Lamb, Matvichuk talk about Cougars . . . Montgomery sets Raiders’ record . . . Søgaard, Tigers shock Silvertips

MacBeth

F Nikita A. Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been released by mutual agreement by Amur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL). He had one goal in 37 games. He also had four goals and four assists in nine games with Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk (Russia, MHL, the top junior league). . . . Popugayev started the season with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) and was assigned to their junior team, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (Russia, MHL), where he had two goals and an assist in three games. CSKA traded Popugayev to Amur on Sept. 9.


ThisThat

Mark Lamb, in his first season as general manager of the Prince George Cougars, worked his first game as head coach on Friday night in a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna.

That loss left the Cougars riding a 12-game losing skid (0-9-3) was they head for Langley, PrinceGeorgeB.C., and a Sunday afternoon appointment with the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants.

The Giants won twice in Prince George this week — 4-2 on Tuesday and 4-3 in OT on Wednesday.

The Cougars fired head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was in the last season of a three-year contract, after Wednesday’s game.

Lamb and Matvichuk talked about the move with Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Here’s Lamb: “This has been ongoing for a while — I think it was inevitable that something was going to happen (Wednesday) night, win or lose. At the start of the (season) we talked about a lot of development and getting better all the time and we seemed to be stagnant and just kind of not getting better.

“It’s a lengthy streak and it’s hard on everybody — the coaches, the owners, office staff, everybody. It’s not a fun time and you just can’t keep it going. You have to do something to make it change.

“Whether he had one year or two years left was irrelevant on how we were thinking.”

Here’s Matvichuk: “When you go all-in, like we did two years ago, and you take a look at how many players were drafted in the last five years who aren’t even playing in the WHL, regardless of whether it’s a first-rounder or a seventh-rounder, the development curve wasn’t there.

“We knew as an organization last (season) when we decided to go into our rebuild it was going to be a struggle, and it was a struggle. We’re not far off where me and the coaching staff thought we’d be, right around 20 or 25 (wins) and fighting for that last playoff spot this year and that’s exactly where we’re at. Going through the season our goal was to get better every day, the playoffs was never an issue, it was about developing these kids to get ready for the next three years. It wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about making these players better every day and I truly believe that’s what we did.”

Clarke’s complete and thorough story is right here.


The AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines and Gord Thibodeau, their vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, have parted company. . . . Assistant coach Shawn Martin has taken over as interim GM/head coach. . . . “After 25 years of coaching, I have reached the inevitable point of hockey burnout,” Thibodeau said in a news release. “Moving forward I will take some time to rest, recharge and re-evaluate my future within the game of hockey.” . . . Thibodeau is the winningest head coach in WHL history, having put up 889 regular-season victories. . . . The Wolverines went into Friday at 19-30-2, good for seventh in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North. . . . Thibodeau, 55, has been coaching in the AJHL since 1994 spending time with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, Lloydminster Blazers, St. Albert Saints, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Lloydminster Bobcats and the Wolverines. . . . He also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four different occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


D Kyle Chernenkoff had his BCHL playing career come to an end in January when Trailanother brain injury forced him to retire from the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . An alternate captain, Chernenkoff, 20, now is a member of the Trail coaching staff. . . . “It wasn’t really a hard decision to make,” Chernenkoff told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “It was a decision made for me by the doctors. It was a hard pill to swallow so I took a couple days to come to terms with it myself, and then transitioning into the coaching and being with the team made it easier for me to make that transition.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ben McCartney scored the only goal of a shootout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWKregularvisiting Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Brandon (23-21-7) had lost its previous two games. It now is six points from a playoff spot. . . . Swift Current (10-37-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings, who were 0-6 on the PP, fired 55 shots at Broncos G Riley Lamb, who is from Rivers, which is 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . F Baron Thompson (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 17:49 of the first period, and D Braden Schneider (8) made it 2-0 at 13:48 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (13) got Swift Current’s first goal, at 18:48. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (10) got the Broncos to OT with a goal at 18:40 of the third period. Yes, Lamb was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . McCartney, the second shooter in the first round, got the winner. . . . Brandon had a 21-6 edge in first-period shots, and it was 19-6 in the second period. . . . Brandon remains without G Jiri Patera (leg), but did get back D Braydyn Chizen from suspension and F Linden McCorrister from an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Gregor scored three times and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertskated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Wranglers (aka Calgary Hitmen). . . Prince Albert (44-7-2) has won three in a row and leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (27-20-5) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second-wild card spot. . . . This was the third game of the three-game Corral Series in which the Hitmen saluted the three teams that have called the Corral home — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers. . . . The Raiders swept the four-game season series, the first time in franchise history that they have done that with Calgary. . . . The Raiders took control of this one by scoring the game’s first four goals. . . . F Dante Hannoun (25) got it started, on a PP, at 7:33 of the first period, with F Cole Fonstad making it 2-0 at 8:37. . . . Gregor upped that to 3-0 at 3:12 of the second period, and D Sergei Sapego (8) made it 4-0 at 3:33. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) scored for Calgary at 16:20, but the Raiders opened the third period with four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead. . . . Fonstad, who has 24 goals, finished with two goals and three assists, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . Gregor completed his second career hat trick with his side’s last two goals. He has 33 goals. . . . F James Malm (22) scored Calgary’s second goal on a penalty shot at 17:03 of the third. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton left in the first period after being involved in a collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. McNaughton had skated out to the hash marks in pursuit of a puck that Leason was chasing. That meant that Carl Stankowski came off the bench to see his first playing time since Nov. 23 when he suffered an ankle injury. . . . McNaughton stopped five of seven shots in 8:58, with Stankowski giving up six goals on 38 shots in 51:02. . . . Prince Albert got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . F Sean Montgomery of the Raiders, who is from Calgary, played in his 331st regular-season game to set a franchise record. F Brett Novak (2000-06) had held the previous record. . . . Montgomery, 20, was a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He has played 65, 72, 69, 72 and now 53 games in each of his regular-seasons. . . . Montgomery had one assist last night, and now has 134 points, including 64 goals, in 331 games. This season, he has career highs in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49). . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders sat out Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen are without D Dakota Krebs, D Egor Zamula, F Jake Kryski and F Hunter Campbell.


D Josh Brook scored 35 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Moose Jaw (29-13-8) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-10) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Warriors, who got 47 saves from G Adam Evanoff, were 3-3 on the PP. . . . F Jake Elmer (21) put the Hurricanes ahead at 5:20 of the first period, only to have Brook tie it at 8:23. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 3-1 on goals from D Calen Addison (9), at 8:54, and F Taylor Ross (25), on a PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida, who also had two assists, got Moose Jaw into a tie with two second-period PP goals, at 6:53 and 15:54. He’s got 23 goals. . . . Brook, who also had two assists, won it with his 12th goal of the season. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Brayden Tracey. . . . Elmer added two assists to his goal for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-5 on the PP. . . . Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan back after he served a one-game suspension, but now is without D Jett Woo, who will sit for two games after taking a charging major and game misconduct in a 6-1 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday. Woo also will miss tonight’s game in Red Deer against the Rebels.


D Ryker Evans scored at 2:37 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in PatsRed Deer. . . Regina (15-36-3) is 26 points from a playoff spot with 14 games remaining. . . . Red Deer (28-18-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third and one up on the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer went up 1-0 when F Cam Hausinger (17) scored at 1:35 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it on F Ty Kolle’s 12th goal, on a PP, at 2:39. . . . F Brett Davis (16) put Red Deer back in front, on a PP, at 10:14. . . . Regina tied it when F Logan Nijhoff (4) scored at 15:24. . . . Evans won it when he scored his first WHL goal on a PP. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, Evans scored in his 31st games. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on his club’s second goal to tie the franchise’s career record of 161. He now shares it with F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Regina had D Tyson Feist back after a four-game absence, while F Brandon Dubinsky completed a four-game suspension by missing this game. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup. He missed six games since last playing on Jan. 19.


