Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday . . . Snoop Dogg in the broadcast booth . . . Oil Kings back on top . . . Giants stretch lead

Scattershooting

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If your favourite hockey team holds a Country Night and you don’t hear even one Merle Haggard tune, well, it ain’t a real Country Night.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Pilots, an MLB team that didn’t have much of a history, at least not in Seattle. Now, in case you haven’t noticed, the Seattle Mariners have made a boat-load of offseason moves. As Darren Rawie, a Mariners fan, noted via Twitter: “And with all the offseason moves, the Mariners have blessed us with our third expansion team.”

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joggers

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“An Oklahoma woman is facing fines up to $2,400 after she bragged about killing a deer out of season on the dating app Bumble,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The potential suitor she was trying to impress turned out to be McIntosh County game warden Cannon Harrison.”

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If you were wondering, and even if you weren’t, the Kootenay Kountdown is into Day 26.

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Ever wonder what a fired football coach does with all of those clothes that feature his former team’s logo? According to Perry: “A bunch of Dirk Koetter’s Buccaneers apparel — complete with his name on the iron-on labels — was discovered at a Tampa Goodwill store less than a week after he was fired as the NFL team’s head coach.”

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billposters

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A trio of headlines after Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s double-double-doing allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to win that playoff game:

Philadelphia Inquirer — Still upright.

Chicago Tribune — Post mortem.

Philadelphia Daily News — Clanks for the memory!

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After North Carolina fired Larry Fedora, the football team’s head coach, and sent him on his way with a $12-million buyout, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot noted: “What a deal. But colleges don’t have enough money to pay athletes.”

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If you haven’t seen/heard it yet, Snoop Dogg was in the house in Los Angeles on Saturday night as the Kings met the Pittsburgh Penguins. He took time to drop by the broadcast move and even engaged in a little play-by-play. As he said when his stint was over: ”I’m the host with the most.” . . . It’s all right here.

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pot

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ThisThat

According to a tweet from Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports, the QMJHL’s MonctonqmjhlWildcats are expected to introduce John Torchetti as their new general manager and head coach this week. . . . Torchetti will replace Darren Rumble, who was fired as head coach on Tuesday. . . . Torchetti has some history as Moncton’s head coach, having been there for the 2006-07 season. . . . Torchetti, 54, has extensive coaching experience, including stints with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings. . . . Rumble, once an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds, was in his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. With him gone, assistant coach Josh Hepditch has been the interim head coach.

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G Lucas Mills of the Trinity Western Spartans set a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League record for career shutouts on Saturday in a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Island Mariners at the Langley Events Centre. . . . Mills, from Abbotsford, B.C., is in his fourth season with the Spartans. . . . He had shared the shutout record with Andrew Parent of the Simon Fraser U Clan. . . . Mills, who has two shutouts this season, also is the BCIHL’s career leader in GAA (1.76) and save percentage (.936).

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Riley Lamb blocked 47 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the SCBroncosvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swift Current (9-30-3) had lost its previous two games. The Broncos remain in the WHL’s cellar but now are only two points shy of the Kootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (17-18-6) is six points away from a playoff spot. . . . It was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for Brandon, which went 1-2-0. . . . Lamb was making his first WHL appearance since March 16 when he was with the Red Deer Rebels. He spent most of this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings, who traded him to the Yorkton Terriers on Jan. 2. The Broncos, having sent G Joel Hofer to the Portland Winterhawks, signed Lamb on Thursday. . . . Lamb, 20, is from Rivers, Man., which is about 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 49-24 edge in shots, including 20-7 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . F Ian Briscoe scored his first goal of the season at 8:10 of the first period to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. This was his 24th game this season. Last season, he failed to score in 25 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, and had two goals in 20 games with them in 2016-17. . . . D Zach Wytinck (3) pulled Brandon even at 12:37. . . . The Broncos went back in front when F Ethan O’Rourke (4) scored, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it at 10:34 of the second period when F Luka Burzan (25) scored, on a PP. . . . Broncos D Alex Moar (2) broke the tie, on a PP, at 12:33. . . . F Tanner Nagel (7) added insurance at 8:45 of the third period. . . . Dutertre in the above tweet would be Scott Dutertre, one of the Broncos’ assistant coaches. Dean, of course, is Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head coach.

