Who would you start in goal? . . . Hurricanes, Hitmen going to Game 7. . . . Oil Kings take care of Tigers in 6

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G Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08) signed a one-year extension with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 45 games, he was 2.50 and .921. He was third in the league in GAA and second in save percentage.


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The Victoria Royals are in Kamloops tonight with a chance to wrap up their first-round series with the Blazers. A 6-3 victory in Victoria on Saturday left the Royals with a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

According to Blazers broadcaster Jon Keen, this will be the eighth time the Blazers will Kamloops1have been one loss from having either their playoff hopes or their season come to an end.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you start in goal tonight? Your choices are Dylan Ferguson 20, who started but didn’t finish on Saturday, or Dylan Garand, 16.

In this series, Ferguson is 2-2, 3.56, .876 in four appearances, all starts. He has turned aside 92 of 105 shots.

Garand is 0-1, 2.18, .933 — he has stopped 42 of 45 shots — in two appearances.

In the regular season, Ferguson, who has signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, was the unquestioned starter, finishing 17-24-5, 3.01, .908 in 49 appearances. However, he was injured on March 6 and Garand — he went 11-7-3, 2.94, .902 in 27 regular-season appearances — was spectacular as the go-to down the stretch.

In the last six regular-season games, with Ferguson unable to even dress as the backup, when a regulation loss would have ended the Blazers’ playoff hopes, Garand went 5-0-1, 1.63, .939.

Garand also went the distance in the tiebreaker, stopping 27 shots as the Blazers beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, to get into the first round.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you tap on the shoulder tonight?

As an aside, the Blazers have added G Rayce Ramsay to their roster. He has been with the team previously, most recently as Garand’s backup for part of the time while Ferguson was injured. Ramsay spent this season with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, whose season ended with a Game 7 loss to the host Estevan Bruins on Tuesday.


If was a year ago when Kelly Sowatsky took a sign with her to a Pittsburgh Penguins’ home game. She was in desperate need of a kidney transplant and had decided it might not hurt to get her message out there. . . . In the end, the sign paid off, and how it all came about is quite a story. . . . Ryan McGee, a senior writer at ESPN, has it all right here.


F Cam Recchi and F Coalson Walford each had a goal and an assist as the Notre Dame Hounds won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Hounds won the best-of-five final, 3-1. . . . Recchi, 17, is the son of former WHL star Mark Recchi, who is a Hockey Hall of Famer and also a part-owner of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Hounds will join the Brandon Wheat Kings, Thunder Bay Kings and the host Tisdale Trojans in the Telus Cup’s western regional tournament starting Thursday.


Matt Hughes is the new head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s female prep team. He spent the past two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


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NOTES: There is one WHL game on the playoff schedule tonight, with the Victoria Royals in Kamloops to face the Blazers. The Royals won, 6-3, in Victoria on Saturday night to move into a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Victoria on Wednesday night. . . . The winner of this series will face the Vancouver Giants in the second round. That series is to open in Langley, B.C., on Friday. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes are going to a Game 7. The Hurricanes skated to a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday in a game that featured six third-period goals, including one with 33 seconds left in regulation time. . . .

In Sunday’s other game, the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3 in OT, in Medicine Hat to win that series, 4-2. . . . The Oil Kings now await the winner of the series between Calgary and Lethbridge. . . . This was the third spring in a row that the Tigers’ season was ended by an OT goal. . . . Last season, F Linden McCorrister’s goal at 10:37 of OT gave the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Tigers in Game 6 of a first-round series. . . . In 2017, F Tyler Wong’s shorthanded goal at 3:03 of OT gave the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Tigers in Game 7 of a second-round series. . . .

Darren Steinke, who worked at the Medicine Hat News not that long ago, tweets that Bob Ridley, the voice of the Tigers, called his 3,935th game on Sunday. . . . With road teams winning twice on Sunday, the home teams now are 21-20 in the first round. . . .

F Phillip Schultz scored three times for the host Victoria Royals in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. A freshman from Germany, he is the first import in Royals history to enjoy a playoff hat trick. . . . He also is the fourth Royals player with a playoff hat trick, after F Tyler Soy (2018), F Brandon Magee (2015) and F Jamie Crooks (2012). . . .

The dates for one second-round Western Conference series have been announced. . . . Everett and Spokane Chiefs will use a 2-3-2 format because Cirque du Soleil will take over the Silvertips’ home arena for a few days. The series will open in Everett on Saturday and Sunday, then move to Spokane for games on April 10 and 12 and, if necessary, April 13. The last two games, if needed, would be played in Everett on April 15 and 17. . . . Everett finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, with Spokane second, at 40-21-7. The Silvertips won the season series, 6-0-2; the Chiefs were 2-5-1. . . . They have met once since the Jan. 10 trade deadline — Everett won, 3-1, in Spokane on March 5. . . .

Meanwhile, the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades are looking on with interest after sweeping their first-round series. They’ll being the second round with games in Prince Albert on Friday and Sunday, with Games 3 and 4 in Saskatoon on April 9 and 10. If needed, Game 5 would be played in Prince Albert on April 12, with Game 6 in Saskatoon on April 14, and Game 7 back in Prince Albert on April 16. . . . Prince Albert went 54-10-4 to finish atop the overall standings; Saskatoon was second in the East Division, at 45-15-8. . . . The Raiders were 6-2-0 in the season series; the Blades were 2-5-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline — Saskatoon won, 3-2, at home on March 15; the Raiders won, 3-1, at home the next night.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who were 33 seconds from having their season end, got a Lethbridgegoal from F Taylor Ross at 3:57 of OT to earn a wild 7-6 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . The series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for the Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge on Tuesday night. You will recall that the world men’s curling championship is being decided in the Enmax Centre, so the Hurricanes are playing home games in the arena that is home to the U of L Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . . On Sunday, the Hurricanes jumped out to an early 3-1 lead but weren’t able to hold it. . . . F Kaden Elder (1) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 1:00 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge responded with three quick goals from F Zachary Cox (1), at 2:08; F Dylan Cozens (4), at 3:08; and F Jordy Bellerive (2), on a PP, at 6:32. . . . Calgary pulled even on goals from F Cael Zimmerman (2), on a PP, at 12:53, and D Devan Klassen (2), at 5:42 of the second period. . . . F Nick Henry (4) put Lethbridge back in front, on a PP, at 2:57 of the third period. . . . Calgary tied it when F Ryder Korczak (2) scored at 11:12. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (6) gave Lethbridge a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 11:47. . . . Calgary went ahead 6-5 on goals from F James Malm (2), at 13:05, and F Mark Kastelic (4), at 17:37. . . . With the Hitmen seemingly on the verge of winning the series, Lethbridge D Calen Addison, who also had three assists, scored his second goal of the series at 19:27. . . . Ross, a 34-goal man in the regular season, won it with his first goal of the series. . . . Leschyshyn also had three assists, with Zimmerman chipping in two. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Calgary was 1-4. . . . The Hurricanes got 27 stops from G Carl Tetachuk, while G Jack McNaughton stopped 34 shots for Calgary. . . . Calgary had a 3-2 edge in OT shots.


F Vince Loschiavo scored at 2:43 of OT as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3, in EdmontonOilKingsMedicine Hat. . . . Edmonton won the series, 4-2, and will play either the Calgary Hitmen or Lethbridge Hurricanes in the second round. That series likely will open on Friday night in Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings won on Sunday by scoring the game’s last three goals. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (3) put Edmonton out front at 4:09 of the first period. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Corson Hopwo (1), at 5:54 of the first; F James Hamblin (4), at 7:14 of the second; and Hamblin (5), on a PP, at 7:41. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (1) scored at 8:06 to get the Oil Kings to within a goal, and D Conner McDonald (1) tied it 31 seconds into the third period. . . . Loschiavo’s fourth goal of the series, off a pass from Fix-Wolansky, won it at 2:43 of extra time. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . Edmonton held a 37-29 edge in shots, including 10-5 in the third period and 3-1 in OT. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 saves from G Todd Scott, while G Mads Søgaard stopped 33 shots for the Tigers.


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Hitmen, Oil Kings one win from moving on. . . . Giants, Silvertips, Chiefs into next round. . . . Royals have edge on Blazers


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The Kamloops Blazers are trying to venture where no WHL team has gone.

The Blazers were in Victoria on Saturday night, where they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Kamloops1Royals, who now hold a 3-2 lead the best-of-seven first-round series.

The Blazers are in the playoffs because they beat the Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker in Kamloops on March 19.

That was the seventh tiebreaker in WHL history. No team advancing from a tiebreaker into the playoffs has ever gone on to win three games. In fact, before this season, the six teams that moved into the playoffs by winning tiebreakers combined to win three games — two by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the spring of 2014, and one by the Swift Current Broncos in 1990.

Here’s a look. . . .

In the spring of 1981, the Spokane Flyers made it into the playoffs with a 10-9 victory, in OT, over the New Westminster Bruins. The game was played in Trail, B.C., because of a labour dispute at Queen’s Park Arena, the home of the Bruins. The Flyers moved into the first round, only to be swept from a best-of-seven series by the Victoria Cougars.

The Calgary Wranglers got into the playoffs in 1984 by going into Saskatoon and beating the Blades, 8-7 in OT. The Wranglers promptly were swept from a best-of-seven series by the Regina Pats.

In 1990, the Swift Current got past the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-4, in a tiebreaker. Regina then took out Swift Current, winning a best-of-five series, 3-1.

The Oil Kings advanced in 2009 by beating the Raiders, 2-1 in OT, in Prince Albert. The Calgary Hitmen then swept the Oil Kings from a best-of-seven series.

The Raiders were back in a tiebreaker in 2014, this team beating the host Red Deer Rebels, 5-3. Edmonton then took out the Raiders, 4-0, in a first-round series.

In 2016, the Oil Kings skated out of Medicine Hat with a 6-4 victory over the Tigers. The Oil Kings then lost a first-round series to Brandon, 4-2.

Let’s not forget, too, that a case can be made for the Blazers getting into the tiebreaker because of a loser point.

On March 15, the host Blazers were trailing the Prince George Cougars, 4-2, with fewer than seven minutes left in the third period. F Kyrell Sopotyk scored on a PP to get Kamloops to within a goal.

Then, at 19:04, F Connor Zary dove after a loose puck in the Prince George crease and knocked it into the net to tie the game and force OT. The Cougars won the game on a goal by F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, but it was the loser point that arrived on Zary’s stick that got the Blazers into a tie with Kelowna and ultimately forced the tiebreaker game.

And now the Blazers find themselves two victories away from a berth in the second round of the playoffs. They can get there by beating the Royals in Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday night, and again in Game 7 in Victoria on Wednesday.



D Matthew Stanley, who played out his junior eligibility with the Swift Current Broncos this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . . In 180 regular-season WHL games — 145 with the Broncos and 35 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes — Stanley had five goals and 13 assists.


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NOTES: There will be two Battles of Alberta in the WHL playoffs today as the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Hitmen in Calgary, and the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Last night, in Lethbridge, the Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, to take a 3-2 lead. . . . The Oil Kings hold a 3-2 edge on the Tigers. . . .

Three of the series in the Western Conference ended last night. The Vancouver Giants beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., to win that series, 4-2. . . . The Giants will open the second round at home on Friday against either the Kamloops Blazers or Victoria Royals. Victoria leads that series, 3-2, after a 6-3 home-ice victory last night. They’ll play Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday. . . .

The Everett Silvertips dumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 9-1, to win that series, 4-1, while the host Spokane Chiefs were beating the Portland Winterhawks, 4-1. Spokane won that series, 4-1. . . . Everett, which finished atop the U.S. Division, set a single-game franchise playoff records for goals. It will face the second-place Chiefs in the next round with that series opening in Everett on April 6 and 7. . . . With the Cirque du Soleil in Everett for an April run, this series will follow a 2-3-2 format. . . .

Home teams now are 21-18 in the first round. . . . F Bryce Kindopp of Everett and F Davis Koch of Vancouver lead the playoff scoring race, each with nine points. . . . Kindopp put up five goals and four assists against Tri-City; Koch had a goal and a league-leading eight assists against Seattle. . . . Vancouver F Jadon Joseph leads the league in goals, with six.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Mark Kastelic, back from a two-game absence that was due to a brain injury, scored Calgarytwice and added an assist to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 6-5 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for today in Calgary. If needed, Game 7 will be played in Lethbridge on Tuesday. . . . With the world men’s curling championship in the Enmax Centre, the Hurricanes have moved home games to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s teams. . . . The Hitmen got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on PP goals from F Luke Coleman (3), at 7:05, and Kastelic (2), at 16:18. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (1) scored for Lethbridge at 17:11, but F Josh Prokop (3) got that one back for Calgary 36 seconds into the second period. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (4) pulled the Hurricanes back to within one at 2:59, only to have D Vladislav Yeryomenko (2) restore Calgary’s two-goal lead at 4:45. . . . The Hurricanes did get even on PP goals from F Nick Henry, at 8:44, and F Logan Barlage (2), at 12:04, but Calgary got two goals before the period ended — from F Cael Zimmerman (1), at 17:51, and Kastelic (3), at 19:36. . . . Leschyshyn (5) added another PP goal, at 15:31 of the third period, but the Hurricanes weren’t able to get one more. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from D Dakota Krebs. . . . Bellerive added two assists to his goal, and D Caden Addison had three assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-8 on the PP; Calgary was 2-4. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 29 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge starter Carl Tetachuk surrendered four goals on 24 shots in 24:45, before Bryan Thomson came on to finish the second period. He was beaten twice on six shots. Tetachuk came back for the third period and stopped all 12 shots he faced.


F Bryce Kindopp scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips Everettdumped the Tri-City Americans, 9-1. . . . The Silvertips won the series, 4-1, and will meet the Spokane Chiefs in the second round.  The Chiefs eliminated the Portland Winterhawks last night. . . . The Chiefs and Silvertips will open in Everett with games on April 6 and 7. . . . Everett took control of this one with three goals in the second half of the first period. . . . Kindopp (3) got it started at 11:59; F Zack Andrusiak (3) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:15; and F Martin Fasko-Rudas (4) upped it to 3-0 at 18:53. . . . The Silvertips went on to build up an 8-0 lead as Kindopp added two more goals, Andrusiak added another, and F Connor Dewar (3) and F Gage Goncalves (2) added one each. . . . After F Kyle Olson (1) scored, on a PP, for Tri-City, D Ronan Seeley (1) closed out Everett’s scoring. . . . Dewar added three assists and Goncalves had two. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 1-4.


F Jadon Joseph scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle VancouverThunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Giants, who won 3-2 in Langley, B.C., on Friday, took the series, 4-2. It was the franchise’s first series victory since 2010. . . . Vancouver will meet the winner of the series between the Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals in the next round. That series is to open in Langley on Friday. . . . D Bowen Byram (3) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 11:01 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (1) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 7:14. . . . Joseph, who scored six goals in the series, upped the lead to 4-0 by scoring at 15:08 and 18:13 of the second period, the latter on a PP. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (2) got Vancouver’s fifth goal at 2:40 of the third period. Nielsen also was awarded a penalty shot in the second period. No, he didn’t score. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (4) scored for Seattle at 15:32. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . The Giants got 33 saves from G David Tendeck, including 13 in the third period when Seattle held a 14-3 edge in shots. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 28 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back after he served a two-game suspension. F Sean Richards, who has been suspended indefinitely, missed his second game. . . . The Giants continue to play without F Aidan Barfoot and F Justin Sourdif, both of whom were injured during this series.


F Phillip Schultz scored three times to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-3 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday. If needed, Game 7 would be played in Victoria on Wednesday. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (1), who hadn’t played regularly in the series until the last two periods of Game 5, gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 1:27 of the first period. . . . Kamloops tied it at 13:54 on a goal by F Ryley Appelt (1). . . . The Royals followed that with three straight goals. . . . Schultz (1) scored, on a PP, at 17:42. . . . D Noah Lamb’s first WHL goal made it 3-1 at 6:36 of the second period. . . . Schultz (2) made it 4-1 at 15:30. . . . F Logan Stankoven’s first WHL goal got the Blazers to within two goals at 10:48, but Victoria F Tanner Sidaway (1) got an empty-netter at 18:07. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (3) scored at 18:31, and Schultz completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:20. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 27 shots for Victoria. . . . Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 14 shots in 35:30. He was relieved by Dylan Garand, who stopped all nine shots he faced. . . . Victoria was 1-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . The Blazers had access to their complete roster for the first time in this series with F Brodi Stuart back from a one-game suspension. . . . D Matt Smith, who was hurt on a hit by Stuart in Game 3, was scratched again. . . . The Royals were without F Kody McDonald, who has been suspended indefinitely. . . . Victoria had D Mitchell Prowse in the lineup for the first time since Game 1, and F Alex Bolshakov made his playoff debut. A fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Bolshakov is from Seattle and played the past two seasons with the U16 Everett Jr. Silvertips. He was pointless in five regular-season games with the Royals.


F Luke Toporowski scored two first-period goals to get the Spokane Chiefs started SpokaneChiefstowards a 4-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1. . . . Spokane will meet the Everett Silvertips in the second round. They’ll open in Everett on April 6 and 7, then play in Spokane on April 10 and 12. . . . F Cody Glass (knee) returned to Portland’s lineup after last having played on Feb. 23, and he opened the scoring, while shorthanded, at 4:04 of the first period. . . . Toporowski, now with four goals in these playoffs, erased Portland’s lead with goals at 4:52, on a PP, at 17:52. . . . F Riley Woods added insurance for the Chiefs with his third and fourth goals of the series at 1:28 and 3:13 of the third period. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP and finished with six goals in 11 opportunities in the five games. . . . Portland was 0-4. . . . The Chiefs got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 31 shots for Portland. . . . Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, had been 6-0 in first-round series in his WHL career.


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Cancer claims Clark at 56. . . . Don’t take Cents’ record just yet. . . . More WHL teams clinch playoff spots


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DonnClark

Donn Clark, who was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour on Friday night, died in Saskatoon on Saturday. He was two days shy of his 57th birthday.

From Kelvington, Sask., he was one of three brothers to play in the WHL — he, Wendel and Kerry all played for the Saskatoon Blades. Wendel represented his older brother in Prince Albert on Friday.

Donn got into one game with the Great Falls Americans in 1979-80, then played nine games with the Blades in 1980-81. He played all of 1981-82 with Saskatoon. In 1982-83 he played in three games with the Blades, one with the Nanaimo Islanders and 31 with the Raiders.

He began his WHL coaching career as an assistant with the Tacoma Rockets (1991-93). He was the head coach of the Raiders on two occasions (1993-95, 2000-02), and also ran the Blades’ bench (1995-98).

Clark, who had been battling cancer, worked as the Raiders’ general manager and director of hockey operations (2001-08).


The WHL is crediting the Prince Albert Raiders with the record for most victories (50) in a 68-game schedule.

That would break the record of 49 that had been held by the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials.

Allow me to suggest, however, that this is comparing apples to oranges, and that the centsRaiders haven’t broken the Centennials’ record . . . at least, not yet.

This isn’t meant to taking anything away from the accomplishments of this season’s Raiders, not in the least.

But the Centennials didn’t have the opportunity to play overtime or go to a shootout in order to decide games back in their day. They finished that season at 49-16-3, with the ‘3’ being ties.

This season, the Raiders are 50-9-4, with the ‘4’ representing overtime and shootout losses. The victory total includes three OT victories and one in a shootout. That means they have won 46 games in regulation.

I would suggest, then, that if you are going to compare the victory totals of these two teams, the Centennials record of 49 victories still stands.

Perhaps it’s time to start a new section of the record book. Better yet, split it into BLP and ALP — Before Loser Points and After Loser Points — because this is what happens when you start deciding regular-season games in OT and skill competitions, and making some games worth more than others by awarding loser points.

So . . . it says here that if you played for the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials, you still hold the record for most victories in a 68-game WHL regular season.

Unless, that is, the Raiders win four of their remaining five games in regulation time. Their next three games are against the Swift Current Broncos (10-45-6), who have the WHL’s poorest record. To date, the Raiders are 4-0-1 against the Broncos and have a 24-15 edge in goals.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 12 games as the Lethbridge Hurricanes skated Lethbridgeto a 4-1 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Lethbridge (35-18-10) has won three in a row. It went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip that ended with this one. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (18-42-3) has lost four straight. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-1 in the season series; Regina was 1-3-0. . . . The Hurricanes jumped into a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (26), at 3:30; F Jordy Bellerive (29), at 4:23; and F Dylan Cozens (32), at 12:51. . . . F Austin Pratt (24) scored Regina’s goal, on a PP, at 14:23. . . . Elmer kept his streak alive with his 36th goal of the season at 14:55. . . . Elmer, who began his career with the Pats before being moved to the Kootenay Ice and then Lethbridge, has 73 points in 63 games. He went into this season with 25 goals and 28 assists in 136 games. . . . Elmer has 16 goals in his scoring streak. The WHL record is 18 games. F Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins scored 27 goals in those 18 games, from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15, 1984. . . . Henry next is scheduled to play on Wednesday when the Brandon Wheat Kings visit Lethbridge. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 38 shots for the Hurricanes, four more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . F Sebastian Streu was back in Regina’s lineup after missing three games.


F Tristin Langan scored twice and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau as the MooseJawWarriorshost Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw (35-18-8) has lost its previous two games. It is likely to finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round. . . . Prince Albert (50-9-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It leads the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips and needs one point to wrap up first place. . . . F Justin Almeida (26) gave Moose Jaw the lead at 18:23 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it 44 seconds later when F Dante Hannoun (28) scored. . . . After a scoreless second period, Langan opened the third with two goals, giving him 47. He scored at 5:41 and 11:58, the second goal giving him 100 points. He is the second WHLer to get there this season, behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld. . . . Langan’s second goal was his 10th game-winner of the season. . . . F Brayden Tracey (32) stretched Moose Jaw’s lead to 4-1, at 13:36, before F Justin Nachbaur (17) scored for the visitors, at 19:50. . . . Almeida also had two assists, and now has 93 points. . . . Langan is tied for the WHL lead in GWG, with Tracey and F Bryce Kindopp of the Everett Silvertips. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 27 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-2-0; the Warriors were 2-3-1. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Max Martin, while F Parker Kelly sat out as he completed a three-game suspension.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored seven straight goals en route to a 7-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (37-18-8) has won six in a row and leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. With the victory, the Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2015-16. . . . Brandon (29-24-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is two points behind the Red Deer Rebels, who hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Wheat Kings are 0-2-1 on a six-game road swing into the Central Division. They are out of their home arena because the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played there. . . . Edmonton was 3-1-0 in the season series; Brandon was 1-2-1. . . . The Oil Kings took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Andrew Fyten (39), at 6:09, and F Andrei Pavlenko (9), at 19:32 — and never looked back. . . . F Carter Souch (10), F David Kope (14) and D Wyatt McLeod (4) added second-period goals for Edmonton, with F Vince Loschiavo (31) and F Quinn Benjafield (13) making it 7-0 in the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (8) scored for Brandon at 7:56 of the third. . . . D Parker Gavlas had three assists, while Souch added two assists to his goal. . . . Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had two assists, giving him 63 this season. That ties the franchise record that was set by F Dylan Wruck in 2012-13. . . . Edmonton outshot Brandon, 45-29. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored in OT to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (32-25-5) has lost its previous seven games. It holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, five points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (10-45-6) has lost 14 straight (0-11-3). . . . The Tigers won the season series, 4-0-0; the Broncos were 0-3-1. . . . F Ethan Regnier (10) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 13:24 of the first period. . . . The Tigers got even at 14:20 as F Nick McCarry (3) scored. . . . The Broncos went back in front at 3:41 of the second period on F Tanner Nagel’s 13th goal. . . . Swift Current nursed that lead until 19:01 of the third period when Medicine Hat D Linus Nassen (6) scored to force OT. . . . Chyzowski won it with his 22nd goal at 1:07 of the extra period. . . . Medicine Hat had a 49-23 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos got 46 saves from G Riley Lamb. . . . G Mads Søgaard blocked 21 shots to earn the victory. . . . Medicine Hat again was without F Ryan Jevne, F Elijah Brown and F Brett Kemp.


Stoll
The Hall of Fame banner honouring Jarret Stoll hangs from the Western Financial Place rafters in Cranbrook and will remain there even after the Kootenay Ice moves to Winnipeg at season’s end.

F James Malm scored three times to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the CalgaryKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Calgary (34-22-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . . Kootenay (12-40-10) has lost at least 40 times in regulation for the third time in four seasons, after not having done it even once in its first 17 seasons in Cranbrook. . . . These teams will play again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . Malm opened the scoring at 8:33 of the first period. . . . Ice D Marco Creta (3) tied it at 9:54. . . . Malm put Calgary back out front at 10:33, only to have Ice F Brad Ginnell (16) equalize at 12:59. . . . Malm completed his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 3:14 of the second period. He’s got 31 goals this season. . . . F Josh Prokop (7) added insurance at 14:28 of the third period, and F Mark Kastelic (45) closed the scoring at 19:25. . . . Prior to the game, the Ice, which will leave Cranbrook for Winnipeg at season’s end, honoured former captain Jarret Stoll as the first inductee into its Hall of Fame. . . . The announced attendance was 2,738, the second-largest crowd of the team’s last season in Cranbrook. Only opening night (2,862) was larger. . . . The Ice has three home games remaining in its stay in Cranbrook. . . . Before the game, the Hitmen announced that they have returned F Orca Wiesblatt to the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has three assists in 12 games with the Hitmen this season.


The Vancouver Giants snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 2:30 early in the Vancouversecond period en route to a 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (43-14-4) has points in five straight. It is two points behind the Everett Silvertips in the race to finish atop the Western Conference. . . . Kamloops (23-31-6) has lost two in a row and now is six points behind the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division and six points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. This was a bad night for the Blazers, as Seattle and Kelowna both lost in OT so increased their breathing room with the loser points. . . . The Blazers and Giants will play today in Langley, B.C., then meet again Wednesday back in Kamloops. . . . The Giants are 6-0-0 in the season series; the Blazers are 0-4-2. . . . Kamloops lost D Jackson Caller on a play that led to the game’s first goal. A shot by Vancouver F Justin Sourdif struck Caller in the lower face area. As he crumpled to the ice, the puck went to F Jared Dmytriw. He slipped it to F Aidan Barfoot, who tucked it in for his fourth goal of the season. Caller skated off, leaving a trail of blood from the slot to the Kamloops bench. He didn’t return. . . . Caller lost one tooth. Two others were displaced, but a dentist pushed them back into their proper position. . . . F Brodi Stuart (17) tied it for Kamloops at 4:22, but D Bowen Byram (23) put the Giants back out front, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . The Blazers pulled even at 4:41 of the second period as F Jermaine Loewen scored when a shot by F Connor Zary hit him in the chin and bounced into the net. . . . The Giants then scored the three quick goals — by F Davis Koch (26), at 5:54; F Tristen Nielsen (12), at 7:23; and F Milos Roman (25), at 8:24. . . . Loewen (23) cut the Blazers’ deficit to two at 19:35 of the second period, and the home side got to within a goal at 5:08 of the third when F Ryley Appelt (2) scored. . . . But the Blazers weren’t able to beat Vancouver G Trent Miner again. He stopped 26 shots, including 14 in the third period. . . . Sourdif finished with three assists. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was beaten four times on 16 shots in 27:23 before giving way to Dylan Garand, who last played on Jan. 27. Garand gave up a goal on the second shot he faced, as he finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.


F Jaydon Dureau’s OT goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 victory over the Rockets Portlandin Kelowna. . . . Portland (38-18-6) is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division and a first-round series with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (26-30-6) is third in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . The Winterhawks and Rockets will play again this afternoon in Kelowna. . . . Portland leads the season series 3-0-0; Kelowna is 0-2-1. . . . F Jake Gricius (23) opened the scoring for Portland, on a PP, at 1:06 of the first period. . . . Kelowna didn’t tie it until 14:55 of the third period when F Alex Swetlikoff (5) scored. . . . Dureau won it with his 12th goal, at 1:22 of OT. . . . G Shane Farkas blocked 28 shots for Portland, four more than Kelowna’s Roman Basran.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Tri-SpokaneChiefsCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (35-19-7) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks and seven ahead of the Americans. . . . Tri-City (33-24-4) has lost four in a row, but has clinched a playoff spot. . . . With two games left in the season series, Tri-City is 6-3-1; Spokane is 4-5-1. . . . The Chiefs grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Noah King (5), at 3:34, and F Adam Beckman (27), on a PP, at 6:00. . . . The Americans pulled even in the second period as F Nolan Yaremko (25) scored, on a PP, at 5:50, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) got one at 7:07. . . . Spokane went out front 4-2 in the third period on goals from D Nolan Reid (15), at 13:23, and F Michael King (3), just 10 seconds later. . . . Tri-City tied it was F Riley Sawchuk (18) scored, on a PP, at 18:43, and F Kyle Olson (21) counted with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 14th goal of the season at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 30 saves from G Reece Klassen, while workhorse Beck Warm, who has started 56 of the Americans’ 61 games, stopped 31 shots.


F Phillip Schultz broke a 2-2 tie with two early third-period goals as the Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsbeat the visiting Prince George Cougars, 5-2. . . . Victoria (33-25-4) has points in four in a row (3-0-1) and has clinched second place in the B.C. Division. This is the eighth straight season in which the Royals have qualified for the playoffs. . . . Prince George (17-39-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Victoria won the season series, 8-1-0; Prince George was 1-6-2. . . . The Royals had beaten the Cougars, 4-3, on Friday. . . . Last night, a pair of first-period PP goals — from D Ralph Jarratt (6), at 7:42, and F Carson Miller (13), at 10:55 — staked the home boys to a 2-0 lead. . . . The Cougars tied it in the second period on goals from F Josh Maser (28), at 4:54, and D Jack Sander (2), at 9:03. . . . Schultz, who has 18 goals, broke the tie 14 seconds into the third period, then added some insurance at 5:49. . . . Victoria F Igor Martynov (10) got the empty-netter at 16:41. . . . Martynov and Miller had two assists each, with Schultz adding one. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 32 shots for the Royals, five more than the Cougars’ Taylor Gauthier.


F Bryce Kindopp scored with 0.4 showing on the clock in OT to give the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (44-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks, and is atop the Western Conference by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (25-28-8) has points in four in a row (2-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . With one game remaining, Everett is 7-1-1 in the season series; Seattle is 2-5-2. . . . Kindopp, who has 38 goals,  now is tied for the WHL lead in game-winners. Kindopp and F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, have 10 each. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 32 shots in recording his seventh shutout of this season and the 11th of his career. . . . This season, Wolf is 39-13-3, 1.72, .935.His career numbers are 52-19-3, 1.85, .933. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 12-4-3, 2.71, .921. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly sat out Game 3 of a four-game suspension.


Tweetoftheday

Raiders put wraps on conference, division titles. . . . Oil Kings stay on top of tight Central. . . . Spokane, Tri-City neck-and-neck in U.S.


ThisThat

The above tweet provides a look inside the Wayne Fleming Arena at the U of Manitoba in Winnipeg as the UBC Thunderbirds and the Bisons faced off in Game 2 of a Canada West playoff series.

This is where the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice are scheduled to play at least the next two seasons after relocating after 21 seasons in Cranbrook, B.C.


The Saskatoon Blades will be out of their home arena — the SaskTel Centre — for a couple of weeks in the first half of the WHL’s 2021-22 season.

That’s because the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings will be held there from Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.

Canada’s women’s and men’s entries for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which are to be played in Beijing, will be decided at the Roar of the Rings.

Including time to set up the arena and to tear down, the Blades can count on being out of the facility for at least 10 days.


D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds has drawn a TBD suspension after he took a whlheadshot major and game misconduct on Friday night.

On the play in question, McNelly hit F Martin Fasko-Rudas of the Everett Silvertips. Fasko-Rudas needed help on the ice, then left the game and didn’t return.

McNelly has been suspended on two other occasions this season. He drew three games for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a Dec. 31 game against the Winterhawks at Portland.

McNelly also sat out three games for a one-man fight during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.

McNelly didn’t play Saturday night against the visiting Portland Winterhawks, while Fasko-Rudas sat out Everett’s game with the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Meanwhile, F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen was suspended for two games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina F Sebastian Streu during Friday’s 5-4 OT loss to the host Pats.

Kastelic didn’t play last night when the Hitmen met the host Swift Current Broncos, and he’ll sit out Wednesday’s rematch in Calgary. Streu didn’t play Saturday afternoon as the Pats dropped a 5-2 decision to the Warriors in Moose Jaw.

Also on the discipline front, the Lethbridge Hurricanes were fined $750. For what? Who knows? All the WHL will say is that the fine is “for actions during game versus Medicine Hat” on Friday. The Hurricanes beat the visiting Tigers, 6-3, in that one.


While you’re here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


Fred Harbinson became the fourth head coach in BCHL history with 500 regular-season pentictonvictories when the Penticton Vees beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, 4-0, on Saturday. . . . The Vees also clinched their eighth straight regular-season Interior Division title with the the victory. . . . Harbinson is in his 12th season with Penticton. He joins Harvey Smyl (New Westminster Royals, Chilliwack Chiefs, Langley Chiefs, 1990-2012), Kent Lewis (Powell River Kings, Nanaimo Clippers, 1990-2018) and Bill Bestwick (Nanaimo Clippers, Victoria Warriors, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Victoria Grizzlies, 1989-2014) as BCHL coaches with 500 victories. . . . Harbinson took over as the Vees’ general manager and head coach prior to 2007-08 after five seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Cloud State Huskies. The Vees have him signed through the 2023-24 season.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey each had three points to help the host Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriorsWarriors to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (33-16-8) has won two in a row. It is third in the East Division, 10 points behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (18-39-3) had won its previous two games. . . . Moose Jaw leads the season series, 5-1-0. . . . Langan finished with two goals, giving him 44, and an assist; Tracey scored his 30th goal and added two assists. . . . Langan opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:19 of the first period. . . . Tracey made it 2-0 at 16:18. . . . The Pats tied it on second-period goals from D Brady Pouteau (4), on a PP, at 1:06, and F Garrett Wright (6), at 11:41. . . . After going 11 games without a goal, Wright has scored in two straight games, and has three goals in five games. He’s a 17-year-old freshman from Mesa, Ariz. . . . The Warriors took control with a pair of goals in the last 1:39 of the period. . . . D Josh Brook (15) broke the tie at 18:21, and Langan made it 4-2 at 19:18. . . . Moose Jaw got its final goal from F Carson Denomie (4), a Regina native, at 14:57 of the third period. . . . Regina was without F Sebastian Streu, who took a hard hit from F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night. Kastelic was given a boarding major and game misconduct on the play and was suspended for two games on Saturday. . . . For an interesting read, click on the tweet at the top of this piece and read the comments. . . .

Tracey, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was the 21st overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals (30), assists (40) and points (70), in 57 games. . . . F Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit leads OHL freshmen in goals (29) and points (61) in 53 games. F Jean Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires is tops in assists (37) in 55 games. . . . In the QMJHL, F Egor Serdyuk of the Victoriaville Tigres leads freshmen in goals (23) and points (56), in 55 games. D Jordan Spence of the Moncton Wildcats is No. 1 in assists (41), in 59 games.


F Cole Fonstad had a goal and three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-1 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (49-8-3), which clinched the East Division pennant for the first time since 1999 with the victory, has won three in a row. . . . The Raiders, who also will finish atop the Eastern Conference, have tied the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials for most victories in a 68-game regular season. . . . Brandon (29-23-7) had won its previous six games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-1-1; the Wheat Kings were 2-4-0. . . . The Wheat Kings came out winners the last two times these teams met, winning 5-4 in OT in Prince Albert on Feb. 15, and 6-3 in Brandon the next night. . . . The Raiders got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Noah Gregor, at 2:37, and F Ozzy Wiesblatt (15), at 11:33. . . . Brandon D Vince Iorio scored his first WHL goal at 12:24. . . . The Raiders got the next five goals, from F Jakob Brook (6), Gregor, who now has 37, F Parker Kelly (30), F Sean Montgomery (27), on a PP, and Fonstand (27). . . . This was Fonstad’s second career four-point game. . . . Wiesblatt added two assists to his goal, and Gregor also had an assist for a three-point game. . . . The Raiders had a 48-16 edge in shots, including 23-4 in the second period and 13-5 in the third. . . . Brandon F Lynden McCallum left early in the second period with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos left for a bit after absorbing a hit from Raiders D Brayden Pachal late in the second period. The two fought later, and Mattheos, Brandon’s leading scorer, didn’t play in the third period. . . . The Raiders lost Kelly at 15:48 of the third period as he took a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit that sent Brandon F Marcus Sekundiak to the dressing room. . . . Raiders D Max Martin sat out a third straight game. . . . Brandon was without F Linden McCorrister (ill) for a second game in as many nights. . . . Prior to the game, the Raiders announced that they had returned F Cole Nagy to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers and G Brett Balas to the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks.


The Saskatoon Blades are back in the WHL playoffs for the first time since the spring of Saskatoon2013. The Blades clinched a playoff spot with a 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Saskatoon (38-14-8) is second in the East Division and is likely to meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . Kootenay (11-38-10) has lost eight in a row (0-6-2). . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (12), who had gone 15 games without a goal, at 6:57, and F Gary Haden (28), at 14:20. . . . F Jaeger White (25) got the Ice on the scoreboard at 18:21. . . . D Reece Harsch (4) stretched Saskatoon’s lead to 3-1 at 5:05 of the second period. . . . Kootenay tied it on third-period goals by F Brad Ginnell (14), at 10:05, and F Jakin Smallwood (12) at 13:16. . . . Ginnell also had two assists. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic scored the only goal of the three-round shootout. . . . Saskatoon G Dorrin Luding stopped 34 shots, four fewer than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Saskatoon has opened the scoring in 41 of 60 games. . . . Saskatoon F Max Gerlach had his point streak snapped at 15 games. He had 13 goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . . Saskatoon D Nolan Kneen was back in the lineup after a one-game absence. . . . The Ice scratched D Martin Bodak with an undisclosed injury. He had played Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert.


The Calgary Hitmen scored three PP goals en route to a 6-1 victory over the Broncos in CalgarySwift Current. . . . Calgary (31-22-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-42-5) has lost 10 in a row (0-8-2). . . . The Hitmen were 3-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . Calgary got out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Luke Coleman (19), at 6:58, and D Devan Klassen (1), at 7:56. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (15) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 10:05. . . . Calgary F Carson Focht, who had four assists, was in on Calgary’s next three goals, by F Kaden Elder (24), on a PP, F Ryder Korczak (7), on another PP, and D Jackson van de Leest (1). . . . F James Malm (26), who also had two assists, scored Calgary’s final goal. . . . Focht enjoyed the second four-point game of his career. . . . Klassen, a 17-year-old from Crooked Creek, Alta., got his first goal in his 38th game, 29 of them this season. Van de Leest, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, was the 16th overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. His first goal of this season — and second of his career — came in his 58th game of 2018-19. He has played in 101 career games. . . . Calgary was without F Mark Kastelic, who began a two-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen revealed Saturday afternoon that F Cael Zimmerman will be out weekt-to-week with an unidisclosed injury. He now has missed three games since last playing on Feb. 16 in a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. Zimmerman, a sophomore who turned 18 on Jan. 17, has seven goals and 18 assists in 56 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the Rebels in EdmontonOilKingsRed Deer. . . . Edmonton (34-18-8) has won three in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold a game in hand. . . . Red Deer (29-24-5) has lost five straight and is 1-9-2 in its last 12 outings. It is two points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings, who hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Edmonton is 5-1-1 in the season series; Red Deer is 2-5-0. . . . On Friday, the Oil Kings had beaten the visiting Rebels, 2-1. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (28) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 12:09 of the first period, and F Parker Gavlas (1) made it 2-0 at 15:54. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (30) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 of the second period, and F Andrei Pavlenko (8) made it 4-0 at 1:37 of the third. . . . D Ethan Sakowich (2) scored while shorthanded to get Red Deer on the scoreboard at 2:27, only to have Edmonton F Vladimir Alistrov (10) get that one back at 5:13. . . . Red Deer got another shorthanded goal, this one from F Oleg Zaytsev (12), at 19:57. . . . Edmonton was 1-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-4. . . . Edmonton enjoyed a 36-23 edge in shots, including 16-7 in the second period. . . . F Josh Williams (ill) was among Edmonton’s scratches. He had played in Friday’s game.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots for his first WHL shutout as he led the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes to a 5-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (32-17-10) has won three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and with a game in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-5) has lost six straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. The Tigers  are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings and four up on the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hurricanes had beaten the visiting Tigers, 6-3, on Friday night. . . . With two games remaining, Lethbridge is 5-1-2 in the season series; Medicine Hat is 3-5-0. . . . The Hurricanes began a five-game road swing with this one. . . . F Nick Henry (23) got the game’s first goal, at 2:48 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes went up 4-0 on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (29), on a PP, at 8:51; F Jake Elmer (31), at 15:55; and D Calen Addison, at 18:40. . . . Addison scored again at 1:08 of the third period, giving him his first career multi-goal game. He has 11 goals this season, equalling his career high from last season. . . . Addison also had an assist. He now has 58 points, including 47 assists, in 58 games. . . . Elmer has goals in eight straight games, having scored 11 times in that stretch. . . . Lethbridge remains without F Scott Mahovlich, who has missed five games after leaving the team earlier this month due to a family emergency. . . .  The Tigers, already without F Ryan Jevne, scratched F Brett Kemp, who played in Friday’s game.


G Roman Basran stopped 18 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (26-29-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the B.C. Division and now holds a seven-point lead on the Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . Kamloops (22-29-6) was blanked for the first time this season. The Blazers are five points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Each team is 4-3-1 in the season series — seriously! — which has two games remaining. . . . Basran has two shutouts this season. . . . F Nolan Foote (31) put the Rockets ahead at 1:53 of the second period, and F Mark Liwiski (9) added insurance at 5:46. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 21 shots for the Blazers.


F Seth Jarvis scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 Portlandvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (37-17-6) is second in the U.S. Division, eights points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (24-28-7) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . Portland is 8-2-0 in the season series, including six straight victories; Seattle is 2-6-2. . . . Seattle led this one 3-0 before the first period had reached the midway point. . . . F Matthew Wedman (33) made it 1-0 at 2:05; F Owen Williams (4) upped it to 2-0 at 8:04; and F Andrej Kukuca (23) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:42. . . . D Clay Hanus (6) started the Portland comeback at 1:57 of the second period, with F Lane Gilliss (14) getting the visitors to within a goal at 2:24. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich tied it with his 12th goal, at 3:21 of the third period. . . . Jarvis, Portland’s second shooter, scored in the shootout, with the three Seattle shooters all being blanked. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas come on in relief of Joel Hofer and stopped all 22 shots he faced through OT. . . . Seattle got 36 stops from G Roddy Ross. . . . Portland D Nick Cicek was hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle D Jake Lee at 16:44 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks continue to be without D Brendan De Jong. . . . With D Cade McNelly suspended, the Thunderbirds brought in D Luke Bateman from the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Bateman, 16, played two earlier games with the Thunderbirds, who selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


F Eli Zummack broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 2-1 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (31-19-7) had lost three in a row (0-2-1). The Chiefs and Americans now are tied for third in the U.S. Division, with Spokane having a game in hand. . . . Tri-City (33-22-3) had won its past two games. . . . The Americans are 6-3-0 in the season series; the Chiefs are 3-5-1. . . . F Adam Beckman (26) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:19 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko (23) tied it at 16:33. . . . Zummack got the winner, his 14th goal of the season, at 3:32 of the third period. . . . Spokane was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 24 shots for Spokane, four fewer than Tri-City’s Beck Warm, who was making his 100th regular-season appearance. . . . The Americans scratched F Kyle Olson, who has 62 points in 53 games. He had played Friday in a 4-2 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks.


F Phillip Schultz scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the host Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (31-25-3) is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . With the loser point, Vancouver (40-14-4) wrapped up the B.C. Division pennant for the first time since 2009-10. The Giants are four points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. Vancouver has two games in hand. . . . The teams will meet again this afternoon in Victoria to complete the tripleheader weekend. The Giants won, 4-0, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Vancouver is 5-2-2 in the season series; Victoria is 4-4-1. . . . Last night, F Milos Roman (23) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:48 of the first period. . . . Victoria responded with the next three goals, by F Brandon Cutler (11), at 2:56 of the second period; F Kody McDonald (18), at 3:41; and F Dino Kambeitz (9), shorthanded, at 3:22 of the third. . . . Vancouver pulled even on goals from F Jadon Joseph (17), at 10:49, and F Davis Koch (24), at 15:51. . . . Victoria went back in front as F Logan Doust (6) scored, at 17:21. . . . The Giants got to OT as F Jared Dmytriw (15) scored, at 19:17. . . . With Vancouver shooting first, Dmytriw and McDonald traded goals in the shootout’s third round, and F Lukas Svejkovsky and Cutler did it in the fourth round, before Schultz won it. . . . D Bowen Byram had three assists for the Giants, with Joseph adding two assists to his goal. . . . Byram has 21 goals and 37 assists in 58 games. . . . The Royals got 38 saves from G Griffen Outhouse, while G Trent Miner blocked 20 shots for Vancouver. . . . The Giants listed G David Tendeck as a scratch for personal reasons. He was in goal for the Giants on Friday. . . . With Tendeck out, the Giants had Braedy Euerby, a 16-year-old from Delta, B.C., backing up Miner. Euerby plays for the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep team. He was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Vancouver also had F Zack Ostapchuk in the lineup. Ostapchuk, 15, is from St. Albert, Alta., and plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. This was his fifth game of the season with the Giants, who took him with the 12th overall selection of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt, who has battled injuries for most of this season, was back in the lineup after last playing on Feb. 2.


The Everett Silvertips jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to score a 6-3 victory over the Everettvisiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Everett (42-14-4) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (17-36-7) had snapped a 17-game losing skid (13-0-4) with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night. The Cougars have eight games remaining and are 14 points from a playoff spot. . . . Everett played twice in Prince George earlier in the week, winning both games by the same 4-1 score. . . . Everett went 4-0-0 in the season series, outscoring the Cougars, 20-6. . . . last night, the Silvertips got first-period goals from D Wyatte Wylie (10), on a PP, at 6:08; F Zack Andrusiak (37), at 6:24; and F Jackson Berezowski (11), on a PP, at 17:52. . . . F Robbie Holmes (11) made it 4-0, on another PP, at 2:59 of the second period. . . . F Matéj Tomas scored for the Cougars at 5:12, but the Silvertips got that one back at 6:19 as F Bryce Kindopp scored. . . . Kindopp added his 36th goal at 2:23 of the third period. . . . Toman got his second of the game and seventh of the season at 10:16, and F Josh Maser (24) got the Cougars’ last goal at 17:31. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother had three assists for Everett. . . . The Silvertips were 3-5 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-4. . . . Everett outshot the visitors, 47-29, including 24-8 in the first period. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg, who didn’t finish Friday’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, was scratched from this one. . . . Everett was without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, F Connor Dewar, F Riley Sutter and F Dawson Butt, all of whom are injured.


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Kootenay Ice unveils Hall of Fame on way out of Cranbrook . . . Blades stretch lead over Warriors . . . Byram’s red-hot streak continues

MacBeth

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) has been released by Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). The team’s captain, he had three goals and eight assists in 31 games.


ThisThat

Eight days after announcing that the franchise will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for Winnipeg once this season is over, the Kootenay Ice has announced the formation of a Hall of Fame.

No, it’s not April 1. No, this isn’t a script for Saturday Night Live. This isn’t MAD KootenaynewMagazine.

You can’t make this stuff up. Seriously. You just can’t.

The Ice made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday, adding that former captain Jarret Stoll, 36, who played four seasons (1998-2002) in Cranbrook, will be the first inductee. Stoll captained the Ice in its Memorial Cup-winning season (2001-02).

According to a news release, selection to the Hall of Fame “is not a number retirement; however, all inductees will be honoured with a special ceremony and banner-raising to commemorate their achievements.”

The news release doesn’t indicate where Kootenay-area fans will have to go in future seasons to view the Hall of Fame, whether it will be located in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, the Ice’s home for the next two seasons, or later in its yet-to-be built home in an area in the southwestern corner of Winnipeg.

Stoll, in his second season as a development coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, is to be honoured prior to a game with the visiting Calgary Hitmen on March 2 after which Cranbrook’s time in the WHL will be down to three home games.

“The ceremony,” reads the news release that is right here, “will include a banner raising.”

What that means is that Western Financial Place, the home of the Ice, which already has a Wall of Fame, won’t have a WHL team after March 16, but there will be one Hall of Fame banner fluttering in the rafters.

The news release also states: “All banners hanging in the rafters at Western Financial Place, including the future Ice Hall of Fame banner, will remain in Cranbrook.”

Hey, good for Stoll, who will be on hand for the evening, along with his wife, Erin, who you may know as Erin Andrews of ESPN. There isn’t any doubt that he should be the first but it’s all about the timing.

In future seasons, fans and sponsors who supported the Kootenay Ice will be able to find solace by wandering into the arena, grabbing a seat, sipping on their coffee, and looking up into the rafters. They won’t have a WHL team, but, hey, those banners. . . .

One Ice fan told Taking Note: “It is a rare occasion that I am lost for words.”

Another long-time observer of the Cranbrook hockey scene offered: “I don’t understand this for a second. . . . It is insulting and ridiculous.”

Mattmove1
While the Kootenay Ice was announcing the first inductee into its Hall of Fame, a moving fan was at the Cranbrook home of president/general manager Matt Cockell on Wednesday.

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Neil Godbout is the editor-in-chief of the Prince George Citizen. He has written a column headlined ‘Are we the next Cranbrook?’ It points out that with support for the Cougars seeming to be fading, “The Cougars are Prince George’s team. Whether they stay that way is up to Prince George.”. . . . The announced attendance on Tuesday was 2,030 when the Cougars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vancouver Giants. On Wednesday, the number was 2,083 as the Cougars fell 4-3 in OT to the Giants. . . . Godbout’s piece is right here.


D Liam Schioler of the Regina Pats will attend Queen’s U in Kingston, Ont., next season and play for the Gaels. The 6-foot-3 Schioler, 20, is from Winnipeg. An alternate captain, he is in his fourth season with the Pats. He played in his 223rd regular-season game on Wednesday night as Regina dropped a 4-3 decision to the host Calgary Cowboys (aka Calgary Hitmen) in the Corral.