Freshman F Lukas Svejkovsky had a goal and two assists, and veteran F Tristen Nielsen Vancouverhad two goals and an assist, to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (36-13-3) has won four in a row, including the last three on the road. . . . The Giants now are 20-3-2 against the other B.C. Division teams. They lead the division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (20-26-5) had points in each of its previous three games (1-0-2). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets, who are to visit Kamloops tonight. The Blazers also are one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Svejkovsky, who opened the scoring on Jan. 30 when the Giants won, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops, did it again, this time at 16:07 of the first period. It was his sixth goal of the season. . . . F Connor Zary (13) pulled Kamloops even, on a PP, at 12:33 of the second period. . . . The Giants won it on two goals from Nielsen in the third period. He got his eighth goal at 12:44, then added insurance, on a PP, at 14:42. Both goals came off slick passes from F Jadon Joseph, with Svejkovsky getting the secondary assist each time. . . . Nielsen also had an assist on Svejkovsky’s goal. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner, who finished with 26 saves, appeared to be shaken up halfway through the third period when he stumbled and went down on his own behind the Giants’ net. Mike Burnstein, the athletic therapist, went out to chat with Miner as he was stretching his irons, but the goaltender stayed in and finished up. . . . The Blazers got 31 stops from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . Each team was 1-6 on the PP as both goaltenders stood tall. . . . With F Ryley Appelt still out with a finger injury incurred in a fight, the Blazers had F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in the lineup for his sixth game of the season. Stankoven plays for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He leads the league in goals (40), assists (36) and points (76), all in 31 games. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi missed this one as he began serving a three-game suspension. . . . D Dallas Hines was one of Vancouver’s scratches. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw played in his 300th regular-season game. The team captain, he has played 95 games with Vancouver, after starting his career by playing 179 with the Victoria Royals, then 26 with the Red Deer Rebels.


F Mark Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie in the third period as the Kelowna Rockets scoured the KelownaRocketsgame’s last three goals to get past the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (22-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Prince George (16-31-6) has lost 12 in a row (0-9-3) and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from D Cole Moberg (11), on a PP, at 13:13, and F Josh Curtis, at 16:13. . . . F Nolan Foote halved Kelowna’s deficit while shorthanded, at 18:14. . . . Curtis stretched the lead to 3-1 with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . D Cayde Augustine pulled the Rockets to within a goal with his his first goal of the season, on a PP, at 9:20 of the second period. . . . That also was Augustine’s first WHL point and came in his 28th game. He’s a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. . . . Foote’s 28th goal, at 8:05 of the third period, tied it, and Liwiski won it with his sixth goal, at 12:10. . . . G Roman Basran came on in relief for the Rockets and stopped all 15 shots he faced through two periods to earn the victory. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George’s starter, left the game at 9:05 of the third period with an injury. There wasn’t a penalty on the play. He had stopped 17 of 20 shots. Tyler Brennan, 15, came on to make his WHL debut, and stopped four of five shots. . . . Brennan, from Winnipeg, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He is on the roster with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate completed a two-game suspension by sitting out.


The Portland Winterhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the PortlandSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (33-15-5) is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (20-26-6) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 44th goal at 2:07 of the first period. . . . D John Ludvig (4) made it 2-0 at 10:41. . . . F Lane Gilliss (13) upped the lead to 3-0 at 11:18 of the second period. . . . Seattle cut into the deficit at 16:13 of the third period as F Matthew Wedman (26) scored, on a PP. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 20th goal, into an empty net, wrapped it up for the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle was 1-6 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 25 saves, one more than Seattle’s Cole Schwebius. . . . Farkas now is 9-1-0 in his career against Seattle. . . . Portland continues to play without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . Seattle D Simon Kubicek left in the first period and didn’t return. He is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was back in Seattle’s lineup after missing a couple of games, but F Nolan Volcan remains out. . . . Attendance on a stormy night was announced as 2,688.


F Ethan McIndoe scored two goals and added two assists, and D Nolan Reid had a goal SpokaneChiefsand three helpers, as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 8-3. . . . Spokane (28-17-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria actually held a 3-2 lead late in the first period, but then surrendered the game’s last six goals. . . . The Chiefs held a 49-31 edge in shots, including 20-14 in the first period and 21-8 in the third. They were 4-8 on the PP and won 46 of 74 faceoffs. . . . Spokane F Luc Smith (23) tied the game 3-3 at 17:45 of the first period. . . . McIndoe, who has 12 goals, broke the tie at 8:55, and Spokane later added four third-period goals. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his seventh goal of the season for Spokane, and it was the 100th of his career. . . . Spokane F Connor Gabruch, who didn’t score for the first 34 games of his freshman season, scored his second goal in two games. . . . F Jake McGrew (23) and F Luke Toporowski (16) added goals for the winners, who in the third period scored three times on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . Reid, who has two four-point games during his 315-game career, now has 12 goals this season. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (3), F Kaid Oliver (22) and F Kody McDonald, on a PP, scored for the Royals, who began a five-game road swing with this one.


F Parker AuCoin scored three times and added two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans tri-cityto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (28-19-3) has won three straight games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, 13 points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost two in a row. . . . F Peyton Krebs (18) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period, with AuCoin tying it, on a PP, at 11:49. . . . The Ice then took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Cole Muir (11), at 15:37, and F Holden Kodak (1), at 16:33. Holden, a 17-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., got his first WHL goal in his 40th game, 38 of them this season. . . . The Americans scored the games next five goals to take control. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (19) made it a one-goal game at 17:05. . . . F Krystof Hrabik scored while shorthanded at 13:38 of the second period to tie the score, and AuCoin’s 29th goal gave Tri-City the lead at 14:53. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (4) and AuCoin, with his 30th goal, added insurance before the period ended. . . . In the third period, Hrabik got his 13th goal for the winners, with F Jakin Smallwood (10) counting for the ice. . . . AuCoin enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 41 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialhost Everett Silvertips. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-4) has won three in a row. The Tigers are tied for second with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Everett (37-13-2) had won its past four games. It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks, with the Silvertips holding a game in hand. . . . Søgaard, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Denmark, was hot right from the start, as he stopped 17 shots in the first period. . . . F James Hamblin scored the game’s only goal, his 29th, on a PP at 16:40 of the second period. . . . Everett got 28 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . This was a battle of two of the league’s best goaltenders. . . . Søgaard now is 14-4-4, 2.24, .933. . . . Wolf is 33-12-1, 1.81, .931.


If you like what you read here, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.

Advertisements

Leason, Raiders back on track? . . . Thunderbirds stun host Warriors . . . Americans steal one from Silvertips

MacBeth

D Ivan Baranka (Everett, 2003-05) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after requesting and obtaining his release from Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had three goals and five assists in 34 games.

——

ThisThat

As I put tonight’s notes and roundup together my mind constantly wandered back to a night exactly five years ago.

It was then that I put together a newspaper’s sports pages for the final time.

Yes, the Kamloops Daily News has been gone for five years . . . gone, but not forgotten.

I still get told by folks on a regular basis how much they miss having a daily newspaper.

They aren’t alone.

——

The Vancouver Giants have trimmed two defencemen from their roster, releasing D Ty VancouverEttinger and D Parker Hendren. . . . Ettinger, 18, is expected to land in junior A, while Hendren, 17, will join the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . .  Ettinger, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him from Brandon on Oct. 1, giving up a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft in return. He had three assists in 31 games with Vancouver. . . . Hendren, from Regina, was a seventh-round pick by the Giants in the 2016 bantam draft. He had one goal and one assist in 26 games with Vancouver this season. . . . The Giants had to make some moves after acquiring three defencemen — Dallas Hines, Seth Bafaro and Nicholas Draffin — in recent days.

——

The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have acquired the junior A rights to F Bronson Sharp, 19, from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for future considerations . . . From Mission, B.C., Sharp has played seven games with the Everett Silvertips this season, but hasn’t been played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. In 102 regular-season WHL games — 84 with the Portland Winterhawks and 18 with Everett — he has two goals and three assists. . . . Everett acquired Sharp from Portland on Jan. 10, 2018, giving up a fifth-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in the deal.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Davis scored once and drew three assists to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 5-3 Red Deervictory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Red Deer (24-13-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is tied for second in the Central Division with Edmonton, one point behind Lethbridge. . . . Brandon (16-17-6) has lost three in a row and now is eights shy of a playoff spot. . . . The Rebels took control by breaking a 1-1 tie with three second-period goals, from F Alex Morozoff (7), F Chris Douglas (11) and Davis (13). . . . F Cam Hausinger added two goals for Red Deer, giving him 14. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored twice for Brandon — he’s got 28 — and added an assist, and F Ben McCartney (12) added one. . . . Davis enjoyed the second four-point game of his WHL career. He has six goals and 10 assists in 13 games since the Rebels acquired him from the Kootenay Ice. He had seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games with the Ice. . . . D Braydyn Chizen, acquired from the Kelowna Rockets this week, made his Brandon debut. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without F Linden McCorrister.

——

F Andrej Kukuca scored twice on the PP and added an assist to lead the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 7-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Seattle (14-21-4) has won two in a row and now is 3-2-0 on an East Division trip that ends tonight in Swift Current. The Thunderbirds now are one point away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-10-7) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It remains a comfortable third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon and 11 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (16) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 5:15 of the first period. . . . The visitors erased that with four seocnd-period goals — from F Nolan Volcan (16), Kukuca, on a PP, F Sean Richards (11) and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (6). . . . The latter two scored their first goals with Seattle since being acquired from Everett and Lethbridge, respectively. . . . F Tristin Langan (32) got the Warriors to within two goals, on a PP, at 2:49 of the third, but the visitors put it away with three more goals, from D Jarret Tyszka (3), Kukuca (11) and F Tyler Carpendale (5). . . . F Noah Philp had three assists for Seattle. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 24 shots for Seattle and now is 3-0-0 since joining the team from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly missed a second straight game after completing a three-game suspension. . . . The Warriors had F Carson Denomie, acquired from Kamloops, and F Alec Zawatsky, who was acquired from Swift Current, in their lineup.

——

F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat PrinceAlbertthe Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (36-5-1) now is 19-3-0 at home, where it had lost three of its previous four outings. The Raiders lead the Eastern Conference by 15 points over Saskatoon. . . . Portland (25-12-5) had points in each of its previous 10 games (7-0-3). It is 4-1-0 on an East Division tour that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. Portland is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . The Winterhawks had won each of its past four games in Prince Albert. . . . F Seth Jarvis (11) put Portland ahead at 6:57 of the first period with his fifth goal in seven games. . . . The Raiders took the lead later in the period on goals from F Cole Fonstad (15), at 11:58, and D Zack Hayes (3), at 15:40. . . . F Jake Gricius (19) got Portland into a tie at 17:06. . . . Leason broke the tie with his 29th goal, his first since returning from the WJC, at 8:52 of the third period. He leads the WHL with eight game-winners. . . . F Sean Montgomery (18) iced it with the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 27 saves. It was his career-best 25th victory, one more than he recorded last season. . . . G Joel Hofer, who was acquired from Swift Current for six bantam draft picks, made his Portland debut, stopping 23 shots. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired from Saskatoon also made his Portland debut. . . . G Boston Bilous, acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday, was on the Raiders’ bench backing up Ian Scott. . . . D Bryce Bader, acquired from Calgary, and D Loeden Schoefler, who came over from Seattle, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong (concussion) missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Winterhawks are down to two goaltenders — Hofer and Shane Farkas, 19 — after dropping Evan Fradette and Dante Gianuzzi from their roster. Fradette, 17, was returned to the midget AAA St. Albert, Alta., Raiders without getting into a WHL game. Giannuzzi, 16, has returned to Winnipeg “to prepare as a potential black ace for the playoffs and training camp,” according to a tweet from Joshua Critzer, who follows the Winterhawks for dubnetwork.ca. Giannuzzi made four appearances with Portland, going 1-2-0, 4.09, .833.

——

F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game, this one in OT, gave the Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 Calgaryvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Calgary (21-16-4) has won six in a row. The Hitmen are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (26-12-6), which had won four straight at home, has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 15 points behind Prince Albert and nine ahead of Moose Jaw. The Warriors hold six — yes, six! — games in hand. . . . Saskatoon went 2-0-2 in the season series; Calgary was 2-2-0. . . . Calgary overcame a 3-1 deficit to win this one. . . . F Gary Haden (16) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 4:56 of the first period. . . . Kastelic tied it at 14:42. . . . The Blades went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (11), at 5:30, and F Ryan Hughes (18), at 8:23. Hughes, who also had an assist, was playing in his first game with Saskatoon after being acquired from Portland. . . . D Egor Zamula (9), who also had two assists, pulled Calgary to within a goal at 19:42. . . . The Hitmen forced OT when F Carson Focht (11) scored at 19:35. . . . Kastelic won it with his 29th goal, on a PP, at 1:28 of OT. . . . Calgary had the only three shots of OT. . . . F Jake Kryski helped the winners with three assists. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 21 shots in his 16th straight start for Calgary. . . . The Blades got 35 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . The Blades had F Kirby Dach back after a four-game absence, while F Cyle McNabb, acquired from Kootenay, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . Saskatoon D Nolan Kneen is expected to be out for a month with an undisclosed injury.

——

F Brett Kemp, in his first game with Medicine Hat, scored twice to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-3) has won five in a row on home ice. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points out of third. . . . Regina (12-29-2) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Medicine Hat won the season series, 4-0-0. . . . Kemp was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday in a deal that had F Josh Williams go the other way. . . . Medicine Hat took a 1-0 lead when F Elijah Brown (7) scored at 6:36 of the first period. . . . Regina F Riley Krane (9) tied it at 19:22. . . . Kemp gave the Tigers the lead with two second-period goals, at 4:46 and 8:16, the latter on a PP. He’s got 24 goals now. . . . F Sebastian Streu (3) got the Pats back to within two, at 12:53, but the Tigers put it away before the period ended on goals from D Cole Clayton (3) and D Linus Nassen (5), on a PP. . . . G Matt Pesenti, on Regina’s roster because Max Paddock is ill, made his WHL debut as he came on in relief of Dean McNabb to start the third period. Pesenti, 17, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Pesenti stopped all four shots he faced. . . . Prior to the game, the Tigers announced that F Nick McCarry, 17, will remain with them for the remainder of this season. A list player from Calgary, he had seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons before joining the Tigers. . . . The Tigers will be without F Hayden Ostir for at least the next four weeks after he suffered a dislocated kneecap in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Jan. 4. At the same time, they hope that F Ryan Chyzowski will only miss another week with a skate cut near a knee that was incurred during a 4-3 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Jan. 5. . . . The Tigers did have F Bryan Lockner (concussion) back in their lineup and he helped out with two assists.

——

F Scott Atkinson scored twice to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (22-14-7) had lost its previous two games. The Oil Kings have equalled last season’s total of 22 victories. The Oil Kings are tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division, one point behind the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge (22-11-8) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . F Adam Hall gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 3:02 of the first period. His first WHL goal came in his 27th game. . . . Atkinson tied it at 3:21. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (19) broke the tie at 1:33 of the second period, and Edmonton took control with two more quick goals, from F Liam Keeler (6), on a PP at 7:08, and F Jalen Luypen (6), at 7:48. . . . Atkinson, who also had an assist, completed the scoring with his seventh goal at 12:45 of the third period. . . . Atkinson had the first three-point and two-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Three of Edmonton’s goals — the two by Atkinson and Loschiavo’s — were unassisted. . . . G Todd Scott blocked 24 shots for Edmonton. . . . F Josh Williams, who was acquired from Medicine Hat on Thursday, was in Edmonton’s lineup.

——

The host Prince George Cougars scored four first-period goals on 17 shots en route to a 7-PrinceGeorge2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (15-22-3) was playing its first home game since Dec. 2. The victory lifted it into a tie with Kamloops for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Cougars and Blazers are five points behind third-place Kelowna in the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (17-20-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Cougars got two first-period goals, one on a PP, from F Josh Maser, who has 15, and singletons from F Ethan Browne (7), on a PP, F Matéj Toman (4) and D Cole Moberg. . . . D Jack Sander added his first goal of the season for the Cougars, with Moberg adding a second goal, giving him nine. . . . Sander’s goal came in his 32nd game. Last season, as a freshman, he scored twice in 62 games. . . . Kelowna got PP goals from F Leif Mattson (18), at 19:26 of the second period, and F Nolan Foote (21), at 14:03 of the third. . . . Maser and Moberg also had an assist each for three-point nights, while Browne added two assists to his goal. . . . The Cougars held a 37-20 edge in shots, including 17-5 in the first period and 10-5 in the second. . . . Earlier in the day, the Cougars announced that D Cole Beamin, 17, will be staying for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Beamin had been playing with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, where he had two goals and one assists in 28 games. . . . The Cougars also have released D Tyson Phare, 16. He is expected to go to the Delta Hockey Academy. The 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season.

——

The Victoria Royals scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (22-15-1) has won four in a row. It is 5-1-0 in the season series. The Royals are second in the B.C. Division, five points behind Vancouver and seven ahead of Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (15-21-3) has lost three straight. It is tied with Prince George for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, 11 points behind Tri-City. . . . The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 5-3, on Wednesday night in Victoria. . . . The Royals have won 14 of 16 games against the Blazers in Victoria, including an 8-0-0 run. . . . F Kody McDonald (9) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead with his third goal in two games, this one on a PP at 14:42 of the first period. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (7) upped it to 2-0 at 13:13 of the second, and D Scott Walford (4) made it 3-0 at 0:59 of the third. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (12) scored for the Blazers, on a PP, at 10:00, but Victoria F Tanner Sidaway finished it with his fourth goal, at 15:55. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse, who stopped 27 shots, has 104 career regular-season victories, 13th all-time. The career record of 120 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . F Alex Bolshakov, 16, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Seattle, he was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing a second season with the Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U team. . . . Kamloops lost D Joonas Sillanpää to a slashing major and game misconduct at 13:13 of the second period, on the play in which Victoria went ahead 2-0. . . . The Blazers were without F Jeff Faith, who was hit with a five-game suspension under supplemental discipline after an incident in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss in Victoria. “In reviewing this play, which occurred later in the game, it was evident that Faith made direct contact with the opponent’s head,” Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s director of player safety, said in a statement on the WHL’s website. “As a result of the contact, the opponent was injured.”. . . Faith will be eligible to return to the Blazers’ lineup on Jan. 20 when they are to meet the Cougars in Prince George. In between, he will miss Saturday’s game in Vancouver, home games against Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, and a Jan. 19 game in Prince George. . . . Victoria D Remy Aquilon, who was hit by Faith, was scratched last night.

——

F Parker AuCoin broke a 3-3 tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period as the Tri-tri-cityCity Americans got past the Silvertips, 4-3, in Everett. . . . Tri-City (21-15-2) had lost its previous two games. The Americans, who hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, are fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane. . . . Everett (32-9-2) had won its previous three games. It also had won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips are atop the Western Conference, but now trail Prince Albert by seven points in the race for first place overall. . . . This was the third time in eight days that these teams met. The host Americans won, 3-2, on Jan. 4, with the Silvertips winning, 4-1, at home the next night. . . . Last night, F Bryce Kindopp (22) sent Everett ahead at 1:18 of the second period. . . . The Americans then took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Olson (10), on a PP, at 7:58 and F Nolan Yaremko (17), at 11:27. . . . The Silvertips reclaimed the lead as F Zack Andrusiak (30) scored at 17:56, and D Jake Christiansen (8) counted at 8:19 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even when F Sasha Mutala (10) scored at 13:22. . . . AuCoin won it with his 21st goal, at 14:14, with Everett trying to win it on a PP. . . . The Americans got 36 saves from G Beck Warm, two more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . F Samuel Huo, acquired Thursday from Seattle was in Tri-City’s lineup. . . . F Robbie Holmes, who came over from Regina in a Thursday deal, made his Everett debut.

——

Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting on a quiet New Year’s Eve . . . Tracey fills hat for Warriors . . . Americans get three SHG in victory

Scattershooting

It is because of items like this that I never miss reading Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) . . .

“The Chicago Bears are going to sell beer in cans not plastic cups. The reason is that beer cans are more environmentally friendly — they are recyclable — and plastic cups are now seen as spawn of the Devil. It was not all that long ago when all the momentum was to sell beer in plastic cups because when an angered and inebriated fan threw the beer container at an opposing player or official, the cup was a lot safer than a full can of liquid.

“According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Soldier Field peddles about 20,000 cases of beer a year at the Bears’ home games — including exhibition games — and whatever other ancillary events take place there.  That amounts to 480,000 cans of beer.

“That is a lot of ‘ammunition’ to put in the hands of potentially angry spectators — and that is almost a half-million plastic cups that need not be used.”

——

Take time on this first day of 2019 to visit The Sport Curmudgeon’s site and read his take on the bad ads of 2018. I guarantee that you will find yourself nodding your head in agreement. . . . It’s all right here and it’s good stuff!



Whenever I’m flipping channels and come across The Bourne Identity, well, there goes another couple of hours. Yes, I happen to own the first three Bourne movies. No, I don’t think I have ever put one of them in the DVD player.


A note from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, who happens to be correct with this one: “Free, unsolicited advice for the WHL: Stop scheduling games for Dec. 27, thereby allowing players to spend Boxing Day with their families instead of having to travel. Scheduling-wise, this should be a snap now that the regular season has been shortened from 72 to 68 games per team.”

My take: Players shouldn’t be coming back from the Christmas break to a schedule that calls for them to play four games in five nights. Maybe it’s time to cut the schedule to 60 games.



You likely heard by now that Jim Lites, the Dallas Stars’ CEO, unloaded a premeditated and obscenity-laced rant aimed at forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn the other day. The chances are good, I would suggest, that Lites was only the messenger for owner Tom Gaglardi. . . . You may remember a time a few years ago when Craig Bonner, then the general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, was the messenger — via a letter that bore his name — when Gaglardi tried to get a particular newspaper to dump the writer who was covering the Blazers. . . . Yes, this latest performance was deja vu all over again, except that the writer wasn’t being paid millions by Gaglardi.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle had this one among his new year’s resolutions: “To buy myself a pair of $300 sneakers. Because what if it is the shoes? It would be cool to dunk again.”

——

Ostler also had this one: “To invent a ballpark food. Perhaps something inspired by the turducken concept. Like, a churro inserted into a hot dog, inner-tube style, and the hot dog wrapped in a pizza. Churdogza. With a jalapeño hot-fudge ranch dip.”


Fishing


Meanwhile, columnist Dave Barry of the Miami Herald was wrapping up 2018 as only he is capable of doing. It’s all right here.


Are you old enough to remember when an NHL outdoor game was a big deal? Did you even realize that two teams — without going on the Internet, I couldn’t tell you which two — are playing somewhere outdoors today? . . . And now we hear that the NHL is expected to announce that Mosaic Stadium in Regina will be the site of a couple of games next season, one featuring the Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames, with the Pats to play someone, likely the Moose Jaw Warriors, perhaps the day after the NHL game. . . . Sorry, but I just can’t get excited about this stuff. . . . Hey, wasn’t Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post writing about this a year or more ago?


Security


If ever there was a case for the WHL to get rid of the loser points, it is being made right whlnow in the Central Division. . . . Let’s check the standings. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings are 20-12-7, which means they have 20 victories and 19 losses. They also are in first place, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and three up on the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge is 19-10-7, meaning it has 19 victories and 17 losses. . . . Red Deer, meanwhile, is 21-12-2, so has 21 victories and 14 losses. . . . In other words, the team with the most victories and the fewest losses is in third place. . . . Of course, Red Deer holds a game in hand on Lethbridge and four on Edmonton. . . . Still, the loser point’s time is up. Please!



Happy New Year and thanks to all you for stopping off and hanging out in these parts in 2019. If you are so inclined, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and follow the instructions. Thank you, in advance.


MacBeth

F Miles Koules (Medicine Hat, Portland, 2012-15) has been released after an unsuccessful tryout with HIFK Helsinki (Finland, Liiga). He had two goals in 13 games. Earlier, he was pointless in two games with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL). . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had four goals and six assists in 14 games. . . . Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), and three goals and three assists in six games with Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL).


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars, battered and bruised from a brutal schedule, have added D PrinceGeorgeCole Beamin, 17, to their roster. . . . In 28 games with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Saskatoon native has two goals and an assist. . . . Beamin was pointless in two games with the Cougars last season. He played two seasons with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts before joining the Hawks. . . . Beamin was a second-round selection by the Cougars in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Cougars, who are 1-7-0 on an 11-game road trip, will play the Rockets in Kelowna on Wednesday.


The Calgary Hitmen continue to play musical goaltenders as they fill the back up spot Calgarybehind Jack McNaughton, who is seeing the bulk of the action with Carl Stankowski on the shelf with an ankle injury. . . . On Sunday, the Hitmen had Brayden Peters of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes on the bench during a 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. With Peters returning to the Hurricanes, who are playing in the Mac’s tournament in Calgary, the Hitmen now have added Ethan Hein of the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires to their roster. Hein, 16, is from Saskatoon, and was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen acquired him in a Nov. 25, 2017, deal in which seven players and two bantam draft picks changed hands. . . . Calgary is at home to the Victoria Royals this afternoon.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored three times to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (20-8-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Brandon (15-14-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Warriors had beaten the Wheat Kings, 6-2, in Brandon on Sunday. . . . This was the fourth game in five nights for both clubs. Moose Jaw went 3-0-1; Brandon finished 0-4-0. . . . Last night, D Chase Hartje (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 10:31 of the first period. . . . Tracey, who has 14 goals, tied it at 11:54. . . . He gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 5:07 of the second, then added insurance, on a PP, at 5:45 of the third. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was a first-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He had two assists in five games with Moose Jaw last season. This season, he has 38 points in 34 games. . . . This was his first career hat trick and his second multi-goal game. . . . G Connor Ungar, 16, made his first WHL start for the Wheat Kings after coming on in relief and stopping nine of 10 shots in the third period of a 6-2 loss to the visiting Warriors on Sunday. Ungar finished this one with 24 saves. He plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . Brandon F Linden McCorrister returned after a two-game absence, but D Schael Higson was scratched. That left Brandon with two 20-year-olds. . . . Brandon Crowe, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, tweeted before the game that he was told Higson’s absence was a “coach’s decision . . . he did not make the trip.” . . . F Stelio Mattheos, who leads Brandon in goals, assists and points, sat out the third of a three-game WHL-issued suspension.


The Victoria Royals coughed up a 3-1 lead and then needed OT to beat the Kootenay Ice, VictoriaRoyals4-3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Victoria (18-14-1) is 2-1-0 on a six-game Central Division tour. . . . Kootenay (8-24-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Dino Kambeitz (6) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 8:46 of the first period. . . . F Davis Murray (6) tied it at 17:01. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (18) put the Royals ahead at 4:15 of the second period and F Kaid Oliver (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:17. . . . Kootenay tied it on goals from F Brad Ginnell (9), at 15:28 of the second, and D Dallas Hines (4), at 3:37 of the third. . . . The Royals won it when D-Jay Jerome scored his 15th goal of the season, on a breakaway at 3:37 of OT. . . . The Ice opened the game with the first four shots on goal, but then surrendered 15 in a row. . . . Victoria finished with a 52-29 edge in shots, including 5-1 in OT, as they set a Royals franchise record for shots in one game. The previous record (50) was set on Jan. 14, 2012, in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. (The franchise record of 68 was set by the Chilliwack Bruins in a 4-3 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland. G Kurtis Mucha stopped 65 shots for Portland.) . . . G Jesse Makaj, who was named the Ice’s player of the month for December, finished with 48 saves, 22 more than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . Kootenay was credited with wining 49 of 80 faceoffs. . . . The Ice had both Ginnell and F Peyton Krebs in the lineup. Ginnell wasn’t suspended after taking a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jordy Bellerive doing an 8-4 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. Bellerive wasn’t injured on the play; in fact, he picked up an assist on a goal just 45 seconds later. . . . Krebs left Saturday’s game late in the third period.


F Ryan Hughes had a goal and three assists to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 6-Portland3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (21-11-5) has points in six straight (3-0-3). . . . Seattle (11-19-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Seattle actually took a 3-1 lead into the second period on two goals by F Zack Andrusiak and one from F Tyler Carpendale (4). . . . Andrusiak, who has 27 goals, has 12 goals and two assists in six games against Portland this season. He has scored six times over the past two games. . . . Hughes, who had the third four-point game of his career, scored his 17th goal, on a PP, for Portland’s first tally. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals (34) and points (72), pulled Portland even by scoring twice, at 0:39 and 5:59 of the second period, the second goal coming on a PP. . . . F Michal Kvasnica (5) snapped the tie at 8:56, and D Jared Freadrich (5) added insurance, on a PP, at 16:09. . . . F Seth Jarvis (8) got Portland’s final goal, at 8:03 of the third period. . . . Freadrich also had two assists, and Blichfeld added one. . . . Portland was 3-6 on the PP; Seattle was 1-7. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Kvasnica at 13:28 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman was given a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jake Gricius at 8:55 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley and D John Ludvig, both of whom are serving suspensions, and D Brendan De Jong (concussion). . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk was scratched. Quigley drew a TBD suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Hamaliuk in Portland’s 8-6 victory over Seattle in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . Seattle opens an East Division trip in Brandon on Saturday, while Portland begins its swing in Swift Current that same night. It remains to be seen who will be missing from both teams due to suspensions and injuries.


The Tri-City Americans scored three times while shorthanded en route to a 6-1 victory tri-cityover the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (19-13-2) had dropped a 2-1 decision in Spokane on Sunday night. . . . The Chiefs (20-13-4) are third in the U.S. Division, four points ahead of the Americans who hold three games in hand. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund got the Americans started with his first goal of the season — in his 22nd game — at 6:58 of the first period. . . . D Jarod Newell made it 2-0 with his first WHL goal — in his 21st game — just 44 seconds later. . . . F Kyle Olson (9) upped the lead to 3-0 at 17:45. . . . The Americans put it away with three shorthanded goals — F Parker AuCoin had two of them, with F Blake Stevenson (7) adding the other. . . . AuCoin now has 20 goals, one shy of his career high from 2016-17. . . . F Jake McGrew (13) scored for Spokane at 19:30 of the third period. . . . Olson had two assists and AuCoin one as both had three-point games. . . . G Arnold Campbell, who plays for the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs by playing the third period. He stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 22 shots to record the victory. . . . D Nolan Reid of the Chiefs played in his 301st regular-season game. He got to No. 300 — 138 with the Chiefs after playing 162 with the Saskatoon Blades — on Sunday.