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The Edmonton Oil Kings moved into first place in the Central Division with a 4-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton (24-14-7) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (23-12-8) trails Edmonton by one point although the Hurricanes hold two games in hand. . . . Edmonton is 4-1-1 in the season series; Lethbridge is 2-4-0. . . . F Liam Keeler gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead as he had the first multi-goal game of his career. Keeler, who has eight goals, scored at 11:43 and 14:21 of the first period. . . . F Vince Lochiavo (21) made it 3-0 at 5:41 of the second, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (25) upped it to 4-0, on a PP, at 3:33 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky also had two assists. . . . F Jake Elmer (20) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 8:02 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky leads the WHL in assists (38) and is second in points (75), behind F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks, who has 79. . . . Edmonton got 31 saves from G Todd Scott, while Liam Hughes stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the third meeting in eight days between these teams. The Hurricanes won, 5-2, in Edmonton Jan. 6. The Oil Kings then went into Lethbridge and won, 5-1, on Friday. . . . Both teams were playing for a third time in fewer than 48 hours — Lethbridge went 1-2-0); Edmonton was 3-0-0. . . . The Oil Kings remain without F Quinn Benjafield and D Matt Robertson.

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F Davis Koch scored one goal and added two assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-2 Vancouvervictory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (26-12-2) has won three in a row. . . . The Giants lead the B.C. Division by nine points over the Royals. . . . Victoria (22-17-1) has lost two straight. . . . Victoria went 1-2-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1. . . . D Bowen Byram, coming off a five-point night in a 7-4 victory over visiting Kamloops on Saturday, gave the Giants a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal at 9:34 of the first period. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) made it 2-0 at 12:25 of the second. . . . D Jameson Murray (3) cut the lead in half at 14:12. . . . Koch (13) made it 3-1 at 13:12 of the third. . . . D Scott Walford (5) got Victoria back to within a goal, on a PP, at 16:59. . . . Koch has two goals and four assists in his past two games, and two goals and six assists over three games. . . . Nielsen also had two assists and has back-to-back three-point outings. . . . Byram now has 39 points, 26 of them assists, in 40 games.

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Tweetoftheday

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

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 33.

Players: 61.

Bantam draft picks: 53.

Conditional draft picks: 11.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both players are 20 years of age.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warriors first to clinch playoff spot . . . Dach just what Blades ordered . . . Ronning breaks 50, beats Winterhawks


MacBeth

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a one-year extension with Gherdëina Selva Gardena (Italy, Alps HL). This season, he has four goals and 11 assists in 11 games. His season was cut short due to a “serious knee injury” suffered in a game against Sterzing on Dec. 26.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials, is at the Olympic Winter OlylogoGames in PyeongChang. He flew out of Kamloops on Friday, and saw his first game action on Wednesday.

He reports:

“Just finished the Slovakia vs Olympic Athletes of Russia game (kind doesn’t sound right).

“Russia played an incredible game but Slovakia decided to play smarter and got the win (3-2).

“Brett Iverson did the game.”

Iverson is a veteran WHL referee.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Max Wutzke, a defenceman with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, is recovering in hospital in Coquitlam after taking a hit from behind during a game against the host Coquitlam Express on Feb. 7.

Wutzke, a 19-year-old from Calgary, left the game at 1:55 of the first period.

He has since had surgery on a broken femur and is looking at likely another two weeks in hospital. Troy Mick, the Silverbacks’ president, told Taking Note that there Wutzke had to deal with some “complications from surgery.” Wutzke has had four operations on that femur.

Mick added that Wutzke faces a long road back, but “they say his career isn’t over.”

This season, his second with Salmon Arm, Wutzke has a goal and nine assists in 51 games.

D Lucas Wong of the Express drew a match penalty on the play and has since been suspended for six games.


The AJHL’s Canmore Eagles announced Wednesday that Jeremy Reich, their assistant general manager/assistant coach, has resigned “to pursue other career aspirations” in the area of firefighting. . . . Reich had been on the Eagles’ coaching staff since 2012, after finishing his playing career in Germany. . . . Reich, 39, and Andrew Milne, the Eagles’ GM and head coach, played together in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos in 1998-99. . . . Reich split 335 regular-season games between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current (1995-2000).


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, the Moose Jaw Warriors became the first WHL team this season to clinch a playoff spot as they beat the Pats, 6-3. . . . Moose Jaw (43-9-3) has won four straight. It MooseJawWarriorsleads the overall standings by three points over Swift Current. The Warriors have three games in hand. . . . Regina (29-24-6) is 1-1-1 in its past three games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the East Division, one point behind Brandon. . . . The Pats and Warriors will meet twice more this week — in Moose Jaw on Friday, then back in Regina on Sunday. They will complete the season series on Feb. 24 in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors lead the season series, 5-0-0; Regina is 0-4-1. . . . D Brandon Schuldhaus gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:53 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Cam Hebig (39), at 12:57 of the first, and F Sam Steel (22), on a PP, at 1:41 of the second period. . . . The visitors took control by scoring the next four goals, three of them in the second period. . . . F Tanner Jeannot got it started, on a PP, at 9:52, with Schuldaus (6) making it 3-2 at 10:15, and F Jayden Halbgewachs upping it to 4-2 at 10:35. Jeannot added his 35th goal, at 6:30, for a 5-2 lead. . . . D Josh Mahura (19), on a PP, scored for the Pats at 8:01. . . . Halbgewachs closed out the scoring with his WHL-leading 53rd goal at 18:54. . . . Halbgewachs added two assists to his two goals, while Jeannot had one helper. F Brett Howden helped out the winners with two assists, with Schuldaus getting one. . . . Schuldaus didn’t have a goal in 37 games with Red Deer this season before being dealt to Moose Jaw. Since then, he has six goals and four assists in 14 games. . . . F Matt Bradley drew three assists for Regina. Steel and Mahura each had one. . . . Regina was 2-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 33 saves, three more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . The Warriors continue to play without D Jett Woo and F Barrett Sheen. . . . Announced attendance: 6,047.


At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen broke a 2-2 tie at 11:06 of the third period to help the Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swift Current (41-13-4) SCBroncoshas won five straight. It is second in the overall standings, three points behind Moose Jaw, which holds three games in hand. . . . Brandon (30-21-5) has lost two in a row. It is third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Steenbergen, who scored the goal that gave Canada the 2018 World Junior Championship, got his seventh game-winner this season and the 22nd of his WHL career. . . . D Colby Sissons (12) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:18 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Ty Lewis (30) tied it at 9:15 of the second period. . . . The Broncos went back out front at 9:46 as F Kole Gable (6) scored. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it 2-2 as F Rylan Bettens (4) scored at 13:27. . . . Steenbergen broke the tie with his 40th goal, at 11:06 of the third period, and F Glenn Gawdin (49) add the empty-netter at 19:49. . . . Gawdin and Steenbergen added two assists each. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race with 107 points, five more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke. . . . Swift Current was 0-2 on the PP; Brandon was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots for the Broncos. . . . Brandon got 29 stops from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (UB) was among Brandon’s scratches, while D Chase Hartje (ill) and D Schael Higson (ill) also sat this one out. . . . Brandon F Baron Thompson served the final game of a four-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,734.


At Calgary, D Dylan Coghlan drew three assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Tri-City (29-19-8) has won two in a row. It holds down the TriCity30Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane. . . . Calgary (17-32-7) had won its previous game. . . . The Americans opened a three-game dip into the Central Division with a 6-3 victory in Lethbridge on Tuesday. Tri-City will meet the host Kootenay Ice on Friday. . . . F Luke Coleman (13) got Calgary on the scoreboard first, at 8:34 of the first period. . . . Former Hitmen D Jake Bean (9) pulled Tri-City even, on a PP, at 16:59. . . . F Michael; Rasmussen (22) gave the Americans the lead, on a PP, at 19:54. . . . D Dakota Krebs (3), who went to Calgary in the Bean deal, tied it at 11:17 of the second period, only to have Tri-City F Jordan Topping (32) scored just seven seconds later. . . . F Parker AuCoin (15), who also had an assist, upped the lead to 4-2, shorthanded, at 13:03. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (12) got the Hitmen to within a goal at 3:11 of the third period. . . . Coleman added an assist for Calgary. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Calgary was 0-6. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . Calgary got 21 stops from Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 5,213.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Kirby Dach returned after a one-game injury-related absence to score on goal and set up two others as his Saskatoon Blades got past the Kootenay Ice, 3-Saskatoon2. . . . Saskatoon (29-26-3) has won three in a row. It now has won 30 games, one more than it won all of last season. The Blades also have 12 road victories, one more than last season. . . . Saskatoon holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Kootenay (24-31-3) has lost three straight. It is tied with Red Deer for third in the Central Division. . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on PP goals from Dach (5), at 9:25 of the first period, and D Dawson Davidson (9), at 4:16 of the second. . . . The Ice tied it on goals from F Colton Veloso (20), on a PP, at 14:25 of the second and F Brett Davis (21), shorthanded, at 13:33 of the third. . . . At 17:12, Dach set up F Michael Farren (8) for the game-winner. . . . Farren also had an assist. . . . Davis added an assist to his goal for the Ice. . . . Saskatoon was 2-7 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for the Blades, one more than the Ice’s Matt Berlin. . . . The Ice scratched D Jonathan Smart (undisclosed injury), who wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s injury report, while they remain without injured F Keenan Taphorn (UB). . . . Kootenay added F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, to their roster on Tuesday, but he was a healthy scratch from this one. . . . The Blades were en route to Cranbrook on Tuesday when they had to stop for the night in Pincher Creek, Alta., due to high winds and deteriorating driving conditions. They left Pincher Creek on Wednesday and proceeded with no problems, arriving in Cranbrook at 11 a.m. “Winds were down significantly and plows and sanding trucks had been out overnight,” Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, told Taking Note. “The highway actually opened at 10 (Tuesday night), but no sense going at that point.” . . . Announced attendance: 2,022.


At Portland, F Ty Ronning scored Nos. 50 and 51, and G David Tendeck made 49 saves, leading the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Vancouver (30-Vancouver18-8) is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Kelowna and Victoria. . . . Portland (35-19-4) had won its previous five games. It is second in the U.S. Division, two points behind Everett. . . . F Dawson Holt (10) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:30 of the first period. . . . Portland went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (5), at 2:49, and F Ryan Hughes (12), on a PP, at 17:02. . . . Ronning became the first player in Giants to get to 50 when he scored at 10:25 of the third period. He broke the tie with No. 51, at 17:32. . . . F Brayden Watts (13) got the empty-netter at 19:30, off a pass from Ronning. . . . D Bowen Byram had two assists for the Giants. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . Tendeck stopped all 18 shots Portland fired his way in the third period. He had turned aside 19 shots in the second. . . . G Cole Kehler made 15 saves for Portland. . . . The Giants scratched four defencemen — Dylan Plouffe, Matt Barberis, Darion Skeoch and Alex Kannok Leipert, all of whom are injured. . . . They also are without F Milos Roman (ankle) and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . D Joel Sexsmith, a first-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, made his debut with the Giants. . . . Announced attendance: 3,025.


At Spokane, F Kailer Yamamoto broke a 2-2 tie scoring on a deflection at 19:32 of the third period to give the Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (31-SpokaneChiefs20-5) is third in the U.S. Division, seven points back of Portland. . . . Kamloops (26-27-4) has lost two straight and remains six points out of a playoff spot. . . . D Joe Gatenby (12) put Kamloops ahead 1-0 at 3:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack (11) tied it at 10:32. . . . F Jake McGrew (14) gave the Chiefs a lead, on a PP, at 14:35. . . . The Blazers tied it at 14:06 of the third period on F Jackson Shepard’s eighth goal. . . . Yamamoto won it with his 14th goal. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from D Tyson Helgesen. . . . Yamamoto also had an assist. He now has 34 points, including 12 goals, in 14 games since returning to the Chiefs from the WJC. . . . F Orrin Centazzo had two assists for Kamloops. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Dawson Weatherill made 29 saves for the Chiefs, while the Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Blazers again were without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith, both of whom are injured. . . . Blazers head coach Don Hay turned 64 on Tuesday, celebrating with a taco or two in Spokane, as you can see from the above tweet. . . . Announced attendance: 3,526.


At Kelowna, the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Rockets. . . . Red Deer (19-26-13) has won Red Deertwo in a row and now is tied with Kootenay for third in the Central Division. . . . Kelowna (34-18-5) has points in its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with Victoria for top spot in the B.C. Division, but the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . The Rebels won despite being outshot 11-1 in the first period and 15-7 in the second. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (8) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 2:19 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Topping (19) tied it at 10:10 of the third period. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel (10) broke the tie at 11:08. . . . F Reese Johnson (19) upped it to 3-1, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . F Mason McCarty (30) got the empty-netter at 19:00. . . . D Dawson Barteaux had two assists for the winners, with Johnson adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-2 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-6. . . . G Riley Lamb was terrific for the Rebels, finishing with 36 saves. . . . The Rockets got 14 stops from G Brodan Salmond. . . . G James Porter Jr., who left a Monday game with an apparent injury, was on Kelowna’s bench in a backup role. . . . Kelowna scratched F Kole Lind, who took a stiff check from Victoria D Ralph Jarratt on Monday afternoon. . . . Announced attendance: 4,526.


At Victoria, Tomas Soustal scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 7-6 victory over the Royals. . . . Edmonton (17-32-7) has won three straight. . . . EdmontonOilKingsVictoria (34-21-4) has lost two in a row. It is tied with Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division. . . . F Tyler Soy (30) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 1:02 of the first period. . . . Edmonton went up 2-1 on goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24), on a PP, at 6:36 and F David Kope (10), at 7:54. . . . F Matthew Phillips (43) tied it at 8:33. . . . F Davis Murray (1) put Edmonton back into the lead at 14:15, and Victoria F Tanner Kaspick wrapped up a six-goal period by tying it at 17:35. . . . D Brayden Gorda (1) gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead at 2:44 of the second period, only to have Victoria D Kade Jensen (5) equalize at 9:52. . . . Soustal put the Oil Kings back out front at 14:09. . . . Kaspick (22) tied it, again, at 2:51, but Soustal (15) gave the visitors a 6-5 lead at 16:29. . . . The Royals forced OT when F Noah Gregor got his 22nd goal with 57.3 seconds left in the regulation time. . . . F Brett Kemp, D Matthew Robertson and F Nick Bowman head two assists each for Edmonton, with Soustal, Fix-Wolansky and Murray each getting one. . . . Victoria got two assists from each of D Mitchell Prowse and Soy, with Phillips, Kaspick, Jensen and Gregor adding one apiece. . . . Royals F Dante Hannoun picked up one assist, for his 200th career point. . . . Edmonton was 1-2 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 32 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . With G Griffen Outhouse scratched — no, he wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s injury report — the Royals added G Joel Grzybowski to their roster from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. He was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season. . . . Grzybowski, 18, started, as he made his seventh WHL appearance, the first six of which were with Saskatoon last season. He stopped 21 shots. . . . F Ty Yoder, 15, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Tofield, Alta., he was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He has 38 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Elite 15s of the CSSHL. . . . D Ralph Jarratt was among Victoria’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,791.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Pats take outdoor games inside . . . Moose Jaw, Regina shoot, shoot and shoot some more . . . Giants into second in B.C.

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported Wednesday evening that the Regina Pats have moved two scheduled outdoor games from Mosaic Stadium and put them inside the Brandt Centre.

Shortly after Harder’s story hit the Internet, the Pats issued a news release confirming it.

An NHL alumni game is scheduled to be played on Feb. 17, with the Pats to meet the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Feb. 18.

“Only 10,000-plus ticket packages have been sold for the two games at Regina’s new stadium, which holds over 33,000,” Harder reported. “Many of those seats were purchased by corporate sponsors.

“Local fans have given the mid-winter event a cold shoulder since two-game packages were released to the general public in late November ($75, $149.15, $198.72 and $275.22, including taxes and surcharges).”

Harder’s story is right here.


The Kootenay Ice was without Swiss F Gilian Kohler for a second straight game on KootenaynewWednesday night, Kohler is shown on the WHL’s latest roster report as being out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Kohler was injured on a hit by Medicine Hat F Ryan Jevne on Monday night in a game the visiting Tigers won, 5-4 ion OT. Jevne was given a minor penalty for checking to the head. On Wednesday, Jevne was hit with a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline.

Keep in mind that Kohler suffered a concussion while playing for Switzerland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in August. With the Ice, he has three goals and six assists in 32 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed Thursday via Twitter that D Brayden Gorda has EdmontonOilKingsreturned to the fold. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Gorda, an 18-year-old from Edmonton, didn’t report to training camp with the team saying that he was absent “due to personal reasons.” . . . A third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, Gorda had played two full seasons with Edmonton. Last season, he had four goals and 12 assists in 56 games. . . . Gorda was eligible for the NHL’s 2017 draft, but wasn’t selected after NHL Central Scouting ranked him No. 147 among North American skaters. . . . On Thursday, the Oil Kings didn’t indicate a timetable for Goyda to return to game action. As of last night, Edmonton’s roster included nine defencemen without Goyda.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Gage Goncalves, a list player from Mission, B.C. Goncalves, 16, is playing with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and has 47 points, including 17 goals, in 24 games. He also gotten into four games with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, scoring once and adding an assist.


First, we had Christian Wohlwend, the head coach of Switzerland’s national junior team, speaking honestly with the media at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. . . . Now we’ve got Frank Serratore, the head coach of the Air Force Falcons, doing the same thing. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s well worth your time.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his latest edition of 31 Thoughts on Wednesday, and it’s all right here.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, the Pats unleashed a 61-shot barrage and beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . The Pats (20-18-3) have won four in a row. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s ReginaPats100first wild-card spot. Regina is fourth in the East Division, eight points behind Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-12-1) have lost four in a row. They are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . F Jared Legien, acquired last week from the Victoria Royals in the hopes that he would bring some offence to the Regina lineup, had two goals and an assist. . . . D Zach Wytinck (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:38 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Matt Bradley (25), at 6:46 of the second period, and Legien, on a PP, at 1:58 of the third. . . . F Ty Lewis (20) got Brandon even at 5:32. . . . Legien snapped the tie with his 16th goal of the season at 10:20. . . . Bradley, playing in his 250th regular-season WHL game, added an assist on the winner to his goal. . . . Brandon was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 1-4. . . . The Pats got 28 saves from G Tyler Brown. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 58 shots — yes, 58 — for Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 5,624.


At Swift Current, the Broncos scored three times in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Broncos (27-10-2) had lost their previous three SCBroncosgames. They are 2-3-0 in a stretch of playing eight games in 12 nights. They’ll wrap it up this weekend with a game in Brandon on Friday and home games, against Regina and Red Deer, on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Broncos are second in the overall standings, nine pints behind Moose Jaw. . . . The Ice (18-19-3) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). Kootenay is 0-2-1 in the first three games of a stretch in which it will play five games in six nights. The Ice is off tonight (Thursday) and then will play in Prince Albert and Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Kootenay is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Last night, the Ice took an early 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Brad Ginnell (6), at 1:19, and F Alec Baer (17), at 4:45. . . . It’s worth noting that Ginnell scored in the same arena where his father, Erin, played in the second half of the 1986-87 season. Erin moved from the Regina Pats to Swift Current to help the Broncos finish the season after the tragic bus crash of Dec. 30, 1986. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (6) scored, while shorthanded, for the Broncos at 19:24. . . . F Kaden Elder pulled the Broncos even at 8:32 of the second period and F Max Patterson (5) put them ahead at 1:40 of the third. . . . The Ice got back into tie at 10:54 as F Cam Hausinger (13) scored. . . . Swift Current F Matteo Gennaro snapped the tie with his 22nd goal, at 13:51. . . . Elder (9) got the empty-netter, at 18:01. . . . The Broncos got three assists form F Kole Gable and two from Gennaro. F Glenn Gawdin had one assist as he returned after missing a game while ill. . . . Baer added an assist to his goal for Kootenay. . . . The Broncos were 0-1 on the PP; the Ice was 0-4. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 30 stops, six fewer than the Ice’s Bailey Brkin. . . . Announced attendance: 2,096.


At Calgary, F Riley Stotts scored 47 seconds into OT to give the Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat (21-15-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1) Calgaryand leads the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hitmen (12-20-6) are 11 points out of a playoff spot. They are 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Prince Albert. . . . D David Quenneville (16) gave the Tigers the lead, on a PP, at 13:25 of the first period, with Calgary F Mark Kastelic (13) tying it, on a PP, at 16:51. . . . F Mark Rassell (33) put the visitors back out front at 1:37 of the second period, with Calgary F Jacob Stukel (18) tying it at 8:20. . . . The Tigers went out front again, at 10:02, as F Max Gerlach (14) scored on a PP. . . . F Hunter Campbell (3) got Calgary back on even ground, again, at 12:56. . . . The third period was scoreless before Stotts won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from Kastelic and Stukel added one. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-8. . . . The Hitmen got 23 saves from G Nick Schneider, while Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett stopped 28 shots. . . . F Bryce Bader, who played one game with the Hitmen last season, was in the Calgary lineup for the first time this season. He has 22 points, including 10 goals, in 25 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . F Jake Kryski (ill) was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . The Tigers will be without Swedish D Linus Nassen for up to eight weeks with an undisclosed injury. Nassen has one goal and 21 assists in 38 games in his freshman season. He was a third-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . Medicine Hat F Ryan Jevne served the first game of a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 5,505.


At Edmonton, F Tyler Ho, a freshman with one goal in 29 games this season, scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. Vancouver. . . The Giants (21-14-5), who went to extra time for a third straight game, have points in four straight (3-0-1). Out of the playoffs for three straight season, Vancouver now is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of Victoria. . . . The Oil Kings (10-22-6) have points in six in a row (3-0-3). They are last in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Red Deer. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson (15) put the visitors out front at 7:27 of the first period. He is from Edmonton and has signed with the NHL’s Oilers. . . . F Aidan Barefoot (4) made it 2-0 at 8:44. . . . F Brett Kemp (9) scored Edmonton’s first goal, at 6:01 of the second period, only to have Vancouver restore its two-goal lead as D Dylan Plouffe (7) scored at 12:04. . . . F Tomas Soustal (11) pulled the home side to within a goal at 5:26 of the third period, and D Conner McDonald (4) tied it at 10:34. . . . McDonald, who also had an assist, has two goals and nine assists in his last six games. . . . Kemp also added an assist to his goal. . . . Ho, who didn’t score in seven games last season, had two assists for Vancouver, giving him seven this season. . . . Plouffe added an assist to his goal. . . . Vancouver was 0-1 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 37 shots for Vancouver. At the other end, Josh Dechaine made 31 saves. . . . Only three of the 14 shooters in OT were able to score. Benson and Edmonton F Colton Kehler each scored in the second round. . . . Vancouver F Brad Morrison played in his 300th regular-season game. He went pointless. . . . D Aidan Lawson, a 16-year-old from the U16 Colorado Thunderbirds, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . The Giants continue to play with F Brendan Semchuk, 18, who hasn’t been in a game since Dec. 15. He reportedly has left the team and asked to be traded. From Kamloops, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. . . . Announced attendance: 6,290.


