Savoie says he’s going to Denver; top bantam prospect tweets about his decision. . . . Calgary captain leaves finale early


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F Matt Savoie, the No. 1 prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans on attending the U of Denver and playing for whlthe Pioneers, starting with the 2021-22 season.

Savoie and his family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, a move that if granted would have allowed him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old in 2019-20. Under WHL rules, a 15-year-old is permitted to play only five games before his club team has its season come to an end.

Hockey Canada has yet to announce its decision, although Savoie’s decision might indicate a ruling is imminent.

Earlier this month, dubnetwork.ca, citing what it called “multiple WHL sources,” reported that Savoie had been denied exceptional status. However, dubnetwork.ca has yet to confirm that report with Hockey Canada or the Savoie family, and hasn’t followed up on its story.

Savoie turned 15 on Jan. 1. Had he been born one day earlier, he would have been selected in the 2018 bantam and would be eligible to play full-time in the WHL next season.

From St. Albert, Alta., he played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, totalling 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games, and was named the CSSHL’s most valuable player.

Savoie’s brother, Carter, 17, also has committed to Denver. Carter played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. It could be that the plan is for Matt to play in the AJHL, too, until he joins the Pioneers.

Of course, there is a lot of hockey to be played between then and now, and a whole lot can happen, including the changing of minds.

The WHL will hold its annual draft lottery on Wednesday to determine the order of selection for the draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. The six non-playoff teams will be in the lottery, with teams allowed to move up only two spots. Thus, the three teams with the poorest regular-season records are in the running for the first pick.

The Swift Current Broncos finished with the poorest record, following by the Winnipeg Ice and Regina Pats. However, the Prince George Cougars hold Swift Current’s pick from an earlier trade, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection.

It’s worth noting, too, that two other top prospects announced NCAA commitments earlier this season.

D Mats Lindgren, son of the former NHLer of the same name, won’t turn 15 until Aug. 26 but already has said he will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2022-23. Lindgren is from North Vancouver, B.C., and had four goals and 22 assists in 27 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep A team.

F Connor Levis, who will turn 15 on Oct 5, also has committed to Michigan for 2022-23. Levis is from Vancouver. This season, he had 24 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with  the St. George’s School bantam prep team.


There were, of course, four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament that took place in Regina. Of those four teams, only one will appear in this season’s playoffs. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan won the 2018 Memorial Cup, beating the WHL’s Regina Pats, in the tournament as the host team, in the final. Also there were the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos and the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . The Titan concluded its regular season on Saturday, finishing with an 8-54-6 record, including a 1-29-4 mark on home ice. . . . Regina wound up 19-45-4, while Swift Current, at 11-51-6, finished with the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Hamilton, at 29-34-5, finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and will meet the first-place Ottawa 67’s (49-12-5) in the first round of the OHL’s playoffs. . . . Obviously, the cost of winning a championship in major junior hockey can be a steep price to pay. So can being the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament.


With the playoffs about to start, it will be worth watching the status of F Mark Kastelic, Calgarythe captain of the Calgary Hitmen.

Here’s Zach Laing of Postmedia, after the Hitmen lost, 3-1, to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday:

“With just under four minutes (left in the third period), Kastelic was tracking a loose puck near the Oil Kings bench when Edmonton left-winger Jake Neighbours finished a body-check resulting in Kastelic being slammed face first into the hard plexiglass stanchion.

“Wobbling to the bench, Kastelic had to be initially held up by teammates as he went directly to the locker room with Neighbours heading to the penalty box.”

Kastelic didn’t return to the game, but Laing reported seeing him walking around after the game “looking no worse for wear.”

Kastelic led the Hitmen in goals (47) and was tied with F James Malm for the lead in points, each with 77.

The Hitmen open the first round on Friday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.


F Trey Fechko of Eden Prairie, Minn., has committed to Arizona State U and says he will join the Sun Devils for the 2022-23 season. Fechko, who will turn 16 on Oct. 16, played this season for Holy Family Catholic High School, totalling 37 points, including 15 goals, in 24 games. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


Trevor Weisgerber, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, is the new head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Weisgerber takes over from Ray Wareham, who has left the post after 17 seasons. . . . Weisgerber was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Warriors for two seasons (2010-12). . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has more right here.


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It’s a big day in Allan, Sask. . . . No playoffs for Wheaties. . . . Blazers, Rockets all even in third. . . . Giants clinch conference flag

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This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the HumboldtBroncosmiddle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.


There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.

This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured Kamloops1during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.

The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.

In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.

Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.


Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .

Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.


If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.


The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday TWUnight, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.


Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, Pats5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.


F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.


F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory Lethbridgeover the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.


The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a MooseJawWarriors6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.


Shivers
After being open for 690 Kootenay Ice games, Shivers concession stand will end its run when the team leaves for Winnipeg after Sunday’s game. “Thank you Kootenay Ice and hockey fans,” reads the sign. “Shivers opened on Sept 12, 2001. Since opening we have served you for 690 Kootenay Ice hockey games.” It is signed: “Ramona and Staff.”

F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.


The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat VictoriaRoyalsthe visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.


F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.


D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).


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Broncos, Pats: Was it worth it? . . . Oil Kings back on top of Central. . . . Blazers close to within two points of Rockets. . . . Giants move ahead of Silvertips

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The Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos both participated in the 2018 Memorial Cup MemCuptournament. You will recall that Regina was the host team and Swift Current was in as the WHL champion. . . . The price they paid in order to build those teams was steep, though, and those teams now have two of the three poorest records in the WHL. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has written an interesting story about whether the price was worth it. That story is right here.


After saying that it didn’t want to pay the full tab on new boards and glass for the CN Centre, Prince George city council has changed its mind. The bill for the changes, which have been mandated by the WHL, will be $578,000. In February, it was suggested that the Cougars would be the only group to benefit so should pay for half of the package. Kyle Sampson, a city councillor, said Monday that he has learned that other groups will benefit, too, so the city should pay the whole shot. . . . There is more right here.


Nathan Dempsey, a defenceman in his playing days, spent three seasons (1991-94) with the WHL’s Regina Pats before going on to a pro career that included 260 games in the NHL. It was while in the NHL that tremors in his left hand led him to discover that he has Parkinson’s disease. . . . Dempsey, now 44, works out of the Vimy Ridge Sports Academy in Edmonton these days and, yes, he still is on the ice. . . . Stephanie Tobin of CBC News has more on Dempsey’s story right here.


I have a friend who has a problem. I met Vic Morin a few months ago through the Kamloops Kidney Support Group of which my wife, Dorothy, is a co-founder. Vic has chronic kidney disease and, as I wrote about here a while ago, there isn’t a cure. Medication doesn’t make it go away; neither does dialysis. . . . So there’s no way around the fact that Vic needs a kidney via transplant. . . . If you would like to help, if you even think you might consider it, call 1-877-922-9822 or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca. . . . That will get you in touch with the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. . . . In the meantime, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week has more on Vic Morin’s story right here.

Meanwhile, Sullivan also filed a sidebar about having a daughter who was born with one kidney. It is definitely worth reading, and it’s right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored a pair of third-period goals to beat the Rebels, 3-2, in Red EdmontonOilKingsDeer. . . . Edmonton (40-18-8) has won nine straight games. It is back atop the Central Division, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Each team has two games remaining. . . . Red Deer (33-26-6) had won its previous two games. It remains tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, each with three games remaining. They are four points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who also have three games left. . . . Red Deer is to play in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-1-1; Red Deer was 2-6-0. . . . The Oil Kings won the last four games in the series. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (37) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 12:00 of the first period. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (7) tied it, on a PP, at 16:15. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-1 on third-period goals from F Vladimir Alistrov (12), at 4:12, and F Vince Loschiavo (34), on a PP, at 7:28. . . . F Jeff de Wit (26) got the Rebels to within a goal, on a PP, at 12:27. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel picked up a first-period assist, giving him 275 regular-season points and tying him for second in franchise history with F Justin Mapletoft (1996-2001), who played 281 games. The record is held by F Aaron Asham, who put up 292 points in 266 games (1994-98). . . . Red Deer was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-2. . . . Edmonton had a 37-21 edge in shots, including 17-3 in the second period. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 19 shots for Edmonton. . . . Red Deer got 34 stops from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Rebels remain without D Alex Alexeyev, who suffered a knee injury on March 8. According to NBC Sports Washington, Alexeyev is out week-to-week. He now has missed two games. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozov served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . Prior to the game, the Rebels added F Ethan Rowland, 16, to their roster. The 22nd-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he had five goals and 10 assists in 42 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks this season.


F Orrin Centazzo scored two goals and added an assist to lead the host Kamloops Blazers Kamloops1to a 5-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (26-32-7) has won three in a row. Kamloops is fourth in the B.C. Division, two points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Each team has three games remaining. Kamloops is to entertain the Victoria Royals tonight, while the Rockets are at home to the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (37-21-7) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. Spokane has three games remaining. . . . Kamloops and Spokane split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . The Blazers opened a 3-0 lead with goals from Centazzo, at 15:20 of the first period; F Connor Zary, on a PP, at 16:46; and F Ryley Appelt (3), at 4:40 of the second period. At that point, the Blazers had outshot the Chiefs, 27-7. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) got Spokane’s goal, on a PP, at 10:16. . . . Anderson-Dolan ran his goal streak to eight straight games, the second-longest in the WHL this season. F Jake Elmer of the Lethbridge Hurricanes had a 13-game run end earlier this month. . . . Centazzo (19) got that one back at 19:52. . . . Zary concluded the scoring with his 21st goal, at 18:15 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a season-high 51 shots on goal, including 20 in the first period and 18 in the second. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 27 shots in his third straight start for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops scratched G Dylan Ferguson, with an undisclosed injury, and D Joonas Sillanpää. . . . This was the third game Ferguson has missed since being injured on March 6. The Blazers still have G Rayce Ramsay with them. He was added from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who begin their playoffs on Friday. . . . The Chiefs got 46 saves from G Reece Klassen. . . . With the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League having had their season come to an end, the Chiefs have added G Campbell Arnold to their roster. Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Portland Winterhawks broke a 1-1 tie with three third-period goals, two into an Portlandempty net, as they dumped the visiting Everett Silvertips, 4-1. . . . Portland (40-15-4) is second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have three games remaining. . . . Everett (46-16-4) has lost two in a row. It will finish atop the U.S. Division, but now is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Giants, each with two games left to play. . . . Everett won the season series with Portland, 6-4-0; Portland was 4-5-1). . . . Portland went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Reece Newkirk (22), at 4:50 of the second period, and F Jake Gricius (26), at 5:28 of the third. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (39) scored for Everett at 17:30. . . . The Winterhawks got empty-netters from D Jared Freadrich (13) and F Lane Gilliss (15). . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL scoring race with 112 points, had two assists. . . . G Joel Hofer record the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips were without F Max Patterson for a second straight game. They also scratched F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has returned to Slovakia in order to write a mandatory exam. . . . The Winterhawks again scratched F Cody Glass, D John Ludvig and D Matt Quigley, but F Seth Jarvis was back on the ice. . . . Glass has played four games since Jan. 26 and hasn’t dressed for a game since Feb. 23.


The Vancouver Giants scored three times in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory Vancouverover the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Vancouver (47-15-4) has won two in a row. It leads the Western Conference by two points over the Everett Silvertips. Each team has two games remaining — Vancouver will go home-and-home with the Kelowna Rockets; Everett will do the same with the Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (28-29-8) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games remaining. Seattle is to meet the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., tonight. . . . Vancouver and Seattle split their season series, 2-2-0. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) got the Giants started at 14:45 of the first period. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky made it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:29 of the second, and D Alex Kannok Leipert (4) upped it to 3-0 at 7:12. . . . Seattle got its goal from Henri Rybinski (8), at 16:33. . . . Svejkovsky (9) got that one back just 23 seconds later. . . . Vancouver D Dylan Plouffe (7) added more insurance, on a PP, at 0:43 of the third period. . . . F Davis Koch had three assists for the Giants. . . . Vancouver got a big game from G David Tendeck, who stopped 38 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . Each team was missing a player who has returned home to Slovakia to write a mandatory exam. Seattle was without F Andrej Kukuca, while Vancouver scratched F Milos Roman. . . . Both players are expected back before the playoffs begin.


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Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

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It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


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Will Rasmussen be back in WHL? . . . Giants, Royals prepping for tripleheader weekend. . . . Wheat Kings close on playoff spot


MacBeth

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-03, Kamloops, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, he has one goal and 15 assists in 43 games. Mulock, who is a dual German-Canadian citizen, is completing his 10th season in the DEL, his 13th overall in Germany. . . .

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season contract extension with the Sydney IceDogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 21 games. He was second in team scoring and was named the team’s MVP. This will be Toulmin’s fourth season in Australia. The AIHL regular season begins on April 20.


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There is speculation that the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings may return F Michael Rasmussen, 19, to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

The 6-foot-6 Rasmussen was selected by the Red Wings with the ninth overall pick of the tri-city2017 NHL draft.

The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 48 games. A short time ago, they sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on a conditioning stint, and he had two goals in three games.

However, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to play in the AHL because of his age. If the Red Wings want him to be playoff eligible with Grand Rapids, Rasmussen would have to be returned to Tri-City, and he could be assigned to the Griffins whenever the Americans’ season might end.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings “are contemplating” returning Rasmussen to Tri-City.

Last night, Rasmussen was pointless, and minus-1, in nine minutes 36 seconds of playing time as the Red Wings dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

That was the fourth time in six games that he has played fewer than 10 minutes.

The Americans have 12 games left in their regular season. They are third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen had injury problems in each of the past two seasons, but still put up 63 goals and 51 assists in 97 games with Tri-City. Last season, he was tremendous in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and adding 17 assists in 14 games.


The cities of Vancouver and Victoria are separated by about 115 kilometres, including the Georgia Strait.

So you wouldn’t think it would be that tough for the cities’ WHL teams to complete a 10-game season series over the course of six months without having to play a tripleheader. You know, catch a ferry and play a doubleheader, or even just pop across the strait for a singleton.

The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals have three games remaining in the season series. At this point, Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1.

The Giants have 12 games remaining, with the Royals having 11 left on their schedule, meaning time is running out.

So, hey, why not do it up in fewer than 48 hours this weekend?

That’s right. The Giants and Royals are going to face each other three times this weekend — Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria.

The Giants (39-14-3) are atop the B.C. Division, 18 points ahead of the Royals (30-24-3), who appear headed to a second-place finish. The Giants, though, are hoping to finish atop the Western Conference — they are four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand — so still have something for which to play.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has extended the contracts of general manager Dave Drinkill Saginawand head coach Chris Lazary through the 2020-21 season. . . . Drinkill is in his fourth season as Saginaw’s GM, after working with the Barrie Colts for nine seasons in various roles. . . . Lazary, 36, signed on with the Spirit as the associate coach prior to 2016-17. He took over as head coach on Nov. 18 after Troy Smith was fired. Since then, the Spirit is 25-6-3. . . . Overall, the Spirit is 36-15-5, good for third place in the 10-team Western Conference.


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Evan Vossen is out as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. He had been with the Ice Wolves since taking over from the fired Shawn Martin early in the 2016-17 season. . . . Vossen, 32, played for the Ice Wolves in 2006-07 before going on to play five seasons with the McGill U Redmen. In fact, he was the team captain when the Redmen won the 2012 national championship with him scoring the title-winning goal in OT. . . . This season, the Ice Wolves are 10-42-2 and in fourth spot in the four-team Sherwood Division. . . . Gaelan Patterson, who played four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades (2006-10) will be the Ice Wolves’ GM and head coach for the remainder of this season. Patterson, 28, joined the Ice Wolves as an assistant coach prior to this season, after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos and F Cole Reinhardt each had four points as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregulardumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . Brandon (28-22-7) has won five in a row. With this victory, Brandon moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (30-22-5) had won its previous two games. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Mattheos and Reinhardt had two goals and two assists each, as they figured in each of Brandon’s last four goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead before this game was six minutes old, thanks to goals from F Ridly Greig (12), at 0:30; Mattheos, at 4:29; and Reinhardt, on a PP, at 5:32. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (4) scored at 15:10. . . . Reinhardt got his 21st goal at 19:43 of the second period, and Mattheos got No. 39 at 1:25 of the third. . . . Mattheos, who came awfully close to landing with the Everett Silvertips at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, now has 39 goals and a career-high 49 assists in 54 games. Since Jan. 10, Mattheos has 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games. . . . Reinhardt, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, has 21 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. He has career highs in all three major offensive categories. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 27 shots for Brandon.


The Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 5-4, in a shootout. . Pats. . Regina (17-38-3) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Ice. . . . Kootenay (11-37-9) has lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . The Ice got first-period goals from F Jakin Smallwood (11) and F Jaeger White (24), then went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Connor McClennon (9) and F Brad Ginnell (13). . . . D Brady Pouteau (3) started Regina’s comeback at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Pats tied it on third-period goals by F Brett Clayton, at 8:29; F Carter Massier (3), at 10:20; and F Logan Nijhoff (6), shorthanded, at 16:59. . . . The Ice had the only four shots of OT but wasn’t able to beat G Dean McNabb, who had replaced starter Max Paddock in the second period. McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced through OT. . . . Regina won it in the shootout when F Garrett Wright, the first shooter in the fifth round, scored. . . . Regina F Ty Kolle and Kootenay F Peyton Krebs and scored in the second round. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice added D Anson McMaster to its roster from the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers, and he played in this one. He now has played five games with the Ice this season. McMaster, 16, is from Siksika, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Wheat Kings beat Raiders in OT . . . Elmer glues loss on Broncos with hat trick . . . Blades run point streak to 12 games


MacBeth

F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kristianstad (Sweden, Division 1) after Tyringe (Sweden, Division 1) received monetary compensation from Kristianstad. In 20 games, he had a team-high 12 goals, along with 12 assists. . . . Coulter had a clause in his contract with Tyringe that allowed him to move to another Division 1 club if the new club was in the playoffs. With two games left in the regular season, Tyringe cannot make the playoffs. Kristianstad has qualified for the playoffs for promotion to Allsvenskan for 2019-20.


ThisThat

There is an interesting scenario unfolding in Prince Albert where the Raiders are nearing the end of a glorious regular season.

On Friday night, they dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. The PrinceAlbertRaiders (46-7-3) lead the WHL’s overall standings by 14 points over the Everett Silvertips.

Trevor Redden, writing for panow.com, points out that as rosy things are with the Raiders right now, the future is more than a little hazy.

“As for what lies ahead beyond this season, we still don’t have any answers,” Redden writes. “When the subject of staffing for next season was brought up post-deadline with GM Curtis Hunt, he declined comment on his own status or that of the coaching staff, with all contracts set to expire at the end of this (season).

“As for (head coach Marc) Habscheid, he wasn’t able to provide any further illumination when asked for an update this week on his status beyond this season.

“ ‘No, nothing. Haven’t heard anything so I really don’t know what’s going on. That’s all I can say,’ Habscheid said.”

The staff includes associate coach Jeff Truitt and assistant coach Dan Gendur.

The Raiders, of course, are community-owned, as opposed to having private ownership, something that may, or not, be having an impact on the situation.

Habscheid took over as the Raiders’ head coach on Nov. 1, 2014, replacing the fired Cory Clouston. At the time, the Raiders hired Habscheid to finish the 2014-15 season. On April 21, 2015, the Raiders announced that they had signed Habscheid to a four-year deal running through the end of this season.

As for Hunt, he took over as general manager on June 8, 2015, after the Raiders and Bruno Campese chose to go their separate ways. Interestingly, the Raiders hired Hunt more than six weeks after signing Habscheid. That, of course, goes against the hockey adage about a GM wanting his own coach. And, as the standing show, Hunt and Habscheid appear to be making it work.

Time will tell if they’ll be together again next season.


The OHL has fined the Niagara IceDogs a total of $250,000 and taken away 2019 and 2021 ohlfirst-round draft choices after they were found to have “violated certain league player recruitment policies.” . . . In a Friday afternoon news release, the OHL said that it had the law firm of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottleib LLP handle the investigation.

“The league takes our commitment to our players and their player experience very seriously, which includes ensuring a fair and competitive on-ice experience among all teams,” David Branch, the OHL commissioner, said in a news release. “In order to maintain the integrity of this player experience and competitiveness within the league, it is critical that all clubs operate within the league recruitment guidelines. When a club ignores these guidelines, significant sanctions are required.”

Later Friday, the IceDogs released this statement: “All current Niagara IceDogs players and hockey operations staff have no involvement in the sanctions assed today by the Ontario Hockey League. An appeal will be filed. Therefore, no comment will be made.”


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Zach Wytinck’s OT goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the Raiders in BrandonWKregularPrince Albert. . . . Brandon (25-22-7) has won two in a row and is six points from a wild-card playoff spot. . . . Prince Albert (46-7-3) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and has a 14-point lead atop the overall standings. . . . The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . F Sean Montgomery (23) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 10:35 of the first period. . . . Brandon took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Ben McCartney (17), at 13:46, and F Cole Reinhardt (17), at 3:27 of the second period. . . . F Parker Kelly got the Raiders into a tie at 14:10, and F Aliaksei Protas (10) provided them with a 3-2 lead at 2:48 of the third period. . . . F Caiden Daley (5) tied it at 8:43, but Kelly (29) put the Raiders back out front, on a PP, at 13:25. . . . The Wheat Kings scored the last two goals to win it. F Luka Burzan (32) tied it at 13:40, and Wytinck’s fourth goal of the season won it at 3:06 of OT. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 28 shots for Brandon, five more than the Raiders’ Boston Bilous. . . . With G Ian Scott still sidelined, Bilous made his third straight start. . . . Montgomery was back in Prince Albert’s lineup after a one-game absence, but Scott and F Brett Leason remain sidelined. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and posted his story right here.


G Max Paddock stopped 32 shots to lead the Regina Pats to a 4-0 victory over the visiting PatsEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Regina (16-37-3) won’t be in the playoffs this season. . . . Edmonton (31-18-8) leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours and they also have had a flu bug in their dressing room. The Oil Kings have had illness in their room of late. This time, F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield joined F Zach Russell in being unable to play. . . . Paddock record his second shutout of the season. . . . The Oil Kings were blanked for the first time this season. . . . F Austin Pratt (21) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 11:22 of the first period. . . . F Riley Krane (12) added insurance, on a PP, at 10:24 of the second period, and F Carter Massier (2) upped it to 3-0, while shorthanded, at 14:55. . . . Regina’s final goal came from F Garrett Wright (4) at 10:22 of the third period. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 3-1-0. The Oil Kings had been looking for the second sweep of the Pats in franchise history; the first was in 2010-11.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes got three goals from F Jake Elmer en route to a 7-2 victory Lethbridgeover the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (29-16-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-40-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). The Broncos have lost 40 games in regulation-time for the first time since 2010-11 (26-44-2). That (44) is the most single-season losses for the Broncos since they moved back to Swift Current from Lethbridge for the 1986-87 season. . . . Elmer gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with first-period goals at 1:47 and 4:41 of the first period. The second of those came while shorthanded. . . . Elmer completed his second career hat trick with a PP goal at 12:43 of the third period. That was the game’s final goal. . . . The Hurricanes got two goals from F Noah Boyko, who has seven, and singles from F Logan Barlage (12) and F Nick Henry (21). . . . F Carter Chorney (12) and D Connor Horning (6) replied for the Broncos, who were 0-8 on the PP. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-3 on the PP. . . . Lethbridge unleashed a season-high 56 shots at G Riley Lamb. . . . G Bryan Thomson stopped 26 shots for Lethbrige.


G Carl Stankowski stopped 29 shots to help the host Calgary Hitmen to a 3-1 victory over Calgarythe Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary (29-21-5) is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. They also are fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat (31-20-5) has lost two in a row. They are third in the Central Division, one point behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . F Mark Kastelic (39) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 1:40 of the second period. . . . D Egor Zamula (10) made it 2-0 at 7:41. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal at 19:13 as F Elijah Brown scored his 11th goal. . . . F Carson Focht (16) iced it for Calgary at 18:59 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat got 27 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . The Tigers had D Linus Nassen back in their lineup. . . . The Hitmen had Zamula and D Dakota Krebs back from injuries, but remain without F Jake Kryski and G Jack McNaughton.


Ice1
At least one Kootenay Ice fan wasn’t impressed with a Valentine’s Day promotion the team ran on Thursday. The Ice, of course, is leaving Cranbrook for Winnipeg at the conclusion of this season.
Ice2
On Friday night in Cranbrook, they were thanking the families who have billeted players through the Ice’s 21 seasons in the community.

F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice and added two assists to help the Saskatoon Blades to an 8-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Saskatoon (36-13-8) has points in 12 straight games (10-0-2). It also has won one more game than it won all of last season. The Blades are second in the East Division, 12 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Kootenay (11-36-8) has lost four in a row. . . . The Blades, in their last appearance in Cranbrook, scored the game’s first four goals to take a 4-0 lead early in the second period. . . . F Max Gerlach (36), Crnkovic and F Eric Florchuk, with two, accounted for those goals. Florchuk now has 20 goals. . . . F Peyton Krebs (19) got the Ice on the scoreboard at 11:22 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon responded with the next four goals, from F Chase Wouters (14), F Ryan Hughes, with two, and Crnkovic, who now has nine goals. Hughes has 23. . . . D Martin Bodak (10) and F Jaeger White (22) had the Ice’s last two goals. . . . Crnkovic enjoyed his first career four-point game. . . . Florchuk also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson had two assists, running his point streak to 15 games; he has two goals and 26 assists in that stretch. He also has at least one assist in 15 straight games. In his past five games, he has 12 points, including 11 assists. . . . Gerlach had a goal and an assist in running his point streak to 14 games. He has 23 points, including 12 goals, in that stretch. . . . Saskatoon had F Kirby Dach back in the lineup. He had missed two games after being struck on the throat by a puck.


G Max Palaga, in his first start since Jan. 20, stopped 31 shots as the Everett Silvertips Everettbeat the Rockets, 3-1, in Kelowna. . . . Everett (39-13-3) has points in three straight games (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by nine points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kelowna (23-27-5) had won its previous two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett took a 2-1 lead into the third period; it now is 31-0-1 when leading after two. . . . F Kyle Topping (20) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:26 of the first period. . . . Everett tied it at 12:18 as D Gianni Fairbrother (9) scored, on a PP. . . . Silvertips F Bryce Kindopp broke the tie at 8:18 of the second period, then added his 32nd goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:43 of the third period. . . . G Roman Basran stopped 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . Rockets D Lassi Thomson left the game late in the first period, after being high-sticked by Kindopp, then returned in the second wearing a full cage. . . . That may, or may not, have had something to do with the two head coaches — Everett’s Dennis Williams and Kelowna’s Adam Foote — exchanging greetings late in the first period. . . . Everett headed for home after the game as it has to be in Kent, Wash., to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight. Then it’s off to Prince George for the Silvertips who will play the Cougars on Monday (2 p.m.) and again on Tuesday night.


F Tanner Sidaway scored the game’s first two goals to get the Victoria Royals started to a VictoriaRoyals4-1 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Victoria (28-23-3) is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (16-33-6) has lost 14 in a row (0-11-3) and is 10 points from a playoff spot. The Cougars are 0-3-0 since firing head coach Richard Matvichuk and replacing him with general manager Mark Lamb. . . . Sidaway, who has seven goals, scored at 3:50 of the first period and seven seconds into the second, while shorthanded. His second goal set a franchise record as the fastest goal to start a period. The previous record of nine seconds had been done on four occasions. . . . This also was Sidaway’s first multi-goal game. . . . The Cougars cut the deficit in half when F Josh Curtis (12) scored at 6:22. . . . F Kaid Oliver (24) restored the two-goal lead at 16:32, and F Logan Doust (4) added another goal, at 6:46 of the third period. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse posted his 109th regular-season victory, and moved into seventh on the WHL’s all-time list. The record (120) for most career victories is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Victoria F Ty Yoder returned to play after being out since Jan. 4.


The Seattle Thunderbirds built up a 5-1 second-period lead and hung on for a 6-4 victory Seattleover the Red Deer Rebels in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (22-27-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazes. . . . Red Deer (29-20-5) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with the Calgary Hitmen for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . F Noah Philp gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 7:45 of the first period, only to have F Zak Smith (10) tie it for Red Deer 37 seconds later. . . . The Thunderbirds responded with four second-period goals, from F Matthew Wedman, Philp (22), on a PP, F Andrej Kukuca (20) and F Henri Rybinski (4). . . . The Rebels got back in it with third-period goals from D Alexander Alexeyev (8), F Oleg Zaytsev (11) and F Reese Johnson (21), the latter scoring at 18:34. . . . Wedman wrapped it up with his 30th goal at 19:03. . . . With his two goals, Wedman, who also had an assist, ran his goal streak to five straight games. . . . F Brandon Hagel had three assists for Red Deer. . . . F Jeff de Wit, a Red Deer native who is on his second go-round with the Rebels, played in his 300th regular-season game. He also has played with Regina, Victoria and Kootenay. He has 54 goals and 55 assists in the 300 games. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Nolan Volcan, their captain, back in the lineup after missing nine games. He hadn’t played since Jan. 26.


G Beck Warm turned aside 42 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-3 victory over tri-citythe Kamloops Blazers in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (30-20-3) has won two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (21-28-5) is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers also are three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds in the race for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Tri-City took a 1-0 lead as F Sasha Mutala (14) scored at 1:45 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it at 5:08 as D Montana Onyebuchi (5) scored. . . . The Americans took a 3-1 lead on second-period goals from F Connor Bouchard (6), at 11:08, and F Nolan Yaremko (20), at 18:17. . . . F Kobe Mohr (6) got Kamloops to within a goal at 3:42 of the third period. . . . D Wil Kushniryk (3) restored the two-goal lead at 6:59. . . . F Brodi Stuart (16) again got the Blazers to within a goal, at 17:51. . . . F Parker AuCoin (32) put it away for the Americans at 19:15. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Americans were without D Dom Schmiemann, who completed a two-game suspension.


The Vancouver Giants scored three straight PP goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the VancouverSpokane Chiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (38-13-3) has won six straight games. It leads the B.C. Division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Spokane (30-18-6) had points in each of its previous seven (6-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 3:13 of the first period on a PP goal by F Luc Smith. . . . The lead lasted 15 seconds until D Kaleb Bulych (2) scored for Vancouver. . . . Then came the three PP goals, from F Justin Sourdif (16), at 13:28 of the first period; F Milos Roman (21), at 18:38 of the second period; and F Jared Dmytriw (13), at 19:08. . . . The Chiefs got to within a goal, at 4-3, as Smith (25) and F Eli Zummack (13) scored at 3:47 and 11:51 of the third period, respectively. . . . After the Chiefs had a goal disallowed — it was ruled to have been kicked in from the crease — F Jadon Joseph (16) scored for Vancouver at 15:46. . . . F Riley Woods (27) scored for Spokane at 18:50. . . . Zummack also had two assists. . . . The Giants were 3-4 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-7.


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Lamb, Matvichuk talk about Cougars . . . Montgomery sets Raiders’ record . . . Søgaard, Tigers shock Silvertips

MacBeth

F Nikita A. Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been released by mutual agreement by Amur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL). He had one goal in 37 games. He also had four goals and four assists in nine games with Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk (Russia, MHL, the top junior league). . . . Popugayev started the season with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) and was assigned to their junior team, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (Russia, MHL), where he had two goals and an assist in three games. CSKA traded Popugayev to Amur on Sept. 9.


ThisThat

Mark Lamb, in his first season as general manager of the Prince George Cougars, worked his first game as head coach on Friday night in a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna.

That loss left the Cougars riding a 12-game losing skid (0-9-3) was they head for Langley, PrinceGeorgeB.C., and a Sunday afternoon appointment with the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants.

The Giants won twice in Prince George this week — 4-2 on Tuesday and 4-3 in OT on Wednesday.

The Cougars fired head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was in the last season of a three-year contract, after Wednesday’s game.

Lamb and Matvichuk talked about the move with Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Here’s Lamb: “This has been ongoing for a while — I think it was inevitable that something was going to happen (Wednesday) night, win or lose. At the start of the (season) we talked about a lot of development and getting better all the time and we seemed to be stagnant and just kind of not getting better.

“It’s a lengthy streak and it’s hard on everybody — the coaches, the owners, office staff, everybody. It’s not a fun time and you just can’t keep it going. You have to do something to make it change.

“Whether he had one year or two years left was irrelevant on how we were thinking.”

Here’s Matvichuk: “When you go all-in, like we did two years ago, and you take a look at how many players were drafted in the last five years who aren’t even playing in the WHL, regardless of whether it’s a first-rounder or a seventh-rounder, the development curve wasn’t there.

“We knew as an organization last (season) when we decided to go into our rebuild it was going to be a struggle, and it was a struggle. We’re not far off where me and the coaching staff thought we’d be, right around 20 or 25 (wins) and fighting for that last playoff spot this year and that’s exactly where we’re at. Going through the season our goal was to get better every day, the playoffs was never an issue, it was about developing these kids to get ready for the next three years. It wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about making these players better every day and I truly believe that’s what we did.”

Clarke’s complete and thorough story is right here.


The AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines and Gord Thibodeau, their vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, have parted company. . . . Assistant coach Shawn Martin has taken over as interim GM/head coach. . . . “After 25 years of coaching, I have reached the inevitable point of hockey burnout,” Thibodeau said in a news release. “Moving forward I will take some time to rest, recharge and re-evaluate my future within the game of hockey.” . . . Thibodeau is the winningest head coach in WHL history, having put up 889 regular-season victories. . . . The Wolverines went into Friday at 19-30-2, good for seventh in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North. . . . Thibodeau, 55, has been coaching in the AJHL since 1994 spending time with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, Lloydminster Blazers, St. Albert Saints, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Lloydminster Bobcats and the Wolverines. . . . He also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four different occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


D Kyle Chernenkoff had his BCHL playing career come to an end in January when Trailanother brain injury forced him to retire from the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . An alternate captain, Chernenkoff, 20, now is a member of the Trail coaching staff. . . . “It wasn’t really a hard decision to make,” Chernenkoff told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “It was a decision made for me by the doctors. It was a hard pill to swallow so I took a couple days to come to terms with it myself, and then transitioning into the coaching and being with the team made it easier for me to make that transition.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ben McCartney scored the only goal of a shootout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWKregularvisiting Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Brandon (23-21-7) had lost its previous two games. It now is six points from a playoff spot. . . . Swift Current (10-37-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings, who were 0-6 on the PP, fired 55 shots at Broncos G Riley Lamb, who is from Rivers, which is 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . F Baron Thompson (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 17:49 of the first period, and D Braden Schneider (8) made it 2-0 at 13:48 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (13) got Swift Current’s first goal, at 18:48. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (10) got the Broncos to OT with a goal at 18:40 of the third period. Yes, Lamb was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . McCartney, the second shooter in the first round, got the winner. . . . Brandon had a 21-6 edge in first-period shots, and it was 19-6 in the second period. . . . Brandon remains without G Jiri Patera (leg), but did get back D Braydyn Chizen from suspension and F Linden McCorrister from an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Gregor scored three times and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertskated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Wranglers (aka Calgary Hitmen). . . Prince Albert (44-7-2) has won three in a row and leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (27-20-5) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second-wild card spot. . . . This was the third game of the three-game Corral Series in which the Hitmen saluted the three teams that have called the Corral home — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers. . . . The Raiders swept the four-game season series, the first time in franchise history that they have done that with Calgary. . . . The Raiders took control of this one by scoring the game’s first four goals. . . . F Dante Hannoun (25) got it started, on a PP, at 7:33 of the first period, with F Cole Fonstad making it 2-0 at 8:37. . . . Gregor upped that to 3-0 at 3:12 of the second period, and D Sergei Sapego (8) made it 4-0 at 3:33. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) scored for Calgary at 16:20, but the Raiders opened the third period with four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead. . . . Fonstad, who has 24 goals, finished with two goals and three assists, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . Gregor completed his second career hat trick with his side’s last two goals. He has 33 goals. . . . F James Malm (22) scored Calgary’s second goal on a penalty shot at 17:03 of the third. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton left in the first period after being involved in a collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. McNaughton had skated out to the hash marks in pursuit of a puck that Leason was chasing. That meant that Carl Stankowski came off the bench to see his first playing time since Nov. 23 when he suffered an ankle injury. . . . McNaughton stopped five of seven shots in 8:58, with Stankowski giving up six goals on 38 shots in 51:02. . . . Prince Albert got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . F Sean Montgomery of the Raiders, who is from Calgary, played in his 331st regular-season game to set a franchise record. F Brett Novak (2000-06) had held the previous record. . . . Montgomery, 20, was a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He has played 65, 72, 69, 72 and now 53 games in each of his regular-seasons. . . . Montgomery had one assist last night, and now has 134 points, including 64 goals, in 331 games. This season, he has career highs in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49). . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders sat out Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen are without D Dakota Krebs, D Egor Zamula, F Jake Kryski and F Hunter Campbell.


D Josh Brook scored 35 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Moose Jaw (29-13-8) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-10) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Warriors, who got 47 saves from G Adam Evanoff, were 3-3 on the PP. . . . F Jake Elmer (21) put the Hurricanes ahead at 5:20 of the first period, only to have Brook tie it at 8:23. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 3-1 on goals from D Calen Addison (9), at 8:54, and F Taylor Ross (25), on a PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida, who also had two assists, got Moose Jaw into a tie with two second-period PP goals, at 6:53 and 15:54. He’s got 23 goals. . . . Brook, who also had two assists, won it with his 12th goal of the season. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Brayden Tracey. . . . Elmer added two assists to his goal for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-5 on the PP. . . . Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan back after he served a one-game suspension, but now is without D Jett Woo, who will sit for two games after taking a charging major and game misconduct in a 6-1 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday. Woo also will miss tonight’s game in Red Deer against the Rebels.


D Ryker Evans scored at 2:37 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in PatsRed Deer. . . Regina (15-36-3) is 26 points from a playoff spot with 14 games remaining. . . . Red Deer (28-18-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third and one up on the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer went up 1-0 when F Cam Hausinger (17) scored at 1:35 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it on F Ty Kolle’s 12th goal, on a PP, at 2:39. . . . F Brett Davis (16) put Red Deer back in front, on a PP, at 10:14. . . . Regina tied it when F Logan Nijhoff (4) scored at 15:24. . . . Evans won it when he scored his first WHL goal on a PP. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, Evans scored in his 31st games. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on his club’s second goal to tie the franchise’s career record of 161. He now shares it with F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Regina had D Tyson Feist back after a four-game absence, while F Brandon Dubinsky completed a four-game suspension by missing this game. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup. He missed six games since last playing on Jan. 19.


Freshman F Lukas Svejkovsky had a goal and two assists, and veteran F Tristen Nielsen Vancouverhad two goals and an assist, to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (36-13-3) has won four in a row, including the last three on the road. . . . The Giants now are 20-3-2 against the other B.C. Division teams. They lead the division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (20-26-5) had points in each of its previous three games (1-0-2). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets, who are to visit Kamloops tonight. The Blazers also are one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Svejkovsky, who opened the scoring on Jan. 30 when the Giants won, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops, did it again, this time at 16:07 of the first period. It was his sixth goal of the season. . . . F Connor Zary (13) pulled Kamloops even, on a PP, at 12:33 of the second period. . . . The Giants won it on two goals from Nielsen in the third period. He got his eighth goal at 12:44, then added insurance, on a PP, at 14:42. Both goals came off slick passes from F Jadon Joseph, with Svejkovsky getting the secondary assist each time. . . . Nielsen also had an assist on Svejkovsky’s goal. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner, who finished with 26 saves, appeared to be shaken up halfway through the third period when he stumbled and went down on his own behind the Giants’ net. Mike Burnstein, the athletic therapist, went out to chat with Miner as he was stretching his irons, but the goaltender stayed in and finished up. . . . The Blazers got 31 stops from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . Each team was 1-6 on the PP as both goaltenders stood tall. . . . With F Ryley Appelt still out with a finger injury incurred in a fight, the Blazers had F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in the lineup for his sixth game of the season. Stankoven plays for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He leads the league in goals (40), assists (36) and points (76), all in 31 games. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi missed this one as he began serving a three-game suspension. . . . D Dallas Hines was one of Vancouver’s scratches. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw played in his 300th regular-season game. The team captain, he has played 95 games with Vancouver, after starting his career by playing 179 with the Victoria Royals, then 26 with the Red Deer Rebels.


F Mark Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie in the third period as the Kelowna Rockets scoured the KelownaRocketsgame’s last three goals to get past the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (22-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Prince George (16-31-6) has lost 12 in a row (0-9-3) and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from D Cole Moberg (11), on a PP, at 13:13, and F Josh Curtis, at 16:13. . . . F Nolan Foote halved Kelowna’s deficit while shorthanded, at 18:14. . . . Curtis stretched the lead to 3-1 with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . D Cayde Augustine pulled the Rockets to within a goal with his his first goal of the season, on a PP, at 9:20 of the second period. . . . That also was Augustine’s first WHL point and came in his 28th game. He’s a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. . . . Foote’s 28th goal, at 8:05 of the third period, tied it, and Liwiski won it with his sixth goal, at 12:10. . . . G Roman Basran came on in relief for the Rockets and stopped all 15 shots he faced through two periods to earn the victory. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George’s starter, left the game at 9:05 of the third period with an injury. There wasn’t a penalty on the play. He had stopped 17 of 20 shots. Tyler Brennan, 15, came on to make his WHL debut, and stopped four of five shots. . . . Brennan, from Winnipeg, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He is on the roster with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate completed a two-game suspension by sitting out.


The Portland Winterhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the PortlandSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (33-15-5) is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (20-26-6) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 44th goal at 2:07 of the first period. . . . D John Ludvig (4) made it 2-0 at 10:41. . . . F Lane Gilliss (13) upped the lead to 3-0 at 11:18 of the second period. . . . Seattle cut into the deficit at 16:13 of the third period as F Matthew Wedman (26) scored, on a PP. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 20th goal, into an empty net, wrapped it up for the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle was 1-6 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 25 saves, one more than Seattle’s Cole Schwebius. . . . Farkas now is 9-1-0 in his career against Seattle. . . . Portland continues to play without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . Seattle D Simon Kubicek left in the first period and didn’t return. He is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was back in Seattle’s lineup after missing a couple of games, but F Nolan Volcan remains out. . . . Attendance on a stormy night was announced as 2,688.


F Ethan McIndoe scored two goals and added two assists, and D Nolan Reid had a goal SpokaneChiefsand three helpers, as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 8-3. . . . Spokane (28-17-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria actually held a 3-2 lead late in the first period, but then surrendered the game’s last six goals. . . . The Chiefs held a 49-31 edge in shots, including 20-14 in the first period and 21-8 in the third. They were 4-8 on the PP and won 46 of 74 faceoffs. . . . Spokane F Luc Smith (23) tied the game 3-3 at 17:45 of the first period. . . . McIndoe, who has 12 goals, broke the tie at 8:55, and Spokane later added four third-period goals. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his seventh goal of the season for Spokane, and it was the 100th of his career. . . . Spokane F Connor Gabruch, who didn’t score for the first 34 games of his freshman season, scored his second goal in two games. . . . F Jake McGrew (23) and F Luke Toporowski (16) added goals for the winners, who in the third period scored three times on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . Reid, who has two four-point games during his 315-game career, now has 12 goals this season. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (3), F Kaid Oliver (22) and F Kody McDonald, on a PP, scored for the Royals, who began a five-game road swing with this one.


F Parker AuCoin scored three times and added two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans tri-cityto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (28-19-3) has won three straight games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, 13 points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost two in a row. . . . F Peyton Krebs (18) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period, with AuCoin tying it, on a PP, at 11:49. . . . The Ice then took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Cole Muir (11), at 15:37, and F Holden Kodak (1), at 16:33. Holden, a 17-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., got his first WHL goal in his 40th game, 38 of them this season. . . . The Americans scored the games next five goals to take control. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (19) made it a one-goal game at 17:05. . . . F Krystof Hrabik scored while shorthanded at 13:38 of the second period to tie the score, and AuCoin’s 29th goal gave Tri-City the lead at 14:53. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (4) and AuCoin, with his 30th goal, added insurance before the period ended. . . . In the third period, Hrabik got his 13th goal for the winners, with F Jakin Smallwood (10) counting for the ice. . . . AuCoin enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 41 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialhost Everett Silvertips. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-4) has won three in a row. The Tigers are tied for second with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Everett (37-13-2) had won its past four games. It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks, with the Silvertips holding a game in hand. . . . Søgaard, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Denmark, was hot right from the start, as he stopped 17 shots in the first period. . . . F James Hamblin scored the game’s only goal, his 29th, on a PP at 16:40 of the second period. . . . Everett got 28 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . This was a battle of two of the league’s best goaltenders. . . . Søgaard now is 14-4-4, 2.24, .933. . . . Wolf is 33-12-1, 1.81, .931.


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