D Jiří Smejkal (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, 2014-16) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had four goals and two assists in 26 games. . . .
D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has been released by Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) for financial reasons. An alternate captain, he had one goal and 18 assists in 43 games. Later Wednesday, Blum signed with Sochi (Russia, KHL) for the remainder of this season.
A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
D Kale Clague wasn’t in Team Canada’s lineup on Wednesday night as it ran its World Junior Championship record to 2-0 with a 6-0 victory over Slovakia in Buffalo. Clague, who is having a monster season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, blocked a shot with his right foot in Canada’s 4-2 victory over Finland on Tuesday. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “X-rays were negative, reportedly no fracture.” . . . After beating Slovakia, Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme said that he expects Clague to play Friday against the U.S., in the outdoor game.
Tim Wharnsby of CBC is in Buffalo for the WJC. He reports that Friday’s outdoor game may be in jeopardy because of a weather forecast that calls for “a frigid temperature of -8 C with a wind-chill making it feel more like -13 C.” . . . He also notes that the attendance woes continue to be a major story. . . . His piece is right here.
A note from Buffalo: If you would like to skate at New Era Field before Canada and the U.S. meet up in a WJC outdoor game on Friday, all you need is US$100. Fans were allowed on the ice Wednesday evening and there will be another 90-minute session today. Maki Becker of the Buffalo News adds: “Skaters must bring their own skates, and helmets are required for anyone under 12. Anyone coming into the stadium must have a ticket, even if they’re not skating.” . . . That $100 also gets you a ticket in the 300 level — the upper deck — to Friday’s game. . . . Sheesh, maybe I’m crazy, but that’s a lot of dough for a short skate.
Remember the Punch-Up in Piestany? Alan Maki of The Globe and Mail revisits the infamous 1987 WJC game between Canada and Russia and it’s all right here.
F Ryan Bowen has been suspended by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after refusing to report after being traded to an unidentified team. According to a news release from the Hurricanes, Bowen “was notified of a trade to another team, but has been suspended after informing the Hurricanes and the acquiring team that he would not report.”
Bowen, 19, has 30 points, including seven goals, in 53 games over two seasons with Lethbridge. This season, he had a goal and five assists in 13 games. He didn’t play his first game until Nov. 21, thanks to a shoulder injury.
In 143 career games, split between Lethbridge and the Moose Jaw Warriors, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.
Moose Jaw selected Bowen, who is from Chilliwack, B.C., in the fifth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Warriors dealt him to the Hurricanes on Nov. 8, 2016, along with a 2017 second-round bantam draft pick and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2019 draft for F Brayden Burke.
Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that “various WHL sources are saying that RW Brendan Semchuk has left the Vancouver Giants and is requesting a trade.”
Ewen tweeted the news prior to a game between the host Giants and the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night.
Semchuk, 18, is from Kamloops. He didn’t play last night, a healthy scratch for a third straight game.
According to Ewen, “The Giants are declining comment.”
The Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. In 127 regular-season games, all with the Giants, he has 17 goals and 24 assists.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has posted his final 31 Thoughts of 2017. He leads with memories of the late Johnny Bower, who died this week. The Prince Albert native was maybe the most beloved Toronto Maple Leafs player of them all. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.
At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored three times in the third period as they beat the Regina Pats, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-8-1) have won 16 of their last 18 games. They are third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Swift Current. . . . Regina (16-18-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Pats and Wheat Kings will play again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . Last night, the teams were 2-2 after two periods. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (26) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded, at 13:37 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Robbie Holmes, at 19:33 of the first, and F Logan Nijhoff (1), at 4:05 of the second. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Cole Reinhardt (11), at 14:36 of the second, and F Ty Lewis (18), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Holmes (9) pulled the Pats to within a goal at 7:25 of the third, but F Evan Weinger (15) got that one back for Brandon just 30 seconds later. . . . F Linden McCorrister (10) added insurance at 18:28. . . . Mattheos, Lewis and Weinger added an assist each for Brandon. . . . D Cale Fleury had two helpers for Regina. . . . The Pats were 0-3 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 0-6. . . . Brandon got 27 saves from G Logan Thompson, while Regina’s Max Paddock, playing in his hometown, turned aside 30 shots. . . . The Pats have F Sam Steel (Canada) at the WJC, while Brandon D Kale Clague also is with Team Canada. . . . Regina was without D Josh Mahura, who was released by Team Canada on Tuesday and has gone home to Edmonton for a couple of days. . . . The Pats brought in D Kjell Kjemhus, 16, from PoE and had him in the lineup. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,919.
