are known.

But that’s it.

The Everett Silvertips lead the conference with 97 points, four more than the Portland Winterhawks. Everett will wrap up its season in Victoria tonight. The Winterhawks are at home to Seattle tonight, then will entertain Spokane on Sunday.

The first tiebreaker is regular-season victories — Everett has 46, with Portland at 44. The second tiebreaker is points in games between the teams and if it comes down to that the Winterhawks have the edge, 11-10. Portland is 5-4-1; Everett is 5-5-0.

The second-place finisher will meet the Spokane Chiefs or Tri-City Americans. The third-place Chiefs hold a one-point edge over the Americans. They will meet tonight in Kennewick, Wash. On Sunday, the Chiefs visit Portland, while the Americans entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are locked into the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Kelowna Rockets will finish atop the B.C. Division for the seventh time in franchise history. They will meet Spokane or Tri-City, whichever team finishes in the conference’s first wild-card spot.

The second-place Royals and third-place Giants will open their first-round series in Victoria on Friday.

The conference’s other two teams, the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars, will wrap up their seasons in the northern city tonight. They are in next-season country.


It is almost 23 years since Ed O’Bannon led the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA Division I men’s national basketball title. After helping the Bruins beat Arkansas in the final, he would go on to a pro career, then spent five years involved in a lawsuit against the NCAA, one that asked for student-athletes to be able to control the use of their likenesses in such things as video games. . . . If you haven’t yet read O’Bannon’s book — Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA — you should consider giving it a look. . . . In the meantime, William C. Rhoden talks with O’Bannon and the result is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Stelio Mattheos scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-4) had won three in a row. . . . Brandon (39-27-BrandonWKregular5) has won two straight. . . . Moose Jaw is 5-2-0 in the season series; Brandon is 2-5-0. They will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . F Linden McCorrister (20) put Brandon in front 1-0 at 2:15 of the first period, only to have F Tristyn DeRoose (4) tie it at 3:13. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Caiden Daley (7), at 7:24, and Mattheos, at 15:42. . . . The Warriors tied it on two PP goals from F Jayden Halbgewachs. He got No. 69 at 17:42 of the first and No. 70 at 9:35 of the second period. He is the first WHLer to score 70 goals in a season since F Pavel Brendl of the Calgary Hitmen in 1998-99. Halbgewachs now shares the Warriors’ single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum, who got to 70 in 1988-89. Halbgewachs leads the WHL points derby with 128, three more than Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (19) gave Brandon a 4-3 lead at 14:31. . . . The Warriors pulled even at 1:29 of the third period as F Tanner Jeannot (38) scored. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (18) gave the Wheat Kings a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 9:25. . . . The Warriors forced OT when F Justin Almeida (43) scored at 19:59. . . . Mattheos won it with his 43rd goal at 1:17 of OT. . . . Daley also had two assists for Brandon — he actually had all three points in the first period. . . . Brandon also got two assists from F Luka Burzan, with Mattheos, Reinhardt and McCorrister getting one each. . . . F Brett Howden drew four assists for Moose Jaw, with Halbgewachs and Almeida getting one each. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 1-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw made his fourth straight start for Brandon and stopped 26 shots. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 26 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a sixth straight game, while D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their third consecutive games, and D Kale Clague also was scratched. F Barrett Sheen served Game 3 of a four-game suspension. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,817.


At Regina, F Nick Henry’s OT goal gave the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in a penalty-filled game. . . . Regina (40-25-6) has won seven in a row. . . . Swift ReginaPats100Current (47-18-6) has lost four straight. . . . The Broncos hold a 4-1-0 edge in the season series, with the teams meeting again tonight, this time in Swift Current. . . . They then will begin preparing to meet in a first-round playoff series, with the Broncos holding home-ice advantage. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (42) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:33 of the second period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Sam Steel (33), on a PP, at 5:12, and F Jared Legien (22), at 14:06. . . . D Artyom Minulin (13) got the Broncos into a 2-=2 tie, on a PP, at 12:58 of the third period. . . . The Pats got two assists from F Matt Bradley. . . . Minulin and Gawdin also had an assist each for the visitors. . . . Swift Current was 2-8 on the PP; Regina was 1-4. . . . Swift Current took 61 of the game’s 119 penalty minutes. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, while the Broncos’ Joel Hofer turned aside 29. . . . G Ryan Kubic was back on the Pats’ bench, backing up Paddock. . . . F Cam Hebig and F Koby Morrisseau were among Regina’s scratches. . . . Regina’s lineup sheet listed veteran WHL G Kyle Dumba as an AP. . . . Swift Current had F Glenn Gawdin back after he missed three games with an illness, while F Tyler Steenbergen was back after a one-game absence. . . . Gawdin picked up one assist to run his point streak to 27 games. Teammate Aleksi Heponiemi had the league’s longest streak this season when he went 28 games. . . . Swift Current F Andrew Fyten took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina D Libor Hajek, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Broncos F Tanner Nagel didn’t play as he served the second game of a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Prince Albert, the Saskatoon Blades scored two third-period goals to beat the Raiders, 2-1. . . . Saskatoon (34-33-4) has won two in a row. . . . The Raiders (32-26-13) had points in Saskatooneach of their previous 11 games (9-0-2). . . . With the teams to play in Saskatoon tonight, the Blades are 5-1-1 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-5-0. . . . F Parker Kelly (29) gave the home team a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 19:31 of the first period. . . . The Blades tied it at 14:37 of the third period as F Max Gerlach scored No. 32 on a PP. . . . F Chase Wouters (18) won it with a PP goal at 18:19. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-5. . . . G Tyler Brown earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots for the Raiders. . . . D Zack Hayes of the Raiders was a healthy scratch as he missed his first game this season. They continue to play without F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, felt the Blades’ play left a bit to be desired. “They came out and they were chippy all game. Play hard, but don’t play stupid — that was stupid,” Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of of paNOW.“I mean, they were out there, they got nothing to play for. Play hard but play with class, too.” . . . That story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 3,033.


