Giants force Game 7 in WHL final. . . . Ed Chynoweth Cup to be awarded tonight. . . . Guelph Storm advances to Memorial Cup

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An airtanker unloads retardant on a fire about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops on Sunday afternoon.

The calendar reads May 12, but the thermometer shows that the temperature already is above 30 C. Records already are being set in the Pacific Northwest, along the West Coast of B.C., and into the province’s Interior.

That, of course, means that fire season is upon us, despite the fact that we have yet seen even one bolt of lightning. To date, every mention I have seen of a fire this season has referred to “human-caused.”

There already have been a number of relatively small fires, but the first big one involving evacuation orders started on Saturday near Fraser Lake, which is west of Prince George.

On Sunday, the fire pictured above — it is the Buse Creek fire — broke out about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops, on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway. By 1:30 p.m., they were working it with two airtankers. By 5:30 p.m., the tankers were gone and a pair of helicopters were filling up in the South Thompson River and going back and forth, dropping water on the fire.

As evening fell, the fire was still considered to be out of control, and appeared to be moving slowly in a southerly direction. Ground crews were scheduled to work it through the night.

The forecast calls for a 30 per cent of showers tonight and Monday, and more rain on Tuesday. Here’s hoping it doesn’t change.


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The Guelph Storm won the OHL championship on Sunday, dumping the visiting Ottawa GuelphStorm67’s, 8-3, to win the series, 4-2. . . . This is the fourth time the Storm has won the J. Ross Robertson Cup. . . . The 67’s had gone into the series with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and had won the first two games. . . . The Storm trailed, 2-0, after one period, then scored five times in the second period to take control. . . . Guelph got two goals and two assists from each of F Isaac Ratcliffe, the team captain, and D Dmitri Samorkov. . . . F Nick Suzuki of the Storm was the playoff MVP. He led all scorers with a franchise record 42 points, including 16 goals, in 24 games. . . . The Storm has had quite a run. It is the only team in OHL history to have trailed three series, 2-0, and come back to win them all. . . . Guelph trailed the London Knights, 3-0, in the first round before coming back to win the series. Then, in a semifinal, the Storm was down 3-1 to the Saginaw Spirit before winning the last three games. . . . The Storm will be in the Memorial Cup for the sixth time. . . .

The QMJHL will be represented at the Memorial Cup by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who won the championship on Saturday, and the host Halifax Mooseheads. The Huskies beat the Mooseheads, 4-2 in the championship series. . . . The Memorial Cup is to run from Friday through May 26.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup will be decided tonight (Monday) when the Vancouver Giants and the host Prince Albert Raiders meet in the Art Hauser Centre. . . . The Giants forced Game 7 with a 4-2 victory over the host Raiders on Sunday night. . . . The road team now is 7-0 in Game 6s in these playoffs. . . .

This will be the 12th time in WHL history, and the first time since 2014, that Game 7 has been needed to decide the WHL championship. In 2014, the Edmonton Oil Kings became the first team to win a final series Game 7 on the road when they beat the Winterhawks, 4-2, in Portland. . . . However, that series was 2-2 after four games. . . . ICYMI: I took a look in a post here on Saturday night at the first 11 championship series to go seven games. . . .

In WHL history, teams have come from behind 3-1 deficits to win series on 13 occasions. Two of those were teams that trailed 3-0 — the 1996 Spokane Chiefs, in a first-round series with the Portland Winterhawks, and the 2013 Kelowna Rockets, in the Western Conference final against the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

However, only one team — the Jack Shupe-coached Victoria Cougars — has managed to erase a 3-1 deficit in the championship series and then win Game 7. The Cougars fell behind the Calgary Wranglers in 1981, before winning the last three games of the series. . . . They opened with three games in Victoria — Calgary won the opener, 3-2; Victoria tied it, 5-1; then Calgary posted an 8-6 victory to go home with a 2-1 edge. The Wranglers then went ahead, 3-1, with a 6-5 victory. The Cougars then rolled to three victories in as many nights — 7-4 on April 29 and 4-2 the next night, both in Calgary, and 4-2 in Victoria on May 1. . . . This was the first time in WHL history that a team had won a best-seven-series in any round after trailing 3-1. . . .

To sum it up: The Giants are trying to become the 14th team in WHL history to erase a 3-1 deficit in the final series and win the championship. They also are trying to become only the second team in WHL history to win Game 7 of the championship series on the road. . . . You can bet that Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck will let his guys know that history awaits!

The Raiders, meanwhile, haven’t lost three games in a row this season, and now are hoping to follow the example set by the 1992 and 1994 Kamloops Blazers. In both seasons, the Blazers met the Saskatoon Blades in the championship series. In each instance, Kamloops took a 3-1 lead and then found itself playing Game 7. In 1992, the Blazers won the title with an 8-0 victory at home. In 1994, the Blazers beat the Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 in Kamloops.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G David Tendeck stopped 36 shots and F Davis Koch scored twice as the Vancouver VancouverGiants skated to a 4-2 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 3-3, with the winner of tonight’s Game 7 going home with the big bauble. . . . The Giants last won the title in 2006; the Raiders haven’t won it since 1985. . . . Vancouver, down 3-1 in the series, had won Game 5, 4-3, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Parker Kelly (7) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the first period when he put his own rebound in behind Tendeck. Kelly had scored 41 seconds into Game 3, which the Raiders went on to win, 8-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Koch (4) pulled the Giants even at 6:58, getting a nifty backhand shot past Raiders G Ian Scott. . . . Vancouver went ahead 2-1 at 15:17 when F Owen Hardy scored his fifth goal of the playoffs. . . . Kelly (8) pulled the Raiders even with 32.2 seconds left in the period, taking a pass from F Aliaksei Protas and scoring. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Giants went ahead 3-2 at 3:40 of the third as F Jared Dmytriw, their captain, scored his ninth goal, coming free in front of Scott and putting in a rebound off a shot by F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Dmytriw had the primary assist on Hardy’s goal, too. . . . The Raiders had a glorious chance to pull even when Vancouver F Jadon Joseph went off for tripping at 11:30. However, Tendeck closed the door and Prince Albert was penalized for too many men at 13:23. The Giants weren’t able to score on their PP, either. . . . Koch (5) put it away with an empty-netter with 14.2 seconds left to play. . . . Each team finished 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Raiders had a 38-27 edge in shots, including 16-10 in the first period and 11-7 in the third. . . . Scott finished with 23 saves. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Steve Papp, with Sean Dufour and Michael Roberts on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a gamer right here.


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Raiders put Giants behind 8-ball. . . . P.A. scores seven in first period. . . . Winds of change blowing in Brandon

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F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) has been traded by Severstal Cherepovets to Traktor Chelyabinsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. This season, with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He also was pointless in three games with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL), and had two goals three assists in 15 games with Severstal Cherepovets. . . .

F Liam Stewart (Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-season contract with the Southern Stampede Queenstown (New Zealand, NZIHL). Last season,  with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He didn’t play this season after suffering a concussion. . . . Stewart holds dual UK/New Zealand citizenship and is considered a local player in New Zealand. However, in the UK, he is considered an import because he played his minor hockey in the U.S.


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The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be renewing the contract BrandonWKregularof Grant Armstrong, who had been their general manager through three seasons. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, said in a news release that Armstrong “was responsible for many of the moves that will serve us well in the future. At the same time, I also felt a change was necessary as we look to return to a higher level as an organization.” . . . McCrimmon is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He will be taking over as the Golden Knights’ GM on Sept 1. . . . Armstrong signed as Brandon’s general manager to take over from McCrimmon when he signed with Vegas. . . . The Wheat Kings were 102-87-23 with Armstrong as the general manager. This season, they finished 31-29-8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. . . . Before joining Brandon, Armstrong was with the Victoria Royals for four seasons as director of player personnel and assistant GM. Prior to that, he worked with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons, the last four as head scout. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here. . . .

With a new general manager to be hired at some point, you are free to wonder about the future of head coach David Anning and assistant coach Don MacGillivray. After three seasons, their contracts are up, too. . . . The news release on Armstrong’s departure doesn’t mention the coaching staff.


The Tri-City Americans announced Tuesday that they have renewed the contracts of goaltending coaches Eli Wilson and Liam McOnie “through the 2021 season.” . . . Wilson and McOnie have worked with the Americans since the 2017-18 season. They also run goaltending camps through Eli Wilson Goaltending.


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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have hired Jason McKee as general manager and head coach, Vernonreplacing Mark Ferner, who got the team into the BCHL final this season, his fifth season in his second stint with the organization. . . . Ferner, 53, was the Vipers’ head coach for four seasons (2007-11), getting them into three national finals and winning two of them, before spending time on the coaching staffs of the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers. This time, he had been the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach since early in the 2014-15 season. . . . This season, the Vipers went 26-21-11 to finish fourth in the seven-team Interior Division. They reach the championship final where they were swept by the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . McKee, 40, was the head coach of the Vancouver Giants for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to that, he was with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for 10 seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . . Brothers John and Tom Glen purchased the Vipers in September from Libby Wray, whose husband, Dr. Duncan Wray, had owned the franchise from 1992 through his death on Jan. 11, 2018. . . . John Glen was quite involved with the Saints, although not at the ownership level. He also is a former scout with the Giants.


If you’re a junior hockey fan you should be following Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter. He always has up-to-date information on players moving from the WHL to the Canadian university scene, including F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility with the Victoria Royals this season and will be playing for the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa next season. Findlay also reports that Josh Curtis, who was a 20-year-old with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Queen’s U Gaels, who play out of Kingston, Ont. Findlay also has F Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers) going to the U of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton, F Nolan Yaremko (Tri-City Americans) off to the Calgary-based Mount Royal Cougars, and F Ryan Vandervlis (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Mike MacLean (Prince George) and F Jeff de Wit (Red Deer Rebels) all joining the Montreal-based Concordia Stingers.


The Halifax Mooseheads broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and then added two more in the third, en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL’s championship final on Tuesday night. . . . The series now is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night, and Game 6 back in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. A seventh game would be played in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday. . . . Both teams already know they will play in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. . . .

In the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s will meet the Storm in Guelph in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday). The 67’s hold a 2-1 lead after dropping a 7-2 decision to the host Storm on Monday night. That was the first loss of these playoffs for the 67’s, who now are 14-1.


Rich Pilon, who was named the head coach of the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings on April 29, now is the team’s general manager, as well. The Red Wings announced Tuesday that Pilon will add the GM’s duties, taking over from Tanner McCall, who had been the GM and head scout. . . . McCall, who also scouts for the Moose Jaw Warriors, had been with the Red Wings for five seasons, the last three as general manager and head scout.


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NOTES: Well, who saw that one coming? The Prince Albert Raiders went into Langley, B.C., and humbled the Vancouver Giants, handing them an 8-2 loss in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. Game 5 is set for Friday night in Langley. . . . Last night’s decision means that if the Giants are to win the series, they will have to do it in Prince Albert. Games 6 and 7, if one or both are needed, would be played there on Sunday and Monday. . . .

In Game 3, the Raiders took control with seven goals in the first period. . . . The WHL record for most goals in one period of a playoff game is nine and belongs to the Saskatoon Blades (March 30, 1986, second period of a 12-5 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors). . . .

Oh the games people play now/Every night and every day now. . . . According to the lineup sheet circulated prior to the game, Raiders D Max Martin would play, with D Loeden Schaufler and F Jakob Brook listed with question marks beside their names. That would seem to have indicated that one of those two would play and the other would sit. . . . Martin didn’t finish Game 2 after suffering an apparent shoulder injury when he went awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Last night, he took the pregame warmup and then was scratched. Schaufler and Brook both were dressed and on the Prince Albert bench. . . .

F Dante Hannoun of the Raiders had a goal and two assists in Game 3. He leads the WHL playoffs with 12 goals. His 23 points have him tied with Vancouver D Bowen Byram for the scoring lead. Byram had one assist in Game 3. . . .

According to tweets from Steve Ewen, there were a number of NHL luminaries in the crowd, among them Scotty Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), and Rob Blake and Todd McLellan (Los Angeles Kings).

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored 41 seconds into the first period and made it 2-0 at 2:27 PrinceAlbertas they went on to an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. . . . Prince Albert had won Game 2, 4-0, so has outscored Vancouver, 12-2, over the last two games. . . . The visitors led 4-0 at 6:33 of the first period, 6-0 at 16:30 and 7-0 going into the second period. . . . The Giants took the game’s first four minor penalties, all of them in the opening 6:33. The Raiders responded with three PP goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (5,6) and F Brett Leason (8,9) each scored twice and added an assist for the victors, with F Dante Hannoun (12) scoring once and adding two assists. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5), F Cole Fonstad (2) and F Noah Gregor (10) added a goal each. . . . D Sergei Sapego, F Aliaksei Protas and F Sean Montgomery added two assists each for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Watts (6) and F Yannik Valenti (3) scored PP goals for the Giants after they had fallen behind 8-0. . . . Prince Albert was 4-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 2-8. . . . G Ian Scott blocked 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck gave up three goals on 13 shots. He allowed two goals on four shots in 2:27, then was relieved by Trent Miner for the remainder of the first period. Miner allowed five goals on 14 shots. Tendeck returned for the final two periods and stopped eight of nine shots. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Chris Crich, with Ron Dietterle and Michael Roberts the linesmen.


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Giants caught in Dante’s Inferno as Raiders even final series. . . . Teams now head for Langley. . . . AJHL will lose one team


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D Dylan Busenius (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 2008-14) has signed a one-year contract with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with the University of Calgary (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and 16 assists in 27 games. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in four games. On loan to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and two assists in seven regular-season games, then added five goals and two assists in 10 playoff games.


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The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s are 14-0 in these playoffs after scoring a 4-3 victory over the ohlvisiting Guelph Storm in Game 2 of the championship final on Saturday afternoon. . . . Ottawa, which swept its way through the first three series, leads the final, 2-0. . . . However, the 67’s lost G Mikey DiPietro at 14:50 of the first period when he went down with an injured right leg after appearing to catch it on the goal post. After the game, he was using crutches and has his right foot and ankle in a boot. It’s believed that he suffered a high ankle sprain. . . . At that time, Ottawa was trailing, 2-0. G Cedrick Andree came on to replace DiPietro and stopped 26 shots to key the victory. . . . The series will continue on Monday with Game 3 in Guelph. Game 4 is to be played there on Wednesday. . . . DiPietro, 20, was a third-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed with them and, in fact, played one game with them this season.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are 1-1, with Game 3 scheduled for Halifax on Monday night. The Mooseheads beat the host Huskies, 5-4 in double OT, on Friday. . . . Both teams already are assured berths in the Memorial Cup tournament because the Mooseheads are the host team. . . . On Friday, F Benoît-Olivier Groulx scored the winner, his second goal of the game, at 9:53 of the second OT period.


The BCHL-champion Prince George Spruce Kings won the Doyle Cup on Saturday night, beating the visiting Brooks Bandits, the AJHL champions, 4-2. . . . The Spruce Kings won the series, 4-2. . . . Both teams have berths in the national junior A championship tournament because Brooks is the host team. . . . The MJHL-champion Portage Terriers also will be there, having won the ANAVET Cup with a 7-3 victory over the host Battlefords North Stars on Thursday night. The Terriers won that series, 4-1. . . . The national tournament is to run from May 11 through May 19. . . . The Terriers already know that they will play in the 2020 tournament because they will be the host team.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs are taking a leave of absence for the 2019-20 season. The CalgMustangsorganization revealed on Saturday that it had applied to the AJHL for the OK to move to Strathmore before a new season gets here. However, the AJHL denied the request and an appeal also was denied. . . . “Over the past two seasons our off-ice product has not equaled the success we had on the ice,” Mike Cartney, the Mustangs’ president, wrote in a letter. “Low ticket sales, decreasing advertising revenue and a lengthy playoff absence have left the franchise in a difficult position, financially. The board of the directors . . . (has) had lengthy discussions about all of our options and ultimately (has) voted in favour of taking a leave of absence from the AJHL for the upcoming 2019-20 season.” . . . The Mustangs were one of eight teams in the 16-team league’s South Division. This season, they finished fifth, at 29-22-9, then lost a best-of-five first-round playoff series to the Camrose Kodiaks, 3-2. . . . Ty Drader, who had been the Mustangs’ general manager and head coach, was named Friday as the head coach of the ACAC’s Calgary-based SAIT Trojans.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 1-1, after the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Giants had won, 5-4, on Friday night. . . . The teams now will fly — on the same airplane — to Vancouver today for games at the Langley Events Centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights. . . . The Raiders are 13-5 in these playoffs; the Giants are 13-4. . . .

If you missed it late Friday night, there were a couple of scoring changes following the completion of the Giants’ 5-4 victory in Game 1. Vancouver D Bowen Byram was awarded two more assists, giving him four in the game. At the same time, F Owen Hardy, who had been credited with two assists, had one taken away.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders held the visiting Vancouver Giants to 15 shots en route to a 4-0 PrinceAlbertvictory in Game 2 of the WHL’s championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The series is 1-1 with the next three games in the Langley, B.C., Events Centre — Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders stopped all 15 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of these playoffs. That leads the CHL. . . . Prince Albert held a 27-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . Raiders F Dante Hannoun (11), who is from Delta, B.C., opened the scoring when he beat the coverage to the front of the Vancouver net and was able to rap a pass in behind G David Tendeck at 10:17 of the first period. . . . Hannoun, 20, scored nine times through the first two rounds, then was blanked for six games in the third round. This was his second goal in two games in the final. . . . Hannoun, who faced the Giants often while he was with the Victoria Royals, also had two assists, and now has 56 points in 52 career games, regular-season and playoffs, against Vancouver. He has two goals and three assists in the first two games of this series. . . . The home boys went ahead 2-0 as D Sergei Sapego (3) scored off a pass from F Parker Kelly at 7:43 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added to the lead with a PP goal at 10:39. . . . F Brett Leason (7) closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 18:39. . . . The Giants had Tendeck on the bench for the extra attacker with four minutes still to play. . . . Tendeck finished with 30 saves. . . . Raiders F Parker Kelly had two assists for a second straight game. . . . The Raiders were 1-5 on the PP; the Giants were 0-2. . . . D Max Martin of Prince Albert left the game at 11:30 of the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards. He immediately went to the dressing room and didn’t return. Head coach Marc Habscheid didn’t indicate whether Martin would travel to Vancouver, saying only that the veteran defenceman would be “re-evaluated” on Sunday. . . . The referees were Fraser Lawrence and Steve Papp, with Deion Foster and Chad Huseby on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a lead right here.

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a gamer right here.


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Broncos prospect has committed to Michigan. . . . Scott, Raiders blank Swift Current, again. . . . Blades win playoff preview


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F Fin Williams, who will turn 16 on April 21, announced via Twitter on Sunday that he michiganhas committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. In fact, he was the the Broncos’ only selection in the draft’s first five rounds. You will recall that the Broncos sold the farm and everything on it in order to make what was a successful run to the WHL championship. . . . This season, with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team, Williams has 12 goals and 30 assists in 32 games. He was pointless in four games with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers won the B.C. Major Midget thompsonblazersLeague scoring title. He finished with 103 points, including a record 49 goals, in 38 games. . . . F Tyler Cristall of the Vancouver North West Hawks was second, with 63 points in 39 games. . . . Stankoven had a goal and three assists on Sunday as the Blazers closed out their regular season with an 8-4 victory over the Vancouver North East Chiefs. . . . The only other 15-year-olds to have surpassed 100 points in the BCMML were F Mat Barzal, who had 103 points in 34 games with the Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal, who had 100 points in 40 games with the Hawks in 2007-08. . . . The BCMML’s previous goal record was held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times in 36 games with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14.


Some members of the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks spent Saturday night inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., after weather conditions meant their bus couldn’t hit the highway and head for home. Because of the hockey game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Mavericks, along with a Dierks Bentley concert, hotel rooms were scarce. So at least some of the Mavericks had to make do. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has more in a neat story right here.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott and the visiting Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Swift Current Broncos for PrinceAlbertthe third time in a week, this time winning 6-0. . . . Prince Albert (53-9-4) has won three in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s overall standings. . . . Swift Current (10-49-6) has lost 18 straight games (0-15-3). . . . The Raiders won the season series, 7-0-1; the Broncos were 1-7-0. . . . The Raiders had a 44-15 edge on the scoreboard. . . . Earlier in the week, Scott and Raiders beat the Broncos, 6-0 and 8-0, in Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos were outscored 20-1 as they went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They were beaten 6-1 by the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday night. . . . With three games remaining, the Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending championship, still have won only four times in regulation time. . . . On Sunday, the Raiders held period leads of 1-0 and 5-0. . . . They got two goals and an assist from F Parker Kelly, who has 34, and one score each from F Brett Leason (36), F Noah Gregor (40), D Sergei Sapego (10) and F Sean Montgomery (28). . . . Leason also had two assists. . . . Scott has a franchise-record eight shutouts this season — he leads the league — and 11 in his career. . . . This season, he now is 37-7-3, 1.82, .932. . . . G Riley Lamb blocked 51 shots for the Broncos. He has a .906 save percentage in 13 appearances. . . . The visitors held a 57-14 edge in shots, including 22-2 in the second period and 16-3 in the third. . . . The Broncos lost F Tanner Nagel to a charging major and game misconduct at 1:24 of the third period. F Dante Hannoun, who took the hit, wasn’t injured on the play. . . . F Cole Fonstad was scratched by the Raiders.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Moose Jaw SaskatoonWarriors, 5-3. . . . Saskatoon (44-14-8) has won seven straight. . . . Moose Jaw (37-20-8) had won its past two games. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Warriors went 2-1-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Blades and Warriors will finish second and third, respectively, in the East Division. They will open a best-of-seven series in Saskatoon with games on March 22 and 23. These will be the Blades’ first playoff games since the spring of 2013. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Daemon Hunt (5), at 6:36, and F Tristin Langan (49), at 18:07. . . . F Max Gerlach got the Blades on the scoreboard at 12:03 of the second period, but Langan got that one back when he scored No. 50 just 20 seconds later. . . . D Dawson Davidson (13) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:29. . . . F Gary Haden tied the score at 1:51 of the third period and Gerlach gave the Blades the lead with his 40th goal at 5:24. . . . Haden scored his 31st goal into an empty net at 19:04. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . The Blades held a 50-24 edge in shots, including 18-7 in the second period and 17-9 in the third. . . . Gerlach and Haden added an assist each so had three-point outings. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic came up shot on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Saskatoon scratched D Nolan Kneen for a second straight game. . . . The Warriors now have had a 50-goal man in four straight seasons. F Dryden Hunt, who scored his first NHL goal for the Florida Panthers on Sunday, did it in 2015-16, and F Jayden Halbgewachs got there in each of the past two seasons.


G Todd Scott recorded the first shutout of his WHL career as the Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdumped the visiting Kootenay Ice, 4-0. . . . Edmonton (39-18-8) has won eight in a row. The Oil Kings are tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton has three games remaining; Lethbridge has two. No, they aren’t scheduled to play each other. . . . The Oil Kings are to play in Red Deer on Tuesday, then go home-and-home with Calgary in a pair of afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. . . . Lethbridge is to play in Red Deer on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Kootenay (12-44-10) has lost five straight. . . . This was the final road game in the history of the Kootenay Ice. The Ice has two games left, both in Cranbrook, before the franchise turns into the Winnipeg Ice. . . . This season, the Ice was 4-23-7 on the road, including 0-13-2 in the Central Division. Each of the other five Central Division teams won at least 15 road games. . . . Edmonton went 5-0-1 in the season series; Kootenay was 1-5-0. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (15) scored Edmonton’s first goal, shorthanded, at 8:00 of the second period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (36) made it 2-0 at 14:01, and F Scott Atkinson (13) upped it to 3-0 at 17:43. . . . D Conner McDonald (18) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 10:02 of the third period. . . . McDonald set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record had been set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . Fix-Wolansky became the fourth WHLer this season with 100 points — he also has 64 assists. He is the second player in franchise history to get to 100; F Michael St. Croix finished 2011-12 with 105. . . . Scott finished with 18 saves. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern, in his first appearance since Jan. 6, blocked 24 shots. This was his 24th appearance this season, with 21 of them coming prior to Dec. 3. . . . McGovern stopped 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Jan. 6. Between then and Sunday, he dressed once as the backup (Feb. 18). . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo had a five-game goal streak come to an end.


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Chiefs, Carter agree to two more seasons; also promote Miles. . . . WHL suspends three players


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Scott Carter, who is in his third season as the Spokane Chiefs’ general manager, has signed a contract extension that will take him through the 2020-21 season.

(NOTE: Originally, the Chiefs said the extension would run through the 2021-22 season. One day later, they issued a correction, stating that it is a two-year extension.)

Carter took over from Tim Speltz on Sept. 8, 2016. Speltz, who had been the general manager for 26 years, left to join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as their director of wester scouting and now is their head amateur scout.

Carter, who once owned a piece of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and did a stint as president and GM, had NHL scouting experience before joining the Chiefs. He also is a part-owner of Vaughn Custom Sports.

At the same time, the Chiefs announced that Mark Miles, who has been part of the organization since 1994, has been promoted to president. He had been vice-president of business operations and sales.

Bobby Brett had been the organization’s owner/president, so it would seem that he has turned over half of his title.


D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds has been suspended for four games after he whltook a headshot major and game misconduct in a game against the host Everett Silvertips on Friday. . . . McNelly was tossed at 7:18 of the second period of a game that Seattle would win, 3-2 in OT. . . . Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas was injured on the play and didn’t play in Everett’s 6-3 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Saturday. . . . McNelly didn’t play on Saturday as Seattle lost, 4-3 in a shootout, to the visiting Portland Winterhawks. He also will miss three games this weekend — against the host Kamloops Blazers on Friday, in Everett on Saturday, and at home to the Tri-City Americans on Sunday. . . . This is McNelly’s third suspension of the season; when it’s over he will have sat out 10 games. He drew a three-game sentence for a cross-checking major in a Dec. 31 game at Portland, and also served three games after being involved in a one-man fight in a Sept. 29 game, also at Portland.

D Nick Cicek of the Winterhawks has drawn a one-game suspension for a hit on Seattle D Jake Lee on Saturday. . . . Cicek won’t play Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Parker Kelly of the Prince Albert Raiders will sit for three games after being suspended for a boarding major and game misconduct in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday. Kelly was penalized after hitting Brandon F Marcus Sekundiak at 15:48 of the third period. . . . Kelly will miss home games against the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, and also will sit out a game against the host Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday. . . . Kelly is a repeat offender, having served two one-game misconducts last season.


The Calgary Hitmen have added F Zack Funk to their roster, while returning G Brayden CalgaryPeters to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Funk, 15, is from Vernon, B.C., and plays for the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He has 33 goals and 21 assists in 36 games. The Hitmen selected Funk in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Peters, 16, was with the Hitmen while G Jack McNaughton was out with an undisclosed injury.


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Rebels stuck in Hood River, game postponed 24 hours . . . Hurricanes announce Plan B details . . . Gerlach burns former club


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D Dalton Yorke (Kelowna, Prince Albert, Tri-City, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). In 46 games, he has one goal and 11 assists. Yorke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . . Frankfurt GM Franz-David Fritzmeier: “Dalton has developed very well this season. He has made a big leap forward and has become an important cornerstone of our defence. We are pleased that we were able to extend the contract with him at an early stage.” . . .

F Pavel Brendl (Calgary, 1998-2001) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kopla Joensuu (Finland, Division 2). Last season, he had five goals and three assists in 12 games with Arlanda (Sweden, Division 1).


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The Red Deer Rebels spent much of Wednesday in Hood River, Ore., tweeting with the hashtag #stuckinhoodriver.

It sounds so much like a rock tune. In fact, the only thing missing was CCR.

With apologies to John Fogerty . . .

“I rode in on the Greyhound

“I’ll be walkin’ out if I go

“I was just passin’ through

“Must be seven months or more

“Ran out of time and money

“Looks like they took my friends

“Oh, Lord, I’m stuck in Hood River again.”

The Rebels opened a five-game road swing through the U.S. Division with a 4-3 OT loss to Red Deerthe Chiefs in Spokane on Tuesday night. They tried on Wednesday to get to Everett for a date that night with the Silvertips but they got stopped by what the Pacific Northwest locals have labelled snomageddon.

Red Deer wasn’t able to take the usual way, which would have had them on I-90 via the Snoqualmie Pass. But that route was closed due to the poor driving conditions.

Instead, the Rebels tried to go south via Yakima and Kennewick, then west to Portland, and north to Everett. They got as far as Hood River on I-84 before running into more road closures.

So . . . there they were, stuck in Hood River, an hour east of Portland, which is 200 miles south of Everett. Keep in mind, too, that the traffic conditions in the Seattle area aren’t especially conducive to quick travel at the best of times.

All of this resulted in the WHL postponing Wednedsay’s game for 24 hours. The Rebels and Silvertips now are scheduled to play in Everett tonight.

All because Red Deer got #stuckinhoodriver.

“The man from the magazine

“Said I was on my way

“Somewhere I lost connections

“Ran out of songs to play

“I came into town, a one-night stand

“Looks like my plans fell through

“Oh, Lord, stuck in Hood River again.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation reopened the westbound lanes of I-84 last night at 7:30. That, of course, was far too late for the Rebels to make it to Everett by game time. However, the Rebels were able to get to Everett last night.

The rescheduling means that the Silvertips will play five games in six nights, four of them on the road. After playing Red Deer, they will have to get to Kelowna for a Friday night date with the Rockets, then head back home to visit the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday. On Sunday, Everett will head to Prince George for a Monday-Tuesday doubleheader with the Cougars. Oh, and the Monday game is to start at 2 p.m.

The Rebels will visit the Thunderbirds on Friday, the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday and the Tri-City Americans on Tuesday, before heading back to Alberta for a Feb. 22 date with the host Edmonton Oil Kings.


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have made it official. With the World Men’s Curling LethbridgeChampionship in the 5,479-seat ENMAX Centre, March 30 through April 7, they will be playing some playoff games, as needed, in Nicholas Sheran Arena.

According to a news release, there will be 1,176 spots available for as many as three first-round playoff games. They will be distributed through a lottery process to fans who purchase playoff ticket packages.

From that news release: “Those who are not selected in the playoff package draw, as well as other interested community members, are invited to attend a free family-friendly community event to watch the games on the big screen, eat and drink, and enjoy some great family programming and giveaways.”

The WHL playoffs are scheduled to open on March 22. Nicholas Sheran Arena is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams.

The complete news release is right here. It contains all the information you need to know and more.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the third period en route to a 5-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Brandon (24-22-7) is six points from a wild-card spot. . . . Edmonton (30-17-8) leads the Central Division by one point over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Conner McDonald gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 17:37 of the first period. McDonald’s goal was his 17th of the season, tying the franchise’s single-season record for defencemen that was set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . F Ben McCartney (16) got Brandon even at 1:55 of the second period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (24) provided the Oil Kings with a 2-1 edge at 17:25. . . . Brandon followed that with four third-period goals, from F Linden McCorrister (13), shorthanded, at 0:26; F Luka Burzan (31), at 6:30; F Stelio Mattheos (34), at 13:01; and F Connor Gutenberg (13), into an empty net, at 19:43. . . . Mattheos also had two assists. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera stopped 36 shots, 19 more than Edmonton’s Dylan Myskiw.


F Parker Kelly scored twice to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 victory over the PrinceAlbertBroncos in Swift Current. . . . Prince Albert (46-7-2) has won five in a row. It leads the Eastern Conference by 16 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-39-4) has lost six straight (0-5-1). . . . F Dante Hannoun (26), who also had two assists, gave the Raiders the lead, on a PP, at 2:24 of the second period and Kelly doubled it at 5:33. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (14) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 2:49 of the third period. . . . Kelly iced it with his 27th goal at 15:23 of the third period. . . . The Raiders had  43-16 edge in shots — 13-5, 17-7 and 13-4 by period. . . . G Isaac Poulter made 40 saves for the Broncos. . . . G Boston Bilous stopped 15 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery. Scott and Leason both are injured; Montgomery, who had played in 155 consecutive games, is ill. . . . The Raiders had F Justin Nachbaur back from a three-game suspension. . . . Prince Albert had F Cole Nagy, 17, make his WHL debut with them. He plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Nagy was a sixth-round pick by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the 2016 bantam draft. He signed with the Raiders on Jan. 2. 


The two Jakes — Elmer and Leschyshyn — scored two goals each and added an assist to Lethbridgelead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge (28-16-10) had lost its previous three games (0-1-2). It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two in arrears of the first-place Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (28-21-5) and Red Deer are tied for fourth in the Central Division; they also are tied for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . Lethbridge is 5-1-0 in the season series with Calgary. . . . The Hurricanes completed a six-game homestand with a 3-1-2 record. . . . The Hurricanes took control early as they scored five times on 16 first-period shots. . . . Elmer opened the scoring at 2:50 of the first period, and Leschyshyn made it 2-0 at 7:05. . . . F Riley Stotts (18) pulled Calgary to within one at 9:35. . . . Elmer upped the lead to 3-1 with his 24th goal, shorthanded, at 15:36; F Jordy Bellerive (25) made it 4-1, at 16:37; and F Taylor Ross (26) got the fifth goal, at 17:11. . . . F Ryder Korczak (6) had Calgary’s other goal, at 9:03 of the second period. . . . Leschyshyn wrapped up the scoring with his 33rd goal, at 6:36 of the third period. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . The Hurricanes were without F Scott Mahovlich, who has left the team “to be with family after a family emergency,” according to a news release. General manager Peter Anholt said in the news release that Mahovlich, 19, “has returned home to be with family for whatever length of time that he requires.” Mahovlich is from Abbotsford, B.C.


F Max Gerlach, who began his career with Medicine Hat, scored two goals to help the SaskatoonSaskatoon Blades to a 6-3 victory over the host Tigers. . . . Saskatoon (35-13-8) has points in 11 straight games (9-0-2). It is second in the East Division, 10 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Medicine Hat (31-19-5) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The home side had a 1-0 lead at 2:44 of the first period on a PP goal by F James Hamblin (31). . . . Gerlach tied it, on a PP, at 15:28, and F Ryan Hughes (21) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead, on another PP, at 9:10 of the second period. . . . Gerlach upped the lead to 3-1 with his 35th goal, at 12:47. . . . Gerlach, 20, played the first 180 regular-season games of his WHL career with the Tigers. According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Gerlach, after his first goal, “shrugged off the lack of support from his former fans and joked, ‘I built this place’ as he returned to Saskatoon’s bench.” His first WHL goal was the first goal scored in the Canalta Centre. It came on Sept. 26, 2015, with the Tigers beating the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . Last night, Gerlach’s second goal tied his career high. He scored 16 goals in 35 games with the Tigers last season, and added 19 in 30 with the Blades after being dealt to Saskatoon. . . . He also is on a career-high 12-game point streak, with 21 points in that stretch. . . . And one other Gerlach note. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Gerlach’s goal was the 15,000th in franchise history. . . . Lazaruk also pointed out that this was the first time since Jan. 8 that the Blades didn’t score the game’s first goal. They had gone up 1-0 in 12 straight games. . . . F Nick McCarry (2) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:41, but F Eric Florchuk (18) got that one back at 19:38. . . . The Blades got insurance from F Tristen Robins (8), at 1:52 of the third period, and F Chase Wouters (13), shorthanded, at 3:52. . . . F Ryan Jevne (14) scored Medicine Hat’s last goal, on a PP, at 16:22. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson had three assists. Davidson is riding a 14-game point streak, with 24 points in that time. . . . Davidson has 64 points, 54 of them assists, in 56 games. His 54 assists are second in the WHL to F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Blades scratched F Kirby Dach for a third straight game after he was struck in the throat by a puck. . . . Saskatoon also is without D Aidan De La Gorgendiere, who last played on Feb. 2 when he took a hit from D Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who now is three games into a four-game suspension. . . . The Tigers were without D Linus Nassen and D Joel Craven, while F Hayden Ostir remains out.


The Kamloops Blazers scored the game’s first four goals as they skated to a 6-1 victory Kamloops1over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (21-27-5) had lost its past three games (0-2-1). It is one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria (27-23-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals are 5-2-1 in the season series; the Blazers are 3-5-0. . . . Kamloops had scored three goals on 71 shots in going 0-2-1 in its previous three games. In this one, the Blazers erupted for four goals on 13 shots in the first period. . . . F Connor Zary accounted for the game’s first two scores, at 3:58 and 11:42, with the first one shorthanded. . . . F Zane Franklin (25) made it 3-0 at 18:48, and F Brodi Stuart (15) upped it to 4-0 with 3.3 seconds left. . . . F Phillip Schultz (13) got a PP goal for Victoria at 3:20 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (21), who also had two assists, counted the Blazers’ second shorthanded goal of the game, at 4:34 of the third period. . . . Zary, who has 16 goals, completed his first WHL hat trick at 13:45 of the third period. . . . Zary, a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, has a late birth date so isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2020. He now has 48 points in 48 games. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 36 shots for the Blazers. . . . With F Martin Lang and F Ryley Appelt both out, the Blazers dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi was back in the Blazers’ lineup after serving a two-game suspension and he had two assists. . . . Darryl Sydor, one of the Blazers’ five owners, made his WHL coaching debut behind the team’s bench. He was named a full-time assistant on Tuesday.


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Keast first female for SJHL . . . Byram writes record in Vancouver . . . Gauthier, Wolf can’t be beaten

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The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves had a young woman — Taylor Keast — dressed and on their bench for a game on Friday night.

Keast was there in support of starting goaltender Jordan Frey.

All Frey did was stop 46 shots, including 21 in the third period, to record a 3-2 victory larongeover the visiting Kindersley Klippers.

With Thursday (Jan. 10) being the junior A trading deadline, as it was in the WHL, the Ice Wolves ran into a goaltending shortage. They dealt Daniel Davidson to the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars and added Brendan Benoit from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. However, Benoit was in transit so wasn’t available for Friday’s game. (Benoit was on the bench backing up Frey for Game 2 of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday, which was won by the Klippers, 5-2.)

Keast, 17, who plays for a midget team in La Ronge, is believed to be the first female to be in uniform for an SJHL game of any kind in the league’s history. The SJHL has been around, in one form or another, since 1950-51.

“It was pretty cool, I’ve grown up here, so when I was a little kid, I used to want to play for the Ice Wolves,” Keast told Braden Malsbury of mbcradio.com, who is La Ronge’s play-by-play voice. “It was fun, it was a really good experience.”

Shannon Szabados, a veteran of Canada’s national women’s team, made a total of 213 regular-season (2002-07) appearances in the AJHL — split among the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Bonnyville Pontiacs and Fort Saskatchewan Traders.

Szabados, who is from Edmonton, also got into one WHL regular-season game, playing 50 seconds with the Tri-City Americans during a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants at Pacific Coliseum on Sept. 22, 2002.

Szabados went in for starter Tyler Weiman at 4:10 of the third period. She didn’t face a shot, and left at 5:00 as Weiman re-entered the game.

Szabados, now 32, is playing with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts.

Last season, Isabella (Izzy) Palumbo, then 15, started for the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League on Jan. 20. At that point, the Rockets had two victories and one of those was a forfeit.

So head coach Jason Stephens gave Palumbo the start for a home game on Jan. 20, and she responded with 41 saves in a 7-4 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Before last season was done, Palumbo had gotten into three games with Golden, going 1-1-0, 6.00, .866.

Palumbo is listed with the Rockets this season as an AP, but hasn’t played.

——

Gilles Courteau has been the QMJHL commissioner for 33 years, and he doesn’t think the time has come for major junior teams to treat players as something other than student-athletes.

“A player should never be considered as an employee,” Courteau told Douglas Gelevan of qmjhlCBC News. “We don’t want to give (players the) additional responsibility of an employee. We want him to play in the QMJHL and concentrate on hockey and school. Nothing else.”

This comes as major junior hockey deals with a class-action lawsuit that suggests, among other things, that players should be paid at least the minimum wage that is applicable in each jurisdiction.

Courteau feels that paying players in such a fashion might even lead to players dropping out of school.

He told Gelevan that he could see players saying: “We’re not going to school anymore because we’re working. We’re playing hockey, we’re getting money, we’re getting a paycheque on a weekly basis, we will think about school when we’re done playing major junior.”

Courteau added: “No. This is not what we want to do.”

The complete story, which touches on other topics, too, including the trading of players, is right here.

——

D Libor Zabransky no longer is with the Kelowna Rockets. Regan Bartel, the radio voice KelownaRocketsof the Rockets, tweeted prior to Saturday night’s game against the host Prince George Cougars that Kelowna head coach “Adam Foote tells me d-man Libor Zabransky is no longer with the team. The 18-year-old has joined the Fargo Force of the USHL.” . . . Zabransky, from Czech Republic, had two goals and seven assists in 35 games this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and 17 assists in 72 games. . . . Zabransky’s departure means the Rockets are left with one import on their roster — Finnish freshman Lassi Thomson.

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings opened up a 3-1 second-period lead and went on to score a 3-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (17-17-6) had lost its previous three games. It now is six points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-11-7) has lost four straight (0-3-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (17) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:42 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (24) got Brandon even by scoring on a penalty shot at 19:32. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (29) broke the tie at 1:14 of the second period, with F Baron Thompson (2) scoring the eventual winner, on a PP, at 16:57. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (14) pulled the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third period. That was his first goal since being acquired from Swift Current on Thursday. . . . Of note to number geeks: The Warriors had a 29-21 edge in shots and faceoffs. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from G Jiri Patera.

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F Parker Kelly scored twice and added an assist to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-3 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (37-5-1) have won two in a row. They are 19-3-0 at home, and lead the East Division by 17 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (21-17-4) had won their previous six games. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Medicine Hat and six in front of Brandon. . . . The Raiders ended Portland’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (9), on a PP, and D Brayden Pachal (11) — and was never headed. . . . F Riley Stotts got the Hitmen to within 2-1 at 8:21 of the second, but the Raiders stretched the lead to 4-1 as F Cole Fonstad (16) scored at 9:35 and F Dante Hannoun (20) counted at 10:40. . . . F Luke Coleman (12) scored while shorthanded for Calgary, at 13:15, only to have Prince Albert F Brett Leason (30) get that one back at 16:52. . . . Kelly, who has 20 goals, scored twice in the third period, while Stotts got his second of the game and 14th of the season for Calgary. . . . The Raiders had a 41-24 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the first period. . . . F Jake Kryski was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . D Loeden Schaufler and F Bryce Bader, deadline-day acquisitions, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . The Raiders will begin a trip through the B.C. Division in Prince George on Wednesday.

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F Brandon Hagel scored three goals and added two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 9-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Red Deer (25-13-3) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It went 3-0-0 on a trip into the East Division, with victories in Swift Current (3-2) and Brandon (5-3) as it played three times in four nights. . . . The Rebels are tied with Edmonton for second in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge. . . .  Regina (12-30-2) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first three goals and led 5-1 halfway through the second period. . . . The Pats got to within two in the third period, but the Rebels responded with three late goals. . . . Hagel, who has 26 goals, completed his fifth career hat trick at 14:03 of the third period for a 7-4 lead. . . . The Rebels also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (22), F Reese Johnson (19), F Brett Davis (14), F Josh Tarzwell (6), F Zak Smith (9) and F Oleg Zaytsev (8). . . . Davis and Tarzwell added two assists each for three-point outings. . . . Regina’s goals came from F Sebastian Streu (4), F Garrett Wright (3), F Duncan Pierce (5) and D Brady Pouteau (1). . . . The Pats celebrated Barret Jackman Bobblehead Night and, yes, the former captain was in the house.

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F Mason Mannek scored Portland’s last two goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 5-4 Portlandvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Portland (26-12-5) when 5-1-0 on its East Division trip. It is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . Saskatoon (26-13-6) had points in its of its previous three games (2-0-1) and had been 7-0-2 in its past nine home games. The Blades appear headed for a second-place finish in the East Division. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (5), at 6:21, and F Max Gerlach, at 18:11. . . . F Seth Jarvis (12) pulled Portland to within a goal at 19:18. . . . F Kirby Dach (17) gave the Blades a 3-1 lead at 3:24 of the second period. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired by Portland from Saskatoon on Thursday, then scored back-to-back PP goals, at 5:13 and 8:52, for a 3-3 tie. . . . Mannek followed at 16:19 by giving Portland a 4-3 lead. . . . Saskatoon tied it at 17:30 of the third when Gerlach scored his 26th goal. . . . Mannek, who has 11 goals, broke the tie at 17:30. He also had an assist to tack on to his first career multi-goal game. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas celebrated his 20th birthday with 35 saves as he won for the 25th time this season. . . . The Winterhawks again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion), while Saskatoon remains without D Nolan Kneen (undisclosed injury).

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The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory Seattleover the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . Seattle (15-21-4) has won three straight. It went 4-2-0 on an East Division trip that ended with four games in five nights. The Thunderbirds hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Prince George. . . . Swift Current (8-30-3) has lost two in a row. . . . This was a meeting between the WHL’s last two championship organizations, the Thunderbirds having won in the spring of 2017 and the Broncos last season. Of course, this season they have combined to win 23 of 81 games, which shows that there sometimes is a steep price to be paid for winning championships. . . . Seattle got goals from F Sean Richards, D Jarret Tyszka (4) and F Tyler Carpendale (14) to go ahead 3-0 early in the second period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (6) got the Broncos on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:07 of the second p[eriod, but Richards, who has 13 goals, counted at 12:03 for a 4-1 lead. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley sandwiched a pair of third-period goals around one by Seattle F Andrej Kukuca (12) to round out the scoring. . . . Stanley has three goals this season. . . . G Cole Schwebius earned the victory for Seattle with 31 stops. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back in the lineup. He served a three-game suspension then was scratched for two games. . . . F Tyler Smithies, who was acquired from Moose Jaw on Thursday, made his Swift Current debut. However, F Tyler Lees, who came over from the Victoria Royals on Monday, is out with an undisclosed injury.