At Red Deer, the Moose Jaw Warriors had a 69-shot game as they doubled the Rebels, 6-3. . . . The Warriors (31-6-3) have points in six straight (5-0-1). They lead the overall MooseJawWarriorsstandings by nine points over Swift Current. . . . The Rebels (10-20-8) have lost five straight (0-2-3). They are 13 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw got two goals and an assist from F Brayden Burke, and three assists from F Justin Almeida. Burke leads the WHL scoring race with 80 points, seven more than F Glenn Gawdin of Swift Current. . . . F Mason McCarty (19), on a PP, gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 11:51 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Vince Loschiavo (12), at 14:28, and Burke, at 17:11. . . . F Chris Douglas (3) got Red Deer even at 5:09 of the second period. . . . The Warriors got the game’s next four goals, the first two in the second period. F Tristyn DeRoose (2) scored at 7:37 and F Jayden Halbgewachs (41) counted on a PP at 17:55. . . . After two periods, the Warriors were ahead 4-2 on the scoreboard and 55-13 on the shot clock. . . . Moose Jaw stretched its lead in the third period as Burke (21) scored, shorthanded, at 5:50, and F Ryan Peckford (16) added another at 13:22. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (2) got Red Deer’s third goal, on a PP, at 14:41. . . . Peckford also had an assist. . . . The Rebels got two assists from D Alex Alexeyev and one each from Barteaux and McCarty. . . . Red Deer was 2-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Brody Willms made 18 saves for the visitors. . . . At the other end, Riley Lamb turned aside 63 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,034.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last two goals as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-4, and ran their home-ice winning streak to 13 games. . . . The Rockets (24-KelownaRockets11-3) have won six in a row and lead the Western Conference by three points over Everett. The Rockets also lead the B.C. Division, by four points over Vancouver. . . . The Americans (20-11-5) had points in each of their previous seven games (5-0-2). They are third in the U.S. Division, two points behind Portland. . . . F Nolan Foote (11) got Kelowna into a 4-4 tie, at 3:42 of the third period, and F Conner Bruggen-Cate snapped the tie with his second goal of the game and eighth of the season, at 4:36. . . . Bruggen-Cate had opened the scoring at 6:29, with F Carsen Twarynski upping it to 2-0 at 14:46. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (12) got the Americans on the scoreboard at 15:51, only to have Twarynski (26) get it back, on a PP, at 18:21. . . . The Americans scored the game’s next three goal, with F Jordan Topping (19) scoring, on a PP, at 3:39 of the second period; F Parker AuCoin (8) counting, while shorthanded, 20 seconds into the third period; and F Brett Clayton (3) providing a 4-3 lead at 2:55. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of Foote, F Kole Lind and F Kyle Topping, with Twarynski adding one. . . . Yaremko had two assists for the the Americans, with AuCoin getting one. . . . Each of the teams was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 24 shots to earn the victory. . . . Each of Tri-City’s goaltenders made two appearances. Tri-City starter Beck Warm and reliever Patrick Dea combined to stop 31 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,187.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Tri-City at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


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