Tweetoftheday

Winterhawks, Cougars make a deal . . . Molleken back in coaching game . . . Raiders stay perfect on home ice . . . Americans win in OT once again

Guess how Dorothy and I spent part of our Friday? File it under the best laid plans. . . . We decided to take the Trans-Canada Highway (No. 1) rather than the Coquihalla simply because we felt that with snow in the forecast the odds were greater of avoiding accidents. . . . Then it started to snow. . . . We were about 10 kilometres south of Boston Bar, so turned around and found a restaurant, which helped us kill the couple of hours we were stuck there. . . . In the end, though, we did get where we were going — through the snow, slush, sleet, rain and fog — and the granddaughter is terrific. . . . If you’re travelling, slow down, take your time and stay safe.


MacBeth

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) has been assigned on loan by Zlín to Vítkovice Ostrava (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. With Zlín, he had three goals and five assists in 28 games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL) after requesting and receiving his release from Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). An alternate captain with Slovan, he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games. . . .

G Barry Brust (Spokane, Calgary, 2000-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). He was released by Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) on Dec. 5. In nine games with Kunlun, he was 4-3-1, 3.11, .895. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) on Dec. 15 after scoring four goals and adding four assists in 27 games. . . .

F Matěj Stránský (Saskatoon, 2010-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mora (Sweden, SHL) after obtaining his release from Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had three goals and three assists in 17 games. . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had eight goals and 10 assists in 32 games with Kölner Haie (Cologne) (Germany, DEL). . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has been released by mutual agreement by Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). He had five assists in eight games. . . .

F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) after obtaining his release from Rapperswil-Jona (Switzerland, NL A). He had four assists in 19 games.


ThisThat

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 1.

Conditional draft picks: 3.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


The Portland Winterhawks have acquired the WHL rights to F Bobby Brink, 17, from the PortlandPrince George Cougars in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . There also are a few conditions to this deal: Should the Winterhawks sign Brink, the Cougars will get a second-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. If he is on Portland’s roster before Jan. 10, Prince George will get an additional pick, this one a fourth-rounder in 2021. As well, if Brink is on the Winterhawks’ roster on or before Oct. 10, the Cougars will also get a sixth-round pick in 2021. . . . Brink, from Excelsior, Minn., is playing with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Going into Friday’s games, he was second in the USHL scoring race, with 33 points, including 15 goals, in 19 games. . . . He has been committed to the U of Denver Pioneers since Jan. 31, 2017.


Lorne Molleken is back in the coaching game. Molleken, the fourth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history, has been named the head coach of the Prairie Hockey Academy’s Elite 15s for the remainder of this season. . . . Molleken, a native of Regina, will be on the ice with his new team when it practises on Thursday in preparation for playing host to the Prairie Classic (Jan. 4-6). The PHA is based in Caronport, Sask. . . . PHA had fired Rodney MacPhee, the head coach of the Elite 15s when the season began, late in October. Kevin Watson stepped in as interim head coach until Molleken was hired. . . . Molleken put up 626 regular-season victories in stints with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Saskatoon Blades, Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants. He was fired by the Giants with two games left in the 2015-16 season.


Nathan Oystrick and the Humboldt Broncos have parted company. Oystrick, 36, took over as the SJHL team’s general manager and head coach in July, just three months after a bus accident had claimed the lives of 16 people, including GM/head coach Darcy Haugan. . . . The Broncos announced the move in a statement on the team’s website that was headlined ‘Humboldt Broncos part ways with Head Coach and General Manager Nathan Oystrick.’ . . . Assistant coach Scott Barney has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. . . . Alex MacPherson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Saskatoon PrinceAlbertBlades, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (33-2-1) has won five in a row and is 17-0-0 at home. . . . Saskatoon (21-11-5) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Raiders are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . On Thursday night, the Raiders won in Saskatoon, 4-3 in OT. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (9) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 16:23 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) tied it with his second goal of the game, and fourth in two nights, at 19:39 of the second period. . . . F Aliaksei Protas (7) snapped the tie at 10:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (12) added insurance at 19:50 with the empty-netter. . . . Gregor also had an assist for his second straight three-point night. . . . The Raiders won 45 of 68 faceoffs. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldhaus was tossed at 8:51 of the first period with a kneeing major and game misconduct. D Max Martin, who absorbed the hit, returned for the second period and finished the game. . . . The Raiders are 5-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are with Team Canada at the WJC.


The Regina Pats jumped out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 3-2 victory over the visiting PatsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Pats (11-24-1) have won two in a row, both of them over the Wheat Kings. One night earlier, Regina won, 3-2, in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (15-12-6) have lost two straight. . . . F Garrett Wright (2), at 12:01 of the first period, and F Austin Pratt (14), at 9:09 of the second, staked Regina to a 2-0 lead. . . . Brandon D Cole Reinhardt (7) made it 2-1 at 13:56. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (2) restored Regina’s two-goal lead at 11:34 of the third. . . . F Luka Burzan (19) got Brandon back to within a goal at 17:19. . . . Regina held a 38-20 edge in shots and won 35 of 59 faceoffs. . . . Brandon was without F Stelio Mattheos, who leads it in goals, assists and points, after he was suspended for three games after taking a match penalty for intent to injury in Thursday’s game. Mattheos drew the penalty after retaliating against Pats D Brady Pouteau, who drew a TBD suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Regina F Robbie Holmes sat out a one-game suspension. He was ejected from Thursday’s game with a cross-checking major and game misconduct for hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who wasn’t injured.


F Tristin Langan scored the game’s last two goals as the Moose Jaw Warriors skated to a MooseJawWarriors4-3 OT victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Warriors (18-8-6) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos (7-25-3) had beaten the Warriors, 4-3 in OT, in Moose Jaw on Thursday. . . . Last night, the Broncos held a 2-0 lead only to have the Warriors tie it on goals from F Daemon Hunt (4), at 19:41 of the first period, and F Justin Almeida (9), at 0:41 of the second. . . . F Matthew Culling (6) gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead at 10:31 of the second period. . . . Langan, who has 26 goals, tied it at 15:40 of the second, then won it, on a PP, at 2:36 of OT. . . . Culling has goals in four straight games and in five of his past six games. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal, while Langan had one. . . . The Warriors won 41 of 69 faceoffs. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 35 shots. . . . The Broncos had Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi back in the lineup, but Finnish D Roope Pynnonen was scratched. Both missed Thursday’s game due to travel delays.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times in the first half of the second period en route EdmontonOilKingsto a 7-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (19-12-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The victory lifted the Oil Kings into first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes, both of whom were beaten at home. . . . Calgary (15-16-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . F Vladimir Alistrov (5), F Zach Russell (1), F Andrei Pavlenko (6) and F Andrew Fyten (10) scored for Edmonton between 1:58 and 9:12 of the second period. . . . Russell, a 19-year-old from Calgary, scored his first goal in his 11th game with Edmonton. He had played 40 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016-17 and one last season. . . . F Mark Kastelic scored twice for Calgary, giving him 25 goals. He had a career-high 23 last season.


F Dante Hannoun scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-VictoriaRoyals2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Victoria (17-13-1) has won three in a row. With the WJC in their home arena, the Royals are on the road. They’ll play in each of the six Central Division cities over nine nights. . . . Lethbridge (18-10-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Hannoun, who is gunning for his fourth straight season with at least 25 goals, now has 17. . . . This was Hannoun’s first four-goal game after two hat-tricks. . . . Hannoun is the fourth player in franchise history to enjoy a four-goal game, after F Tyler Soy (2016-17), F Brandon Magee (2012-13) and F Kevin Sundher (2011-12). . . . F Tarun Fizun added a goal, his ninth, and two assists for the Royals, who held period leads of 2-1 and 5-2. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould, who normally backs up Griffen Outhouse.