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F Jordy Bellerive’s shorthanded empty-net goal turned into the winner as the host LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (23-11-8) is atop the Central Division, leading by one point over Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Hurricanes are to visit Edmonton today. . . . Kootenay (8-29-7) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . All five goals were scored in the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (15) gave the Ice the lead at 3:08. . . . Lethbridge got the next three goals, from F Logan Barlage (11), at 5:23; F Dylan Cozens (25), at 7:56; and Bellerive (22), into an empty net at 18:33. . . . Bellerive’s goal turned into the game-winner when F Brandon Machado (3) scored, on a PP, for the Ice at 19:15. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge, one more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon on Thursday, was in Kootenay’s lineup.

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F Vince Loschiavo scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton (23-14-7) has won two in a row and is tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-4) had won five straight at home. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. It also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead at 12:48 of the first period on a goal by F Tyler Preziuso (17). . . . Edmonton tied it at 11:19 of the second period when F David Kope (9) scored. . . . Loschiavo won it with his 20th goal of the season — his seventh winner — at 2:11 of OT. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-8 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Mads Søgaard in his first start since he played for Denmark at the WJC. . . . Medicine Hat F Brett Kemp and Edmonton F Josh Williams, who were swapped for each other on Thursday, were in the starting lineups.

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G Taylor Gauthier earned the shutout with 20 saves as the host Prince George Cougars PrinceGeorgebeat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Prince George (16-22-3) has won two in a row. It had beaten the visiting Rockets, 7-2, on Friday night. . . . The Cougars are fourth in the B.C. Division, and have moved into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . Kelowna (17-21-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand, and three ahead of Prince George. . . . F Josh Maser (16) got the home side off on the right foot with a goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . F Josh Curtis (7) added insurance at 1:08 of the second. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk put it away with two third-period goals, giving him 15 this season. . . . F Ethan Browne drew three assists. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old from Calgary, has three career shutouts, all of them in this, his sophomore season. He now is 12-15-2, 2.94, .905.

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The Spokane Chiefs had eight players with goals and 15 with at least one point as they SpokaneChiefsdumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-3. . . . Spokane (24-13-4) has won four straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (21-16-2) is eight points behind Spokane, but also is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth, nine points up on Prince George. . . . The Chiefs led 3-1 after the first period and then outscored the Americans 4-1 in the second. . . . The Spokane goals came from F Eli Zummack (12), F Luc Smith (18), F Cordel Larson (6), F Michael King (1), F Adam Beckman (18), D Nolan Reid (7), F Jake McGrew (18) and F Riley Woods (24). . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan had three assists for Spokane. . . . Tri-City got goals from F Riley Sawchuk (12), F Paycen Bjorklund (2) and F Parker AuCoin (22). . . . The Chiefs outshot the visitors, 48-26, including 20-7 in the second period. . . . The Americans scratched F Blake Stevenson, who turned 18 on Saturday, and D Aaron Hyman. . . . If you were wondering, Spokane head coach Dan Lambert turned 49 on Saturday. I know. I know. He doesn’t look a day over 35.

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D Bowen Byram scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 7-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (25-12-2) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by seven points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (15-22-3) has lost four in a row, all of them on a road trip that concluded with this one. It is 0-12-1 in its last 13 road games. . . . The Blazers also have fallen into last place in the 10-team Western Conference, one point behind Seattle and two behind Prince George, which has moved into the second wild-card spot. . . . This was the Giants’ first home game since Dec. 16. In between, they experienced the Christmas break and a Central Division trip on which they went 2-4-0. . . . Vancouver is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, with all three games in Langley. Over their final 29 games, Vancouver will play Kamloops five times. . . . The Giants took a 3-2 lead into the second period where they exploded for four straight goals, with Byram drawing an assist on three of them. . . . Byram, who will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft, set a franchise record for points by a defenceman in one game. According to the Giants, the record had been shared by Jonathan Bloom (2005-09), Neal Manning (2007-12), Cody Franson (2004-07), Paul Albers (2004-06) and Kevin Connauton (2009-10). . . . Byram gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period, only to have F Jermaine Loewen tie it at 3:30. . . . The Giants went ahead 3-1 on goals from Byram (12), at 9:05, and F Milos Roman (18), on a PP, at 11:59. . . . F Travis Walton (1) got the Blazers to within a goal at 17:02. . . . The Giants took over in the second period on goals from F Justin Sourdif (10), F Tristen Nielsen (5), F Brayden Watts (10) and F Davis Koch (12). . . . The Blazers got their last two goals, both in the third period, from F Kobe Mohr (5), on a PP, and Loewen (14). . . . Roman added three assists to his goal, with Nielsen and Koch getting two assists each. . . . The Blazers were without three defencemen. Jeff Faith served Game 2 of a five-game suspension. Joonas Sillanpää drew a one-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct in a 4-1 loss to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday. Quinn Schiemann was scratched. . . . So the Blazers had two defencemen make their WHL debuts. Ethan Brandwood, 16, is from Victoria and is the captain of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s South Island Royals. He was a seventh-round pick by the Blazers in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Trevor Thurston, 16, was a fourth-round selection in that same draft. From North Delta, B.C., he plays for the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

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G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to help the Everett Silvertips beat the Royals, 4-0, in EverettVictoria. . . . Everett (33-9-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . Victoria (22-16-1) had won its previous four games. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Vancouver. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (31) scored the game’s first goal, at 1:36 of the second period. . . . Everett put it away with third-period scores by F Justyn Gurney (1), at 8:10, and F Reece Vitelli (5), at 10:35. . . . Wolf now has four shutouts this season and eight in his career. On the season, he is 29-9-1, 1.82, .930. . . . In 60 career regular-season appearances, Wolf is 42-15-1, 1.96, .929. . . . Everett F Bryce Kindopp had one assist to run his point streak to 12 games. He has 18 points, including 11 goals, over that stretch. . . . F Kody McDonald of the Royals played in his 300th regular-season game; it was his fifth game since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders for whom he played 63 games. The other 232 were played with the Prince George Cougars. He has 177 points, including 84 goals.

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