A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have become the first Canadian Junior Hockey League team to average more than 3,000 fans per game over an entire season. According to a news release, the Vees averaged 3,055 fans through 28 games at the 5,000-seat South Okanagan Events Centre during the just-completed regular season. . . . According to the Vees, the largest crowd (4,342) attended on Jan. 20 against the Trail Smoke Eaters. It was Pink in the Rink night, the annual anti-bullying promotion, and no crowd was smaller than 2,585. . . . Last season, the Vees’ average attendance was 2,981. . . . I didn’t count them, but according to Wikipedia there are 132 junior A teams operating under the CJHL’s umbrella.
The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials are preparing for a first-round series with the Wenatchee Wild. But the Centennials have had more than that on their minds this week. The Culbertson family, which billets three of the Centennials, lost their home to fire early Saturday morning, and the family — and the players — are just starting to put things back together. . . . Cole Wagner of the Merritt Herald has more right here, and if you go to the bottom of the story you will find a link to a GoFundMe page.
The Red Deer Rebels have added F Ethan Rowland to their roster. Rowland , 15, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Rowland, from Calgary, had one goal and four assists in 19 games with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars this season. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to entertain the Calgary Hitmen tonight (Wednesday).
The Kootenay Ice has added D Nolan Orzeck, who turned 17 on Feb. 20, to its roster. From Calgary, he has played three games with the Ice this season. He had four goals and 10 assists in 28 games with the midget Calgary Northstars. Orzeck was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’ s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Ice is at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight (Wednesday).
D Jake Harrison of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors has committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines, starting with the 2019-20 season. . . . Harrison, 18, was a fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. This season, his third with the Warriors, he has eight goals and 25 assists in 56 games. . . . The Warriors had announced on Dec. 17 that Harrison had made a commitment to the Michigan Tech Huskies for 2019-20, but he obviously has had a change of heart.
A story by Dominic Abassi of NanaimoNewsNOW indicates that the City of Nanaimo spent more than $470,000 for its Hometown Hockey weekend on Feb. 25 and 26, 2017. . . . According to Abassi’s report, “Expenses included $184,000 for ‘misc contracted services,’ $102,000 for materials and supplies, $23,000 for ‘hospitality’ and $3,500 for travel.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Saskatoon/Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Brandon at Medicine Hat
Regina at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
At Calgary, F Aleksi Heponiemi drew four assists as the Swift Current Broncos dumped the Hitmen, 6-4. . . . This was Calgary’s second annual BE BRAVE Anti-Bullying Game. It began at 11 a.m. . . . Swift Current (45-14-5) has won two in a row and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold two games in hand. . . . Calgary (19-35-7) has lost two straight. . . . The Hitmen grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Jakob Stukel (31), at 9:39, and F Riley Stotts (14), at 14:17. . . . F MacKenzie Wight scored Swift Current’s first goal, his first of the season, at 17:04. Originally, he was listed as a scratch, but he went in after D Sahvan Khaira left the ice during the warmup. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (13) gave his guys a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:19. . . . The Broncos, though, scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Jacson Alexander got his first goal, at 8:16 of the second, and F Tyler Steenbergen (44) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:55. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (55) gave the visitors their first lead, on a PP, at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Carson Focht (11) pulled the home team back into a tie, while shorthanded, at 12:06. . . . That didn’t last long, as F Giorgio Estephan (28) scored, on a PP, to give the Broncos a 5-4 lead at 14:51. . . . F Beck Malenstyn (13) added insurance at 17:55. . . . The Broncos got three assists from D Colby Sissons, with Gawdin and Steenbergen each getting one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 119 points, nine more than Lethbridge F Brayden Burke. . . . F Jake Kryski and D Dakota Krebs each had two assists for Calgary. Stukel added one. . . . Swift Current was 2-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-7. The game included 22 minor penalties. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and gave up three goals on nine shots in the first period. Joel Hofer played the last two periods, stopping 18 of 19 shots. . . . The Hitmen got 28 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . F Tanner Nagel was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 16,300.
At Edmonton, F Mark Rassell scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . This was the ninth annual Hockey Hooky game, so it started at 11:30 a.m. . . . Medicine Hat (32-24-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (18-37-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Medicine Hat is 5-0-0 in the season series; Edmonton is 0-3-2. . . . Rassell opened the scoring at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (27) tied the score at 15:06, but the Tigers went back in front at 17:59 as F Jaeger White (9) scored. . . . F Carter Souch (4) pulled the home team back into a tie, on a PP, at 7:53 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the last three goals. . . . F Ryan Jevne (18) broke the tie at 11:30, with Rassell (48) adding insurance at 12:28. . . . F Josh Williams (8) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 1:15 of the third period. . . . D Dylan MacPherson had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers were 1-1 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 1-4. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Oil Kings got 31 saves from G Boston Bilous. He started for the first time since Dec. 13. He played 7:18 on Sunday in his first appearance since recovering from mononucleosis. . . . The Tigers had D Kristians Rubins (wrist) back in the lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 3. Also back was F Hayden Ostir (hand), who last played on Dec. 9. . . . Medicine Hat still is without D Linus Nassen and D Joel Craven. . . . Announced attendance: 13,261.
