Rebels’ Radar reaches milestone. . . . Ice’s run in Kootenays almost over. . . . Chiefs add a Bear to their roster

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Wednesday was the last day of the regular season in Finland’s Liiga. . . . F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13), playing for KooKoo Kouvola, finished the season leading the league in goals and points. In 52 games, he put up 57 points, including 30 goals. . . . Strömwall is the first player from KooKoo to win either title. He also is the first points leader in 31 years and the first goal leader in 24 years from a team that missed the playoffs. KooKoo finished in 13th place. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current, 2016-18), playing for Kärpät Oulu, led all Liiga rookies in assists (30) and points (46), in 50 games. . . . Heponiemi led his team in points, tied for the lead in assists for first-place Kärpät, finished in 12th place overall in points & 13th place overall in assists.


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Dave (Radar) Horning was in Cranbrook for the Kootenay Ice’s first WHL game, and he’ll be there Sunday for the last one. . . . Horning is the equipment manager for the Red Deer Rebels, and he worked his 2,000th game on Tuesday night. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has more on one of the WHL’s good guys right here.


F Tristan Zandee has made a commitment to the Colorado College Tigers. Zandee, 15, is from Chestermere, Alta., and was a second-round selection by the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Zandee made the announcement via Twitter on Thursday evening. . . . He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 32 games with the midget Airdrie CFR Bisons this season. He also was pointless in one game with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints.


The Kootenay Ice’s first home game? On Sept. 26, 1998, F Jarret Stoll had two goals and two assists to lead the Ice to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Steve McCarthy, F Andy Penny, F Kyle Wanvig and F Mike Green also scored for Kootenay. . . . Red Deer goals came from F Kevin Marsh, with two, and F Shawn McNeil. . . . G Clayton Pool stopped 38 shots for the Ice. . . . Dustin Schwartz and Shane Bendera combined for 26 saves for the Rebels.

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The Kootenay Ice is to entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight in Cranbrook, B.C., and the Red Deer Rebels come calling on Sunday.

After that game, the curtain will drop on 21 seasons of the WHL in the Kootenays.

Owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell are taking the Ice to Winnipeg, choosing to leave Cranbrook’s 4,264-seat Western Financial Place to spend at least two seasons in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, which right now has about 1,400 seats, as they await construction of a new facility.

The Ice (12-44-10) is in the process of missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Last season, its first under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, it finished 27-38-7.



The Spokane Chiefs have added F Bear Hughes, a 17-year-old native of Post Falls, Idaho, SpokaneChiefsto their roster. . . . Hughes, who signed a WHL contract in January, spent this season with the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He led the team with 66 points, including 41 goals, and was named the league’s top rookie. . . . In the playoffs, he added six goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Hughes is the second player off the Braves to have been added to the Chiefs’ roster this week. G Campbell Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.



The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have signed Craig Anderson as head scout and assistant Neepawageneral manager, while adding Kori Pearson as director of U,S. scouting. . . . Both are former Neepawa players. . . . Anderson, from Brandon, played two seasons (1993-95) with the Natives, then played for the Brandon U Bobcats. . . . Anderson served in a similar capacity with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers when Ken Pearson was the GM/head coach there. Pearson now is the Natives’ GM/head coach. . . . Kori Pearson played three seasons (1993-96) with the Natives, then played with Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D., and Concordia, Minn., College. He now is an assistant coach with the East Ridge Raptors of the Minnesota High School Hockey League, while living in Cottage Grove, Minn. He also worked under Ken Pearson as Winkler’s director of U.S. scouting.


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Pearson goes home to coach. . . . Scott sets Raiders’ shutout record. . . . Rebels win, may have lost key d-man . . . . Thunderbirds near playoff spot

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F Shane Wright of the minor midget AAA Don Mills, Ont., Flyers has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada so will be eligible for the OHL’s 2019 draft, which Canadanormally is for players who have completed their 15-year-old seasons.

With exceptional status, Wright, who turned 15 on Jan. 5, also will be eligible to play full-time in the OHL in 2019-20.

Wright has 150 points, including 66 goals, in 72 games with Don Mills, which plays in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He also had six goals and six assists in six games with Ontario as it won silver at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

The OHL draft is scheduled for April 6. Wright is the fifth player in OHL history to have received exceptional status, after John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day.

Hockey Canada has yet to rule on the application by the family of F Matt Savoie, who has applied for exceptional status in order to have the option of playing in the WHL at 15.

Savoie, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, is from St. Albert, Alta. He is eligible for the WHL’s bantam draft, which is for players who have completed their 14-year-old seasons, but will be limited to five games next season unless brought in under emergency conditions.

This season, Savoie has 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. He played for Alberta at the Canada Winter Games, putting up six goals and seven assists in 13 games.

Last season, Savoie was named the MVP in the Canadian Sport School Bantam Hockey League. This season, he was selected the midget league’s MVP.

The WHL’s 2019 bantam draft is set for May 2 in Red Deer.

The WHL will hold its draft lottery later this month, with the six non-playoff teams entered. We already know four of those teams — the Swift Current Broncos, Kootenay Ice, Regina Pats and Prince George Cougars.

In the draft lottery, a team may only move up two positions.

At the moment, the Broncos have the WHL’s poorest record, followed by the Ice and the Pats. However, Prince George holds Swift Current’s first-round selection and the Saskatoon Blades have Regina’s.

There is little doubt that Savoie, if he is granted exceptional status, will be the first pick in the bantam draft should he and his family decide they want to be part of whichever organization is making that selection.

Should Savoie be drafted and choose not to play in the WHL, he would have to return to midget next season. The granting of exceptional status applies only to major junior hockey and doesn’t allow a player to join a junior A team.

His brother, Carter, 17, plays for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders and has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2020-21 season.

The WHL has never had to deal with a player who has been given exceptional status. It has happened once in the QMJHL, with F Joe Veleno. In his fourth season in the QMJHL, he has 100 points, including 41 goals, in 55 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Veleno, now 19, has 262 points, including 173 assists, in 226 career regular-season QMJHL games. He was a first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2018 draft, but has yet to sign with them.

If you are wondering what Wright had to go through, here’s Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News:

“Being granted ‘exceptional status’ isn’t easy. Submissions are due by Dec. 1, which is pretty early in the hockey season. On top of looking at a player’s on-ice skills, the governing bodies (in this case the Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada) send out questionnaires to school teachers and coaches, while the player has to write an essay. The player also meets with a psychologist for a ‘life interview,’ to determine if the kid has the maturity to move away from home and compete against much older competition at age 15. OHF executive director Phil McKee said that both Wright and his family were ‘excellent to work with’ throughout the process.”

Kennedy’s entire piece is right here.


The QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies’ 25-game winning streak ended on Friday night as they were beat by the Voltigeurs at the Centre Marcel Dionne in Drummondville. . . . The Huskies fell behind 2-0 after two periods, and cut the deficit in half at 5:05 of the third period. But they weren’t able to equalize. . . . Rouyn-Noranda tied the CHL record that was set by the QMJHL’s 1973-74 Sorel Éperviers and equalled by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers. The 1995-96 Hull Olympiques and the 2012-13 London Knights won 24 in a row. . . . The WHL record (22) is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins.


Ken Pearson is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Pearson, who is from Neepawa, replaces Dustin Howden, who left after five seasons with the Natives — two as assistant coach, two as head coach and one as GM/head coach. . . . Pearson, 45, is a veteran junior A coach, who spent seven seasons as the GM/head coach with the Winkler Flyers. He stepped aside as head coach prior to this season, but kept the GM’s title until he and the Flyers parted company last month. . . . Pearson began his coaching career with the Natives as an assistant coach for two seasons (1994-96). . . . This season, the Natives finished out of the playoffs, at 9-43-8, the poorest record in the 11-team league.


The Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings Athletic Club has named Fran Gow head coach of the midget AAA Ennis Kings. Now has extensive AJHL coaching experience, have worked more than 1,000 games, split among the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Grande Prairie Storm and Drayton Valley Thunder. He helped the Oil Barons to a national championship in 1999-2000. . . . Of late, Gow has been the AJHL’s vice-president of hockey operations and a coach mentor for Hockey Alberta.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott set a single-season shutout record as the Prince Albert Raiders skated to an 8-PrinceAlbert0 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Prince Albert (52-9-4) has won two in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s regular-season standings. . . . Swift Current (10-47-6) has lost 16 in a row (0-13-3). . . . Prince Albert, with Scott in goal, beat the visiting Broncos, 6-0, on Tuesday, and they’ll play again Sunday, this time in Swift Current. . . . The Raiders are off tonight, while the Broncos will meet the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . The Raiders lead the season series, 6-0-1; the Broncos are 1-6-0. . . . Scott stopped 14 shots in posting his seventh shutout of the season, breaking the record that he was sharing with Luke Siemens (2012-13) and Rejean Beauchemin (2003-04). Scott, who has 10 career shutouts, also will set franchise single-season records for GAA and save percentage. He is 36-7-3, 1.86, .932. . . . D Brayden Pachal (15) got the Raiders started at 3:33 of the first period, and B Brett Leason, who had gone seven games without a goal, made it 2-0 with No. 34 at 4:59. . . . F Noah Gregor (39) and Leason (35) scored before the period ended for a 4-0 lead. . . . Before it was over, F Parker Kelly had scored twice, giving him 32, and F Cole Fonstad (29), who also had two assists, and F Spencer Moe (9) added one each. . . . The Raiders had a 48-14 edge in shots.


The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Regina Pats, MooseJawWarriors3-1. . . . Moose Jaw (36-19-8) has clinched third place in the East Division and will face the second-place Saskatoon Blades in the first round of playoffs. . . . Regina (18-43-3) has lost five in a row. . . . The Warriors lead the season series with Regina, 6-1-0, with the final game in Moose Jaw tonight. . . . F Ty Kolle (14) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 3:53 of the first period. . . . F Justin Almeida (28) tied it, on a PP, at 9:08. . . . Moose Jaw took the lead at 9:51 when F Carson Denomie (6) scored. . . . F Brayden Tracey (33) got the empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 19 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Regina G Max Paddock stopped 29 shots.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the visiting LethbridgeMedicine Hat Tigers, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (37-18-10) has won five in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings atop the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (32-26-6) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . With one game remaining, Lethbridge leads the season series, 6-1-2; the Tigers are 3-6-0. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (30) gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period, with the Tigers tying it at 10:39 when D Baxter Anderson (4) scored. . . . F Zachary Cox (11) put the home side ahead at 3:57 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 18:22 as F Brett Kemp (28) scored on a PP. . . . Lethbridge F Taylor Ross (32) broke the tie, on a PP, at 2:06 of the third period. . . . F Dylan Cozens (33) made it 4-2 at 3:16, and F Nick Henry (27) wrapped it up with an empty-netter at 19:17. . . . Henry’s goal was his 200th regular-season point. He’s got 76 goals and 124 assists in 191 games. This season, he has 90 points in 66 games. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer had his goal streak halted at 13 games. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 28 shots for Lethbridge, two more than Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett.


The Red Deer Rebels overcame a 3-0 deficit and beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, Red Deer5-3. . . . Red Deer (32-25-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card berths, two points ahead of Brandon. . . . Brandon (31-25-8) has lost two in a row. With the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship —  being played in Westoba Place, the Wheat Kings are on a six-game trip through the Central Division that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. Through the first five games, Brandon is 1-3-1. . . . The teams split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Ben McCartney (20), at 3:48 of the first period; F Stelio Mattheos (42), at 1:36 of the second; and D Chad Nychuk (2), at 2:40. . . . F Brandon Hagel (39) started the Red Deer comeback at 9:03. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (18) got the Rebels to within a goal at 10:45 of the third period, and F Josh Tarzwell (9) tied it at 12:30. . . . Red Deer went out front when F Zak Smith (11) scored at 16:33. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (13) added insurance at 19:51. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev appeared to suffer a knee injury after colliding in open ice with McCartney in the third period. Alexeyev was placed on a stretcher before being taken off the ice. “We’ll have to wait and see how he is in the next 48 hours, 72 hours. I don’t know any more than that right now,” Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored two goals and set a franchise record in leading the EdmontonOilKingsEdmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (38-18-8) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton holds one game in hand. . . . Calgary (36-23-6), which has clinched a playoff spot, had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is headed for a third-place finish in the Central Division. . . . With two games left, Edmonton is 5-0-1 in the season series; Calgary is 1-4-1. They’ll finish the regular season with a home-and-home, playing March 16 in Edmonton and the next day in Calgary. . . . Edmonton went ahead 3-0 on goals from F Quinn Benjafield (14), at 9:19 of the first period; Fix-Wolansky, at 18:30; and F Vince Loschiavo, on a PP, at 4:07 of the second. . . . F Mark Kastelic (46) scored for Calgary, on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Edmonton put it away with third-period goals from Fix Wolansky (35) and Loschiavo (33), the latter on a PP. . . . Fix-Wolansky set the franchise’s single-season assist record when he set up Loschiavo’s first goal. That was Fix-Wolansky’s 64th assist of the season, one more than D Dylan Wruck had in 2012-13. . . . Loschiavo also had an assist, to give him three points, while D Conner McDonald had three helpers. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 24 saves.


