Habscheid, Sutter approach No. 500 . . . Almeida sinks Cougars in OT . . . Raiders post 40th victory


MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has signed a one-year contract extension with ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he is pointless in nine games with ZSC. On loan to the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B), he had five goals and 11 assists in 18 games, and on loan to the GCK Lions U20 Zurich (Switzerland, Elite Junior A), he had seven goals and five assists in five games.


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Two long-time WHLers are running almost neck-and-neck as they move closer to becoming only the eighth and ninth head coaches with 500 regular-season victories.

Just one victory separates Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders and Brent Sutter whlof the Red Deer Rebels as they close in on the milestone.

Habscheid, whose Raiders are into their 14th consecutive week as the top-ranked team in the CHL, has 495 victories. He wasn’t in Victoria on Tuesday night as the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, because he is in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game.

Habscheid, 55, has coached the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria and Prince Albert.

Sutter, 56, is at 494 victories. He is the owner, general manager and head coach in Red Deer and has spent his entire coaching career with the Rebels. Sutter missed one victory earlier this season because he was on a fathers’ junket with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. His son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the career record for victories (750), having passed Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland, 742) last season while the head coach of the Blazers.

After Habscheid and Sutter, the current head coaches with the most regular-season victories are Shaun Clouston of the Medicine Hat Tigers, at 382, and Portland’s Mike Johnston, with 342.


The Prince George Cougars were without F Josh Maser on Tuesday as they dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Maser was serving the first of a three-PrinceGeorgegame suspension handed down earlier in the day. He was suspended under supplemental discipline for an unpenalized hit on Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann during the Blazers’ 3-2 OT victory in Prince George on Sunday. On the WHL’s weekly roster report, Schmiemann is listed as being out for a week. . . . Why did the Blazers file for supplemental discipline? . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV that “it was a situation and a play that should’ve been called on the ice, should’ve been penalized. To what extent in the heat of the battle, you never know, but upon watching video I think it’s something we want to make sure we’re continuing to educate our players that that’s a dangerous play.” . . . As for the length of the suspension, Lajoie also told Klassen: “Three games. I’m not going to judge on that, but I’ve seen our players, for similar players, get more games.” . . . The Blazers have had two players suspended for more than three games for high hits this season. F Jermaine Loewen got four games after hitting D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 5 in Kamloops. Quigley missed three games. F/D Jeff Faith drew a five-game suspension under supplemental for an unpenalized hit on D Remy Aquilon of the host Victoria Royals on Jan. 9. Aquilon hasn’t played since absorbing that hit.


F Dylan James, 15, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he has committed to the U of North Dakota where he will play for the Fighting Hawks. He is the first player born in 2003 to commit to UND. . . . From Calgary, he was a second-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. James, who won’t turn 16 until Oct. 12, has 14 goals and 12 assists with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Last season, he put up 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Jacob Wright to a WHL contract. Wright, 16, is a list player from Langley, B.C. He has 11 goals and 23 assists in 24 games with the B.C. Major Midget League’s Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed G Brett Mirwald to a WHL contract. Mirwald, 15, is from Saskatoon. He was selected in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, with the midget AAA Saskaton Blazers, he is 14-2-0, 2.11, .910, with three shutouts in 17 appearances.


The junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has named Mike Wilson as its head coach, replacing Cam Basarab. . . . Wilson is familiar with Campbell River, having been the associate coach for two seasons (2015-17). . . . Basarab had been the head coach — he moved up from assistant coach — since early November following the departure of GM/head coach Lee Stone. Assistant coach Bill Brett took over as the GM. . . . The Storm is 27-9-3 and leads the North Division by 23 points over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Justin Almeida scored 30 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Moose Jaw (25-11-8) has points in five straight games (4-0-1), all on a trip through the B.C. Division. The Warriors are third in the East Division, four points behind Saskatoon with three games in hand. . . . Prince George (16-24-5) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is two points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ilijah Collins (6), at 18:07 of the first period, and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (16), at 3:51 of the second. . . . F Tristin Langan (37) pulled the visitors to within a goal at 7:12, and D Jett Woo (10) tied it at 6:14 of the third period. . . . Almeida won it with his 15th goal, off assists from Langan and D Josh Brook, who finished with two helpers. Almeida, from Kitimat, B.C., began his WHL career by playing 87 games with the Cougars, who had selected him fifth overall in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The Cougars had a 25-16 edge in shots, and won 31 of 50 faceoffs. . . . The game featured one minor penalty, that to Moose Jaw D Drae Gardiner for slashing at 9:59 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 23 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, from the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg on the bench in support of starter Isaiah DiLaura. Brennan was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Taylor Gauthier, the Cougars’ other goaltender, is at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.


F Nolan Volcan broke a 1-1 tie just 24 seconds into the second period as the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 2-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (17-21-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and Prince George. . . . Spokane has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland and two ahead of Tri-City. . . . F Matthew Wedman (18) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 4:07 of the first period. . . . Spokane tied it at 19:44 when F Jake McGrew (19) scored on a PP. . . . Volcan’s 18th goal, with Wedman drawing the lone assist, stood up as the winner. . . . G Roddy Ross blocked 34 shots in his first home start for Seattle, two more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . Ross was making his sixth appearance with Seattle since joining the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. He is 4-0-1, 2.11, .926. . . . The Chiefs were without F Luc Smith, who left the club following a death in his family. He is expected back in time to play Friday in Kamloops. . . . F Cordel Larson, who left the ice on a stretcher the last time the Chiefs played, on Saturday night, made the trip to Kent with his teammates but won’t play for at least a week. He’s fine, but needs time to recover from the trauma and some soreness. . . . Seattle F Jake Lee missed this game as he is in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game.


The Prince Albert Raiders got out to a 2-0 first-period lead and never looked back as they PrinceAlbertskated to a 4-1 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Prince Albert (40-5-2) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is 3-0-1 in the B.C. Division swing that wraps up Thursday against the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. That game is to be televised by Sportsnet. . . . The Raiders, who last won 40 games in one season in 1998-99, lead the overall standings by 14 points over Everett. . . . Victoria (23-20-1) is second in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kelowna. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (13) got the Raiders started, on a PP, at 15:02, with F Sean Montgomery adding his 20th goal just 47 seconds later. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (18) scored for Victoria at 1:00 of the second period only to have F Cole Fonstad (18) get that one back at 4:27. . . . D Max Martin (6) finished the scoring, on a PP, at 8:52 of the third period. . . . The Raiders were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 0-5. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots for Prince Albert, seven fewer than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . Outhouse’s night included a right-pad stop on a third-period penalty shot by F Parker Kelly. . . . The Raiders were without head coach Marc Habscheid and F Brett Leason, both of whom are in Red Deer for the Top Prospects Game. . . . In Habscheid’s absence, associate coach Jeff Truitt ran the bench and recorded his 136th victory as a head coach. That includes stints with the Kelowna Rockets and Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Loeden Schaufler, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 10, played his first game with the Raiders.


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Chiefs’ Larson stable after leaving on stretcher . . . New arena in Pats’ future? . . . Baron rules in Brandon

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F Cordel Larson, a freshman with the Spokane Chiefs, left Saturday night’s game against SpokaneChiefsthe visiting Tri-City Americans on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital.