At Prince Albert, F Curtis Miske had a goal and two assists to lead the Raiders to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (27-25-11) has won four in a row and now is tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Should they end up tied for the last playoff spot, they would have to play a tiebreaker game. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) had won its previous two games. It is in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The season series? Prince Albert is 3-2-1; Brandon is 3-3-0. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:39 of the first period. . . . The Raiders took a 2-1 lead before period’s end as F Kody McDonald (32) tied it at 16:36, and D Vojtech Budik (11) gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 19:46. . . . F Cole Fonstad (19) upped the Raiders’ lead to two at 1:33 of the second period. . . . Lewis (36) pulled Brandon to within a goal, at 4:46, but it was all home team after that. . . . Miske (22) scored at 18:21, with F Jordy Stallard getting his 40th just 25 seconds into the third period and D Max Martin (6) completing the scoring at 9:09. . . . Fonstad and Budik each had an assist for the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert was 1-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-2. . . . The Raiders got 21 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson made 36 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 1,861.
At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-25-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Moose Jaw (46-13-3) had won its previous two games. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have two games in hand. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kelti Jeri-Leon (8), at 2:12, and F Taylor Ross (18), at 8:29. . . . The Warriors got to within a goal when F Tristin Langan (15) scored at 19:13 of the second period. . . . Moose Jaw then took the lead with two quick third-period goals, from D Jett Woo (9), back from a three-game suspension, at 0:30, and F Justin Almeida (35), at 1:10. . . . All told, that was three goals in 1:57 for the visitors. . . . F Egor Zudilov (10), who also had an assist, tied it for Lethbridge at 11:56. . . . F Dylan Cozens got the winner, his 20th goal of the season, at 18:26. . . . The Warriors got two assists from D Josh Brook. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell had a tremendous outing for the home team, finishing with 37 saves. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 16 shots for Moose Jaw. . . . Announced attendance: 4,255.
At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 1-0 deficit as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna (38-19-6) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by seven points over Victoria. . . . Prince George (21-33-8) had lost three in a row. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-2-0); Prince George is 2-3-2. . . . F Erik Gardiner (5) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:45 of the first period. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (14) tied it at 17:31. . . . The Cougars took control with three second-period goals — from D Austin Crossley (2), at 3:20; F Josh Maser (26), at 13:05; and D Joel Lakusta (7), on a PP, at 16:19. . . . The Cougars got two assists from each of F Brogan O’Brien and F Jared Bethune, and one from Lakusta. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . The Cougars got 20 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Kelowna started G Brodan Salmond, who was beaten four times on 16 shots in 36:19. James Porter came on to stop the two shots he faced in 23:51. . . . Kelowna held a 5-1 edge — yes, 5-1! — in third-period shots on goal. . . . The Rockets were without D Cal Foote, who served a one-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,273.
At Kennewick, Wash., F Ryan Hughes had five points and G Shane Farkas earned the shutout as the Portland Winterhawks blasted the Tri-City Americans, 9-0. . . . Portland (38-20-4) has won three in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind Everett and three up on Spokane. . . . Tri-City (32-22-8) had won three straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, five points ahead of Seattle. Tri-City is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind Spokane. . . . Portland now has a 7-2-0 edge in the season series; Tri-City is 2-6-1. . . . Hughes, who has 14 goals, scored twice and added three assists. His third point was the 100th of his career and came in his 177th game. . . . Hughes scored his first goal at 2:32 of the first period. . . . D Keoni Texeira, who got his 100th career assist during the game, made it 2-0 at 3:46 and the rout was on. . . . F Kieffer Bellows scored twice, giving him 34, with the other goals coming from F Joachim Blichfeld (21), D Brendan De Jong (3), F Cody Glass (30) and F Reece Newkirk (6). . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Conor MacEachern and Blichfeld, with Glass, Newkirk and Texeira adding one apiece. . . . Farkas, making his third straight start, stopped 37 shots in posting his second shutout. He is 3-0-0 while stopping 87 of 90 shots in those three starts. . . . The Americans opened with G Patrick Sea, who was beaten five times on 26 shots in 34:04. Beck Warm finished up, allowing four goals on 16 shots in 25:56. . . . Portland was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-7. . . . The Winterhawks are 21-8-2 on the road. . . . Announced attendance: 2,611.
At Kent, Wash., F Zack Andrusiak scored three times, including once in OT, to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (29-24-9) had lost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and eight ahead of Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (32-21-9) is third in the B.C. Division, two points behind Victoria. . . . These teams played four times this season and all four games went to OT — each team finished 2-0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds trailed 4-1 halfway through the second period, then scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Andrusiak gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 2:22 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Popowich (7) tied the scored at 16:24. . . . The Giants then got three second-period goals — from F Tyler Benson (22), shorthanded, at 2:41; F Ty Ronning (54), on a PP, at 6:01; and F James Malm (18), at 6:55. . . . F Nikita Malukhin (5) started the Seattle comeback at 13:57. . . . Andrusiak got Seattle to within a goal, at 6:11 of the third period, and F Nolan Volcan (27) tied it at 18:53. . . . Andrusiak (27) won it on a PP — Vancouver D Matt Barberis was off for delay of game — at 0:34 of OT. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls had four assists, with Malukhin and Volcan each getting one. . . . Benson had an assist for Vancouver. . . . Seattle was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-1. . . . The Thunderbirds got 24 saves from G Liam Hughes. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck turned aside 35 shots. . . . F Krz Plummer, who turned 16 on Feb. 13, made his WHL debut with the Giants. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Plummer has seven goals and 10 assists in 32 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team. . . . Announced attendance: 4,450.
WEDNESDAY (all times local):
Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY