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.


ThisThat

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.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Report: Ice to be part of ‘ambitious development’ plan in Winnipeg . . . Giants stun Chiefs with comeback . . . Porter, Rockets win in Everett


MacBeth

Curt Fraser (Victoria Cougars, 1974-78) has been named the new head coach of Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) after the club fired head coach Jussi Tapola. Fraser was an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars (NHL) for the past six seasons. . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has been released by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after an unsuccessful tryout. He had one goal in six games. He had signed with Sparta on Dec. 27 for the rest of this season with a one-month tryout clause. . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with IK Pantern Malmö (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He was released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) on Jan. 14, after putting up five goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . .

G Ty Rimmer (Brandon, Prince George, Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2009-13) has been released by Kitzbühel (Austria, Alps HL) for personal reasons. In 29 games, he was 3.39, .920, with three shutouts. . . .

F Garrett Festerling (Portland, Regina, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract beginning next season with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he had 10 goals and 13 assists in 39 games. . . .

D Neil Manning (Vancouver, 2006-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL) after obtaining his release from the Rockford IceHogs (AHL). He was pointless in three games with Rockford, and had two goals and 15 assists in 30 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL).


ThisThat

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

There has been ample speculation over the last while that the Kootenay Ice will be 31relocating to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this WHL season.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, appeared on TSN Radio 1260 in Edmonton with host Dean Millard. At that time, Millard asked Robison about the Ice’s future.

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

That was 31 days ago. WHL fans have yet to hear from the Ice or the league office.

——

The relocation of the Kootenay Ice “is expected to trigger an ambitious development plan with the operation of the major junior hockey team as its centrepiece,” the Winnipeg KootenaynewFree Press reports.

According to the newspaper, the Ice’s owners — Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell — and other investors “are in the midst of implementing a strategy that will see Winnipeg receive among the largest-ever private investments for the game’s development in Canada. The project is also said to include at least 20 acres of sports, recreational and commercial expansion.”

The newspaper also reports that the group has plans to buy the Winnipeg Blues, the last remaining MJHL franchise in the Manitoba capital, and to have them play out of the new facility.

The story also includes this: “The WHL did not respond when asked for comment.”

The Free Press story, reported by Jeff Hamilton and Mike Sawatzky, is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen have added G Brayden Peters, 16, to their roster. Peters, from Taber, had been playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by Calgary in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . With G Carl Stankowski still out with an ankle injury, Peters will back up Jack McNaughton. . . . Peters will fill the roster spot created when Ethan Hein, 16, was returned to the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires after spending some time backing up McNaughton.


F Jackson Niedermayer, the 17-year-old son of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, has committed to the Arizona State U Sun Devils for the 2021-22 season. . . . Jackson was born in Newport Beach, Calif. He is in his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, and has two goals and four assists in 36 games. . . . Niedermayer was selected by the Calgary Hitmen in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Scott played three seasons (1989-92) with the Kamloops Blazers and also owned a chunk of the Kootenay Ice.


G Matt Davis of the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2021-22 season. . . . Davis, 17, is from Calgary. . . . With the Saints, he is 16-5, with one tie, 1.95, .917. . . . The Spokane Chiefs acquired D Noah King, Davis and a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft from the Swift Current Broncos for F Carter Chorney, D Devin Aubin and F Kye Buchanan.


G Mikey DiPietro of the Ottawa 67’s set the OHL career shutout record on Friday night as he stopped 15 shots in a 4-0 victory over the visiting Peterborough Petes. . . . DiPietro, whose NHL rights belong to the Vancouver Canucks, now has 17 career shutouts, one more than Tom McCollum, who played for the Guelph Storm and Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . Ottawa acquired DiPietro, 19, from the Windsor Spitfires on Dec. 4.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ridly Greig scored in OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the BrandonWKregularKootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (18-18-6) is four points from a wild-card playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-29-8) had won its previous two games, both of them on the road. . . . D Braden Schneider (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 10:56 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Brad Ginnell (10), at 1:13, and D Chase Hartje (5), on a PP, at 6:18. Hartje, 19, played his first game against Brandon since the Wheat Kings dealt him to the Ice at the trade deadline. . . . The Wheat Kings went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Cole Reinhardt, at 6:44, and F Luka Burzan (26), at 12:09. . . . Kootenay got the next two goals to take a 4-3 lead. F Jaeger White (18) counted, on a PP, at 13:03, and F Davis Murray (8) scored at 3:20 of the third. . . . Reinhardt’s 11th goal, via a PP, tied it 10:54, and Greig won it with his ninth goal, at 1:56 of OT. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 37 shots for Brandon, five more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos had four points — all assists — for the sixth time in his WHL career. It was his first four-assist game. . . . The Wheat Kings promoted this game as Winnipeg Blue Bomber Night and QB Matt Nichols was on hand to greet fans and sign autographs. The Ice, of course, is expected to relocate to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this season. . . . The teams will meet again tonight in Brandon. . . . The Ice was without F Connor McClennon, 16, who left Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Pats in Regina about eight minutes into the third period after absorbing a big hit in the neutral zone. The second-overall pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft has five goals and 10 assists in 26 games. . . . McClennon missed 12 games earlier with an undisclosed injury and had only returned to action on Jan. 4. . . . The Ice brought in D Carson Lambos, who turned 16 on Jan. 14, for the weekend. This was his fourth game of this season with the Ice. Lambos, the second-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is from Winnipeg.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals and the last three en route to a Saskatoon6-2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (27-13-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Blades are second in the East Division, five points ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . Regina (12-32-2) has lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . These two teams will meet again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . F Max Gerlach (27) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 9:29 of the first period, and F Ryan Hughes (19) upped it to 2-0 just 20 seconds later. . . . F Kirby Dach (18) made it 3-0 at 4:29 of the second period. . . . The Pats got to within a goal on second-period scores by F Cole Dubinsky (2), at 14:08, and F Austin Pratt (17), at 17:56. . . . The Blades put it away with third-period goals from F Riley McKay (8), on a PP, at 1:16; F Chase Wouters (9), at 7:41; and F Cyle McNabb (2), at 19:08. . . . Saskatoon outshot the visitors, 34-17. . . . The Blades got three assists from D Dawson Davidson, who now has 46 points, including 38 assists, in 46 games. He finished last season with 43 points in 69 games — 43 with Regina and 26 with Saskatoon. . . . Regina G Max Paddock (ill) remains out, although he did skate on Friday morning. As a result, Matthew Pesenti remains with the team, backing up Dean McNabb. . . . The temperature in Saskatoon as game time approached was minus-23 C, so the Blades’ merchandise store offered 23 per cent off all toques and mitts.


F James Hamblin and F Corson Hopwo each scored once and added an assist to lead the Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat Tigers to a 3-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Medicine Hat (25-16-4) has points in four straight (3-0-1) and is tied with Lethbridge for third in the Central Division, just two points from top spot. . . . Swift Current (9-32-3) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s first three goals. . . . Hamblin (21) stuck while shorthanded at 6:35 of the second period, and F Corson Hopwo (3) made it 2-0 at 10:15. . . . D Trevor Longo (4) made it 3-0 at 9:26 of the third period. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (5) got the Broncos’ goal at 10:29. . . . The Tigers held a 46-24 edge in shots and won 36 of the game’s 60 faceoffs. . . . Each team took one minor penalty. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 43 shots for the Broncos, 20 more than the Tigers’ Jordan Hollett. . . . With G Mads Sogaard sideline with a hip problem, the Tigers had Garin Bjorklund backing up starter Jordan Hollett. Sogaard was injured in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for midget AAA Buffaloes. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, and made two earlier appearances with the Tigers this season. . . . F Tyler Lees made his debut with the Broncos. He came over in a trade with the Victoria Royals on Jan. 7.


G Ethan Anders stopped 35 shots to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-1 victory over the Red DeerHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Red Deer (26-13-3) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (23-13-8) has lost two in a row. . . . They will do it all over again tonight, this time in Red Deer. . . . Red Deer took a 1-0 lead on F Jeff de Wit’s 23rd goal, at 19:27 of the first period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (23), in his 250th regular-season game, tied it, at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Red Deer F Chris Douglas (12) broke the tie, on a PP, at 17:29. . . . F Cam Hausinger (15) added insurance with the empty-empty-netter at 19:33 of the third period. . . . F Jett Jones made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes. Jones, 16, is from Olds, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons for whom he has nine goals and 17 assists in 29 games.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and went on to a 4-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince Albert (39-5-1) has won four in a row, including two straight on this tour of the B.C. Division. . . . Last season, the Raiders finished with 38 victories and 77 points, so have already surpassed both of those totals. . . . The Raiders are 19-2-1 on the road. They lead the East Division by 19 points over Saskatoon. . . . Kamloops (15-24-3) has lost six in a row and is two points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Brett Leason (31) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead just 28 seconds into the game. . . . Kamloops D Jackson Caller (3) tied it at 5:53. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (10) broke the tie at 14:53. . . . The Raiders put it away with two third-period goals — F Dante Hannoun (21) scored at 1:00 and F Justin Nachbaur got his 12th at 15:40. . . . G Boston Bilous, who was acquired by Prince Albert from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 10, stopped 29 shots in his debut with the Raiders. In fact, he hadn’t played since Nov. 24 when he was with the Oil Kings. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand made 22 saves in a stellar effort. . . . Kamloops F/D Jeff Faith served Game 4 of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid played for the Kamloops Jr. Oilers — he had seven goals and 16 assists in six games in 1982-83 — and went 85-43-16 in two seasons (1997-99) as the Blazers’ head coach. . . . The Blazers left for Prince George immediately after the game. They’ll play the Cougars there tonight and again Sunday afternoon. Yes, that’s another case of a team playing three games in fewer than 48 hours.


The Vancouver Giants overcame an early 3-0 deficit and beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 6-Vancouver4. . . . Vancouver (28-12-2) has won five in a row and leads the B.C. Division by 13 points over Victoria. . . . Spokane (24-14-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Spokane got three PP goals in the first half of the first period, the first two from F Luc Smith, who has 20 goals, and the other from D Nolan Reid (8). . . . F Tristen Nielsen (7) started Vancouver’s comeback at 18:33 of the first. . . . The Giants took a 4-3 lead on second-period goals from F Jared Dmytriw, at 1:52; D Seth Bafaro (5), at 6:11; and Dmytriw (10), at 8:40. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (5) tied it at 4:12 of the third period. . . . Vancouver F Davis Koch (15) snapped the tie at 11:11, and F Justin Soudif (11) added the empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Nielsen also had an assist, and now has three goals and seven assists over his past four games. . . . Koch, who has goals in four straight games, added an assist too, and now has 12 points over his past five games. . . . The Giants got three assists from F Dawson Holt.


The Tri-City Americans got the only two goals of the shootout to beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (22-16-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind Spokane. . . . Seattle (15-21-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . F Riley Sawchuk (14) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 3:06 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Payton Mount (4), on a PP, at 13:22, and F Noah Philp (16), at 17:41. . . . F Parker AuCoin (24) pulled the Americans even at 8:41 of the third period. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and AuCoin scored in the shootout. . . . The Americans got 39 saves from G Beck Warm.


F Tristin Langan scored three times and G Adam Evanoff stopped 28 shots to lead the MooseJawWarriorsvisiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Moose Jaw (24-11-7) has won three in a row, all in the B.C. Division. It is third in the East Division, five points behind Saskatoon but with four games in hand on the Blades. . . . Victoria (22-18-1) has lost three straight. It is second in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kelowna and with three games in hand on the Rockets. . . . While Evanoff was earning his first WHL shutout, Langan was recording his fifth WHL hat trick. . . . Evanoff stopped 13 shots in the first period, while his mates were mustering only four shots at the other end. . . . Langan got all of his goals in the second period, scoring at 9:27, 13:54 and 17:57, with the latter coming on a PP. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (11) had the game’s last goal, at 3:08 of the third period. . . . Langan, who finished last season with 42 points, including 16 goals, in 70 games, now has 74 points, including 36 goals, in 42 games. . . . F Justin Almeida drew an assist on each of Langan’s goals. . . . Each team took two minor penalties. . . . The Royals welcomed back two players who had been injured. F Sean Gulka last played on Dec. 15; F Logan Doust hadn’t played since Jan. 4.


G James Porter blocked 40 shots to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsSilvertips in Everett. . . . Kelowna (18-22-4) had lost its previous six games (0-5-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . Everett (33-10-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland, which has two games in hand. . . . Porter’s night work included 19 saves in the second period and 13 in the third. . . . He has one shutout this season and four in his career. . . . The last time the Rockets recorded a shutout in Everett? On Nov. 28, 2003, G Kelly Guard stopped 13 shots in a 1-0 victory. . . . F Michael Farren (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 3:07 of the second period, and F Mark Liwiski (3) made it 2-0 at 10:56. . . . Farren, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season, scored his first goal with the Rockets in his 26th game. . . . Liwiski, who played 10 games with Everett last season, has three goals and four assists in 40 games with the Rockets this season. . . . D Matt Barberis, 20, made his debut with the Rockets. Acquired on waivers from the Vancouver Giants on Jan. 10, Barberis has had injury woes and hadn’t played since Nov. 18. In fact, this was only his 10th game of this season. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (ill) was among Everett’s scratches.


Tweetoftheday

Rockets lose forward to retirement . . . Warriors win second game in B.C. . . . Red-hot Byram sparks Giants’ victory

——

ThisThat

The Kelowna Rockets announced on Wednesday morning that F Erik Gardiner has retired.

Gardiner, an alternate captain, was in his third season with the Rockets. The Regina Pats KelownaRocketsselected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

The Rockets acquired Gardiner and D James Hilsendager from Regina on Nov. 30, 2016, for D Jonathan Smart.

This season, Gardiner had five goals and 18 assists in 39 games. In 114 career regular-season games — four with Regina and 110 with Kelowna — he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

Gardiner, 19, is from Humboldt. He played minor hockey in the Saskatchewan community and also played 25 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos in 2016-17. Yes, he lost friends in the April 6 crash involving the Broncos’ bus.

“Due to health and personal reasons, I thought it was time to step away,” Gardiner said in a news release. “I want to focus on different things and take care of myself.”

Gardiner was limited to 31 games in 2017-18, losing a chunk in the middle of the season after being struck on the head while blocking a shot during a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Oct. 27. The impact of the shot actually broke his visor, but Gardiner returned and drew the primary assist on the winning goal.

Here’s what Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, wrote on his blog at the time:

“With many in the building gasping as Gardiner went down in considerable pain and the replay was shown on the video screen, Gardiner took off his helmet, rubbed his head a few times before eventually making his way to his feet. Surprisingly, Gardiner stayed in the game, blocked another key shot on an Americans’ power play in overtime and then set up Carsen Twarynski for the game winner.”

One night later, Gardiner was in the lineup again, picking up two primary assists in a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kelowna.

However, he didn’t play again until Feb. 9 as he tried to overcome post-concussion symptoms.

In mid-April, Gardiner spoke about his Humboldt connections with Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier. That story is right here.

——

The GSL Group, which owns the WHL’s Victoria Royals, has purchased the Delta Hockey Academy from the Delta, B.C., School District, for $1. The academy is based out of Planet Ice in North Delta, a facility owned by the GSL Group, which was founded by Graham Lee. . . . Sandor Gyarmati of the Delta Optimist has the story right here.

——

The junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C., have signed Dean McAmmond as their head coach, replacing the fired John Van Horlick. . . . Van Horlick was dismissed last week, with assistant coaches Liam Mconie and Graham Watkins running the team for a bit. They remain on staff to work with McAmmond, a former WHL and NHL forward. Joey Guerra also remains on staff. . . . Dallas Keller, the Knights’ general manager, told the Vernon Morning Star that Van Horlick will be staying with the organization as a scout and consultant. . . . That story is right here.

——

WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Kootenay Ice erased a 2-1 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 4-3 victory Kootenaynewover the Pats in Regina. . . . Kootenay (10-29-7) has won two in a row. Of its 10 victories, six are on home ice and four came in Saskatchewan. With the victory, the Ice moved ahead of the Pats by one point. . . . The Ice went into Tuesday’s game in Swift Current, where it beat the Broncos, 2-0, having won twice since Nov. 1. . . . Regina (12-31-2) has lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . D Brady Poteau (2) gave the Pats a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:03 of the first period. . . . The Ice tied it on a goal by F Austin Schellenberg (3) at 12:08. . . . The Pats went back in front at 1:58 of the second period as F Sebastian Streu (5) scored, on a PP. . . . The Ice took a 4-2 lead on goals from F Jakin Smallwood (6), on a PP, at 4:32; D Valtteri Kakkonen (1), at 11:09; and F Davis Murray (7), at 1:38 of the third. . . . Regina F Duncan Pierce (6) made  it a one-goal game at 6:11 but the Pats weren’t able to get another goal. . . . Kakkonen, a freshman from Finland, scored his first goal in his 36th game. . . . Regina was 2-9 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-5. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who was making his first appearance since joining the team from the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Meger, 20, is from Regina. Last season, he got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886. . . . The Ice scratched F Jaeger White, who may have been injured while blocking a shot late in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. White scored the game’s first goal and added an assist in that victory.

——

F James Hamblin’s shootout goal gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Tigers Logo OfficialEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (24-16-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Edmonton (24-14-8) has points in four straight and now is atop the Central Division by two points over idle Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton leads the season series, 3-0-1; Medicine Hat is 1-1-2. Yes, three of the four games have gone to extra time. . . . The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point out of third. . . . D Ethan Cap (5) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period, with the Tigers tying it on a goal by F Corson Hopwo (2), at 10:43. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (3) put the Oil Kings back in front at 19:57. . . . The Tigers tied it, again, at 4:35 of the third as F Ryan Jevne got his 21st goal. . . . Edmonton went in front, again, at 12:45 as F Josh Williams (10) scored, on a PP. That was his first goal with Edmonton since coming over from Medicine Hat in a Jan. 10 deal. . . . The Tigers forced OT when F Ryan Chyzowski (15) struck with 34.3 seconds left in regulation time. Chyzowski hadn’t played since Jan. 5 when he suffered a skate cut near a knee. . . . Hamblin, who had two assists, was the first shooter in the shootout and the only one to score. . . . Each team took one minor penalty. . . . The Tigers lost G Mads Søgaard with 5:16 left in the second period. He left after being involved in a collision with Jevne. . . . The Tigers were trailing 2-1 at the time. Jordan Hollett came on to stop 12 of 13 shots and record the victory. . . . D Matthew Robertson returned for the Oil Kings. He hadn’t played since Dec. 29.

——

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Rockets, 5-1, in MooseJawWarriorsKelowna. . . . Moose Jaw (23-11-7) has won two in a row as it has opened its B.C. Division trek with back-to-back victories. It is third in the East Division, five points behind idle Saskatoon and with four games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kelowna (17-22-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points ahead of Prince George. . . . Last season, the Rockets finished atop the B.C. Division, at 43-22-7, so have already equalled that loss total. . . . Things aren’t about to get any easier for the Rockets, either, as they are scheduled to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Friday, then hurry home to face the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . The Warriors won the faceoff battle, 37-22. . . . F Carson Denomie (2) got the Warriors started at 4:08 of the first period. It was his first goal since Moose Jaw acquired him from Kamloops last week. . . . F Justin Almeida (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:08 of the second period. . . . D Jett Woo (8) upped it to 3-0 at 19:36. . . . The Warriors got third-period goals from F Drae Gardiner (1) and F Daniil Stepanov (5) before F Kyle Topping (16) scored for the Rockets. . . . D Josh Brook drew three assists, giving him five in the first two games of the B.C. Division trip. He has nine goals and 35 assists in 32 games. . . . G Brodan Salmond earned the victory with 18 saves. He spent the previous two seasons with the Rockets, but was released over the summer. This season, he is 13-4-4, 2.84, .900. . . . Kelowna’s lone scratch was D Matt Barberis, who has yet to play since being acquired from the Vancouver Giants. With the departures of D Libor Zabransky (released) and F Erik Gardiner (retired), the Rockets have only 21 players on their roster.

——

The Prince Albert Raiders broke a 2-2 tie with four goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the PrinceAlbertCougars in Prince George. . . . The Raiders (38-5-1) have won three in a row and lead the East Division by 19 points over Saskatoon. This was the start of a B.C. Division tour that continues Friday in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (16-23-3) had won their previous two games. They hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, a point ahead of idle Seattle. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from F Sean Montgomery (19) and F Parker Kelly (21). . . . The Cougars tied it on goals from F Jackson Leppard (9), at 16:46 of the first period, and F Mike MacLean (4), at 2:40 of the second. . . . Prince Albert F Aliaksei Protas (8) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 10:51. . . . The visitors put it away with three third-period goals, from F Cole Fonstad (17), F Justin Nachbaur (11) and F Noah Gregor (27). . . . G Taylor Gauthier, making his seventh straight start for the Cougars, stopped 43 shots. . . . The Raiders got 23 stops from G Ian Scott, who now is 26-4-1, 1.78, .937. . . . F Ilijah Colina returned to the Cougars’ lineup after last playing on Dec. 30.

——

D Bowen Byram’s goal in OT gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City VancouverAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Vancouver (27-12-2) has won four in a row and leads the B.C. Division by 11 points over idle Victoria. . . . Tri-City (21-16-3) has lost two straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth. . . . The Americans jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (13) and F Sasha Mutala (11). . . . Vancouver went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Jadon Joseph, F Davis Koch (14) and D Bowen Byram. . . . F Kyle Olson (11) got Tri-City into a 3-3 tie at 14:59. . . . Joseph gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead with his 15th goal with 0.6 left in the second. . . . The Americans tied it at 1:56 of the third period when F Parker AuCoin (23) scored on a penalty shot. . . . Byram, who also had an assist, won it with his 15th goal of the season, at 2:39 of OT. . . . Byram has points in seven straight games, with six goals and eight assists over that stretch. In 41 games, he now has 15 goals and 27 assists. . . . Joseph added an assist to his two goals, while Koch had two assists and now has three straight three-point outings. He has 14 goals and 30 assists in 41 games.

——

Tweetoftheday

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.

——

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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

——

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.

——

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.

——

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).

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

Tweetoftheday

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

MacBeth

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

——

ThisThat

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

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

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

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

They aren’t alone.

——

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

——

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

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

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

——

Tweetoftheday

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.

——

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.)

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——


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.

——

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.

——

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.

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.

——

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.


——

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.

——

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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).

——

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.

——

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.

——

Tweetoftheday