At Red Deer, F Gillian Kohler scored twice to help the Kootenay Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Kootenay (26-38-7) had lost its previous 11 games (0-7-4). . . . Red Deer (27-Kootenaynew31-13) had won its past three games. . . . Kootenay is 4-1-1 in the season series; Red Deer is 2-3-1. They’ll complete it tonight in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Red Deer’s loss means it will finish third in the Central Division and open the playoffs in Lethbridge with the Hurricanes holding home-ice advantage. . . . The Ice grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Alex Baer (29), at 5:29, and F Colton Kroeker (15), on a PP, at 19:59. . . . F Brandon Cutler (6) got the Rebels on the scoreboard, at 12:06 of the second period. . . . Kohler restored the two-goal lead at 13:02. . . . F Mason McCarty (38) pulled the Rebels back to within a goal at 14:34. . . . The Ice responded with the game’s last three goals, from F Keenan Taphorn (7), on a PP, at 17:37; Kohler (8), on a PP, at 9:07 of the third period; and F Peyton Krebs (17), into an empty net, at 13:22. . . . D Martin Bodak and F Brett Davis each had three assists for the winners, with F Colton Veloso getting one, and Kroeker, Krebs and Kohler adding one apiece. . . . Kootenay was 3-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 26 stops from G Matt Berlin. . . . G Riley Lamb surrendered five goals on 36 shots in 56:25 for Red Deer. Ethan Anders stopped the two shots he faced in 3:18. . . . Announced attendance: 5,205.


At Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers scored two goals late in the third period and beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . Medicine Hat (36-27-8) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tigers Logo OfficialLethbridge (32-33-6) has dropped eight in a row. . . . Despite the loss, the Hurricanes clinched second in the Central Division and will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with Red Deer. . . . Each team is 3-3-0 in the season series. They’ll finish it tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Calen Addison (11) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 4:26 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 12:13 as F Josh Williams (11) scored. . . . F Bryan Lockner (14) gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead 16 seconds into the third period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (45) tied it at 11:41. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (21) broke the tie for the Tigers at 17:23, and F Tyler Preziuso (15) got the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . D Cole Clayton had two assists for the winners, with Preziuso and Chyzowski each getting one. . . . Addison added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-6. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes got 35 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . F Mark Rassell was among Medicine Hat’s scratches, ending a stretch of 208 straight games. . . . D Linus Nassen (ill) also was among the Tigers’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 5,203.


At Portland, G Cody Glass scored three times and added two assists to lead the Winterhawks to an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (44-21-5) has Portlandwon two in a row. . . . Seattle (33-27-10) will finish in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Winterhawks lead the season series 8-0-3; the Thunderbirds are 3-7-1. They will conclude the series in Kent, Wash., tonight. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with his 32nd goal at 17:44 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks took control with four second-period goals. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (11) got it started at 4:46, and Glass, on a PP, gave Portland the lead at 10:01. . . . F Keiffer Bellows scored his 40th goal at 13:21, and Glass made it 4-1 at 16:14. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie (46) upped the lead to 5-1 at 3:47 of the third period. That was his 100th career goal. . . . Seattle F Sami Moilanen (22) scored at 9:18, but Portland added three more — from F Reece Newkirk (8), D Brendan De Jong (6) and Glass. . . . F Samuel Huo (3) got Seattle’s final goal. . . . Glass now has 100 points, including 37 goals, in 62 games. . . . D Clay Hanus, F Ryan Hughes and Bellows each had two assists for Portland, with Jokiharju and McKenzie adding one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . G Cole Kehler earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Seattle starter Liam Hughes stopped 34 of 41 shots in 53:06, with Dorrin Luding coming on to stop one of two shots in 6:54. . . . Announced attendance: 9,676.


At Kamloops, G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 51 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 4-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . Prince George (24-38-9) had lost its previous six games (0-5-PrinceGeorge1). . . . Kamloops (29-37-5) has lost five in a row. . . . The Blazers hold a 5-3-1 edge in the season series; the Cougars are 4-5-0. They’ll wrap it up tonight in Prince George. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (36) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:49 of the first period. . . . The Cougars promptly scored three times on their first five shots. . . . F Max Kryski tied the score, on a PP, at 7:43, and D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors the lead, at 11:28. . . . Kryski (8) upped the lead to 3-1 at 14:45, and D Austin Crossley (4) made it 4-1 at 9:07 of the second period. . . . F Connor Zary (9) scored the Blazers’ other goal, at 10:50 of the third period. . . . F Ilijah Colina had two assists for Prince George, as did F Jared Bethune. . . . Loewen added an assist to his goal for Kamloops. . . . Prince George was 1-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . DiLaura played 58:40, missing 1:20 in the first period after the blade fell out of his right skate. Taylor Gauthier came off the bench to stop the only shot he faced in 1:20. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . The Cougars were without D Cam MacPhee, who served a one-game suspension, and D Joel Lakusta, who sat out the first game of a three-game sentence. . . . F Nick Chyzowski, the Blazers’ captain, played in his 342nd regular-season game, passing F C.J. Stretch and moving into second place on the franchise’s career list, behind only F Brendan Ranford (348). . . . Announced attendance: 4,253. . . . The Blazers finished 1-9-2 in home games when the announced attendance was greater than 4,000.


At Spokane, the Tri-City Americans ran their winning streak to five as they beat the Chiefs, 2-1. . . . Tri-City (37-24-9) is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Chiefs. TriCity30. . . Spokane (39-25-6) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Chiefs lead the season series 6-3-2, with the Americans at 5-2-4. Each team has 14 points, so maybe the season series is tied? They will finish the series tonight in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (30) put the visitors ahead, on a PP, at 8:40 of the second period. . . . D Juuso Valimaki (14) upped it to 2-0 just 54 seconds into the third period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack (15) got his guys to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:44. . . . Rasmussen and Valimaki had one assist each. . . . The Americans were 1-4 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-5. . . . G Patrick Dea got the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto was among Spokane’s scratches. The Chiefs continue to play without F Zach Fischer. . . . . . . Announced attendance: 8,934.


At Langley, B.C., F Carsen Twarynski scored the game’s first two goals to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (42-22-7) has KelownaRocketspoint in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . Vancouver (36-26-9) will finish third in the B.C. Division, and will open a first-round series in Victoria on Friday. . . . The Rockets hold a 4-2-1 edge in the season series; the Giants are 3-3-1. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . Twarynski, who has 45 goals, scored a shorthanded goal at 10:40 of the first period, then made it 2-0, on a PP, at 13:14. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (6) upped it to 3-0 at 18:31. . . . F Ty Ronning got the Giants to within two goals with No. 61 at 8:40 of the second period. . . . The Rockets went ahead 4-1 at 10:28 of the third period as F Kyle Topping got his 20th goal. . . . F Brayden Watts (17) scored for Vancouver at 17:38. . . . Topping got the empty-netter, at 18:35. . . . Kelowna was 1-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-7. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 37 shots for Kelowna, 16 more than Vancouver’s Trent Miner. . . . F Kole Lind, F Cal Foote, D Nolan Foote and F Dillon Dube were among Kelowna’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,624.


At Everett, F Luke Ormsby got the winner in the third period as the Silvertips beat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Everett (46-20-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . Victoria (39-Everett26-6) had won its previous two games. . . . The Royals did clinch second in the B.C. Division when Vancouver dropped a 5-2 decision to visiting Kelowna. Vancouver will visit Victoria in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . Everett D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (25) tied it at 18:33. . . . Everett went ahead again at 14:36 of the second period as F Garrett Pilon (34) scored a PP goal. . . . Victoria tied it again, this time on F Noah Gregor’s 29th goal, at 2:48 of the third period. . . . Ormsby’s second goal of the season, at 4:50, stood up as the winner. . . . D Ondrej Vala had two assists for Everett. . . . F Patrick Bajkov of the Silvertips drew an assist on Pilon’s goal to tie F Zach Hamill’s franchise record for career assists (175). . . . Everett was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips. . . . The Royals got 41 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki left at 1:39 of the first period with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Martin Fasko-Rudas. . . . Announced attendance: 8,377.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

——

SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


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