F James Hamblin scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Medicine Hat improved to 18-15-3, while Kootenay now is 8-23-6. . . . F Ryan Jevne (17), at 7:03 of the first period, and Hamblin, on a PP, at 4:27 of the second, gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. . . . D Martin Bodak (7) got the Ice’s goal at 19:15. . . . Hamblin upped the lead to 3-1 with his 19th goal, at 7:44 of the third, and F Ryan Chyzowski (12) got the empty-netter at 17:36. . . . The Ice won 36 of 60 faceoffs. . . . F Elijah Brown was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup for the first time since Nov. 13. . . . D Jonathan Smart, 19, who reportedly didn’t return to the Ice after the Christmas break, wasn’t in Kootenay’s lineup.


G David Tendeck stopped 28 shots to lead the visiting Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory Vancouverover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Vancouver (23-8-2) has won two straight. . . . Red Deer (20-11-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Tendeck stopped 25 shots through two periods, then the Giants outshot their hosts, 18-3, in the third. . . . The Giants scored twice in the second period and added four in the third. . . . F Tristen Nielsen had a goal, his fourth, and two assists, as did F Jared Legien, 20, who was playing his first game with Vancouver after joining the team from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Vancouver also had D Landon Fuller, 18, of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers in its lineup. . . . Tendeck has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . With the WJC in Vancouver, the B.C. Division-leading Giants are on a six-game Central Division trek. They will play six games in 10 nights. . . . F Brett Davis (ill) was among Red Deer’s scratches.


F Zane Franklin scored the game’s last two goals to give the host Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 Kamloops1victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (13-16-3) had lost six in a row (0-5-1), all in the Central Division before Christmas. . . . Kelowna (16-17-3) will play host to the Blazers tonight. . . . F Lane Zablocki (4) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 18:50 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (10) got Kamloops even, while shorthanded, at 7:23 of the third. . . . D Kaedan Korczak (3) restored Kelowna’s lead, on a PP, at 15:26. . . . Franklin got Kamloops into a 2-2 tie, on a PP and with G Dylan Ferguson on the bench for the extra attacker, at 18:54 of the third. . . . Franklin’s 19th goal of the season won it at 4:18 of OT. . . . Ferguson won it with 36 saves. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff, who had been with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, made his debut with his hometown Rockets.


F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the visiting Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (18-12-2) has won four in a row, each of them in OT. . . . Portland (19-11-5) has points in four straight (1-0-3). . . . This was the third straight game between these teams and the Americans won each one in OT. . . . Before Christmas, the Americans won twice in OT — 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and 4-3 in Portland. . . . Tri-City won the first meeting of the season between the teams, 6-5 in a shootout, at home on Sept. 28. . . . After last night, they will meet four more times. . . . The Americans began their four-game OT winning streak by beating the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 8-7, on Dec. 8. . . . De Jong had given the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal, on a PP, at 8:04 of the first period. . . . F Sasha Mutala (8) tied it, on a PP, at 17:27. . . . F Blake Stevenson (6) gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at 6:08 of the second. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when F Ryan Hughes (14) scored at 16:38. . . . AuCoin won it with his 18th goal, at 1:17 of OT. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots. . . . Portland was left with four defencemen after Brendan De Jong left with an undisclosed injury in the first period, and John Ludvig was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 15:01 of the second.


The Prince George Cougars scored once in each of the last two periods and hung on for a PrinceGeorge2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Prince George (12-19-3) had lost its previous five games. The Cougars are six-games into an 11-game road trip from hell. They last played at home on Dec. 2, and won’t play there again until Jan. 11. They went 0-5-0 to open the trek, and will continue it tonight in Everett and Sunday in Kamloops. The Cougars will go home to do laundry, then play in Kelowna on Jan. 4. They then will spend a couple of days in the Okanagan before visiting the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 8 and the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 9. . . . Seattle (11-17-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (13) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 1:04 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (11) made it 2-0 at 10:38 of the third. . . . F Payton Mount (3) got Seattle’s goal at 13:12. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots to earn the victory.


F Connor Dewar scored twice to lead the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 3-1 victory over Everettthe Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (28-7-2) has points in 15 straight (13-0-2). . . . Spokane (9-12-4) had won its previous three games. It also had won seven in a row at home. . . . F Jack Finley (5) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead at 18:19 of the first period. . . . F Gage Goncalves (1) got Everett even at 1:21 of the second. His first WHL goal came in his 37th game, 36 of them this season. . . . Dewar put the visitors out front, on a PP, at 14:01, and he put it away with an empty-netter at 18:21 of the third. . . . Dewar has 26 goals this season. . . . Everett held a 43-15 edge in shots, including 19-2 in the second and 12-3 in the third. . . . Everett remains without F Sean Richards, who is serving an eight-game suspension. After this one, he has three left — tonight (Saturday) against visiting Prince George, and a home-and home with the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 4 and 5. He will be eligible to return on Jan. 6 against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Chiefs are without D Spokane Bobby Russell as he serves a two-game suspension. He also will sit tonight against the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . The Chiefs also are missing F Jaret Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC, and D Filip Kral, who is playing for Czech Republic.


Tweetoftheday

Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


ThisThat

On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


Tweetoftheday

Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Wheat Kings end Blades’ run . . . Heponiemi returns in big way . . . Silvertips back on top in U.S.

A LITTLE OF THIS …

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, wasn’t back with the team in time to work the bench on Saturday night as they beat the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-2.

Hunter spent most of the past month as an assistant coach with the Canadian national MooseJawWarriorsjunior team that won the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He is expected back on the bench Wednesday when the Warriors are scheduled to play host to the Hitmen.

In his absence, assistant coach Mark O’Leary served as head coach.

With O’Leary in charge, the Warriors went 8-1-1, losing 5-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 15 and dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to the host Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 27.

Since that loss, the Warriors have posted six straight regulation-time victories. They now lead the WHL’s overall standings by eight points over Swift Current.

Of course, Hunter also worked as an assistant coach with Team Canada last season. While he was away, O’Leary took over and the Warriors were 7-3-2 with him in charge.

In two stints as acting head coach, then, O’Leary is 15-4-3, which is rather good in any league.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added D Trevor Longo, 17, to their roster. From North Vancouver, B.C., Longo was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. He was pointless in four games with the Tigers earlier this season, and has three assists in 17 games with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Meanwhile, the Kootenay Ice has returned F Holden Kodak, 16, to the Yale Hockey Academy where is plays for the midget prep team in the CSSHL. From Cloverdale, B.C., he was an 11th-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. Kodak was pointless in two games with the Ice.


F Wyatt Sloboshan, who spent the past three-plus seasons in the WHL, has been added the roster of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Sloboshan, 20, didn’t return to the Regina Pats after the Christmas break. . . . Sloboshan, from Vanscoy, Sask., had four goals and 11 assists in 36 games with Regina this season. . . . He also has played with the Saskatoon Blades — he was their captain when last season started — and the Spokane Chiefs. The Swift Current Broncos selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft, although he never played for them. . . . in 219 regular-season WHL games, he has 44 goals and 77 assists.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the last two minutes of the third period to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-3. . . . Brandon (27-12-1) has won two in a row. It is third in BrandonWKregularthe East Division, and the overall standings, six points behind Swift Current. . . . Saskatoon (21-18-3) had won its previous seven games and 10 of 11. It is tied with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff spots. . . . Brandon went out front 1-0 when F Ty Lewis scored, while shorthanded, at 9:58 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (21) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 17:56. . . . However, the Wheat Kings scored twice in the period’s last 90 seconds to take a 3-1 lead. F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored at 18:30 and F Tanner Kaspick (12) followed at 19:13. . . . The Blades fought back and tied it on two goals from F Chase Wouters, at 15:42 of the second and 11:12 of the third. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Lewis broke the tie with his 23rd goal of the season at 18:04, and F Stelio Mattheos (29) got the empty-netter at 18:51. . . . The Wheat Kings got two assists from F Evan Weinger and one each from Mattheos, Lewis and Kaspick. . . . D Jackson Caller had three assists for Saskatoon and Shmyr had one. . . . Saskatoon was 0-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-5. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 15 shots to earn the victory over Ryan Kubic, who turned aside 25 shots. . . . Kubic was making his first appearance since Dec. 16. . . . The Blades, who were outshot 12-3 in the third period, were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, including a 4-2 victory over visiting Kootenay on Saturday. The Wheat Kings didn’t play on Saturday. . . . Saskatoon D Libor Hajek didn’t make the trek to Brandon, the coaching staff no doubt deciding to give him some rest. He played for Czech Republic at the WJC and was back in Saskatoon in time to play in Saturday’s victory over Kootenay. . . . Announced attendance: 3,051.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi had four points, all via the PP, as the Broncos beat the Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . Swift Current (29-10-3) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It SCBroncosremains second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (10-22-9) has lost eight in a row (0-4-4). . . . The Broncos didn’t have F Tyler Steenbergen, the hero of Canada’s victory at the World Junior Championship, back in their lineup, but Heponiemi returned from his stint with Finland to score once and set up three otyhers. . . . He opened the scoring at 5:14 of the first period. . . . F Kristian Reichel (15), in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, scored for Red Deer, on a PP, at 7:55. . . . F Matteo Gennaro broke the tie, scoring twice, at 8:21 and 15:07. He’s got 28 goals and has scored twice in three straight games. He has 14 goals and 15 assists in 17 games since moving over from Calgary. . . . Broncos D Artyom Minulin scored his club’s other two goals, at 18:56 of the first period and 6:11 of the third. He’s got seven goals. . . . D Colby Sissons drew three assists for the winners, with F Glenn Gawdin getting two and Gennaro one. . . . The Broncos were 4-6 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-5. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 19 shots for the Broncos. . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb surrendered four goals on 17 shots in the first period. Ethan Anders played the final two periods, stopping 13 of 14 shots. . . . The Rebels were playing their third game in three cities in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1. . . . The Broncos went 2-0-1 in their three-game weekend, with the first game on the road and the last two at home. . . . Announced attendance: 2,557.


At Regina, the Pats scored 37 seconds into the game and then added three third-period goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Regina (21-19-3) and Saskatoon are tied ReginaPats100for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . Prince Albert (15-18-8) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Raiders are seven points behind Regina and Saskatoon. . . . F Robbie Holmes (10) scored Regina’s first goal. . . . In the third period, the Pats opened up a 4-0 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn, at 3:12; F Bryan Lockner (7), at 9:56; and Leschychyn (14), into an empty net, at 13:32. Yes, 13:32. . . . F Parker Kelly (18) scored Prince Albert’s goal, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Leschyshyn added an assist to his two goals. . . . Prince Albert was 1-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-6. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 28 shots for the winners, seven fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The first two games were played at home. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle, acquired by Regina from Prince George on Friday, officially has been assigned to the Pats by the NHL’s Boston Bruins, but he didn’t play on Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 6,310.


At Calgary, F Marek Skvrne broke a 1-1 tie at 10:42 of the third period as the Kelowna Rockets beat the Hitmen, 3-1. . . . Kelowna (25-12-3) leads the Western Conference by two KelownaRocketspoints over Vancouver. . . . Calgary now is 13-22-6. . . . F Mark Kastelic (14) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:54 of the first period. . . . D James Hilsendager (6), on a PP, got the Rockets into a 1-1 tie at 16:32 of the second period. . . . Skvrne, a freshman from Czech Republic, scored his second goal of the season and it proved to be the winner. He now has two goals and an assist in 37 games. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate (9) got the empty-netter, at 19:45. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-8. . . . The Rockets got 21 saves from G Roman Basran. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots at the other end. . . . The Hitmen went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Carson Focht and F Dakota Krebs, who were part of a Saturday trade in which D Jake Bean went to the Tri-City Americans, both were in Calgary’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,687.


At Everett, F Patrick Bajkov had a goal and four assists to lead the Silvertips to a 9-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Everett (24-16-2) had lost its previous two games. It Everettmoved back into first place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland and Tri-City. . . . Victoria (23-16-4) had won its past two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, a point behind Vancouver. . . . Everett got out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Connor Dewar at 0:24 and F Bryce Kindopp at 11:40. . . . The Royals tied it as D Jared Freadrich (10) scored, on a PP, at 12:30, and D Chaz Reddekopp (6) counted 52 seconds into the second period. . . . F Kyle Walker’s first goal, at 7:10, put Everett back out front, but Victoria F tyler Soy (19) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:12. . . . The Silvertips then scored the next six goals, with Kindopp (13), F Sean Richards (16) and Dewar (16) making it 6-3 before the second period ended. . . . F Matt Fonteyne added two third-period goals — he’s got 22 — and Bakjov got No. 21. All three of those goals came via the PP. . . . F Andrei Grishakov (13) scored Victoria’s last goal, on a PP. . . . Bajkov’s goal was the 100th of his career. He is in his fifth season with Everett; the goal came in game No. 312. . . . Everett got three assists from D Kevin Davis, two each from Fonteyne and D Wyatte Wylie, and one from Richards. . . . Reddekopp, Freadrich and Soy had an assist each for Victoria. . . . Soy’s assist was the 151st of his career, tying the Victoria/Chilliwack record that had been set by F Brandon Magee. . . . The Royals took 91 of the game’s 136 penalty minutes. . . . Everett was 5-9 on the PP; Victoria was 2-6. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . The Victoria duo of starter Dean McNabb and Griffen Outhouse combined to stop 50 of 59 shots. . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The Royals played at home Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday, while the Silvertips were in Victoria and then at home. The Royals, who beat visiting Everett 5-0 on Friday, went 2-0-0, while the Silvertips were 1-2-0. . . . Announced attendance: 3,958.


At Kamloops, F Parker AuCoin had a goal and two assists as the Tri-City Americans skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Tri-City (22-12-5) has won two in a row. It is TriCity30tied with Portland for second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (17-20-3) is 1-1-1 in its last three and now is eight points out of a playoff spot. The Blazers were playing their first game without F Garrett Pilon, their leading scorer, who was traded, along with D Ondrej Vala, to Everett earlier in the day. . . . The Americans got out to a 3-0 lead. . . . AuCoin (11) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:42 of the first period. . . . D Tyler Jette, playing in his first WHL game, made it 2-0 at 5:03 of the second period, and F Jordan Topping (21) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 14:56. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (11) scored for Kamloops at 18:22. . . . F Sasha Mutala (6) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Tri-City F Max James, 20, had two assists and was the game’s second star. He is from Kamloops and this likely was the last WHL game he will play in his hometown as the Americans aren’t scheduled there again this season. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 32 shots for the Americans, while the Blazers got 23 stops from Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Americans completed a three-game weekend that began with two games in Prince George. They wound up 2-1-0. . . . The Americans were without F Kyle Olson (hamstring), F Morgan Geekie, who took a high hit on Saturday in Prince George, D Juuso Valimaki (undisclosed injury), F Michael Rasmussen (wrist) and D Jake Bean, who was acquired Saturday from Calgary, so brought in D Tom Cadieux, 15, and Jette, 19. . . . Cadieux, from Saskatoon, was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He has three goals and eight assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Jette, from Farmington, Minn., was with the Americans in training camp prior to 2016-17 but suffered a concussion and sat out the season. He recently returned to playing, now with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders with whom he has one assist in four games. . . . Announced attendance: 3,215.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TWEET OF THE DAY

They celebrated memories in Vernon, B.C., on Saturday night as the BCHL’s Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings played the final hockey game in the Civic Centre. The 80-year-old facility is scheduled for demolition. . . . That’s old friend Mark Ferner, the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach, looking every bit the part of Toe Blake in the tweet below.