The Everett Silvertips could run into something of a scheduling conflict in Angel of the EverettWinds Arena should they advance to the second round of the WHL playoffs. . . . The first round should begin on March 22 and conclude on or about March 31. . . . That would mean the second round should start about April 2 or 3. . . . The Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference, are certain to be playing in the first round, likely against the conference’s second wild-card seed. Assuming the Silvertips advance to the second round, they are likely to run head-on into the Cirque de Soleil CRYSTAL, which is to hold a total of eight performances in Angel of the Winds Arena from April 10 through April 14. . . . It could be that the Silvertips and a second-round opponent will have to do some creative scheduling.


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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

 

The Saskatoon Blades unleashed a 48-shot attack in skating to a 6-1 victory over the Saskatoonvisiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Saskatoon (32-13-8) has points in eight straight (6-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of Moose Jaw, although the Warriors do hold four games in hand. . . . Moose Jaw (28-13-8) has lost two in a row. . . . The Warriors had a 21-5 edge in first-period shots and emerged with a 2-0 lead on goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (6), at 9:46, and F Chase Wouters (10), on a PP, at 19:48. . . . F Ryan Hughes (20) made it 3-0 just 54 seconds into the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida (21) got Moose Jaw’s goal, on a PP, at 12:53 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson (10) got that one back, on a PP, at 18:11. . . . F Max Gerlach (32), on another PP, and D Brandon Schuldaus (5) — yes, on another PP — scored for Saskatoon in the third period. . . . Saskatoon was 4-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . The Blades ended up outshooting the Warriors, 48-20. . . . Davidson also had two assists, as did Crnkovic. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo left at 3:20 of the third period with a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Blades F Kirby Dach. . . . The Warriors were without F Tristin Langan, as he served a one-game suspension.


F Riley Stotts broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period as the Calgary Cowboys (aka Calgary cowboysHitmen) beat the Regina Pats, 4-3, in the second game of what they are calling the Corral Series. . . . Calgary (27-19-5) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). It is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Red Deer and Calgary hold down the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, eight points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina (14-36-3) is 28 points out of a playoff spot with 15 games remaining. . . . The Hitmen are playing three games in the Corral and honouring three teams — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers — who played in the building. . . . F Kaden Elder put Calgary out front 54 seconds into the second period. . . . Regina took the lead on a pair of goals from F Ty Kolle, at 10:50 and 14:08. . . . F Mark Kastelic tied it with his 37th goal, at 15:23, and Elder’s 22nd goal, 35 seconds into the third period, provided Calgary with a 3-2 lead. . . . Kolle, who hadn’t scored in 27 games, completed his first WHL hat trick at 5:09. It came in his 122nd career game, his 28th with Regina. He now has 11 goals this season. He also had a shootout goal in the Pats’ 2-1 victory in Lethbridge on Tuesday night. . . . Stotts won this one with his 15th goal at 16:41. . . . Calgary got 33 stops from G Jack McNaughton, one fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . G Carl Stankowski, who last played on Nov. 23, was on Calgary’s bench in a backup role.


IceMH1
The Kootenay Ice had an announced attendance of 1,902 on Wednesday at their second home game since the announcement that the franchise will be moving to Winnipeg after this season.
IceMH2
Fans of the Kootenay Ice are saying their thank yous before the season ends and the team moves to Winnipeg.

The two Ryans — Chyzowski and Jevne — each scored twice to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers to a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Medicine Hat (29-18-4) has won two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Kootenay (11-33-8) has seven home games remaining before it leaves Cranbrook for Winnipeg. . . . The Tigers had a 21-3 edge in first-period shots and came out with a 2-1 lead. . . . F Brad Ginnell (12) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:24. . . . The Tigers took the lead as Chyzowski scored, on a PP, at 15:26, and D Cole Clayton (4) counted at 19:12. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (18) upped the Tigers’ lead to 3-1, on a PP, at 1:52. . . . The Ice came back to tie it on goals from F Peyton Krebs (17), on a PP, at 15:53, and F Jakin Smallwood (9) at 5:39 of the third period. . . . Jevne snapped the tie at 6:03. . . . Chyzowski added insurance with his 18th goal, on another PP, at 16:09, and Jevne put it away with his 24th goal, an empty-netter, at 19:32. . . . Jevne added two assists to his goal, with Preziuso getting two helpers and Chyzowski one. . . . Ice F River Fahey didn’t return after a first-period fight with Tigers F Trevor Longo . . . . The Tigers ended up with a 51-26 shot advantage. . . . Medicine Hat got 23 saves from G Mads Søgaard, with the Ice’s Jesse Makaj blocking 45 shots. . . . The Tigers were 3-4 on the PP; the Ice was 2-4. . . . This was the Ice’s second home game since the team’s owners announced that they will be moving the franchise to Winnipeg at season’s end. The announced attendance was 1,902, the smallest crowd of the season.


F Luke Toporowski scored twice and added an assist as the Spokane Chiefs skated to a 5-SpokaneChiefs4 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Spokane (27-17-6) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks and three ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (21-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, eight points behind the Victoria Royals and two ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . D Lassi Thomson (13) got Kelowna started at 3:38 of the first period. . . . Toporowski, who has 15 goals, tied it at 5:02 and gave his guys the lead at 15:08, on a PP. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff’s first WHL goal, on a PP, got Kelowna into a 2-2 tie at 2:37 of the second period. . . . The Chiefs went ahead 4-2 on goals from F Connor Gabruch, his first, at 4:15, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (6), at 12:55. That was Anderson-Dolan’s 99th career regular-season goal. . . . Swetlikoff scored another PP goal, this one 23 seconds into the third period, but F Jake McGrew (22) restored Spokane’s two-goal lead at 2:08. . . . F Nolan Foote (26) got a shorthanded goal at 7:14 to pull the Rockets to within a goal. . . . F Leif Mattson had four assists for the Rockets, with Swetlikoff adding one to his pair of goals. . . . Spokane D Ty Smith was back in the lineup and had two assists, after leaving early during a 6-5 shootout loss to the host Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. Smith left after absorbing a hit from Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who was given an interference major and game misconduct, but hasn’t been suspended. . . . The Rockets were without F Conner Bruggen-Cate, who served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . The Rockets had F Steel Quiring make his WHL debut while D Jackson DeSouza played his second game. Quiring, who turned 16 on Jan. 15, was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, with DeSouza a fourth-round pick in that same draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., plays for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. DeSouza, 15, is from Erie, Colo. DeSouza, who also plays for the Okanagan Rockets, made his WHL debut on Dec. 15 in a 2-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers.


D Bowen Byram scored his third OT goal of the season to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 Vancouvervictory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (35-13-3) had won three straight, including a 4-2 victory in Prince George on Tuesday night. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (16-30-6) has lost 11 in a row (0-8-3). It is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . Last night, the Giants took a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from F Jared Dmytriw (11), at 7:11; F Brayden Watts (12), at 8:34; and D Aidan Barfoot (3), at 12:55. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (20) started the Cougars’ comeback, on a PP, at 16:00 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (20) cut the deficit to one, on another PP, at 19:50. . . . F Reid Perepeluk tied the game with his first goal of the season, at 11:05 of the third period. . . . Perepeluk’s first goal came in his 39th game. Last season, he scored twice in 10 games. . . . Byram won it with his 21st goal of the season, 57 seconds into OT. . . . In 17 games since Jan. 1, Byram has 12 goals and 11 assists. . . . On Jan. 26, Byram scored at 2:39 of OT to give the Giants a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. On Jan. 30, he scored 33 seconds into OT to provide Vancouver with a 3-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Giants got 28 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 26 shots for the Cougars.


F Phillip Schultz scored three times to help the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Victoria (26-21-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seattle (20-25-6) had beaten the host Royals, 5-2, on Tuesday night. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Henri Rybinski (3) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . The Royals responded with the next three goals — from Schultz, on a PP, at 17:09; F Kaid Oliver (21), on a PP, at 3:52 of the second period; and Schultz, at 6:27. . . . F Andrej Kukuca got Seattle to within a goal at 4:44 of the third period, but F Dino Kambeitz (8) got it back for the Royals just 10 seconds later. . . . Kukuca (16) added a PP goal at 16:07. . . . Schultz completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:55. Schultz, an 18-year-old freshman from Denmark, has 11 goals and eight assists in 42 games. . . . D Scott Walford had three assists for the Royals, the fourth time in his career that he has had at least three helpers in one game. . . . Despite not appearing on the WHL’s weekly roster report that was issued on Tuesday, Seattle D Jarret Tyszka missed his second game in as many nights.


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WJC rosters include 14 WHLers . . . Tourney opens with four games . . . Finland-Sweden in Day 1 spotlight

Mowing
If you didn’t see this photo on Twitter earlier, it was taken on Christmas Day at about 2 p.m. Hey, I was born in Sherridon, Man., and raised in Lynn Lake, Man. — look them up on Google Maps — so I had never before seen grass this green on Dec. 25. LOL! . . . This is at the back of our home; there were nine deer on a field just west of the front yard. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get a really close look, so it may have been Rudolph and some friends.

MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2014-16) has signed a two-way contract for the rest of this season with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) after clearing NHL unconditional waivers and having his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) terminated. He had two assists in 15 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL).


ThisThat

The 10-team World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria with two games in each venue.

In Vancouver, it’s Czech Republic versus Switzerland (1 p.m. PT) and Canada versus Denmark (5 p.m.)

In Victoria, it’s U.S.A. versus Slovakia (3:30 p.m.) and Finland versus Sweden (7:30 p.m.).

In other words, Day 1 should bring us three no-contests and one thriller. Don’t forget that 2019wjcas much as we look forward to this tournament, the early-going often is full of lop-sided games. What today’s schedule means is that you will be able to go out and soak up some of those Boxing Day sales before coming home to watch Finland and Sweden do battle.

BTW, make certain that you’re aware of the IIHF’s new late-hit rule because if you aren’t it’s going to make you crazy.

And note that you aren’t going to read a whole lot about the WJC on this site after this report. I’m not there, nor will I pay particular attention through the early part of the tournament. But there will be a whole lot of other places loaded with info from those who are taking in the games in person.

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The 10 teams taking part in the WJC filed their preliminary rosters on Tuesday.

Under IIHF regulations teams had to register at least 15 skaters and two goaltenders. If a team doesn’t file the maximum (20 skaters and three goaltenders), it is allowed to add players to its roster until two hours before games until reaching the maximum.

By my count, there are 14 WHL players on those rosters. Here’s a look:

Canada (6) — G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders; D Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs; F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane; F Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks; F Brett Leason, Prince Albert. . . . Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw is Canada’s head coach; Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is one of the assistant coaches. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Czech Republic (3) — G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Filip Kral, Spokane; F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans. . . . The roster also includes former Brandon D Daniel Bukac, now of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, and F Martin Kaut of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, whose CHL rights belong to Brandon. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Denmark (2) — G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers; F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Finland (0) — The roster includes D Henri Jokiharju of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played the previous two seasons with Portland; F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Finnish pro team Karpan Oulu, who spent the previous two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos; and F Sami Moilanen of Tappara Tampere, who played the past two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Kazakhstan (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Russia (1) — D Alex Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Mark Rubinchik, who plays for Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, was with the Saskatoon Blades for the previous two seasons. . . . Registered 11 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Slovakia (2) — F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle; F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants. . . . Registered 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Sweden (0) — Brandon holds the CHL rights to D Erik Brannstrom of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Switzerland (0) — F Justin Sigrist of the GCK Lions Zurich played with the Kamloops Blazers in 2017-18. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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USA (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Meanwhile, Mason Black, who is on Twitter at @NHL RankKing, went over the WJC rosters and has an easy-to-read NHL team-by-team list of prospects right here.

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If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.

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This piece is four years old, but if you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time. It’s from Rolling Stone and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what went into what has become a movie with an amazing following. . . . The story — it’s an oral history — is right here.


Here is one more great read for you. . . . It’s not that long ago when Austin Murphy was one of the best and most-prolific writers employed by Sports Illustrated. These days, as he writes, “I drive a van for Amazon.” . . . He has written a first-person piece on the adventure of a package deliverer and it’s awesome stuff. You’ll find it right here.


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Hey, WHL, how about filling us in on trade rules? . . . Kichton, Leslie head for school . . . Royals sign Danish skater


MacBeth

F Oscar Möller (Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a four-year contract extension with Skellefteå (Sweden, SHL). Möller has one year left on his current contract; the extension begins next season and runs through the 2022-23 season. Last season, he had 18 goals and 24 assists in 49 games.


ThisThat

Here’s part of what I wrote here on July 24:

“Taking Note has been told that the WHL has acted in an attempt to put a halt to the number of young players who get traded within the league.

“The move is a reaction to the number of deals that were made in the period leading up to last season’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the league has decided that its teams won’t be allowed to trade any 15- or 16-year-old players who have signed WHL contracts. On top of that, the only time the trading of a 17-year-old player will be allowed is if that player has requested a trade.

“The 17-year-old player will have had to approach the team’s general manager to ask for a trade; a team won’t be able to make the first move, asking said player to waive his no-trade clause. Taking Note was told that the WHL will approach a 17-year-old player’s parents to make sure the procedure was followed.”

That entire piece is right here.

It is most unfortunate that the WHL has such an uncomfortable relationship with transparency. It really would be nice if the league would let parents, players, fans, observers and anyone else who might be interested in on the particulars.

You will recall that the Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos made a deal this week that involved four players and three draft picks. After the deal was announced, there was speculation on social media as to which players had signed and which players hadn’t, and also wondering about the presence of no-trade clauses.

As one observer wrote in an email after that deal was made: “So the rules appear to be in effect. Nice of the league to publicize everything so we all know how things work.”

It also would be nice if the league and its teams worked a bit harder to keep the fans informed on the movement of players in the offseason.

What would be so wrong with someone revealing at some point that G Brodan Salmond, 20, no longer was with the Kelowna Rockets? Why should fans have to wait until training camp rosters start to appear before finding out these things?

Another note from an email to Taking Note:

“Brodan Salmond shows up on Moose Jaw’s camp roster and that’s the first anyone is aware that Kelowna released him. You waive your No. 1 goalie from the previous season over the summer and that’s not worthy of a press release? Or even a TWEET? Your fans get to find out he’s gone when another team shows him on their roster?

“What a (poor) PR job this league (and some of its teams in particular) does. Why do they continue to believe fans don’t care about anything other than the games themselves?”

That’s a good question.



It would seem that D Marcus Kichton, 19, won’t be back with the Vancouver Giants.

When his name didn’t appear on the Giants’ training camp roster, a fan asked Steve VancouverEwen of Postmedia via Twitter: “Do you know if he’s been released?”

Minutes later, Ewen responded: “Being told Marcus Kichton is going to school.”

Kichton, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him, D Tyler Brown and a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft from the Warriors on Jan. 8, 2016, for D Josh Thrower and a fifth-rounder in 2017.

Kichton played two seasons with the Giants — 47 games in 2016-17 and 34 last season. He totalled one goal and three assists in 81 games.


D Jantzen Leslie is heading to school, rather than return to the WHL for his 19-year-old season. Leslie, who has played with the Everett Silvertips, Saskatoon Blades and Edmonton Oil Kings, will attend Red Deer College and play for the Kings. . . . A native of Lloydminster, Alta., he was a first-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 102 regular-season WHL games, he had one goal and five assists.


The Victoria Royals have signed F Phillip Schultz, 18, who was a selection in the 2018 VictoriaRoyalsCHL import draft. Schultz, from Rodovre, Denmark, played last season with the Rodovre Mighty Bulls of Denmark’s top pro league. He had five goals and seven assists in 40 games. He added nine goals and eight assists in 10 games with Rodovre SIK, which plays in the second tier. . . . The Royals finished last season with F Igor Martynov of Belarus and and Russian F Andrei Grishakov as their imports. Both are eligible to play this season as 19-year-olds; however, the Royals chose to bring back only Martynov, who had 18 goals and 25 assists in 63 games as a freshman last season.


If you haven’t heard, the Portland Winterhawks have a new assistant coach. Yes, it’s true. PortlandDon Hay, who was rather unceremoniously squeezed out by the Kamloops Blazers’ ownership group in May, already was in Portland on Monday when the team announced that he was joining the staff of Mike Johnston, who is vice-president, general manager and head coach. . . . Hay, of course, has more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history. He also has been part of four Memorial Cup championships — three as a head coach and one as an assistant. . . . “I was pretty excited when I got the phone call to see if I was interested,” Hay told Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune. “I’m really excited about (coaching) with Mike.” . . . Danzer’s story is right here.


F Ryan Bowen, 20, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets, but his brother, Ethan, 16, isn’t. . KelownaRockets. . The Rockets acquired Ryan from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in January, but he chose to finish the season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, who won the RBC Cup in May as the host team for the national junior A championship tournament. He and D Braydyn Chizen, who is preparing for his fourth season in Kelowna, are the only two 20s on the Rockets’ camp roster. . . . Ethan, who was a second-round selection by the Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, won’t be joining the Rockets, at least not right now. He will play for Chilliwack and protect his NCAA eligibility. . . . Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has that story right here.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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