At Saskatoon, F Cam Hebig scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades (16-17-3) have won two in a row. They moved out of a tie with the Raiders and into a tie with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Raiders (13-15-7) have lost two in a row. . . . Saskatoon took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Josh Paterson (13), at 4:08, and Hebig, on a PP, at 9:56. . . . The Raiders tied it before the period ended, though, thanks to scores by F Brett Season (5), on a PP, at 12:44, and F Devon Skoleski (8), at 13:22. . . . Hebig, who has 28 goals, broke the tie at 12:16 of the second period and D Jackson Caller (2) added insurance at 13:18. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Braylon Shmyr and one from Paterson. . . . D Max Martin drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 20 saves, 18 fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . F Kirby Dach of the Blades didn’t return after the first period. . . . Each team has a defenceman playing with the Czech Republic at the WJC in Buffalo — Vojtech Budik of the Raiders and Libor Hajek of the Blades. . . . F Gage Ramsay returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury, while F Michael Farren was back after a two-game absence. However, F Caleb Fantillo won’t play for at least three weeks. . . . With Hajek gone, the Blades have added Majid Kaddoura, 16, to their roster, although he didn’t play last night. A list player from Chestermere, Alta., Kaddoura plays at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . The Raiders and Blades will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Announced attendance: 3,395.
At Swift Current, F Glenn Gawdin and F Matteo Gennaro had shootout goals as the Broncos got past the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . The Broncos (26-7-2) erased a 3-0 deficit in the third period as they ran their victory streak to six. . . . The Warriors slipped to 27-6-3 and now lead the overall standings by three points over the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw scored twice before the game was two minutes old — F Brayden Burke (17) counting at 1:14 and F Tanner Jeannot (26) following at 1:33 — and made it 3-0 when F Justin Almeida scored, on a PP, at 5:56 of the second period. . . . The Broncos got to within a goal on third-period scores from F Max Patterson (3), on a PP, at 4:56, and F Kaden Elder (7), at 6:29. . . . Almeida (21), on a PP, restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 7:52. . . . The Broncos forced OT when Gawdin (32) scored at 16:08 and Gennaro (21) tied it at 16:36. . . . Gennaro added two assists and Gawdin one. . . . Burke, F Tristin Langan and F Jayden Halbgewachs each had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The teams will play tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors were 2-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Logan Flodell. At the other end, Brody Willms turned aside 23 shots. . . . D Jacson Alexander, who left the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies to sign with the Broncos last week, didn’t make his WHL debut. That may happen sometime on the weekend. . . . F Beck Malenstyn, who was acquired by Swift Current from the Calgary Hitmen, in a rather large trade earlier in the month, made his Broncos debut after being out for all but the season’s first four games with a wrist injury. He was in the starting lineup, alongside Gennaro, who also came over in the deal with Calgary, and Elder. Malenstyn drew the primary assist on Gennaro’s tying goal. . . . D Carter Spenst, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme of the CSSHL, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. . . . The Warriors are missing head coach Tim Hunter and F Brett Howden, both of whom are with Canada at the WJC. . . . The Broncos have three players in Buffalo — D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 2,644.
At Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last three goals, with D Conner McDonald in on each of them, and beat the Rebels, 3-1. . . . The Oil Kings (8-22-4) had lost their previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Rebels (10-19-6) had points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . D Alex Alexeyev (4) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 1:25 of the first period. . . . Edmonton tied it when F Davis Koch (15) scored, on a PP, at 12:19, then took the lead at 15:16 as F Trey Fix-Wolansky (13) scored. . . . F David Kope (3) added insurance at 2:00 of the second period. . . . McDonald drew three assists, while Koch and Fix-Wolansky each had one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 27 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Rebels also are missing F Kristian Reichel, who is in Buffalo with the Czech Republic. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 4,826.
At Cranbrook, B.C., F Peyton Krebs scored at 1:30 of OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice (16-17-2) has points in four straight games (3-0-1) and has moved into second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen (10-18-6) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . This was the third straight game these teams have played — the Ice won the previous two, 2-0 and 5-1. The teams will make it four in a row tonight in Calgary. . . . F Jakob Stukel put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Colton Veloso, who has 10. He scored on a PP at 9:12 of the first period and while shorthanded at 8:35 of the second. . . . Calgary F Jake Kryski (9) tied it 11:54. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (10) put the Ice back in front at 14:33. . . . F Orca Wiesblatt (4) got Calgary back into a tie at 17:54 of the third period. . . . Krebs, who has nine goals, won it with a PP goal. . . . F Brett Davis drew three assists for Kootenay, with Krebs adding one. . . . The Ice was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Kootenay got 20 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are without D Jake Bean (Canada) and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (Belarus), who are in Buffalo. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak is with Slovakia. . . . With G Bailey Brkin (ill) sidelined, the Ice had G Gage Alexander, 15, on the bench in support of McGovern. Alexander, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, signed a WHL contract last week. From Okotoks, Alta., he is playing with the minor midget AAA Rockyview Raiders (8-1-1, 1.60, .942). . . . Announced attendance: 2,625.
At Medicine Hat, head coach Shaun Clouston tied the franchise record for regular-season coaching victories as the Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Tigers (19-14-2) have won two straight and lead the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes (15-17-2) had won their previous game. They are third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay. . . . The teams will meet again Friday in Lethbridge. . . . Clouston now has 323 victories with the Tigers, equalling the record held by Willie Desjardins. . . . The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a PP goal from F Jordy Bellerive (18) at 5:28 of the second period. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the third period. . . . Medicine Hat took the lead on goals from D David Quenneville, on a PP, at 4:53, and F Max Gerlach (13), at 10:14. . . . F Lane Zablocki pulled Lethbridge into a tie with his 10th goal at 10:36. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin (11) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Quenneville (14), who also had an assist, got the empty-netter, at 19:21. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . F Taylor Ross had two assists for the visitors. . . . The Tigers were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-1. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett made 27 saves, while Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen turned aside 36. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner (ill) was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 3,688.
At Portland, the Tri-City Americans broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals and beat the Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . The Americans (19-10-3) have won four in a row. They have moved into fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Victoria and Portland. . . . The Winterhawks (21-12-1) have lost three straight. They trail U.S. Division-leading Everett by three points. . . . The Americans and Winterhawks will meet Friday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans skated to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 8:00, and F Kyle Olson (4), on a PP, at 12:06. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Cody Glass started it at 14:43 of the first period, with F Jake Gricius (6) twins it at 15:11. . . . Glass (22), on a PP, gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 6:15 of the second period. . . . Johnson (8) tied it at 14:29. . . . The Americans took over in the third period, getting goals from F Morgan Geekie (15), at 6:29; D Dylan Coghlan (11), at 7:17; and F Nolan Yaremko (10), at 9:30. . . . Geekie and Yaremko each had three assists, with D Mitchell Brown adding two and Coghlan one. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-3. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, 11 more than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Michael Rasmussen was among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki is in Buffalo with Finland. . . . The Winterhawks have three players at the WJC — F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark), F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and D Henri Jokiharju (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 5,719.
At Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips set a franchise record for goals in one game as they whipped the Vancouver Giants, 11-0. . . . The Silvertips (22-13-2) have won three in a row and lead the U.S. Division. . . . The Giants (18-14-4) had won their previous six games. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . The Silvertips had scored 10 goals once before — in a 10-4 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 11, 2009. . . . The Giants and Silvertips will meet again Friday in Everett. . . . The Silvertips got four goals and an assist from F Riley Sutter and 24 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who has two shutouts and three assists in his eight appearances in his freshman season. He is 6-2-0, 1.75, .947. . . . The visitors scored four goals in the first period and five in the second. . . . Sutter now has 17 goals this season. He scored the game’s first two goals, at 2:28 and 12:43 of the opening period. . . . F Connor Dewar, who has 14 goals, made it 4-0 with goals at 16:00 and 19:05. He also had three assists. . . .F Orrin Centazzo (5) added two goals, with singles from F Matt Fonteyne (17), F Sean Richards (15) and D Jake Christiansen (3). . . . F Patrick Bajkov had three assists, with F Bryce Kindopp getting two and Richards one. . . . Everett was 2-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck played the first and third periods, allowing six goals on 19 shots. Todd Scott was beaten five times on 10 shots in the second period. . . . Vancouver F Milos Roman is at the WJC with Slovakia, while Everett G Carter Hart is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.
At Victoria, the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to beat the Royals, 5-3. . . . The Cougars (13-17-5) had lost their previous three games. They are fifth in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kamloops. . . . The Royals (20-14-3) have lost four in a row and are second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . They will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . D Joel Lakusta gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 3:58 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (16) tied it, on a PP, at 6:31. . . . F Nic Holowko (4) put Prince George back in front just 12 seconds later. . . . F Tyler Soy (14) tied it again, at 10:28, and F Matthew Phillips (25) gave the home side the lead, on a PP, at 12:03. . . . The Cougars tied it when F Jackson Leppard (8) scored, on a PP, at 14:48. . . . F Josh Maser’s 14th goal, on a PP, broke the tie at 2:54 of the second period. . . . Lakusta, who has four goals, put it away with an empty-netter, at 19:56 of the third period. . . . Prince George got three assists from F Kody McDonald, while Maser and Leppard each had one. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for the Royals, with Phillips and Soy adding one each. . . . Soy has 147 career assists, which equals the Royals franchise record that he now shares with Jack Walker. The Victoria/Chilliwack franchise record (151) belongs to F Brandon Magee. . . . The Cougars were 2-8 on the PP; the Royals were 2-7. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 36 shots for the Cougars, 14 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars is in Buffalo with Belarus. . . . The Royals are missing F Ivan Martynov, who also is with Belarus. . . . Soy, who left Victoria’s last game before the Christmas break with an apparent injury, and Hannoun, who had been ill, both were in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Victoria F Regan Nagy (finger) remains sidelined. . . . This is the sixth straight season in which these teams have returned from Christmas to play twice in Victoria. The Royals are 8-2-1 in the previous 11 meetings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,637.
At Kelowna, F Liam Kindree scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the Rockets a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-11-3) has won three in a row and is alone atop the B.C. Division. It is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (16-17-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1) and is one point out of a wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna and Kamloops have met in the first game after the Christmas break for six straight years. The Rockets are 6-0-0; the Blazers are 0-5-1. . . . They will play the rematch in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Kole Lind (17) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the second period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby, who was acquired prior to last season from the Rockets, forced OT with his eighth goal of the season. He scored at 18:42 of the third period on the Blazers’ 43rd shot of the game. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 46 saves through OT — and four in the shootout — from G James Porter Jr. . . . G Dylan Ferguson blocked 21 shots, including a first-period penalty-shot attempt by Lind. . . . Kelowna remains without F Erik Gardiner (concussion). Gardiner, 18, last played on Oct. 28. . . . Each team was missing two players who are in Buffalo at the WJC. Kamloops D Ondrej Vala is with Czech Republic, while F Justin Sigrist is with Switzerland. Kelowna F Dillon Dube is captaining Team Canada, while D Cal Foote also is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 6,238.
At Spokane, F Zach Fischer’s goal at 3:46 of OT gave the Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Chiefs (19-13-3) had lost their previous game, 10-3 to the visiting Thunderbirds. Spokane is tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Seattle (15-14-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fifth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane, and holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The rematch — and the third straight game between these teams — is set for Friday in Kent, Wash. . . . F Nolan Volcan (14) put Seattle out front 1-0, on a PP, at 17:54 of the first period. . . . Fischer tied it at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman (5) at 14:14, and D Reece Hirsch (7), on a PP, at 17:20. . . . The Chiefs tied it on third-period goals from F Hudson Elynuik, on a PP, at 6:28, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (17), at 11:02. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) put Seattle ahead, again, at 14:18, only to have F Riley Woods (14) force OT by tying it at 16:12. . . . Fischer, who also had an assist, won it with his 16th goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Elynuik added an assist each for Spokane. . . . D Turner Ottenbreit had two helpers for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-3 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-6. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 25 shots for Spokane, while Seattle got 37 saves from Matt Berlin. . . . F Sami Moilanen didn’t play for Seattle after suffering an undisclosed injury while in the selection camp of the Finnish national junior team. . . . The Chiefs have two players at the WJC — F Kailer Yamamoto (U.S.) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic). . . . Announced attendance: 5,082.
THURSDAY (all times local):
Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY: