Scattershooting on a Thursday night while waiting to steal the first signs of spring . . .

Scattershooting

ESPN continues to use Jessica Mendoza as a baseball analyst despite her being on the payroll of the New York Mets as a baseball operations special adviser. Of course, that is a conflict of interest, something that was very much in evidence on Thursday as Mendoza chose to speak out on at least three ESPN programs about the cheating scandal that has enveloped MLB.  . . . She pointed a finger at pitcher Mike Fiers, now of the Oakland A’s, for going public, something that sparked MLB’s investigation. Mendoza later tried to backtrack, but the genie was out of the bottle and her credibility has since taken a terrible beating, as it should have. . . . The Mets, of course, found themselves hip deep in it because their new manager, Carlos Beltran, was involved in the cheating while playing for the Astros. On Thursday, the Mets and Beltran parted company before he had managed even one game. While Beltran may be gone, Mendoza continues to cash cheques from ESPN and the Mets.


Astros


It was on Jan. 4 when former WHL player/assistant coach Kevin Sawyer, now a broadcaster for TSN on games involving the Winnipeg Jets, related a story involving a hazing. Sawyer, then an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, talked of Saran-wrapping a 15-year-old Jared Spurgeon to a pillar in an arena. Spurgeon wsa “about six feet up in the air . . . he was tiny,” Sawyer said. “He looked like he was 12.” . . . Paul Friesen, a columnist with the Winnipeg Sun, has some questions about all of this but has discovered a cone of silence seems to have been placed over everyone involved. Friesen, however, was able to speak with Akim Aliu, who is no stranger to hazing incidents. . . . Friesen’s column is right here.



A tip of the Taking Note fedora to a pair of WHL teams — the Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars announced on Thursday that they now are making sensory kits available at all home games. From a news release: “In partnership with AutismBC, the Cougars have purchased sensory kits that will be loaned out to families, at no cost, that have sensory issues. The sensory kit includes protective earmuffs, colouring book, crayons, ear plugs, sunglasses, and several different fidget / stress items.” . . .

Meanwhile, the Royals, with their home city and environs hit with some ugly weather, are rewarding fans who were able to get to their Wednesday game and ticket holders who couldn’t make it with freebies for a future game. . . . The Royals announced attendances of 2,519 and 2,901 for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, as they swept the Tri-City Americans, 3-1 and 6-1. However, it’s believed the miserable weather limited the actual attendance at each game to much closer to 1,000 people.


Christmas


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons fired Bob Beatty, their general manager and head OilBaronscoach, on Tuesday. Beatty, a veteran of the junior A coaching scene, was in his first season with the Oil Barons, who were 15-27-2 and in seventh place in the North Division in what is clearly a rebuilding/reloading season. . . . Mike Brodeur and Justin Rose, the team’s assistant coaches, ran things on an interim basis for a couple of days. . . . On Thursday, the Oil Barons announced that Gord Thibodeau had returned to the organization as GM and head coach. He had filled both positions with the Oil Barons for 11 seasons (2003-14). . . . Thibodeau is the winningest coach in AJHL history, having put up number 833 in February 2017 while with the Whitecourt Wolverines. He and the Wolverines parted company shortly after he put up that victory. . . . Thibodeau also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four separate occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press tweeted Wednesday that F Connor McLennon wpgicewill be out of the Winnipeg Ice’s lineup for up to eight weeks with a broken collarbone. . . . McLennon was injured Tuesday night in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars. He leads the Ice in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49), all in 42 games for the East Division-leading club. . . . Interestingly, the Ice didn’t list its two 2004-born forwards — Matt Savoie and Connor Geekie — on the WHL’s weekly roster report. Savoie, who has five assists in 12 games, is out with a concussion; Geekie, pointless in seven games, has mononucleosis. . . . The Ice selected Savoie with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, and took Geekie with the next selection.


After Seattle had its season come to an end on Sunday in Green Bay, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch offered some advice for young NFLers: ““It’s a vulnerable time for a lot of young dudes, you feel me? So, you feel me? Start takin’ care of y’all mentals and y’all bodies and y’all’s chicken. So, when y’all ready to, you know, walk away, you be able to do what you want to do.” . . . By chicken, of course, he meant money. . . . All of that got lots of play, and by early in the week you could visit his website (beastmode.com) and purchase hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with “Take Care Yo’ Chicken” across the chests. . . . Yes, Lynch practises what he preaches.


Micro


If you watched the video of the battling goaltenders on Saturday night, you will have noticed Roman Basran of the Kelowna Rockets holding his right arm in a gingerly KelownaRocketsfashion after he and Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers got up off the canvas, er, ice. . . . Well, the Rockets listed Basran as out day-to-day with an upper-body injury on Tuesday’s WHL roster report. . . . Basran has been the Rockets’ No. 1 goaltender. . . . The Rockets (21-17-3), the host team for the Memorial Cup, are third in the B.C. Division and sixth in the Western Conference. . . . With Basran unavailable, the Rockets have added G Cole Tisdale, 17, to their roster from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Tisdale, an eighth-round pick by the Rockets in the 2017 bantam draft, will back up Cole Schwebius as the Rockets visit the Everett Silvertips tonight (Friday) and then go into Portland for a Saturday-Sunday doubledip with the Winterhawks. . . .

The Rockets also have lost F Liam Kindree, 19, for up to two months — i.e., the remainder of the regular season — with a broken collarbone. He had surgery on Thursday. . . . As well, Kelowna F Nolan Foote showed up on the weekly roster report as being out week-to-week with an undisclosed lower-body injury. . . . Foote was injured in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Kindree went down in a 7-2 loss to the visiting Blazers on Saturday. The Rockets were adamant that it was a second-period hit on Kindree by Kamloops F Jeremy Appelt that resulted in some late-game fisticuffs. Kindree was given a boarding minor on the play.


Here is Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice on the spate of NHL firings:

“It’s a very painful experience. It’s a very personal, yet very public, experience.

“I think this is the best analogy: You’re in a marriage, you love the woman but it’s getting a little bit rocky. Then you come home one day and she says ‘Paul, we’re going in a different direction and there’s gonna be a press conference in three hours and we’re gonna talk about how great the new husband’s gonna be.’

“So, it’s tough. You put your heart and soul into it and then you’re out.”


JUST NOTES: The Minnesota Twins signed 3B Josh Donaldson to a four-year deal said to be worth US$92 million. Donaldson turned 34 on Dec. 8. Hey, gang, it’s only money. . . . Of course, with Donaldson at the hot corner, the Twins now will move Miguel Sanó, who will be 27 in May, to first base. . . . Donaldson hit 37 dingers with the Atlanta Braves last season; Sano hit 34 in only 380 ABs with the Twins. . . . If you’re like me, you’re wondering: How much of Subway does Martha Stewart own? . . . Do the people who had a problem with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow smoking a victory cigar also have issues when championship teams celebrate by pouring beer and champagne all over the place? . . . A final thought on MLB’s latest cheating scandal: Is this a case of a business that has turned a blind-eye — wink! wink!! — to different kinds of cheating over more than 100 years finally having the chickens come home to roost? . . . The first pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 12.

Scattershooting on a Monday night while wondering how long they’ll be the Houston Asterisks . . .

Scattershooting

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Columnist Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, on the cheating mess in MLB:

“This scandal is a perfect illustration of why cheating in professional sports is so bad. It ruins everything. There is no way to fix the damage. And that scar across a sport’s visage is permanent, as with the World Series 101 years ago that is still known by just two words: Black Sox.

“That is why it is so important to make every effort to catch cheaters and crush those who get caught with penalties that get the attention of the next person who is tempted to do the same. We never seem to understand the true weight of the phrase ‘integrity of the game’ until some team or player tries to rip it to shreds to win.”

Boswell’s complete column is right here.

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The person who came up with the idea to feature Cam Hope, the president and general manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals, in a video as he put together a deal with the Moose Jaw Warriors that brought sniper Brayden Tracey to Vancouver Island deserves a raise in pay. . . . If you haven’t seen the video, it’s about six minutes in length and it’s right here. . . . The script writer got a perfect ending, too, as Tracey scored the OT winner in his first game with the Royals. . . . BTW, I have all kinds of time for Hope, who has never shied away from answering any question that I may have asked him.


Psst! Did you hear about the hockey game that wasn’t able to start on time because one of the referees forgot his pants? No, it wasn’t in the WHL. . . . It was a National Ice Hockey League game in the United Kingdom between the Peterborough Phantoms and Telford Tigers. . . . Officials are required to wear black pants with some padding, and referee Richard Belfitt didn’t have his with him. He ended up finding a pair in the arena’s lost-and-found bin and the game started after a 15-minute delay. . . . That story is right here.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, noted the other day that there was only one winless NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball team at that point of the season — Mississippi Valley State at 0-13. . . . “Twelve of those 13 losses were road games for the Delta Devils,” he wrote. “The NCAA loves to refer to its ‘student-athletes’. Surely those 12 road games enhanced significantly the ‘student’ portion of college life for those ‘student-athletes’. . . . The Delta Devils have since split two games, both on the road, and now are 1-14. Last night, they beat the host Alabama A&M Bulldogs, 72-66. The Bulldogs are 5-10.

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After the Miami Dolphins fired offensive co-ordinator Chad O’Shea, Finarelli confessed: “I could not pick him out of a lineup with the WNBA all-star team.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “It now has been revealed that New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes broke an ankle at his Florida ranch last season when he stepped in a hole while trying to elude a wild pig. Or as Mets publicists immediately tried to spin it, he’s been out because of a bad hammy.”

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One more from Perry: “According to a study conducted by four universities in Ireland, the average doctor visit there lasts 14.1 minutes. Or roughly the same as an NFL video replay review.”



While the Battle of Alberta was showing life in Calgary on Saturday night, thanks to the Kamloops1Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian of the Edmonton Oilers, the Battle of the Okanagan blew up in Kelowna as the Rockets and the Kamloops Blazers brawled their way to the conclusion of what was a 7-2 victory by the visitors, who had won 4-1 at home on Friday. . . . Saturday’s game included battling goaltenders as Kelowna’s Roman Basran and Dylan Garand of the Blazers gave fight fans across the Internet an orgasmic moment.

“The league’s got to take a hard look at how their refs are letting it get out of control,” Kelowna head coach Adam Foote told David Trifunov of the Kelowna Daily Courier. “I talked to a league official before the game. I said, ‘They’ve let three hitting from behinds go, and they let 23 (Kamloops F Jeremy Appelt) board a guy.’ They call the right call there to control the game . . . Our guys, I never promote that stuff, but I think they just got fed up.”

The Rockets were upset about a hit by Appelt on F Liam Kindree at 12:49 of the second period.

Trifunov added: “The coach said he thought that precipitated much of the shenanigans at KelownaRocketsthe end of the game. But he also said after Kelowna’s Pavel Novak was suspended eight games for a check-from-behind on the Blazers’ Kyrell Sopotyk on Nov. 11, the Rockets have watched numerous similar calls go nearly unpunished.”

There are a few other WHL teams, like maybe 21 of them, who will be slapping foreheads and chuckling from behind hands over a Rockets coach complaining about the officiating. After all, everyone knows that the Rockets get all the officiating breaks because their owner, governor, president and general manager, Bruce Hamilton, rules the roost.

Right?

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When Basran and Garand tumbled to the ice as their scrap neared its end, the Kelowna goaltender said something to his Kamloops counterpart and the two quickly separated and got to their feet. Basran, though, was favouring his right arm/shoulder as he skated away. . . . Basran is the Rockets’ No. 1 goaltender, having played in 33 games (1,816 minutes) to Cole Schwebius’s 13 (652 minutes). . . . If Basran is injured, remember that the fight took place slightly more than 24 hours after the passing of the WHL’s trade deadline. And remember that the Rockets are the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup that is four months down the road.

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BTW . . . In the end, the goofiness resulted in one suspension — Kelowna D Kaedan Korczak got three games — and fines totalling $4,500, with the Rockets dinged for $3,000 of that. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia pointed out via Twitter that there were “18 fighting majors in the Kamloops-Kelowna game on Saturday night. That’s more fighting majors than all but five teams have incurred this season in the WHL.” . . . Kamloops has won seven of eight meetings with Kelowna this season, having outscored the Rockets 33-14 in the process. They will conclude the season series on March 13 (at Kamloops) and 14 (at Kelowna).

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Meanwhile, in Calgary, there seemed to be a whole lot of consternation from various NHLcorners because Tkachuk refused to fight Kassian when challenged in the third period of what was then a 3-3 game. Those who are up in arms seem to be forgetting one thing — Why do you play the game? As then-New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards so famously explained more than 17 years ago: “You play to win the game.” . . . Well, Kassian ended up in the penalty box and the Flames, with Tkachuk screening in front of the Edmonton net, scored on the power play as they went on to a 4-3 victory. . . . On Monday, Kassian was hit with a two-game suspension. . . . Gotta think Tkachuk won the night. . . . With the all-star break approaching, Kassian will be eligible to return on Jan. 29 when — you guessed it! — the Flames are scheduled to play in Edmonton.

Paul Stewart, a former NHL referee who was a tough cookie as a WHL/NHL player, has his take on Tkachuk vs. Kassian right here.


The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys announced on Monday that Joe Murphy, their general manager and head coach, had resigned, effective immediately. . . . Pete deGraaf was named interim head coach. . . . The Grizzlys are 9-17-5 and in sixth place in the seven-team South Division. . . . Murphy, a former Olds player, was in his second season as head coach, his first as GM. . . . DeGraaf is in his third season with Olds.



JUST NOTES: Why do I get the feeling that Houston’s American League time will be known as the Asterisks for the next while? . . . And it would seem that the Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora are next up at MLB’s Cheaters’ Waltz. . . . When MLB lowers the boom on the Red Sox, the New York tabloids — the Post and Daily News — should be worth a look. . . . Are the drivers who don’t clean the snow off their vehicles — especially the windows — before leaving home/work the same people who don’t use their turn-signals? . . . All things considered, Boston play-by-play fan Jack Edwards was rather restrained as Bruins F Brad Marchand muffed that shootout attempt last night. Could it be that Edwards simply was in a state of shock? . . . Why do journalists continue to write/report that a team or person has “punched their ticket” to an event? For example, The Canadian men’s volleyball team didn’t punch a ticket to anywhere on Sunday; rather, it qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games.

Prepping for Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . . Blazers will play in front of huge crowd. . . . Winner moves on; loser goes home

There will be more than 5,800 hockey fans in the Sandman Centre in Kamloops tonight (Tuesday) as the Blazers and Kelowna Rockets play in the WHL’s first tiebreaker game in three years.

The winner will head for Victoria to open a first-round series with the Royals on Friday night. The loser is done for this season.

A tiebreaker is held only when teams are tied for a final playoff position.