Shortly after the game, the Chiefs issued a statement saying that Larson “is in stable condition and has full use of all extremities. His overall injury status remains to be determined.”

Larson, a 17-year-old from Weyburn, Sask., was hurt at 8:10 of the second period, after being checked by Tri-City D Aaron Hyman, who was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct.

Larson was on the ice for a bit while being tended to, then was removed on a stretcher.

The Chiefs tweeted at the time that Larson “is awake and moving.”

Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ head coach, told Taking Note that “it sounds like he will be OK . . . (it was) very scary.”

“He has feelings in all extremities and (we’re) just waiting on imaging,” Lambert added.

Larson was a ninth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He played two seasons with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask., before joining the Chiefs this season. He has six goals and an assist in 38 games.

The Chiefs next are scheduled to play on Tuesday when they visit the Seattle Thunderbirds.


If you happened to watch all — or any — of the WHL game between the Calgary Hitmen and host Edmonton Oil Kings on Sportsnet on Saturday afternoon, you saw the first RE/MAX WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation game of the season.

From a news release:

“This year, players will sport uniforms emblazoned with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.

During the 2017-18 WHL regular season, participating WHL clubs came together with RE/MAX to raise more than $265,500, representing the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the special games, which include the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams:

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.

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The Brandt Centre, the home of the Regina Pats, is 41 years of age, and there are Patsdiscussions ongoing about its future.

The Pats and Regina Exhibition Association Limited signed a five-year lease last week.

“I’m glad there’s a lease in place; that’s an important foundation for securing a relationship,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “It is important to have a discussion about the future of the Brandt Centre. Do we refurbish? Do we work on a new facility in another location or on that location?

“There needs to be some collaboration and discussion by all parties. For the moment we do have the comfort of having a lease in place for a few years so we can have those discussions in a very productive way.”

It could be that when all is said and done Regina will be home to a new arena with more than 10,000 seats.

Harder has all the details right here.


If you haven’t heard, the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs and Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars, teams from the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, are playing an outdoors game today . . . in Fort St. James, B.C.

Organizers and team officials have constructed an outdoor rink at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena that is a bit smaller than regulation — it is 31 feet shorter and 12 feet narrower.

“It’ll be a lot more physical, one-on-one battles, moving the puck quicker, but it’s the same for both teams,” Trevor Sprague, the Cougars’ general manager, told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Clarke’s story is right here and it’s an interesting look at what all went into the production of what is a great Canadian hockey story.


Darren Rumble, who did a stint as an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds, has ohlsigned on as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. . . . When this season began, Rumble was in his sixth season as the head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. However, he was fired on Jan. 7. . . . Rumble spent two seasons (2011-13) on the Thunderbirds’ coaching staff. . . . As a player, he spent three seasons (1986-89) in the OHL, with the Kitchener Rangers. But he hadn’t coached in the OHL until signing with Saginaw. . . . Chris Lazary is the head coach in Saginaw, having moved up from associate coach to replace the fired Troy Smith on Nov. 18. . . . Smith has since joined the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Edmonton Oil Kings built up a 2-0 lead thanks to their PP and then went on to EdmontonOilKingsscore a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (25-14-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and leads the Central Division by two points over Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (21-18-4) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Brandon. . . . The Oil Kings lead the season series 4-0-1. . . . D Matthew Robertson (6) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 7:42 of the first period, and F Carter Souch (8) made it 20 just 42 seconds into the second. . . . F Luke Coleman (13) got Calgary to within a goal at 6:51. . . . Edmonton F Vladimir Alistrov (6) stretched the lead to 3-1 at 3:51 of the third period. . . . Calgary F Carson Focht (12) rounded out the scoring, on a PP, at 7:23. . . . D Conner McDonald had two assists for Edmonton and now has 100 career regular-season points in 235 games. This season, he has nine goals and 18 assists in 47 games. . . . G Jack McNaughton made his 18th straight start for Calgary, stopping 24 shots. . . . Edmonton got 25 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . Calgary won 37 of the 57 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen were without F Jake Kryski and F James Malm, while Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield remains on the shelf.


F Baron Thompson, who went into the game with two goals, scored three times to lead BrandonWKregularthe host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 7-5 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (19-18-6) has won two in a row to get within two points of a playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-30-8) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It went 2-3-1 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings had beaten the visiting Ice, 5-4 in OT, on Friday night. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (30) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:13 of the first period. . . . F Jaeger White tied it at 15:35. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 at 16:26 as F Luka Burzan (27) counted on another PP. . . . The Ice went ahead 3-2 on goals from D Carson Lambos (1), on a PP, at 18:47, and White (20), at 1:10 of the second period. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, was playing in his fifth WHL game. He was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Thompson, who had two goals in his previous 41 games this season, then scored twice, at 13:01 and 16:49 as Brandon went ahead 4-3. . . . F Cole Reinhardt upped that to 5-3 at 18:27. . . . Kootenay came back in the third period and tied on goals from F Jakin Smallwood (7), at 1:04, and F Austin Schellenberg (4), at 1:21. . . . However, Thompson completed his hat trick at 6:27, and Reinhardt (13), who also had an assist, added insurance at 19:04. . . . The Ice got three assists from D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon at the trade deadline. . . . The Ice’s scratches included F Connor McClennon, who missed a second straight game, D Martin Bodak, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, and D Valtteri Kakkonen (ill).

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The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 4-2 victory Saskatoonover the Pats in Regina. . . . Saskatoon (28-13-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, six points ahead of Moose Jaw, although the Warriors hold four games in hand. . . . Regina (12-33-2) has lost 10 straight (0-9-1). . . . The Blades beat the visiting Pats, 6-2, on Friday night and lead the season series 3-1-0; the Pats are 1-2-1. The home team had won each of the first three games. . . . The Blades won this one behind two goals from each of F Eric Florchuk and F Cyle McNabb. . . . Florchuk made it 1-0, on a PP, at 10:44 of the first period, with McNabb upping it to 2-0 at 3:38 of the second. . . . Florchuk got it to 3-0 with his 13th goal, at 18:50 . . . F Duncan Pierce (8) got Regina’s first goal, on a penalty shot while the Pats were shorthanded, at 2:30 of the third period. . . . McNabb restored the three-goal lead with his fourth goal of the season, at 6:01. . . . F Riley Krane (10) got Regina’s second goal, another shorthanded effort, at 11:27. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots for the Blades.


F Jackson Shepard broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (24-13-8) had lost its previous two games. Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are tied for second in the Central Division, two points behind Edmonton. . . . Red Deer (26-14-3) had points in each of its past five games (4-0-1). It now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . On Friday night, the Rebels won 3-1 in Lethbridge. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes won despite being credited with winning only 18 of 58 faceoffs. . . . F Jeff de Wit (24) put the Rebels in front, on a PP, at 12:27 of the first period. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (26) tied it at 12:23. . . . Shepard, who hadn’t scored in 15 games, won it with his third goal of the season at 9:52. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots to earn the victory over Ethan Anders, who made 29 saves. . . . De Wit left in the second period after crashing into the Lethbridge net. He didn’t return.


D Trevor Longo broke a 3-3 tie with 52.6 seconds left in the third period as the Medicine Tigers Logo OfficialHat Tigers beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (26-16-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with Lethbridge for second in the Central Division, two points behind Edmonton. . . . Swift Current (9-33-3) has lost three in a row. . . . The Tigers beat the Broncos, 3-1, on Friday night in Swift Current. . . . Last night, the home side took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Nick McCarry (1), at 2:37; D Dylan MacPherson (2), at 6:30; and F Brett Kemp (25), at 16:39. . . . The Broncos got started at 15:39 of the second period on a goal from F Owen Blocker (2). . . . The visitors made it a one-goal game when F Ethan O’Rourke (6) scored at 8:17 of the third period, and they tied it on a goal by D Connor Horning (4), on a PP, at 10:22. . . . Longo broke the tie with his fourth goal of the season, and F James Hamblin (26) got the empty-netter at 19:41. . . .  The Tigers had a 44-26 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the second period. . . . McCarry’s first WHL goal came in his fourth game this season. A 17-year-old from Calgary, he was pointless in two games last season.
This season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons before being added to the Tigers’ roster.


F Nolan Foote scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory KelownaRocketsover the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Kelowna (19-22-4) has won two in a row. It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (39-5-2) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is 2-0-1 on its B.C. Division trip and leads the Eastern Conference and the East Division by 18 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Rockets went into the weekend having lost six in a row. They beat the host Everett Silvertips, 2-0, on Friday night, meaning they scored victories over the two conference leaders on back-to-back nights. . . . Last night, the Raiders went ahead 1-0 on a goal by F Aliaksei Protas (9), at 4:51 of the first period. . . . Kelowna took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Kyle Topping (17), at 12:36, and Foote (22), at 16:03. . . . F Dante Hannoun (22) scored for the Raiders at 1:42 of the second period, and F Parker Kelly (22) gave them a 3-2 lead at 7:52 of the third. . . . The home team forced OT when D Lassi Thomson (10) scored, on a PP, at 14:51. . . . Foote, who also had two assists, was the first shooter of the second round and his goal stood up as the winner. . . . The Rockets got 30 saves from G Roman Basran, with Ian Scott stopping 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Rockets honoured former D Josh Gorges prior to the game. He announced his retirement as a player earlier in the week. Gorges, who is from Kelowna, captained the 2003-04 Rockets, who won the Memorial Cup on home ice. Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, was the head coach of that Kelowna team. Jeff Truitt, the Raiders’ associate coach, was on Habscheid’s staff in Kelowna.


The Portland Winterhawks broke open a scoreless game with five third-period goals and Portlandwent on to beat the visiting Everett Silvertips, 5-1. . . . Portland (27-12-5) has won two in a row to close to within nine points of Everett, which leads the Western Conference and the U.S. Division. . . . Everett (33-11-2) has lost two straight. . . . Everett still leads the season series, 5-3-0, although Portland is 3-4-1. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, figured in Portland’s first three goals. . . . He opened the scoring with his 39th goal, at 3:56, then drew an assist on D Jared Freadrich’s seventh goal, at 5:05, and F Cody Glass’s 13th, at 15:19. . . . Blichfeld is the first CHLer to 80 points this season, as he now has 82, in 44 games. . . . F Jake Gricius (20) and D Brendan De Jong (6) added empty-netters for Portland. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (10) scored for Everett at 19:45. . . . Glass also had two assists. He has 61 points, including 48 assists, in 31 games. . . . Portland won 40 of the 66 faceoffs. . . . G Josh Hofer, who was acquired by Portland from Swift Current for six draft picks, made his first start in Portland a strong one with 31 saves. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf turned aside 27 shots. . . . Everett D Gianni Fairbrother (ill) missed a second straight game, while F Riley Sutter sat out an eighth game with an undisclosed injury. . . . De Jong was back after an eight-game concussion-related absence, and this was his 300th regular-season game, all with Portland.


The Kamloops Blazers won for the first time in 14 road games as they bet the Prince Kamloops1George Cougars, 3-1. . . . Kamloops (16-24-3) had lost its previous six games. In terms of road games, the Blazers went 0-12-1 after beating the host Tri-City Americans, 4-1, on Nov. 23. . . . Prince George (16-24-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kamloops and Prince George are tied for ninth in the Western Conference, two points from a playoff spot. . . . The Blazers are 4-0-0 against the Cougars this season, and have won nine straight in Prince George. . . . They’ll play again this afternoon at the CN Centre as the Blazers skate for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Last night, Kamloops grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Kyrell Sopotyk (7), at 8:21 of the first period, and F Connor Zary (10), at 10:04 of the second. . . . F Josh Maser (17) cut the Cougars on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 15:16. . . . F Martin Lang (9) gave the Blazers some insurance at 8:54 of the third. . . . G Dylan Ferguson, who pulled himself after allowing three goals in the first period of a 5-2 loss to visiting Moose Jaw on Tuesday, stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, making his eighth straight start, blocked 29 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers scratched F/D Jeff Faith, who completed a five-game WHL suspension, and D Luke Zazula, who left Friday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders early in the second period. As a result, the Blazers were able to dress only 17 skaters, one under the maximum.


F Nolan Volcan broke a 4-4 tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period and the SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds went on to a 6-4 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (16-21-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and Prince George. . . . Victoria has dropped four in a row. . . . F Noah Philp gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 15:07 of the first period, and it was a Teddy Bear goal. The Thunderbirds were the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to have a Teddy Bear game, or a toque throw, etc. . . . The teams went to their dressing rooms while the ice was cleared. . . . When they returned, F Sean Richards (14) upped the lead to 2-0. . . . Victoria cut into the deficit at 18:48 of the second period on a goal from F D-Jay Jerome (17). . . . The teams then combined for seven third-period goals. . . . F Kaid Oliver (19) got Victoria into a tie at 0:47, and F Igor Martynov (5) gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 2:29. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman tied it at 3:12, only to have Victoria reclaim the lead on a goal by D Mitchell Prowse (2), at 7:25. . . . The Thunderbirds closed it out with three straight goals, from Wedman, at 10:52; Volcan (17), at 12:02; and Wedman (17), shorthanded, at 18:29. . . . Wedman’s second goal originally was credited to D Simon Kubicek, but was later changed. That gave Wedman his first career WHL hat trick. . . . D Jake Kustra and F Carson Miller, two players acquired via trade, were among Victoria’s scratches. . . . The Royals and Kamloops Blazers led the WHL by each playing in four Teddy Bear games.


F Sasha Mutala scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-tri-city1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . Tri-City (23-16-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (24-14-5) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs lost despite leading 40-33 in shots and 42-23 in the faceoff circles. . . . Both ‘real’ goals came in the third period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (4) got Spokane’s goal at 5:04. . . . F Parker AuCoin (25) replied for Tri-City, on a PP, at 8:06. . . . F Kyle Olson gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead in the second round of the shootout, with Anderson-Dolan tying it in the third round. That left it for Mutala to win it. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots, six more than Tri-City’s Reece Klassen. . . . Warm has been in six shootouts this season and he has won them all, stopping 17 of 20 shots in the process. . . . The Americans have been to OT on 14 occasions this season. They have posted six shootout victories and five in OT, losing twice in OT and once in a shootout. . . . Tri-City lost D Aaron Hyman to a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:10 of the second period after a hit on freshman F Cordel Larson.


F Davis Koch scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw VancouverWarriors in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (29-12-2) has won six straight. It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over Victoria. . . . Moose Jaw (24-11-8) has points in four straight (3-0-1), all on a trip into the B.C. Division. It is third in the East Division, six points behind Saskatoon with four games in hand. . . . D Jett Woo, whose NHL rights belong to the Vancouver Canucks, gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. He’s got 38 points, including nine goals, nine, in 39 games. Last season, he finished with 25 points, including nine goals, nine, in 44 games. . . . D Bowen Byram (16) got Vancouver into a 1-1 tie at 9:36. He’s got 43 points in 43 games. . . . Koch won it with his 16th goal at 2:58 of OT. He has a goal in five straight games. In his past six games, he has put up five goals and nine assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 26 shots for Vancouver, one more than Moose Jaw’s Brodan Salmond.


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

ThisThat

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

Keast was there in support of starting goaltender Jordan Frey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wrapping up Deadline Day . . . Teams close with 11 deals involving 16 players . . . Raiders involved in three trades

tradewire

THE DEADLINE IS GONE

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 11.

Players: 16.

Bantam draft picks: 10.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 44.

Players: 77.

Bantam draft picks: 63.

Conditional draft picks: 15.

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

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The Prince Albert Raiders did some last-minute shopping on Thursday as the WHL’s annual trade deadline passed us by.

The Raiders completed three deals, all before noon their time, after which management PrinceAlbertpresumable went snow golfing.

In all, the Raiders added three depth players — a goaltender, a defenceman and a forward.

The Raiders added G Boston Bilous, 17, from the Edmonton Oil Kings, giving up a conditional sixth-round selection in the 2022 WHL bantam draft.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, he had committed to the U of Denver Pioneers, but later changed his mind and signed with the Oil Kings.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder appeared in 10 games for Edmonton this season, going 3-4-1, 3.56, .859. Last season, he was 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Bilous has been hampered by injuries, missing two weeks in early November. He returned to play two games, but now hasn’t been in a game since Nov. 24.

Last season, he also missed couple of weeks in November, returned for three games and then was out until late February.

Bilous is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft and, in fact, is on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list where he is projected as a potential late-round selection.

After making the deal, the Raiders had three goaltenders on their roster — Bilous, starter Ian Scott and Donovan Buskey, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Aug. 31 for a sixth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

Later in the day, Prince Albert dropped Buskey from its roster. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

Scott, 20, is 24-4-1, 1.73, .939. Buskey, who is to turn 19 on Jan. 29, had gotten into 11 games, going 9-1-0, 3.15, .870.

While the Raiders may be looking for some competition at the backup position, they also are looking to next season when Scott no longer will be part of their organization. It could be that a change in scenery will help Bilous kick the injury thing and get things back on track. After all, in his bantam draft season he was the CSSHL’s top goaltender while player at the Delta Hockey Academy.

Bilous’s departure leaves the Oil Kings with veterans Dylan Myskiw, 19, and Todd Scott, 18, as their goaltenders.

Earlier in the day, the Raiders acquired D Loeden Schaufler, 18, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

From De Winton, Alta., Schaufler was a third-round selection by the Kootenay Ice in the 2015 bantam draft.

The Ice dealt him to Seattle on Oct. 9, along with a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, for F Eric Fawkes, 17, a Winnipegger who is with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers and has committed to RPI (Rensselaer Polytech Institute) for 2020-21.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Schaufler has eight assists in 57 regular-season games, 37 of them with the Ice, including 32 last season. This season, he had two assists in 20 games with Seattle.

Schaufler only recently returned to action after being injured on Dec. 8 when he was on the receiving end of a hit by F Sean Richards, then of the Everett Silvertips. Richard drew a boarding major and game misconduct on the play and subsequently was suspended for eight games. While serving that suspension, he found himself traded to Seattle in a deal that had F Zack Andrusiak go to Everett. Schaufler returned to the lineup on Jan. 4 against the Wheat Kings in Brandon.

Later in the day, the Raiders dropped D Lane Kirk, 18, from their roster. Kirk, from Swan River, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2015 bantam draft. However, he has been injured and has yet to play this season. He now is expected to join the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, who play out of Swan River.

The Raiders began the day by sending F Quinn Olson, 17, to the Calgary Hitmen for F Bryce Bader, 17. The teams also swapped conditional sixth-round bantam draft picks — the year wasn’t revealed — in the deal.

From Sherwood Park, Alta., Bader, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, has played 14 games with Calgarythe Hitmen over three seasons. This season, he has four goals in 10 games, with three of them coming over his past three games. Bader was injured in Calgary’s final exhibition game  and didn’t get back into game action until Nov. 9. He played the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings, putting up 21 goals 23 assists in 58 games.

The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the 2016 bantam draft.

The Raiders selected Olson, who is from Calgary, in the sixth round of that same draft. The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder has committed to the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for 2020-21, and has played the past two seasons with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. This season, he has 17 goals and 25 assists in 35 games; last season, he put up 14 goals and 39 assists in 53 games.

The Raiders are back on home ice, where they have lost three of their last four games, against the Portland Winterhawks tonight.

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The Tri-City Americans acquired F Samuel Huo, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

A 6-foot-4, 185-pounder from Richmond, B.C., was added to Seattle’s protected list in 2017.

This season, Huo has three goals and six assists in 34 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had three goals and three assists in 67 games.

“Samuel is a young, experienced forward with good upside,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said in a news release. “After the departure of Isaac Johnson and recent injuries we felt it was necessary to add another forward to our roster.”

Tory told Taking Note on Wednesday night that Johnson, who had been a point-a-game player this season, has retired for personal reasons.

Huo is expected to be in the Americans’ lineup on Friday night when they visit the Everett Silvertips.

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The Saskatoon Blades acquired F Ryan Hughes, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for F Josh SaskatoonPaterson, 19, and two bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2020 and a fourth-rounder in 2021. . . . The second-round pick originally belonged to the Swift Current Broncos. They sent it and a fifth-rounder in 2019 to the Blades for G Logan Flodell on Sept. 20, 2017.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Hughes, who is from Edmonton and was listed by Portland, has played 223 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, putting up 64 goals and 87 assists. This season, Hughes has 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games.

The Blades selected the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Paterson, who also is from Edmonton, in the second round of the 2014 bantam draft. He has played 246 regular-season games with Saskatoon, totalling 74 goals and 64 assists. This season, Paterson, an alternate captain, has 14 goals and 18 assists in 41 games.

The Winterhawks and Blades are in second place in their respective divisions, Portland Portlandtrailing the Everett Silvertips by 11 points in the U.S. Division and Saskatoon 14 points in arrears of the Prince Albert Raiders in the East Division.

The Winterhawks obviously feel they need more size in order to get to Everett’s level, while Blades’ management is of the opinion that they must have more speed and offence in order to compete with Prince Albert.

Portland also is able to add a couple of bantam draft picks in this deal, one day after sending six selections to the Broncos for G Joel Hofer.

The Blades are to entertain the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night. On Saturday night, the Winterhawks, who play in Prince Albert on Friday, will visit Saskatoon.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired F Carson Denomie, 18, from the Kamloops MooseJawWarriorsBlazers for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-0, 195-pound Denomie is from Regina. The Blazers selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.

This season, he has one goal and three assists in 36 games. Last season, he recorded six goals and 13 assists in 66 games.

In 2016-17, Denomie helped the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians to a league championship, putting up 16 goals and 30 assists in 44 regular-season games.

The trade was made while the Blazers were in Victoria, where they are to meet the Royals on Friday night after dropping a 5-3 decision on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the Warriors will be in Kamloops to meet the Blazers on Tuesday.

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Moose Jaw and Swift Current got together on a buzzer-beater, with the Warriors landing F Alec Zawatsky, 19, in exchange for F Tyler Smithies, 18, and two bantam draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2020 and a fifth in 2021.

Zawatsky, from Yorkton, led the Broncos in goals (13) and points (26), in 39 games. Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 43 games with the Saskatoon Blades, under head coach Dean Brockman. After the Blades fired Brockman, he ended up joining the Broncos and he found a spot for Zawatsky on the roster.

Smithies, from Beaumont, Alta., has two goals and an assist in 19 games with the Warriors this season. Last season, he had a goal and four assists in 36 games.

The Warriors are at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night, while the Broncos will entertain the Thunderbirds on Saturday.

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The Kootenay Ice have acquired D Chase Hartje, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a Kootenaynewthird-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft. The pick originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels.

Hartje, from Bemidji, Minn. has four goals and eight assists in 35 games with Brandon this season. Last season, he had 17 assists in 31 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors, then added three goals and five assists in 27 games with the Wheat Kings.

This was the second deadline day in a row on which Hartje changed teams. A year ago, Moose Jaw dealt him to Brandon as part of the trade in which the Warriors landed D Kale Clague and the Wheat Kings got F Luka Burzan.

The Ice next plays Saturday when it visits the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

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The Vancouver Giants added D Nic Draffin, 17, from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.

Michael Dyck, the Giants’ first-year head coach, is most familiar with Draffin, having Vancouvercoached him bantam AAA and midget AAA in Lethbridge. While there, Draffin also was teammates with D Bowen Byram, who now stars for Vancouver.

This season, Draffin has one goal and four assists in 35 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.

The Rebels selected Draffin in the third-round of the 2016 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Draffin, who is from Lethbridge, is expected to join the Giants in time for home games against the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday and Victoria Royals on Sunday.

After Alan Caldwell posted the above tweet, the Kelowna Rockets claimed D Matt Barberis, 20, on waivers from the Giants, then released F Lane Zablocki, 20, who has joined the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Barberis, from Surrey, B.C., has played only nine games this season due to injury. This KelownaRocketswould have been his fourth full season with the Giants; in the previous three, he played 49, 48 and 56 games. In 168 regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 64 assists. The Giants selected him with the 20th overall pick of the 2013 bantam draft.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Barberis joins D Dalton Gally and D Schael Higson as 20-year-olds on Kelowna’s roster.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ general manager, said in a news release that Barberis has medical clearance to play, but “he probably won’t play until next weekend.”

Zablocki had four goals and eight assists in 22 games with the Rockets, who acquired him from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 28, giving up a seventh-round bantam draft pick in 2019 and a fourth-rounder in 2021. He has 62 goals and 72 assists in 223 career regular-season WHL games.

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In a one-for-one exchange that was made right before the trading deadline, the Medicine Tigers Logo OfficialHat Tigers sent F Josh Williams, 17, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Brett Kemp, 18.

Williams, who has been selected to play in the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer on Jan. 23, has nine goals and

Williams, from Langley, B.C., was selected by the Tigers with the fifth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has nine goals and 12 assists in 41 games this season, after putting up 11 goals and nine assists in 47 games last season. He had five goals and an EdmontonOilKingsassist in five games with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton in August.

Kemp, from Yorkton, Sask., was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. The Oil Kings acquired Kemp and F Graham Millar, along with a 2018 first-round bantam draft pick from Everett on Jan. 4, 2017, for D Aaron Irving and a seventh-rounder in the 2017 draft.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Kemp has 43 goals and 46 assists in 146 regular-season games, all but 17 of them with Edmonton. This season, he has 22 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. He had been the Oil Kings’ second-leading point producer.

Kemp is expected to be in the Tigers’ lineup on Friday against the visiting Regina Pats, while Williams should be Edmonton’s lineup when it visits the Lethbridge Hurricanes. On Saturday, the Tigers are at home to the Oil Kings, meaning Kemp and Williams will be going up against their former teammates.

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The Everett Silvertips added size to their roster, and they hope they got some offence, Everetttoo, with the acquisition of F Robbie Holmes, 19, from the Regina Pats.

In exchange for the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Holmes, from Sherwood Park, Alta., the Pats get F Sloan Stanick, 15, who hasn’t signed a WHL contract, and two WHL bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2020 and a sixth in 2022.

An 11th-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, Holmes has 29 goals and 27 assists in 148 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he has nine goals and seven assists in 24 games.

Stanick, from Rapid City, Man., was selected by Everett in the seventh round of the 2018 bantam draft.

This season, he has 12 goals and 12 assists in 31 games with the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. Last season, with the bantam AAA Chiefs, he finished with 28 goals and 31 assists in 36 games.

Stanick’s twin brother, Slade, also plays for the midget AAA Chiefs. Slade is on Everett’s protected list.

The Silvertips are at home to the Tri-City Americans on Friday night.

CHL, WHL facing another lawsuit . . . Kaluski has career night vs. Raiders . . . Silvertips within five points of top spot


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MacBeth

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) has exercised the out clause in his contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) and signed a contract for the rest of this season with Davos (Switzerland, NL A). Kundrátek started this season with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL), earning three assists in 25 games. He signed with Třinec on Dec. 5, and had one goal and one assist in six games.

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ThisThat

“Notice of a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League, Hockey Canada and the Western Hockey League has been filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia,” reports Gord Holder of the Ottawa Citizen, “claiming the leagues failed to enforce protocols for handling concussions and failed to provide players, parents and billet families with relevant health information about concussions.

“The representative plaintiff for the claim, filed Wednesday, is James Johnathon McEwan, a 31-year-old native of Kelowna, B.C., who played an enforcer’s role during four WHL seasons between 2004 and 2008.”

McEwan, now 31, played with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets, spending two seasons with each team.

Holder’s complete story is right here.

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The Tri-City Americans have dropped F Isaac Johnson, who will turn 20 on Jan. 19, from tri-citytheir roster. Johnson, from Andover, Minn., was a point-a-game player, with 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games. He was their fifth-leading scorer, with 32 points. . . . According to Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, Johnson has retired for personal reasons. . . . Last season, as a freshman, he had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games. . . . Before joining the Americans, he played with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, recording 14 goals and 14 assists in 47 games. . . . Johnson last played for the Americans in a 3-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Friday. He was scratched from a 4-1 loss in Everett on Saturday and didn’t play in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

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Josh Horton of the Everett Herald has reported that F Peter Melcher has been waived by the Everett Silvertips and wasn’t claimed by any of the CHL’s teams. Melcher, 17, is a native of Czech Republic, although he played in Slovakia for the four seasons prior to this one. . . . The Silvertips selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. He played for Slovakia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August, then attended Everett’s training camp. However, he was injured (concussion, neck) during the preseason and hasn’t played since. . . . Melcher will be eligible to re-enter the CHL’s 2019 import draft.

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The Kelowna Rockets have deleted F Jack Cowell, 19, allowing him to join the Fort Garry/Fort Rouge Twins of the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Cowell, who is from Winnipeg, had two goals and three assists in 26 games with the Rockets this season. On Dec. 1, he was traded to the Kootenay Ice for a third-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. However, he refused to report to the Ice and the trade was voided. . . . In 182 regular-season WHL games, all with Kelowna, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.

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Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.

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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen scored three shootout goals and beat the Warriors, 3-2 in Moose Jaw. Calgary. . . Calgary (20-16-4) has won five in a row. It is fifth in the Central Division, three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (21-9-7) has lost two straight. It is settling into third place in the East Division, eight points behind the Saskatoon Blades and 11 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Tristin Langan (31) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the second period. . . . F kaden Elder (17) tied it at 16:23. . . . Moose Jaw went ahead 2-1 as F Keenan Taphorn (10) scored at 8:16 of the third. . . . Calgary D Dakota Krebs forced OT with his fourth goal, at 17:25. . . . F Justin Almeida and F Brayden Tracey scored for the Warriors in the four-round shootout, but the Hitmen got goals from F James Malm, F Carson Focht and F Josh Prokop to win it. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 33 shots for Calgary, two fewer than Moose Jaw’s Adam Evanoff. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter was back behind the Warriors’ bench after his stint with Canada’s national junior team. Under associate coach Mark O’Leary, the Warriors were 6-2-1. . . . The Warriors were without F Tate Popple (undisclosed injury) for a third game.

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F Jaxan Kaluski, playing in his 100th regular-season game, scored three times times to Seattlelead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Seattle (13-21-4) is 2-2-0 on its six-game East Division trip. The Thunderbirds are last in the Western Conference, but have closed to within three points of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the second wild-card berth. . . . Prince Albert (35-5-1) now is 18-3-0 on home ice. It also has lost three of its past five games, including three of four at home. The Raiders still lead the East Division by 14 points over the Saskatoon Blades. But their lead atop the overall standings is down to five points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kaluski, a 19-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., scored his first WHL hat trick. He went into the game with two goals in 37 outings, then scored three times in 37:06. . . . Last season, he scored three times — twice in 22 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors and once in 24 games with Seattle. Going into last night, he had five goals in 99 career regular-season games. . . . Kaluski opened the scoring at 1:23 of the second period. . . . D Jeremy Masella (2) tied it at 2:08. . . . Kaluski then gave his guys a 3-1 lead with goals at 7:54 and 17:06. . . . F Matthew Wedman (14) clinched it with an empty-netter at 19:44. . . . Seattle got 32 saves from G Roddy Ross, who is 2-0-0 since being added to the roster from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks on Jan. 1. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly was eligible to return from a three-game suspension but was scratched.

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The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-2 Portlandvictory over the host Regina Pats. . . . Portland (25-11-5) has won six in a row and has points in 10 straight (6-0-3). It also is 4-0-0 on its six-game East Division trip. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Regina (12-28-2) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Portland got that 3-0 lead on goals from F Jake Gricius (18), at 8:15 of the first period, D Clay Hanus (5), at 19:40, and F Joachim Blichfeld, with his WHL-leading 38th, at 0:56 of the second. . . . F Austin Pratt (16) cut Regina’s deficit to two, at 18:42. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich (6) restored the three-goal lead at 2:51 of the third period. . . . D Liam Schioler (4) pulled Regina back to within two at 8:15. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (10) put it away with the empty-netter, at 17:44. . . . Gricius also had two assists for the fifth three-point night of his career. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas stopped 24 shots as he made his 39th start of the season. . . . G Joel Hofer, acquired earlier in the day from the Swift Current Broncos for six WHL bantam draft picks, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back from a suspension, but again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion). . . . With G Max Paddock ill, Matthew Pesenti, a 17-year-old who plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, was on Regina’s bench in support of Dean McNabb, who made 30 saves.

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F Zak Smith broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 Red Deervictory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Red Deer (23-13-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Rebels are tied for second with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Swift Current slipped to 8-29-3. . . . F Carter Chorney (11) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 1:56 of the first period. . . . Red Deer went ahead on goals from D Dawson Barteaux (5), on a PP, at 9:19, and F Brandon Hagel (23), at 8:15 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (11) tied it at 9:18 of the third period. . . . Smith broke the tie at 13:02 with his eighth goal of the season. . . . Red Deer had a 37-23 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the second period. . . . G Riley Lamb, signed by the Broncos earlier in the day and added to the roster from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, was on the bench as Isaac Poulter stopped 34 shots. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in the lineup after he played for Russia at the WJC. In fact, he is the only WHL player who can lay claim to having won a medal at this year’s tournament after Russia finished third. . . . F Kye Buchanan, 17, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. They added him to their roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . F Tyler Lees, acquired Monday from the Victoria Royals, wasn’t in Swift Current’s lineup.

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F Jake Elmer’s goal late in the third period gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory Lethbridgeover the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Lethbridge (22-10-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2) and now leads the Central Division by three points over the Red Deer Rebels and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Kootenay (8-28-7) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1). . . . The Ice went ahead 1-0 at 4:19 of the first period as F Connor McClennon scored his fifth goal of the season. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Dylan Cozens (24), at 7:13, and F Jordy Bellerive (21), at 12:26. . . . Bellerive has points in 11 straight games, totalling 10 goals and 11 assists over that stretch. On the season, he has 21 goals and 31 assists in 40 games. . . . Elmer’s 19th goal, at 16:33, won it. . . . The Hurricanes outshot the Ice, 54-22, including 24-12 in the first period and 23-4 in the third. . . . Kootenay G Jesse Makaj made 51 saves. . . . G Curtis Meger, signed earlier in the day, was on the Ice bench as the backup.

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F Bryce Kindopp’s two goals helped the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 4-2 victory over the EverettKelowna Rockets. . . . Everett (32-8-2) has won three in a row. The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by 11 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna (17-19-4) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Victoria Royals and five ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Rockets went ahead 1-0 at 2:57 of the first period on a PP goal by D Lassi Thomson. . . . Kindopp tied it at 19:49. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (29) broke the tie, on a PP, at 9:44 of the second period. . . . Thomson pulled the Rockets even with his ninth goal, at 19:58. . . . The Silvertips won it with two third-period goals. . . . Kindopp (21) broke the tie at 11:56, and D Gianni Fairbrother (6) got the empty-netter at 19:50. . . . Dewar also had two assists. . . . G James Porter stopped 40 shots for the Rockets, who were outshot 44-24, including 17-6 in the second period. . . .  Everett G Dustin Wolf earned the victory. He now is 28-8-1, 1.81, .929. . . . D Schael Higson, acquired earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings, was in Kelowna’s lineup.

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The Spokane Chiefs scored two PP goals on as many opportunities as they doubled the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Spokane (23-13-4) has won three in a row and is third in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Portland Winterhawks and six ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (14-22-3) had won its previous two games. This was the last game of the Cougars’ road trip from hell, and they finished 3-8-0. They are two points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars last played at home on Dec. 2. They will entertain the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday. . . . Last night, the Chiefs went ahead 2-0 on first-period PP goals from D Nolan Reid (6) and D Ty Smith (4). . . . D Joel Lakusta (5) cut the deficit to a goal 31 seconds into the second period. . . . F Luc Smith (17) gave Spokane a 3-1 lead at 12:56 of the third period. . . . F Josh Maser (13) scored for the Cougars at 18:50. . . . F Jake McGrew (17) got the empty-netter for Spokane at 19:48. . . . Spokane was credited with winning 34 of the game’s 52 faceoffs.

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F Kody McDonald scored twice as the Victoria Royals beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, VictoriaRoyals5-3. . . . Victoria (21-15-1) has won three in a row. This was the Royals’ first home game since Dec. 15. They were out of their home arena because some of the WJC was being played there. . . . The Royals are second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (15-20-3) has lost two straight and is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, nine points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kamloops is 0-10-1 in its last 11 road games. That follows a 6-1-0 run on the road. . . . McDonald scored his first goals for Victoria after coming over from the Prince Albert Raiders on Jan. 3. . . . The Royals took control by scoring the game’s first four goals. They led 4-0 early in the third period. . . . D Jameson Murray (2) got it started at 11:19 of the first period, and McDonald upped it to 2-0 at 17:57. . . . McDonald’s eighth goal of the season, on a PP, increased the lead to 3-0 at 10:23 of the second. . . . F Brandon Cutler (10) made it 4-0 at 8:00 of the third. . . . F Martin Lang (8) got the Blazes on the scoreboard at 12:05, only to have F Phillip Schultz (7) get that one back, on a PP, at 15:43. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (6) and F Zane Franklin (20) rounded out the Blazers’ scoring. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has 40 points in 38 games. Last season, he finished with 38 points 14 of them goals, in 67 games. . . . The Blazers and Royals will meet again Friday in Victoria.

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Tweetoftheday

Portland pays price for goaltender . . . Brandon, Kelowna swap d-men . . . Kootenay adds two players

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 33.

Players: 61.

Bantam draft picks: 53.

Conditional draft picks: 11.

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

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Who knew the price for a goaltender with 14 career regular-season victories would be so high?

The Portland Winterhawks have acquired G Joel Hofer, 18, from the Swift Current PortlandBroncos, but they had to give up six WHL bantam draft picks, including two first-rounders, in exchange.

Obviously not content with his goaltending, Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, surrendered first-round picks in the 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts, along with a third-rounder in 2019, and second-, fourth and fifth-rounders in 2020.

According to Shaun Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, the 2019 third-round pick originally belonged to the Kootenay Ice, while the fifth-rounder in 2020 originated with the Everett Silvertips.

Hofer, a Winnipegger, was a second-round selection by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL contract. Chances are that he will be in the WHL next season, too.

Hofer’s career numbers are 14-24-5, 3.55, .907.

Last season, as a WHL freshman, he got into 19 games, going 8-3-2, 2.61, .914. He made only two playoff appearances (2.60, .875), playing just 46 minutes as the Broncos won the WHL championship.

Hofer started last season backing up Logan Flodell and finished it behind Stuart Skinner after the Broncos were involved in a deadline deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes that included a swap of goaltenders.

This season, playing on the team with the WHL’s poorest record, Hofer is 6-21-3, 4.02, .904. It is that last figure, considering that he has faced more shots than any other WHL goaltender this season, that would seem to have  caught Johnston’s attention.

The Winterhawks have used two goaltenders — sophomore Shane Farkas, 19, and freshman Dante Giannuzzi, 16 — this season. Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., is 23-9-5, 2.88, .900 in 38 games, with Giannuzzi, who is from Winnipeg, at 1-2-0, 4.09, .833 in four appearances. Combined, they have a 2.97 GAA and a .897 save percentage.

Last week, the Winterhawks added G Evan Fradette, 17, to their roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. He just backstopped the team to the championship at the Mac’s midget tournament in Calgary. A fifth-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft, he hasn’t yet gotten into a game with the Winterhawks, who are on their East Division swing.

The Winterhawks opened that swing in Swift Current on Friday, beating Hofer four times on 47 shots in a 5-3 victory.

Portland took a 3-0-0 record on the trip into Wednesday night’s game with the Regina Pats. The Winterhawks also will stop in Prince Albert on Friday and Saskatoon on Saturday before heading home to face the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 19.

From a Portland perspective, this deal is all about the Winterhawks trying to get to the same level as the Silvertips. Going into Wednesday games, Everett (31-8-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland (24-11-5).

With the likes of forwards Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld in their final seasons with the Winterhawks, Johnston no doubt feels that it’s now or never.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are looking two, three and four seasons down the road. Their SCBroncoscupboard got stripped bare a year ago as Emanuel Viveiros, then the director of player personnel and head coach, loaded up for what turned into a successful championship run.

To fill the vacancy created by Hofer’s departure, the Broncos signed Riley Lamb, a 20-year-old who has played this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers.

A native of Rivers, Man., Lamb actually was traded by the Red Wings to the Terriers on Jan. 2. In the deal, Yorkton gave up G Ben Laidlaw and the junior A rights to D Parker Gavlas, 19, who is with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and D Christian Riemer, 18, who is with Swift Current.

In 26 games with Weyburn, Lamb was 9-13-3, 3.43, .912. In three games with Yorkton, he was 1-2-0, 3.38, .889. Combined, he was 10-15-3, 3.43, .910.

Lamb spent the previous two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, going 27-23-13 in 73 appearances.

In Swift Current, Lamb will partner with freshmen Isaac Poulter, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, who was a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft.

Lamb joins F Tanner Nagel and D Matt Stanley as Swift Current’s three 20-year-old players.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings have traded D Schael Higson, who was dropped from their BrandonWKregularroster last week, to the Kelowna Rockets for D Braydyn Chizen and a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Both players are 20 years of age.

Higson, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Grande Prairie, Alta., has 79 points, including 18 goals, in 282 regular-season games, 90 of them with the Saskatoon Blades and 192 with Brandon. This season, he had three goals and 14 assists in 20 games when he was a healthy scratch prior to game in Moose Jaw against the Warriors. He then KelownaRocketswas dropped from Brandon’s roster.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Chizen is from St. Albert, Alta. He was a ninth-round pick by the Rockets in the 2013 WHL draft, and was a seventh-round selection by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2016 draft. However, the Wild never signed him and he now is a free agent.

In 211 regular-season games with the Rockets, he recorded 11 goals and 23 assists.

The Wheat Kings still have room for another 20-year-old, with only Chizen and F Linden McCorrister on their roster.

In Kelowna, Higson joins F Lane Zablocki and D Dalton Gally as the 20s.

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The Kootenay Ice has acquired D Brenden Kwiatkowski, 18, from the Moose Jaw KootenaynewWarriors for a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Kwiatkowski, from Grande Prairie, Alta., had one assist in 22 games with the Warriors last season. This season, he has two assists in 14 games.

Meanwhile, the Ice has signed G Curtis Meger, 20, who had been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.

From Regina, Meger got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886.

This season, with Lloydminster, he was 4-14-0, 4.02, .892.

With the Ice, he joins veteran Duncan McGovern, 18, and freshman Jesse Makaj, 17, in the goaltending department. Going into Wednesday’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes, McGovern was 6-15-2, 4.81, .868, with Makaj at 2-12-5, 4.23, .881. Each of them had appeared in 23 games.

The Ice had room for a 20-year-old after trading D Dallas Hines to the Vancouver Giants. Meger joins F Jaeger White and D Martin Bodak as the Ice’s 20-year-olds.

Prior to Wednesday, the Ice, with the WHL’s second-poorest record and surrounded by speculation about what is expected to be a move to Winnipeg at season’s end, has used 41 players. That, of course, will rise to 43 once Kwiatkowski and Meger appear in a game.

Cougars to be more ‘assertive’ with schedule making . . . Portland still unbeaten in East . . . Gauthier blanks Americans




MacBeth

F Tomáš Plíhal (Kootenay, 2001-03) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Landshut (Germany, Oberliga South) after requesting and receiving his release from Jablonec nad Nisou (Czech Republic, 2. Liga). He had 14 goals and 20 assists in 23 games.


ThisThat

Andy Beesley is the vice-president of business with the Prince George Cougars. A few days before Christmas, he sat down with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat, a Prince George radio station, and they combined for an episode of the CatScan podcast. . . . If you have ever wondered about what goes into running the business end of a major junior franchise you will want to give this a listen. It’s 50 minutes of Beesley being honest in answering questions about ticket prices, attendance, scheduling, turning games into events, the survival of the WHL in Prince George, and even how he came to change his lifestyle and lose 100 pounds. . . .

One thing I found particularly interesting is that Beesley said the Cougars’ organization has changed its thought process and no longer will look for the one big score.

“We would love to win a Memorial Cup, but we just want to make the playoffs regularly,” he told Miller, “and that’s part of the path that the hockey side of the business is on now. We’ve changed our model a bit to aim for more of a consistent team year by year, rather than selling the farm and just having couple of studs that come in and then you cross your fingers and pay the price for the next five years. We’ve done away with that model.”

The Cougars are scheduled to entertain the Prince George Cougars on Friday night, more than five weeks after their most-recent home game. Between home games, they will have played 11 times on the road and taken the Christmas break.

Beesley promised the Cougars’ fans “that’s not going to happen again . . . we’re not going to put up with that again.”

He added that he, team president John Pateman, co-owner Eric Brown and general manager Mark Lamb “have all talked together and agreed that we need to do a far better job of not just giving input to our schedules but standing up for what the Prince George Cougars need. . . . we are going to be a lot more assertive and make sure we don’t have another six-week gap because we don’t think it’s fair to fans and it’s not fair to our business either.”

There’s lots of interesting stuff in the 50 minutes and it’s all right here.

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KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

All signs point to the Kootenay Ice packing up and moving to Winnipeg before another season gets here. However, no one from the Ice or the WHL office has had much, if 21anything to say about all the speculation.

However, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, did appear with host Dean Millard on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

Asked about the situation, Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

We now are into our 21st day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


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Allow me to apologize to Gino De Paoli, the play-by-play voice of the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. It was his tweet that tipped me off to an item on G Nick Sanders that I used here yesterday. I meant to credit De Paoli, but it didn’t get done, and for that I offer up an apology. Sorry about that, Gino.

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The Prince George Cougars have signed F Blake Eastman, 15, to a WHL contract. He was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . From Ardrossan, Alta., Eastman is playing for the Elite 15 team at OHA Edmonton, where he has 17 goals and eight assists in 21 games.

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The Spokane Chiefs have returned D Graham Sward to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Sward, 15, was the 17th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Sward played one game with the Chiefs and scored his first goal as they beat the Ice, 8-4, in Cranbrook, B.C., on Sunday.

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The Swift Current Broncos have released F Quinton Waitzner, 18, who was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . From Victoria, he had two assists in 34 games this season, after finishing last season with one goal in 43 games. He also was pointless in five games in 2016-17. . . . Before joining the Broncos, he played for the junior B Saanich Braves.

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The Prince Albert Raiders have returned G Brett Balas, 17, to the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. From Calgary, he was a third-round pick by the Raiders in the WHl’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Balas was brought in by the Raiders to fill the roster spot created with starter Ian Scott with Team Canada at the WJC. . . . Balas got into two games with Prince Albert, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871. One of the victories was in relief of starter Donovan Buskey.

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Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Portland Winterhawks erased an early 2-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to Portlanda 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Portland (24-11-5) has points in nine straight (6-0-3), and is 3-0-0 on its East Division swing. . . . Brandon (16-16-6) has lost two in a row. . . . F Ben McCartney (11) gave Brandon a 2-0 lead with goals at 1:14 and 3:45 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks tied it before the period ended on goals from F Michal Kvasnica (7) and F Seth Jarvis (10). . . . F Jaydon Dureau (9) broke the tie at 14:39 of the second period. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld upped Portland’s lead to 4-2, shorthanded, at 10:03 of the third period. He leads the WHL in goals (37) and points (76). . . D Braden Schneider (5) got the Wheat Kings to within a goal at 14:53. . . . Portland had a 51-35 edge in shots, including 22-9 in the first period. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera blocked 47 shots, 15 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . Portland D Nick Cicek, an 18-year-old freshman from Winnipeg, had one assist in his first 16 games. He had one assist last night, and now is on a six-game point streak, with nine helpers in that stretch. . . . Portland had F Cody Glass back in the lineup after his stint with Canada’s national junior team. He was held off the scoresheet. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley (suspended) and D Brendan De Jong (concussion).

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F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal and two assists to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Saskatoon (25-12-5) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle (12-21-4) is 1-2-0 on its East Division trip. . . . Crnkovic, a 16-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., was the 10th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. In 27 games, he has four goals and nine assists, with three goals and six assists having come in his past nine games. Yes, this was his first multi-point WHL game. . . . D Zach Ashton, who moved from Saskatoon to Seattle in a deal last week, gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal, at 6:35 of the first period. The goal came in his 14th WHL game, the third with Seattle. . . . Crnkovic tied it at 15:24, and F Josh Paterson (14) gave the Blades the lead, on a PP, at 17:30. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan, playing in his 300th regular-season game, tied it with his 15th goal, at 19:24. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 3-2 when F Matthew Wedman (13) accord at 4:36 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon reclaimed the lead before the period ended, on goals from F Chase Wouters (8), at 13:49, and F Eric Florchuk (11), at 17:20. . . . Volcan, 20, is from Edmonton. He was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2013 bantam draft. He has 213 points, including 88 goals, in those 300 regular-regular-season games. . . . F Cyle McNabb, acquired Monday from the Kootenay Ice, wasn’t in Saskatoon’s lineup. . . . The Blades remain without F Kirby Each and D Nolan Kneen. . . . F Sean Richards was in Seattle’s lineup for the first time since being acquired last week from the Everett Silvertips. He had to complete an eight-game WHL suspension before suiting up with the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who completed a three-game suspension.

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G Taylor Gauthier blocked 36 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 1-0 victory PrinceGeorgeover the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Prince George (14-21-3) has won two in a row. The Cougars are 3-7-0 on an 11-game swing that began with a doubleheader in Portland on Dec. 7 and 8, and included the Christmas break. The trip wraps up tonight against the Spokane Chiefs, then the Cougars have to hustle home for games with the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Tri-City (20-15-2) has lost two straight. . . . Last night, Cougars F Ethan Browne scored the game’s only goal, his sixth, at 16:05 of the second period. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old sophomore from Calgary, was the ninth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He has two shutouts in his career both of them this season. This season, he is 10-14-2, 3.08, .904. . . . Tri-City got 28 stops from G Beck Warm.

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