The Kamloops Blazers scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the visiting Kamloops1Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . Kamloops (24-32-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind Kelowna. Kamloops, which has five games left, also is seven points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna (27-30-7) has points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . Kamloops is 5-3-1 in the season series; Kelowna is 4-3-2. They’ll finish it tonight in Kelowna. . . . F Martin Lang (11) put the Blazers ahead at 16:13 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Foote (34) got the Rockets even, on a PP, at 4:08 of the third period. . . . F Connor Zary and F Orrin Centazzo both scored as Kamloops won the shootout, 2-0. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 26 shots for Kamloops, which had Rayce Ramsay, in from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, backing up. Dylan Ferguson was injured in Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants and is out day-to-day. . . . The Rockets got 32 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who began serving a three-game suspension for a boarding major and game misconduct he incurred against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Sunday.


F Joachim Blichfeld had a goal and two assists, all via the PP, as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks got past the Cougars, 3-2, in Prince George. . . . Portland (39-19-6) is second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Prince George (17-40-8) has lost five straight (0-4-1). . . . The Winterhawks are 3-0-0 in the season series that will be completed tonight in Prince George. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 on goals from D Cole Moberg (12), on a PP, at 13:55 of the first period, and F Matej Taman (9), at 2:29 of the second. . . . F Jake Gricius (25) pulled the visitors to within a goal at 16:38. . . . F Josh Paterson (23) tied the score at 2:36 of the third period, and Blichfeld (53) got the winner, at 14:51. . . . Blichfeld leads the WHL in goals and points (110). . . . Portland was 3-7 on the PP; Prince George was 1-5. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 40 shots for the Winterhawks. . . . D Ryan Miley, 18, made his WHL debut with the Winterhawks. From Brookings, S.D., he played this season with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . . F Cody Glass, F Seth  Jarvis, D Matt Quigley and D John Ludvig were Portland’s scratches, all out with injuries.


F Noah Philp scored twice for Seattle as the Thunderbirds beat the Victoria Royals, 2-1, in SeattleKent, Wash. . . . Seattle (27-28-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (33-27-4) has lost two in a row. It will finish second in the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Philp, who has 24 goals, got the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 4:40 of the first period. . . . He made it 2-0 at 17:47 of the second. . . . F Igor Martynov (11) scored a PP goal for Victoria at 19:59 of the second. . . . Seattle G Roddy Ross blocked 19 shots, 11 more than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . D Scott Walford, D Matthew Smith, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver, all veterans and all injured, were among Victoria’s scratches.


G Bailey Brkin turned aside 37 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Spokane (36-20-7) is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Vancouver (45-15-4) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips with each team having four games remaining. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 3-2-0; Spokane was 2-2-1. . . . Spokane took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from D Filip Kral (8), at 7:56; F Jake McGrew, at 11:39; and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (16), at 19:39. The latter two came via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (21) scored for Vancouver, on a PP, at 17:52 of the second period, only to have McGrew (27) get that one back at 18:56. . . . Anderson-Dolan has goals in six straight games. . . . Spokane was 2-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-5. . . . Brkin is 24-11-3, 2.78, .914.


Goaltenders Dustin Wolf and Max Palaga shared the shutout as the Everett Silvertips Everettbeat the Tri-City Americans, 3-0, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Everett (46-14-4) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). It leads the Western Conference standings by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Tri-City (34-26-4) is likely to finish in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Palaga started and stopped one shot in 4:47. Wolf came on to turn aside 25 shots in 55:13. . . . Sorry, but I don’t have any idea why Palaga left. Presumably there was an injury of some sort. . . . F Reece Vitelli (11) opened the scoring at 3:29 of the second period, with D Wyatt Wylie (11) making it 2-0 at 16:14. . . . F Connor Dewar (35) rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter at 19:07 of the third period. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots, setting a franchise record for most saves in one season in the process. In 59 appearances this season, Warm has stopped 1,860 shots. G Eric Comrie stopped 1,849 shots in 2013-14. . . . The Silvertips had F Martin Fasko-Rudas back in the lineup. He last played on Feb. 22.


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Red Deer captain gets NHL deal. . . . Focht scores hat trick for third time in five games. . . . Byram goal sets franchise record for Giants


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The QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies beat the host Shawinigan Cataractes 8-3 on Wednesday night, running their winning streak to 25 games. That ties the CHL record that was set by the QMJHL’s 1973-74 Sorel Éperviers and equalled by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers. The 1995-96 Hull Olympiques and the 2012-13 London Knights won 24 in a row. . . . The WHL record (22) is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins.


F Reese Johnson, the captain of the Red Deer Rebels, has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. . . . This season, the 20-year-old Saskatoon native has 22 goals and 23 assists in 62 games. He has single-season career highs in assists and points. . . . In 182 career regular-season games, he has 50 goals and 42 assists. . . . Johnson wasn’t selected in either the WHL bantam draft or the NHL draft.


The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives are in need of a general manager and head coach following the decision by Dustin Howden not to ask for a new contract. . . . Howden, 33, is from Deloraine, a community south of Brandon. He told Chris Jaster of the Brandon Sun: “I just feel it’s time for someone else to take the program to the next step.” . . . Howden has been with the Natives since 2014-15 when he was an assistant coach. He took over as head coach prior to 2016-17, and added the GM’s duties in time for this season. . . . This season, the Natives finished 9-43-8, which left them last in the 11-team league.



WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 13 games as he helped the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge (36-18-10) has won four in a row, and now has clinched a playoff spot. It also has moved into a tie with the Edmonton Oil Kings atop the Central Division. Edmonton holds a game in hand. . . . Brandon (30-25-8) is 1-2-1 on a six-game trek through the Central Division. The Wheat Kings are tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . Elmer opened the scoring at 5:36 of the second period, while shorthanded. He’s got 37 goals this season, and leads the WHL with six shorthanded snipes. . . . The longest goal-scoring streak in WHL history occurred from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984, as F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins struck 27 times over 18 games. . . . The Hurricanes’ record (16 games) belongs to F Jason Ruff (Jan. 16 through Feb. 27, 1991). Ruff had 20 goals over that stretch. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn, who has 37 goals, gave his guys a 3-0 lead when he scored at 7:35 and 19:44, the latter on a PP. . . . F Zack Stringer’s first WHL goal, at 10:16 of the third period, made it 4-0. Stringer’s first goal came in his fourth game. He also had an assist, and now has three points. A 15-year-old from Lethbridge, Stringer, the eighth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, had 14 goals and 27 assists in 30 games with the midget AAA Hurricanes this season. . . . F Luka Burzan (38) scored Brandon’s goal, at 11:09 of the third period. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was back in Lethbridge’s lineup after having left the club on Feb. 13 to deal with a “family emergency.” He missed 10 games.


The Calgary Hitmen struck for four goals in the first period — three of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht — and then needed OT to beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-5. . . . Calgary (36-22-6) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and Lethbridge Hurricanes. Three of Calgary’s last four games are against the Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-6) holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Calgary won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . Focht gave his guys a 2-0 lead with goals at 2:52, on the PP, and 3:53 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (23) got the Tigers on the scoreboard at 11:44. . . . F James Malm, on a PP, increased Calgary’s lead to 3-1 at 15:46 and Focht completed his third career hat trick — all three in the past five games — at 19:59. He’s got 26 goals, 10 of them in those past five games. . . . The Tigers followed with the next four goals to take a 5-4 lead. . . . F Ryan Jevne, who last played on Feb. 16, scored at 1:37 of the second period, and FCorson Hopwo made it 4-3 at 10:01. . . . The Tigers pulled even on D Trevor Longo’s fifth goal, at 7:58 of the third period, and went ahead at 11:07 when Jevne got his 28th goal, on a PP. . . . Malm forced OT with his 33rd goal at 16:18. . . . Calgary won it at 3:41 of OT when D Vladislav Yeryomenko notched his sixth goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen were 3-4 on the PP; the Tigers were 1-4. . . . Focht also had an assist for the fourth four-point game of his career. . . . Malm added an assist to his two goals. . . . Jevne added an assist to his two goals, while Longo had two helpers. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 37 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers also had F Brett Kemp back in their lineup. He had been out since Feb. 22.