The Rockets and Blazers finished tied for third place in the B.C. Division, each at 28-32-8. Kamloops1With each team having 28 victories, the league had to go to its second tiebreaker — the season series between the teams — to determine a home for tonight’s game. The Blazers won the season series, going 6-3-1; the Rockets were 4-4-2.

These teams last met on March 8 and 9, with the Blazers winning 2-1 in a shootout at home in the first game, then posting a 2-1 victory in regulation time in the second game.

The Blazers have played 10 games in March, going 5-3-2, while outscoring the opposition, 36-31. In their past six games, they are 5-0-1, having scored 24 goals while surrendering 10.

The Rockets are 2-3-3 in March — but in four of those games they were able to score only one goal. They won’t win tonight if they score only one goal.

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Some notes before Tiebreaker Tuesday. . . .

The Rockets are expected to start G Roman Basran, who is 4-3-1, 1.61, .942 against the Blazers this season. It’s awfully hard to knock numbers like those ones. . . .

G Dylan Ferguson, 20, hasn’t dressed since appearing to suffer a groin injury during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6. He did skate with the Blazers on Monday. However, G Dylan Garand, 16, has started six games in a row since Ferguson was injured. The Blazers are 5-0-1 in those Garand starts. Two of those were against Kelowna — Garand is 2-0-0, 0.96, .964. . . .

D Lassi Thomson, Kelowna’s Finnish freshman who is terrific on the PP, suffered a KelownaRocketsconcussion when he was checked by Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen in that March 8 game and hasn’t played since. Thomson skated on Monday, but he was wearing a yellow non-contact sweater, which would seem to indicate that he won’t play tonight. . . . His return, if it were to happen, would be huge. Thomson finished the season with 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. Against Kamloops, he had three goals and five assists in eight-plus games. . . .

Kelowna’s Matt Barberis, a defenceman with 179 games of WHL experience, also was in a non-contact sweater yesterday. However, he has played only 20 games this season — nine with the Vancouver Giants and 11 with the Rockets — and hasn’t been in a game since Feb. 9. . . .

The Blazers may have F Logan Stankoven in their lineup after he skated with them on Monday. He won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League scoring championship, putting up 103 points, including 49 goals, in 38 games with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers. He was the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . He had one assist from seven earlier appearances with the WHL’s Blazers. . . .

The Rockets may get F Trevor Wong into their lineup. From Vancouver, he played for the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians, putting up 42 points, 30 of them assists, in 34 games. He was the 18th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. The consensus is that he would have been taken earlier had he not indicated that he would be going to the U of Denver. Wong, 15, skated with the Rockets on Monday. . . . Wong played four earlier games with the Rockets, scoring once. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff of the Rockets took a puck to the face during a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. That resulted in more than two dozen stitches. On Saturday, he scored Kelowna’s second goal and set up the OT winner as the Rockets beat the visiting Giants, 3-2. . . .

The Rockets will be host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They have missed the playoffs only once (2006-07) since moving to Kelowna from Tacoma in time for the 1995-96 season. . . . The Blazers, meanwhile, missed the playoffs last season and three of the past five seasons. . . .

F Kobe Mohr of the Blazers was on the Edmonton Oil Kings’ roster on March 22, 2016, the date of the last WHL tiebreaker game, but he didn’t get into the game. . . .

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There have been six other tiebreakers in WHL history. The road team has won five of them. Here they are, courtesy of whl.ca . . .

2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.

2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.

2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).

1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.

1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).

1980-81: Spokane Flyers 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9 (OT).

Raiders put wraps on conference, division titles. . . . Oil Kings stay on top of tight Central. . . . Spokane, Tri-City neck-and-neck in U.S.


ThisThat

The above tweet provides a look inside the Wayne Fleming Arena at the U of Manitoba in Winnipeg as the UBC Thunderbirds and the Bisons faced off in Game 2 of a Canada West playoff series.

This is where the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice are scheduled to play at least the next two seasons after relocating after 21 seasons in Cranbrook, B.C.


The Saskatoon Blades will be out of their home arena — the SaskTel Centre — for a couple of weeks in the first half of the WHL’s 2021-22 season.

That’s because the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings will be held there from Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.

Canada’s women’s and men’s entries for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which are to be played in Beijing, will be decided at the Roar of the Rings.

Including time to set up the arena and to tear down, the Blades can count on being out of the facility for at least 10 days.


D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds has drawn a TBD suspension after he took a whlheadshot major and game misconduct on Friday night.

On the play in question, McNelly hit F Martin Fasko-Rudas of the Everett Silvertips. Fasko-Rudas needed help on the ice, then left the game and didn’t return.

McNelly has been suspended on two other occasions this season. He drew three games for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a Dec. 31 game against the Winterhawks at Portland.

McNelly also sat out three games for a one-man fight during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.

McNelly didn’t play Saturday night against the visiting Portland Winterhawks, while Fasko-Rudas sat out Everett’s game with the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Meanwhile, F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen was suspended for two games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina F Sebastian Streu during Friday’s 5-4 OT loss to the host Pats.

Kastelic didn’t play last night when the Hitmen met the host Swift Current Broncos, and he’ll sit out Wednesday’s rematch in Calgary. Streu didn’t play Saturday afternoon as the Pats dropped a 5-2 decision to the Warriors in Moose Jaw.

Also on the discipline front, the Lethbridge Hurricanes were fined $750. For what? Who knows? All the WHL will say is that the fine is “for actions during game versus Medicine Hat” on Friday. The Hurricanes beat the visiting Tigers, 6-3, in that one.


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Fred Harbinson became the fourth head coach in BCHL history with 500 regular-season pentictonvictories when the Penticton Vees beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, 4-0, on Saturday. . . . The Vees also clinched their eighth straight regular-season Interior Division title with the the victory. . . . Harbinson is in his 12th season with Penticton. He joins Harvey Smyl (New Westminster Royals, Chilliwack Chiefs, Langley Chiefs, 1990-2012), Kent Lewis (Powell River Kings, Nanaimo Clippers, 1990-2018) and Bill Bestwick (Nanaimo Clippers, Victoria Warriors, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Victoria Grizzlies, 1989-2014) as BCHL coaches with 500 victories. . . . Harbinson took over as the Vees’ general manager and head coach prior to 2007-08 after five seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Cloud State Huskies. The Vees have him signed through the 2023-24 season.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Tristin Langan and F Brayden Tracey each had three points to help the host Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriorsWarriors to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (33-16-8) has won two in a row. It is third in the East Division, 10 points behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Regina (18-39-3) had won its previous two games. . . . Moose Jaw leads the season series, 5-1-0. . . . Langan finished with two goals, giving him 44, and an assist; Tracey scored his 30th goal and added two assists. . . . Langan opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:19 of the first period. . . . Tracey made it 2-0 at 16:18. . . . The Pats tied it on second-period goals from D Brady Pouteau (4), on a PP, at 1:06, and F Garrett Wright (6), at 11:41. . . . After going 11 games without a goal, Wright has scored in two straight games, and has three goals in five games. He’s a 17-year-old freshman from Mesa, Ariz. . . . The Warriors took control with a pair of goals in the last 1:39 of the period. . . . D Josh Brook (15) broke the tie at 18:21, and Langan made it 4-2 at 19:18. . . . Moose Jaw got its final goal from F Carson Denomie (4), a Regina native, at 14:57 of the third period. . . . Regina was without F Sebastian Streu, who took a hard hit from F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night. Kastelic was given a boarding major and game misconduct on the play and was suspended for two games on Saturday. . . . For an interesting read, click on the tweet at the top of this piece and read the comments. . . .

Tracey, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was the 21st overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals (30), assists (40) and points (70), in 57 games. . . . F Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit leads OHL freshmen in goals (29) and points (61) in 53 games. F Jean Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires is tops in assists (37) in 55 games. . . . In the QMJHL, F Egor Serdyuk of the Victoriaville Tigres leads freshmen in goals (23) and points (56), in 55 games. D Jordan Spence of the Moncton Wildcats is No. 1 in assists (41), in 59 games.


F Cole Fonstad had a goal and three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-1 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (49-8-3), which clinched the East Division pennant for the first time since 1999 with the victory, has won three in a row. . . . The Raiders, who also will finish atop the Eastern Conference, have tied the 1971-72 Calgary Centennials for most victories in a 68-game regular season. . . . Brandon (29-23-7) had won its previous six games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders won the season series, 4-1-1; the Wheat Kings were 2-4-0. . . . The Wheat Kings came out winners the last two times these teams met, winning 5-4 in OT in Prince Albert on Feb. 15, and 6-3 in Brandon the next night. . . . The Raiders got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Noah Gregor, at 2:37, and F Ozzy Wiesblatt (15), at 11:33. . . . Brandon D Vince Iorio scored his first WHL goal at 12:24. . . . The Raiders got the next five goals, from F Jakob Brook (6), Gregor, who now has 37, F Parker Kelly (30), F Sean Montgomery (27), on a PP, and Fonstand (27). . . . This was Fonstad’s second career four-point game. . . . Wiesblatt added two assists to his goal, and Gregor also had an assist for a three-point game. . . . The Raiders had a 48-16 edge in shots, including 23-4 in the second period and 13-5 in the third. . . . Brandon F Lynden McCallum left early in the second period with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos left for a bit after absorbing a hit from Raiders D Brayden Pachal late in the second period. The two fought later, and Mattheos, Brandon’s leading scorer, didn’t play in the third period. . . . The Raiders lost Kelly at 15:48 of the third period as he took a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit that sent Brandon F Marcus Sekundiak to the dressing room. . . . Raiders D Max Martin sat out a third straight game. . . . Brandon was without F Linden McCorrister (ill) for a second game in as many nights. . . . Prior to the game, the Raiders announced that they had returned F Cole Nagy to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers and G Brett Balas to the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks.


The Saskatoon Blades are back in the WHL playoffs for the first time since the spring of Saskatoon2013. The Blades clinched a playoff spot with a 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Saskatoon (38-14-8) is second in the East Division and is likely to meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . Kootenay (11-38-10) has lost eight in a row (0-6-2). . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (12), who had gone 15 games without a goal, at 6:57, and F Gary Haden (28), at 14:20. . . . F Jaeger White (25) got the Ice on the scoreboard at 18:21. . . . D Reece Harsch (4) stretched Saskatoon’s lead to 3-1 at 5:05 of the second period. . . . Kootenay tied it on third-period goals by F Brad Ginnell (14), at 10:05, and F Jakin Smallwood (12) at 13:16. . . . Ginnell also had two assists. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic scored the only goal of the three-round shootout. . . . Saskatoon G Dorrin Luding stopped 34 shots, four fewer than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Saskatoon has opened the scoring in 41 of 60 games. . . . Saskatoon F Max Gerlach had his point streak snapped at 15 games. He had 13 goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . . Saskatoon D Nolan Kneen was back in the lineup after a one-game absence. . . . The Ice scratched D Martin Bodak with an undisclosed injury. He had played Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert.


The Calgary Hitmen scored three PP goals en route to a 6-1 victory over the Broncos in CalgarySwift Current. . . . Calgary (31-22-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-42-5) has lost 10 in a row (0-8-2). . . . The Hitmen were 3-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . Calgary got out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Luke Coleman (19), at 6:58, and D Devan Klassen (1), at 7:56. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (15) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 10:05. . . . Calgary F Carson Focht, who had four assists, was in on Calgary’s next three goals, by F Kaden Elder (24), on a PP, F Ryder Korczak (7), on another PP, and D Jackson van de Leest (1). . . . F James Malm (26), who also had two assists, scored Calgary’s final goal. . . . Focht enjoyed the second four-point game of his career. . . . Klassen, a 17-year-old from Crooked Creek, Alta., got his first goal in his 38th game, 29 of them this season. Van de Leest, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, was the 16th overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. His first goal of this season — and second of his career — came in his 58th game of 2018-19. He has played in 101 career games. . . . Calgary was without F Mark Kastelic, who began a two-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen revealed Saturday afternoon that F Cael Zimmerman will be out weekt-to-week with an unidisclosed injury. He now has missed three games since last playing on Feb. 16 in a 5-3 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. Zimmerman, a sophomore who turned 18 on Jan. 17, has seven goals and 18 assists in 56 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the Rebels in EdmontonOilKingsRed Deer. . . . Edmonton (34-18-8) has won three in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold a game in hand. . . . Red Deer (29-24-5) has lost five straight and is 1-9-2 in its last 12 outings. It is two points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings, who hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Edmonton is 5-1-1 in the season series; Red Deer is 2-5-0. . . . On Friday, the Oil Kings had beaten the visiting Rebels, 2-1. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (28) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 12:09 of the first period, and F Parker Gavlas (1) made it 2-0 at 15:54. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (30) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 of the second period, and F Andrei Pavlenko (8) made it 4-0 at 1:37 of the third. . . . D Ethan Sakowich (2) scored while shorthanded to get Red Deer on the scoreboard at 2:27, only to have Edmonton F Vladimir Alistrov (10) get that one back at 5:13. . . . Red Deer got another shorthanded goal, this one from F Oleg Zaytsev (12), at 19:57. . . . Edmonton was 1-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-4. . . . Edmonton enjoyed a 36-23 edge in shots, including 16-7 in the second period. . . . F Josh Williams (ill) was among Edmonton’s scratches. He had played in Friday’s game.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots for his first WHL shutout as he led the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes to a 5-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (32-17-10) has won three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and with a game in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-5) has lost six straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. The Tigers  are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings and four up on the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hurricanes had beaten the visiting Tigers, 6-3, on Friday night. . . . With two games remaining, Lethbridge is 5-1-2 in the season series; Medicine Hat is 3-5-0. . . . The Hurricanes began a five-game road swing with this one. . . . F Nick Henry (23) got the game’s first goal, at 2:48 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes went up 4-0 on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (29), on a PP, at 8:51; F Jake Elmer (31), at 15:55; and D Calen Addison, at 18:40. . . . Addison scored again at 1:08 of the third period, giving him his first career multi-goal game. He has 11 goals this season, equalling his career high from last season. . . . Addison also had an assist. He now has 58 points, including 47 assists, in 58 games. . . . Elmer has goals in eight straight games, having scored 11 times in that stretch. . . . Lethbridge remains without F Scott Mahovlich, who has missed five games after leaving the team earlier this month due to a family emergency. . . .  The Tigers, already without F Ryan Jevne, scratched F Brett Kemp, who played in Friday’s game.


G Roman Basran stopped 18 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (26-29-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the B.C. Division and now holds a seven-point lead on the Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . Kamloops (22-29-6) was blanked for the first time this season. The Blazers are five points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Each team is 4-3-1 in the season series — seriously! — which has two games remaining. . . . Basran has two shutouts this season. . . . F Nolan Foote (31) put the Rockets ahead at 1:53 of the second period, and F Mark Liwiski (9) added insurance at 5:46. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 21 shots for the Blazers.


F Seth Jarvis scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 Portlandvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (37-17-6) is second in the U.S. Division, eights points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (24-28-7) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . Portland is 8-2-0 in the season series, including six straight victories; Seattle is 2-6-2. . . . Seattle led this one 3-0 before the first period had reached the midway point. . . . F Matthew Wedman (33) made it 1-0 at 2:05; F Owen Williams (4) upped it to 2-0 at 8:04; and F Andrej Kukuca (23) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:42. . . . D Clay Hanus (6) started the Portland comeback at 1:57 of the second period, with F Lane Gilliss (14) getting the visitors to within a goal at 2:24. . . . Portland D Jared Freadrich tied it with his 12th goal, at 3:21 of the third period. . . . Jarvis, Portland’s second shooter, scored in the shootout, with the three Seattle shooters all being blanked. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas come on in relief of Joel Hofer and stopped all 22 shots he faced through OT. . . . Seattle got 36 stops from G Roddy Ross. . . . Portland D Nick Cicek was hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle D Jake Lee at 16:44 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks continue to be without D Brendan De Jong. . . . With D Cade McNelly suspended, the Thunderbirds brought in D Luke Bateman from the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Bateman, 16, played two earlier games with the Thunderbirds, who selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


F Eli Zummack broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 2-1 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (31-19-7) had lost three in a row (0-2-1). The Chiefs and Americans now are tied for third in the U.S. Division, with Spokane having a game in hand. . . . Tri-City (33-22-3) had won its past two games. . . . The Americans are 6-3-0 in the season series; the Chiefs are 3-5-1. . . . F Adam Beckman (26) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:19 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko (23) tied it at 16:33. . . . Zummack got the winner, his 14th goal of the season, at 3:32 of the third period. . . . Spokane was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 24 shots for Spokane, four fewer than Tri-City’s Beck Warm, who was making his 100th regular-season appearance. . . . The Americans scratched F Kyle Olson, who has 62 points in 53 games. He had played Friday in a 4-2 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks.


F Phillip Schultz scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the host Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (31-25-3) is second in the B.C. Division, eight points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . With the loser point, Vancouver (40-14-4) wrapped up the B.C. Division pennant for the first time since 2009-10. The Giants are four points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. Vancouver has two games in hand. . . . The teams will meet again this afternoon in Victoria to complete the tripleheader weekend. The Giants won, 4-0, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Vancouver is 5-2-2 in the season series; Victoria is 4-4-1. . . . Last night, F Milos Roman (23) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:48 of the first period. . . . Victoria responded with the next three goals, by F Brandon Cutler (11), at 2:56 of the second period; F Kody McDonald (18), at 3:41; and F Dino Kambeitz (9), shorthanded, at 3:22 of the third. . . . Vancouver pulled even on goals from F Jadon Joseph (17), at 10:49, and F Davis Koch (24), at 15:51. . . . Victoria went back in front as F Logan Doust (6) scored, at 17:21. . . . The Giants got to OT as F Jared Dmytriw (15) scored, at 19:17. . . . With Vancouver shooting first, Dmytriw and McDonald traded goals in the shootout’s third round, and F Lukas Svejkovsky and Cutler did it in the fourth round, before Schultz won it. . . . D Bowen Byram had three assists for the Giants, with Joseph adding two assists to his goal. . . . Byram has 21 goals and 37 assists in 58 games. . . . The Royals got 38 saves from G Griffen Outhouse, while G Trent Miner blocked 20 shots for Vancouver. . . . The Giants listed G David Tendeck as a scratch for personal reasons. He was in goal for the Giants on Friday. . . . With Tendeck out, the Giants had Braedy Euerby, a 16-year-old from Delta, B.C., backing up Miner. Euerby plays for the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep team. He was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Vancouver also had F Zack Ostapchuk in the lineup. Ostapchuk, 15, is from St. Albert, Alta., and plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. This was his fifth game of the season with the Giants, who took him with the 12th overall selection of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt, who has battled injuries for most of this season, was back in the lineup after last playing on Feb. 2.


The Everett Silvertips jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to score a 6-3 victory over the Everettvisiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Everett (42-14-4) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (17-36-7) had snapped a 17-game losing skid (13-0-4) with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night. The Cougars have eight games remaining and are 14 points from a playoff spot. . . . Everett played twice in Prince George earlier in the week, winning both games by the same 4-1 score. . . . Everett went 4-0-0 in the season series, outscoring the Cougars, 20-6. . . . last night, the Silvertips got first-period goals from D Wyatte Wylie (10), on a PP, at 6:08; F Zack Andrusiak (37), at 6:24; and F Jackson Berezowski (11), on a PP, at 17:52. . . . F Robbie Holmes (11) made it 4-0, on another PP, at 2:59 of the second period. . . . F Matéj Tomas scored for the Cougars at 5:12, but the Silvertips got that one back at 6:19 as F Bryce Kindopp scored. . . . Kindopp added his 36th goal at 2:23 of the third period. . . . Toman got his second of the game and seventh of the season at 10:16, and F Josh Maser (24) got the Cougars’ last goal at 17:31. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother had three assists for Everett. . . . The Silvertips were 3-5 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-4. . . . Everett outshot the visitors, 47-29, including 24-8 in the first period. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg, who didn’t finish Friday’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, was scratched from this one. . . . Everett was without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, F Connor Dewar, F Riley Sutter and F Dawson Butt, all of whom are injured.


Tweetoftheday

Fettes: No announcement pending . . . Raiders get back on winning track . . . Tyszka returns to Seattle lineup


ThisThat

While Thursday was the day for speculation, Friday was for denials.

On Thursday, you’ll recall, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that, according to its sources, Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, the owners of the WHL’s Cranbrook-based KootenaynewKootenay Ice, would announce on Monday that the franchise is to be relocated to the Manitoba capital in time for next season.

On Friday, Fettes and the WHL issued denials.

According to a story by Bradley Jones and David Opinko of Cranbrook radio station Summit 107FM, Fettes said: “I’m saying there’s no announcement on Monday or anything pending.”

The Free Press also was able to reach Fettes.

“I’m saying there’s no announcement on Monday or anything pending,” Fettes told the newspaper, which added that “Fettes was not willing to discuss his plans for the team . . .”

Meanwhile, the WHL emailed a statement to Summit 107 that was identical to one that was issued in October:

“The WHL is very pleased with the commitment Greg Fettes and his ownership group has made to Cranbrook and the Kootenay region since acquiring the ICE franchise in 2017.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay ICE continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.

“The WHL Commissioner continues to monitor the situation in Kootenay very closely and reports to the Board of Governors as required on any new developments. The discussions which take place on WHL franchises are internal and will remain confidential. With respect to the Kootenay ICE franchise, there is nothing new to report at this time.”

While it appears that nothing is imminent in terms of a relocation announcement, the Ice is expected to move to Winnipeg and play out of an arena at the U of Manitoba until a new facility is completed on the southwest side of Winnipeg.

Speculation about a move intensified a month ago when the Green Bay Committee called it quits, citing a lack of co-operation from the Ice’s ownership. The Green Bay Committee had hoped to help the Ice through the selling of sponsorships and tickets.

In a Nov. 13 email to Cockell, the committee wrote that “the absence of active engagement by you and Greg with our committee has become a major issue in our community. We believe that this failure has become the biggest obstacle in our ability to achieve a highly successful sales campaign and to create an effective steering committee.

“As a result, we are terminating our Green Bay Committee effective immediately. However, we will consider re-activating our committee if you provide us with a real commitment that you and Greg are prepared to immediately join us and work with us, as partners, and have no plans to move ‘Our ICE’ from Cranbrook.”


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(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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D Anthony Bishop, 20, has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Bishop split 174 regular-season WHL games among the Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Royals, Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri-City Americans. Bishop, from Kelowna, lost out when the Americans acquired D Aaron Hyman from the Regina Pats, a move that left Tri-City with four 20s, one over the maximum. . . . Bishop was placed on waivers and there weren’t any takers. . . . Last season, he had one assist in four games with Victoria and 15 assists in 62 games with Tri-City. . . . Injuries limited him to only two games with the Americans this season.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first five goals and went on to a 5-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Prince Albert (27-1-1) has points in 21 straight games (20-0-1). The Raiders were coming off a 3-2 shootout loss in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . Brandon (14-8-6) had won its previous four games. . . . F Eric Pearce (3) got the Raiders started at 3:35 of the first period. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts 22-7 in the second period and scored four more times, with F Sean Montgomery (12), F Cole Fonstad (8), F Noah Gregor (13) and F Ozzy Wiesblatt (6) finding the range. Fonstad, Gregor and Wiesblatt are linemates. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (8) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 19:47 of the second, and F Ben McCartney (7) added a shorthanded score at 18:14 of the third. . . . Brandon lost F Cole Reinhardt to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on D Brayden Pachal at 16:47 of the third period. . . .  Montgomery’s goal gave him 30 points in 29 games; last season, he finished with 29 in 72. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders was held to one assist, but that was enough for him to run his point streak to 29 games. . . . He also moved back into the WHL scoring lead, his 62 points one more than F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the idle Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Raiders G Donovan Buskey, who normally backs up Ian Scott, stopped 24 shots and now is 5-0-0. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight in Prince Albert.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat the Blades, 3-2, in MooseJawWarriorsSaskatoon. . . . Moose Jaw (16-6-5) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Saskatoon (17-10-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . The Warriors pulled into a second-place tie with the Blades in the East Division. Moose Jaw holds three games in hand. . . . F Eric Florchuk (9), at 4:31, and F Josh Paterson (8), at 9:29, gave the Blades the first-period lead. . . . F Luke Ormsby (5) pulled the Warriors to within a goal at 12:28 of the first period. . . . F Tristin Langan (20) tied it, on a PP, at 15:41 of the second. . . . F Brayden Tracey (10) broke the tie, on another PP, at 9:37 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-5. . . . The Blades had a 35-25 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the third period. . . . Langan also had two assists, as did Moose Jaw D Jett Woo, who has six points over his past two games. . . . G Brodan Salmond, in his first appearance since Nov. 23, stopped 33 shots to earn the victory. . . . Ormsby has goals in three straight games — one with the Everett Silvertips and two since being dealt to the Warriors. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Friday’s game and his piece is right here.


F Josh Prokop broke a 2-2 tie at 19:37 of the third period to give the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarya 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Calgary (13-14-3) has won three in a row. . . . The Broncos (5-22-2) were coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Calgary led in shots, 45-13, including 14-2 in the second period and 20-7 in the third. G Isaac Poulter stopped 42 shots for Swift Current. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (1) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:39 of the second period. . . . F Riley Stotts (8) tied it for Calgary at 16:01. . . . The Broncos went back out front when F Joona Kiviniemi (6) scored at 8:01 of the third. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (5) tied it at 8:42, and Prokop won it with his sixth goal.


F Brett Davis scored the lone goal of a shootout as the host Red Deer Rebels beat the Red DeerRegina Pats, 4-3. . . . Red Deer (18-9-2) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Regina (8-21-1) has lost seven in a row. . . . The Rebels overcame a 3-1 deficit with two goals in the last half of the third period. . . . F Brandon Hagel (19) had given the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 18:26 of the first period. . . . The Pats roared back with the next three goals. . . . F Austin Pratt (12) and F Sergei Alkhimov (6) scored in the second period, and F Scott Mahovlich (4) made it 3-1 at 1:12 of the third period. . . . F Cam Hausinger (9), in his first game since coming over with Davis in a deal with the Kootenay Ice, cut Red Deer’s deficit to one goal, at 11:49. . . . F Alex Morozoff (5) tied it at 17:07. . . . Red Deer won 48 of the game’s 71 faceoffs. . . . Davis was the first shooter in the shootout’s second round.


 

G Roman Basran stopped 16 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsvisiting Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (14-15-2) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The Rockets are second in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of Victoria and the idle Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (13-12-0), which has six games in hand on Kelowna, has lost three in a row. . . . F Lane Zablocki, a 20-year-old who was acquired from Victoria prior to the season, scored his third goal of the season at 8:31 of the third period. . . . The Rockets gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a fourth-rounder in 2021 to get Zablocki from the Royals on Sept. 28. . . . F Nolan Foote (18) added an empty-netter, on a PP, at 19:00. . . . Basran posted his first shutout of the season and the second of his career. . . . G Griffen Outhouse, Victoria’s workhorse, returned from a three-game absence to stop 30 shots. . . . Royals F Tanner Sidaway, who didn’t finish a 3-2 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Wednesday, was in Victoria’s lineup. . . . If you’re wondering, the Rockets are 10-5-2 under head coach Adam Foote, who replaced Jason Smith (4-10-0) on Oct. 23.


F Jake Gricius drew three assists in leading the host Portland Winterhawks to a 5-2 Portlandvictory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks (17-10-2) have won three in a row. . . . The Cougars (11-15-3) are back in Portland again tonight. . . . Gricius enjoyed the first three-assist game of his career. He has three three-point games, two of them this season. . . . The Winterhawks took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Joachim Blickheld (26) got it started on a PP at 14:52 of the first period. . . . F Seth Jarvis (5), on another PP, made it 2-0 at 16:51. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2) upped it to 3-0 at 2:58 of the second. . . . F Josh Maser (9) pulled the Cougars to within two goals, on a PP, at 8:54. . . . F Cody Glass (12) restored the three-goal lead while Portland was two-men short, at 11:06, and D John Ludvig (2) made it 5-1 at 17:34. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (9) got Prince George’s other goal, at 18:09 of the third. . . . Portland was 2-2 on the PP; Prince George was 2-8. . . . The Cougars were without F Jackson Leppard, who served a one-game WHL-issued suspension for a game misconduct he incurred at the end of a 5-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 2. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong left late in the second period and didn’t return.


F Luc Smith and F Riley Woods each scored twice and added an assist to lead the host SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Chiefs (15-10-4) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Hurricanes (15-9-5) had points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . F Eli Zummack had a career-high four assists for the Chiefs. It also was the first four-point game of his career, and it came in his 137th game. . . . Zummack was in on the game’s first three goals — two of them by Smith, who has 11 goals, and one from F Jake McGrew (8). . . . Woods, who has 23 goals, made it 4-0 at 4:05 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge cut the deficit in half on second-period goals by D Igor Merezhko (1) and F Jackson Shepard (2). . . . Spokane put it was on goals from Woods and F Cordel Larson (3) in the latter half of the third period. . . . The Chiefs were 3-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-3.


The Seattle Thunderbirds outshot their hosts 43-22 in skating to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-SeattleCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (10-13-3) is fifth in the U.S. Division, seven points behind Tri-City (14-12-2). . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius stopped 21 shots in recording his first WHL victory. In five appearances, the 17-year-old from Kelowna is 1-2-1, 2.62, .915. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (19) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (13) tied it, on a PP, at 9:55 of the second. . . . The Thunderbirds won it with three third-period goals, from F Dillon Hamaliuk (9), at 1:42; D Simon Kubicek (7), at 11:24; and F Matthew Wedman (9), into an empty net, at 17:39. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was in Seattle’s lineup for the first time this season. Tyszka, 19, is one of the WHL’s best defenders, but hadn’t played since suffering a concussion while in camp with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens on Sept. 9.


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Saturday in the WHL: You get OT, you get OT, you get OT . . . Clouston gets a record . . . Blades, Ice keep rolling . . . Wild one in Langley

Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Prince Albert, the Regina Pats, outshot 48-20, scored a 2-1 victory over the Raiders. . . . Regina (18-18-3) has won two in a row. The Pats and Saskatoon are tied for the Eastern ReginaPats100Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . The Raiders (13-17-7) have lost four straight and now are six points out of a playoff spot. . . . These teams will meet again Monday, this time in Regina. . . . Regina F Jake Leschyshyn (11) broke a 1-1 tie with a shorthanded goal, at 13:43 of the third period. . . . F Jared Legien (14) have given the Pats a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the first period. . . . F Curtis Miske (12) tied it 57 seconds into the second period. . . . The Raiders held a 35-12 edge in shots after two periods, but found themselves in a 1-1 tie. . . . Prince Albert was 0-9 on the PP; Regina was 0-3. . . . G Tyler Brown earned the victory with 47 saves. . . . G Curtis Meger, who is from Regina, stopped 18 shots for Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders were without F Justin Nachbaur, who served Game 1 of a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he incurred on Thursday against the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Announced attendance: 1,943.


At Swift Current, the Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Broncos, 4-3. . . . The Blades (18-17-3) have won four in a row and are tied with Regina for Saskatoonthe Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . The Broncos (26-9-2) have lost two in a row. They are second in the overall standings, seven points behind Moose Jaw. . . . The same two teams will play Monday in Saskatoon. . . . F Josh Paterson (18) pulled the Blades into a 3-3 tie with his second goal of the game at 8:33 of the third period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (18) go the winner, at 15:25. . . . F Cam Hebig (29) had given the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:04 of the first period. . . . The Broncos took a 2-1 lead on goals from D Colby Sissons (8), at 8:26 of the first period, and F Max Patterson (4), at 5:18 of the second. . . . Paterson got his first goal, for a 2-2 tie, at 6:03 of the third period. He’s got nine goals in the Blades’ past eight games, seven of which have been victories. . . . F Beck Malenstyn (2) got the Broncos back into a tie just 22 seconds later. . . . F Chase Wouters had two assists for the Blades, with Hebig and Shmyr each getting one. . . . F Matteo Gennaro had three assists for the Broncos, and Malenstyn had one. . . . The Blades were 2-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-3. . . . G Nolan Maier of the Blades earned his seventh straight victory with 29 saves. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 28 for the Broncos. . . . D Jacson Alexander, who left the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies to sign with the Broncos over the Christmas break, made his WHL debut and drew an assist on Swift Current’s first goal. . . . Announced attendance: 2,268.


At Brandon, F Brayden Burke and F Justin Almeida enjoyed four-point outings as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Wheat Kings, 7-4, in an afternoon game that was shown on MooseJawWarriorsSportsnet. . . . These teams will meet again tonight, this time in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors (29-6-3) have points in four straight (3-0-1) and lead the overall standings by a comfortable seven points over Swift Current. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-10-1) have lost two in a row. They had won 10 straight home games. . . . Brandon is third in the overall standings, three points behind Swift Current. . . . Burke had a goal, his 18th, into an empty net, with Almeida drawing four assists. . . . Brandon grabbed an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Gunnar Wegleitner (9), at 2:42 of the first period, and F Linden McCorrister, at 6:50. . . . The Warriors took control by scoring the next five goals, the first three in the opening period. . . . F Ryan Peckford got it started at 7:49, with F Tristin Langan (6) tying it at 15:08 as he got credit for an own goal by Brandon G Logan Thompson, who tipped in what appeared to be a pass back to him by a teammate. . . . Peckford (15) gave Moose Jaw the lead at 19:43. . . . The visitors stretched the lead to 5-2 on second-period goals from D Jett Woo (7), at 9:30, and F Jayden Halbgewachs (38), on a PP, at 13:11. . . . McCorrister (12) got the Wheat Kings to within two at 16:21, only to have F Tanner Jeannot (27) get that one back for Moose Jaw at 18:11. . . . F Evan Weinger (17) got Brandon’s last goal, at 15:29 of the third period, with Burke then getting his goal, at 19:04. . . . Halbgewachs, Peckford and Langan added an assist each for Moose Jaw. . . . D School Higson had two assists for Brandon, with Weinger getting one. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-2 on the PP; Brandon was 0-5. . . . G Brody Willms turned aside 29 shots to earn the victory over Thompson, who stopped 32 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,511.


At Calgary, F Mark Kastelic scored 56 seconds into OT to give the Hitmen a 3-2 victory Calgaryover the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary (11-19-6) had lost four in a row (0-2-2). They are 11 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Lethbridge (16-17-3) has points in its last two games (1-0-1). The Hurricanes are third in the Central Division, three points behind Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jordy Bellerive (20), on a PP, at 13:24, and F Egor Zudilov (5), at 18:52. . . . Calgary F Andrei Grishakov pulled his guys even with a pair of second-period goals — at 3:15 and on a PP at 7:38. He’s got 10 goals this season. . . . Kastelic won it with his 10th goal. . . . F Jakob Stukel had two assists for Calgary. . . . Calgary was 1-1 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-3. . . . The Hitmen got 40 saves from G Nick Schneider. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 27 shots for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes lost F Zane Franklin to an undisclosed injury late in the first period. . . . Announced attendance: 8,494.


At Edmonton, F Colton Kroeker’s second goal, 42 seconds into OT, gave the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Ice (18-17-2) has points in six straight games (5-0-1) EdmontonOilKingsand is second in the Central Division, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Oil Kings (9-22-5) have points in four straight (2-0-2) but are 16 points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Ice took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Keenan Taphorn (3), at 0:21 of the first period, and Kroeker, at 3:25. . . . The Oil Kings tied it as F Davis Koch (16) scored, shorthanded, at 7:34 of the first, and F Colton Kehler (12) got one at 2:51 of the second. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (11) put the Ice out front, on a PP, at 15:29. . . . The Oil Kings pulled even again when F Tomas Soustal (10) scored at 15:42. . . . Kroeker won it with his ninth goal. . . . D Dallas Hines had two assists for the Ice, with Hausinger adding one. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky drew two assists for Edmonton. . . . The Ice was 1-4 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-3. . . . G Bailey Brkin, back after a bout of the flu, earned the victory with 24 stops. . . . G Josh Dechaine made 29 saves for Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 7,050.


At Medicine Hat, F Mark Rassell scored at 4:39 of OT to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, Tigers Logo Officialnow has 324 regular-season victories with Medicine Hat, giving him the franchise record. He shared the record with Willie Desjardins, who will lead Team Canada into the Spengler Cup final today in Davos, Switzerland. . . . The Tigers (20-15-2) lead the Central Division, by four points over Kootenay. . . . The Rebels (10-19-8) have lost four in a row (0-1-3). They also have lost eight straight games that have gone to extra time. They are 12 points away from a playoff spot. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when F Gary Haden (9) scored, shorthanded, at 11:31 of the first period. . . . F River Fahey’s first WHL goal, in his 11th game, got the Rebels even at 13:08. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead on goals from Rassell, at 17:29 of the first, and F Tyler Preziuso (10), at 18:59 of the second. . . . Red Deer pulled even as F Arshdeep Bains scored his first WHL goal, in his fifth game, 48 seconds into the third period and F Mason McCarty got his 18th of the season at 17:02. . . . Rassell won it with his 31st goal this season. . . . McCarty and F Grayson Pawlenchuk had two assists each for Red Deer, while Bains also had an assist. . . . Red Deer was 0-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-4. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 23 shots for the victory. . . . The Rebels opened with G Ethan Anders, who allowed three goals on 26 shots through two periods. Riley Lamb played the final 24:31, stopping 16 of 17 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,361.


At Langley, B.C., F Kody McDonald’s third goal of the game, with 11.7 seconds left in OT, gave the Prince George Cougars a 7-6 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Cougars PrinceGeorge(14-18-5) are fifth in the B.C. Division, one point behind Kamloops. . . . The Giants (19-14-5) are 1-0-1 in their past two outings. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . These teams will meet again in Langley on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars actually led 4-0 before the game was seven minutes old, on goals from D Dennis Cholowski, F Max Kryski (2), F Josh Curtis (5) and McDonald. . . . F James Malm (14) and F Ty Ronning got the Giants to within two before the first period ended. . . . McDonald restored the three-goal lead at 3:39 of the second period. . . . The Giants then scored four straight goals to take a 6-5 lead. . . . Ronning scored twice, at 12:36 and 17:15 of the second period, for the hat trick. He’s got a single-season high 34 goals, three more than he scored in 2015-16. Ronning’s third goal last night was the 100th of his career. It came in his 253rd game. He has two hat tricks this season and four in his career. . . . D Bowen Byram (3) tied the score at 3:10 of the third period, and F Jared Dmytriw (8) put Vancouver out front at 6:45. . . . Cholowski (10) tied it with a shorthanded goal with 0.30 left on the clock. . . . McDonald won it with his 18th goal. He had a career-high 17 goals last season. He has three career hat tricks, two of them this season. . . . Cholowski also had two assists, including one on the winner, for a four-point night. . . . The Cougars also got two assists from each of F Jared Bethune, F Nic Holowko and D Joel Lakusta, with Curtis getting one. . . . F Tyler Benson recorded four assists for Vancouver, with F Brayden Watts getting two. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-5. . . . G Isaiah DiLaura stopped 41 shots for the Cougars to earn his first WHL victory in his sixth appearance. . . . Vancouver’s Todd Scott blocked 32 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,767.


At Everett, D Jake Christiansen scored twice to help the Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (23-14-2) leads the U.S. Division by two points over EverettPortland. . . . Kamloops (16-19-2) has lost four in a row (0-3-1) and now is five points behind Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Everett took a 1-0 lead as F Riley Sutter (18) scored, on a PP, at 1:06 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (10) tied it for the Blazers on a PP, at 4:06. . . . Stuart was ejected at 17:31 of the first for his part in a scrap with Everett D Kyle Walker. . . . The Silvertips took over the game with two more first-period goals and two in the second. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi (3) gave Everett the lead at 7:03 of the first, with F Orrin Centazzo (6) making it 3-1 at 15:57. . . . Christiansen, who has five goals, counted twice in the second period, at 11:01 and 12:58, the latter via the PP. . . . F Jackson Shepard (4) scored for the Blazers at 13:18 of the third. . . . Centazzo also had two assists, as did F Sean Richards. . . . Everett was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-3. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots for the winners. . . . G Max Palaga got the start for Kamloops, his first start since he beat host Seattle 2-1 on Dec. 2. He gave up four goals on 23 shots in 31:01. Dylan Ferguson finished up, stopping 14 of 15 shots in 28:59. . . . Announced attendance: 4,752.


At Kelowna, the Rockets ran their home-ice winning streak to 12 games with a 3-2 five-round shootout victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (23-11-3) has won five KelownaRocketsstraight games and leads the B.C. Division by three points over Victoria. The Rockets also are atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of Everett. . . . Victoria (21-14-4) is 1-0-1 in its past two games. . . . F Leif Mattson (10), who later would score the shootout winner, gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead just 44 seconds into this one. . . . Victoria tied it when F Tyler Soy (16) scored at 3:52. . . . The Rockets went back out front on a PP goal from F Kyle Topping (14) at 6:23 of the second period. . . . The Royals forced OT when F Matthew Phillips (28) scored at 14:56 of the third period. . . . Soy drew an assist on Phillips’ goal. That was Soy’s 148th assist, giving him the Royals’ career franchise record. The Victoria/Chilliwack record (151) belongs to F Brandon Magee. . . . Phillips also had an assist. . . . Kelowna was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-6. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Roman Basran, while Griffen Outhouse stopped 30 shots for the Royals. . . . The Rockets lost F Liam Kindree to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . Announced attendance: 5,631.


At Kent, Wash., D Jarret Tyszka scored at 3:53 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (17-14-5) has points in five straight Seattlegames (4-0-1) and holds down the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. . . . The Winterhawks (22-12-2) are 1-0-1 in their past two. They are second in the U.S. Division, two points behind Everett. . . . These teams will do it again tonight with a New Year’s Eve test in Portland. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 7-0 edge in shots in OT, with Tyszka winning it with his fifth goal of the season. . . . F Skyler McKenzie had put the visitors out front with a PP goal 44 seconds into the second period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee (2) tied it at 1:01. . . . F Alex Overhardt (8), on a PP, tied it for Portland at 15:14. . . . F Samuel Huo’s first WHL goal, 10 seconds into the third period, got Seattle into a 2-2 tie. . . . McKenzie (26) gave Portland the lead at 5:10. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan (16) counted on a PP, at 12:32, to force OT. He’s got goals in five straight games. . . . The Thunderbirds got two assists from F Zack Andrusiak. . . . D Brendan De Jong had three assists for the visitors with F Ryan Hughes getting two. . . . Portland was 2-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-2. . . . G Liam Hughes, who hadn’t played since Nov. 17, stopped 31 shots for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched G Matt Berlin, who appeared to be shaken up at the final buzzer of a 5-4 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday night. . . . G Cole Kehler blocked 29 shots for the visitors. . . . The Winterhawks were able to dress only 11 forwards. They were without five regulars — D Henri Jokiharju (Finland), F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark) are at the World Junior Championship, while F Cody Glass and D Keoni Texeira are injured. . . . Announced attendance: 5,667.


At Spokane, D Ty Smith scored at 4:09 of OT to give the Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . These teams will celebrate New Year’s Eve in Kennewick, Wash., tonight. . . . The Chiefs (20-14-3) are tied with the Americans for third in the U.S. SpokaneChiefsDivision, three points behind Portland. . . . The Americans (19-10-6) have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . The Chiefs held a 44-24 edge in shots, including 4-0 in extra time. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (19) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead 56 seconds into the first period. . . . The Americans took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Sasha Mutala (3), at 2:26, and F Jordan Topping (18), at 14:45. . . . Spokane took a 3-2 lead on second-period goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (19), on a penalty shot while shorthanded, at 2:04, and F Riley Woods (17), on a PP, at 8:24. . . . F Morgan Geekie (16) got the Americans even again, at 12:49 of the second. . . . Smith won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal, while Smith had one. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Dylan Coghlan before he was tossed at 7:34 of the second period with a clipping major. . . .  The Chiefs were 1-4 on the PP; the Americans were 0-5. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 21 shots to earn the victory over Beck Warm, who stopped 41 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 8,119.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Spokane vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.


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