G Trent Miner stopped 16 shots and D Bowen Byram set a single-season franchise record Vancouveras the Vancouver Giants dumped the Blazers, 5-0, in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (45-14-4) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is tied with the Everett Silvertips atop the Western Conference, each with five games remaining. . . . Kamloops (23-32-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). With six games to play, it is fourth in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Kamloops and Kelowna will go home-and-home on Friday and Saturday. . . . The Blazers also are seven points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . This was the third game in a row between these teams — the Giants won all three, one of them in OT. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 8-0-0; Kamloops was 0-5-3. . . . Miner posted his third shutout of the season. He is 23-4-2, 1.94, .926. . . . F Jadon Joseph scored twice for the Giants, opening the scoring 34 seconds into the second period and closing it with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 16:47 of the third. . . . In between, the Giants got goals from F Davis Koch (27), F Justin Sourdif (20) and Byram. . . . Byram’s goal was his 25th of the season and set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record was set by Kevin Connauton in 2009-10. . . . F Milos Roman had three assists. The Giants are about to lose Roman for a handful of games. Like Kootenay Ice D Martin Bodak, he will be returning to his native Slovakia to write a mandatory exam. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson left at 1:37 of the second period. He was slow getting up after some goal-mouth action at 1:20, and actually needed to lean on  his stick in order to get to his feet. Seventeen seconds later, he left the game, unable to put any weight on one leg. . . . Ferguson stopped 10 of 11 shots in 21:37. Dylan Garand came on in relief and turned aside 17 of 21. . . . The Giants enjoyed a 32-16 edge in shots, including 14-2 in the second period when they began to take control. . . .  Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . Vancouver had F Krz Plummer in their lineup. Plummer, who turns 17 on Feb. 13, was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. This was his fifth WHL game, four of them this season.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-tri-city3, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (34-25-4) had lost five in a row (0-4-1). The Americans, who are in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, have clinched a playoff spot. . . . Victoria (33-26-4) had points in each of its past four games (3-0-1). It is headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . F Phillip Schultz (19) put Victoria ahead 55 seconds into the game. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (5) tied it at 4:12. . . . Victoria went ahead again just 27 seconds later as F Carson Miller (14) scored. . . . The Americans tied it at 17:10 when D Dom Schmiemann (3) scored. . . . F Riley Sawchuk, who finished with two goals and an assist, put the Americans out front at 4:00 of the second period. . . . Victoria pulled even at 16:51 on F D-Jay Jerome’s 22nd goal. . . . Tri-City F Sasha Mutala (19) broke the tie at 18:08, and Sawchuk added insurance with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 13:54 of the third period. . . . Tri-City D Mitchell Brown (4) added the empty-netter at 18:58. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 20 shots for Tri-City, six fewer than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . D Ralph Jarratt, D Scott Walford and F Kody McDonald were among Victoria’s scratches.


Tweetoftheday

Giants schedule announcement . . . Broncos add Aubin to front office . . . Van Horlick to coach junior B team


MacBeth

G Mackenzie Skapski (Kootenay, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL), he was 12-14-2-1, 3.03, .906, with two shutouts, in 33 games.


ThisThat

The Vancouver Giants are expected to make an announcement via radio station SN 650 Vancouverthis morning (Thursday) at 8 o’clock.

It could be that the Giants will announce the signing of Jamie Heward as an assistant coach. Taking Note was told earlier in the week that he had signed with the Giants, taking the place of Dean Chynoweth on the coaching staff.

Chynoweth spent one season as the Giants’ associate coach. On Wednesday, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes announced that they had signed Chynoweth as an assistant coach.

Heward, 47, is from Regina. He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach and director of player development with the Broncos.

A defenceman in his playing days, he skated with the Regina Pats for four seasons (1987-91). Michael Dyck, preparing for his first season as the Giants’ head coach, was a teammate of Heward’s for two of those seasons (1987-89).


The Swift Current Broncos have signed Gary Aubin as their director of player personnel. SCBroncosAubin spent the previous 11 seasons scouting northern Alberta for the Spokane Chiefs. From St. Alberta, Alta., Aubin also spent 11 seasons scouting for the Kamloops Blazers, and for 14 years was a chief instructor for the Canadian Trinity Hockey School. . . . Aubin will replace Jamie Porter with the Broncos. Porter had been with the Broncos since 2003, and had been the director of player personnel since 2006. He announced that he was leaving as Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . Since that announcement, the Broncos’ entire scouting staff is believed to have resigned, as did associate coach Ryan Smith, who has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers as an assistant coach. The Broncos, however, have yet to acknowledge any departures on their website.


John Gruden has left the Hamilton Bulldogs — he was the head coach of the reigning HamiltonOHL champions — to sign on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders. Gruden spent two seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach. . . . His departure means that each of the four teams that competed in the 2018 Memorial Cup will have a new head coach when the new season arrives. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who won the tournament, had to replace Mario Pouliot after he left to take over as general manager and head coach of the Rouyn-Norana Huskies. The Titan has since signed Bryan Lizotte to a three-year deal as head coach. . . . In Regina, the host Pats promoted Dave Struch from assistant coach to head coach. He takes over from John Paddock, who remains as general manager. . . . In Swift Current, the WHL-champion Broncos lost head coach Manny Viveiros to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers when he joined them as an assistant coach. The Broncos later named Dean Brockman as director of hockey operations and head coach. . . .

The same thing happened after the 2017 Memorial Cup when the Windsor Spitfires, the host team, had to replace Rocky Thompson, while the Erie Otters lost Kris Knoblauch, the Saint John Sea Dogs had to replace Danny Flynn, and Steve Konowalchuk left the Seattle Thunderbirds.


John Van Horlick is the new head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He takes over from Bryan Perrier. According to the team, it and Perrier “parted ways two weeks ago.” . . . Van Horlick, 69, is a former head coach (1987-88) of the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star has more right here.


Dustin Howden, the head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives, now is the general manager, as well. Howden, from Deloraine, Man., has been the head coach through two seasons. . . . He takes over from Myles Cathcart as the team’s general manager. Cathcart, who had been with the Natives in one role or another for 25 years, resigned last month.

Three players hospitalized with burns after something goes wrong . . . Giants need head coach . . . Wheaties mourn death of Borotsik

MacBeth

F Roman Horák (Chilliwack, 2009-11) signed a one-year contract with the Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL), he had 10 goals and 16 assists in 54 games, while averaging 19:13 TOI per game. . . .

F Levi Nelson (Swift Current, 2004-08) announced his retirement through an interview in The Sheffield Star. Last season, with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 26 assists in 55 games.


ThisThat

Two members of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and a former teammate are being treated in hospital for burns received on Saturday night.

Matt Alfaro, Jordy Bellerive and Ryan Vandervlis were injured when something went awry involving a bonfire.

Lisa MacGregor of Global News reported that “sources tell Global News they were hurt in a fire in Calgary . . . and one of the players is in critical condition.”

According to a news release issued late Saturday by the Hurricanes:

“All three players are currently being treated in hospital for various injuries sustained in the incident. . . . The Hurricanes’ focus and priority is on the health of the players injured and will have no further comments at this time. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

Alfaro, from Calgary, was acquired by the Hurricanes from the Kootenay Ice during the 2016-17 season. He completed his junior eligibility by scoring 12 goals and adding nine assists in 20 games with the Hurricanes. In 263 regular-season games, 243 of them with the Ice, he had 62 goals and 93 assists. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 26 games with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive, a 19-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., is the Hurricanes’ captain. Last season, he had 46 goals and 46 assists in 71 games, and was named to the Eastern Conference’s second all-star team. In 206 regular-season games, he has 84 goals and 100 assists.

Bellerive, who wasn’t selected in an NHL draft, signed a three-year entry-level contract with Pittsburgh after attending training camp with the Penguins prior to last season.

Vandervlis, 20, is from Red Deer. In 162 regular-season games, all with the Hurricanes, he has 30 goals and 37 assists. Last season, he was limited by injuries to 19 games, and he finished with 11 goals and eight assists. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in early December and was hoping to be completely for his final junior season.


The Vancouver Giants fired head coach Jason McKee on Friday, making the announcement in a late-day three-paragraph news release.

McKee spent two seasons with the Giants, missing the playoffs in 2016-17, with a 20-46-6 record, and making the playoffs in 2017-18, at 36-27-9, good for third in the B.C. Division, Vancouver12 points behind the Kelowna Rockets and three behind the Victoria Royals. The Giants lost a seven-game series to the Royals in the first round of the playoffs.

Barclay Parneta, who is into his first year as the Giants’ general manager, pulled the trigger on McKee, who had one year left on his contract.

According to Steve Ewen of Postmedia, Parneta said: “For me, I’d like someone I’m more familiar with. I don’t want to be starting a (season) with someone I’m just getting to know.”

A couple of free-agent coaches with whom Parneta has at least some familiarity are Serge Lajoie and Brian Pellerin.

Lajoie just finished a three-year stint as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, guiding them to the 2017-18 Canadian championship. He took over the Golden Bears when Ian Herbers took a sabbatical to work as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. They chose to release Herbers after last season, and he has returned to the Golden Bears.

Parneta was the Tri-City Americans’ assistant general manager before signing with the Giants. The Americans selected Lajoie’s son, Marc, a defenceman, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft and also signed him, all on Parneta’s watch.

Pellerin, who played four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders, has been the associate coach with the Americans for four seasons. He also spent four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks.

In between Portland and Tri-City, he coach with the Central league’s Amarillo Gorillas, the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and the Okanagan Hockey Academy.

The Giants join the Kamloops Blazers, Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos as teams in search of a head coach.

You would think McKee, 39, would be of interest to the Oil Kings. From Lloydminster, Alta., he spent 10 seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, the last six as general manager and head coach, before joining the Giants. Under McKee, the Saints won three AJHL titles in six seasons and he twice was the league’s coach of the year

The Oil Kings are looking for a head coach after firing head coach Steve Hamilton after four seasons on May 29. Hamilton had been an assistant coach for four seasons before moving up to head coach.

Of course, the Oil Kings also need a general manager, having parted company with Randy Hansch at the same time.

Ewen’s complete piece on McKee’s firing by the Giants is right here.


Jack Borotsik, who played two season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, died on June 8 at BrandonWKregularthe Brandon Regional Health Centre. He was 68. . . . Borotsik, who was from Brandon, played two seasons (1967-69) with the Wheat Kings when the WHL was the Western Canada Hockey League. He totalled 60 goals and 98 assists in 119 regular-season games. He got into one NHL game, that with the St. Louis Blues in 1974-75. . . . The family has asked that donations in his memory be made to a charity of one’s own choice. . . . In November 2016, Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun featured Borotsik in one of his stories on past Wheat Kings. That story is right here.


Myles Cathcart has resigned as general manager of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. Cathcart, who had been in the position for seven seasons, left after the organization decided to charge each of its players a “travel fee” of $267 per month. “It’s just my philosophical view that junior hockey should be different than AAA (midget),” Cathcart told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun. “I’m not mad, I just decided that it would be a good time for somebody to put their stamp on whatever they wanted to do. I’m not leaving on bad terms, I just didn’t want to do it.” . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Phil Roy is the new general manager and head coach of the junior A Notre Dame Hounds, an SJHL team that plays out of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Roy had been an assistant coach with the Clarkson U Golden Knights since 2011. From St. Leonard, Que., Roy takes over from Clint Mylymok, who resigned in order to sign on as GM/head coach of the NAHL’s Maryland Blackbears, an expansion team. Mylymok had been with the Hounds for four seasons.


The junior B 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Dale Hladun, their general manager and head coach, to a three-year extension. Hladun is preparing for his fourth season with the Wranglers. Under Hladun, the Wranglers won the 2015-16 KIJHL championship, as well as the Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Keystone Cup.