Broncos, Silvertips to meet for WHL title . . . Estephan keys Swift Current win . . . Davis caps Everett’s amazing comeback

The Swift Current Broncos and Everett Silvertips will meet in the WHL’s championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The best-of-seven series will be played in a 2-3-2 format, opening in Swift Current with games on Friday and Saturday nights. They’ll play in Everett on May 8, May 9 and, if necessary, May 11. If needed, Games 6 and 7 would be played in Swift Current on May 13 and May 14.

The Broncos haven’t been in the WHL final since 1993 when they got past the Portland Winter Hawks — yes, the nickname was two words back in the day — in seven games.

The Broncos beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-1, on Monday night to win the best-SCBroncosof-seven Eastern Conference final, 4-2. . . . The Hurricanes went into the game with an 8-0 record at home in these playoffs. They also had scored at least five goals in seven of those victories. . . . The Broncos now are 5-5 on the road. . . . Last night, the Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals in a span of 96 seconds. F Matteo Gennaro tied it 1-1 at 6:33; F Alexi Heponiemi made it 2-1 at 7:02 and F Beck Malenstyn upped it to 3-1 at 8:09. . . . Former Hurricanes captain Giorgio Estephan gave Lethbridge fans something to remember him by with a PP goal for a 4-1 lead at 2:12 of the third period. . . . Broncos G Stuart Skinner finished with 33 saves, 19 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot, 20-2.

In Kennewick, Wash., the Silvertips erased a 5-2 third-period deficit to beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-5 in OT. Everett won the Western Conference final, 4-2. . . . Everett last Everettreached the championship final in 2004, its first season in the WHL, when it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Kevin Davis (3) won it with his second goal of the game, at 5:58 of OT. Davis, who turned 21 on March 14, was playing in his 401st game with the Silvertips — 347 regular-season games and 54 in the playoffs. Yes, he went into the game with two goals in his previous 53 playoff games. . . . Everett is 7-0 on the road in these playoffs. . . . Tri-City had trailed 2-1 before scoring four straight goals, the last one, by F Jordan Topping (4) at 8:52 of the third period. . . . F Connor Dewar (9) started the Everett comeback at 9:52. Davis (2) pulled his guys to within one at 13:53, and F Garrett Pilon (11) tied it at 14:29. . . . Pilon had left the game at 17:30 of the first period after taking a hit from behind from Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen. However, Pilon returned for the second period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki, who had two goals in a 5-2 victory in Game 5 on Saturday, had four assists in Game 6 as he figured in each of his club’s first four scores. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 18 shots for Everett. . . . Tri-City G Patrick Dea made 31 saves, 18 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot 20-4. . . . Announced attendance was 3,033.


The OHL announced Monday that it had suspended F Givani Smith of the Kitchener Rangers for two games after he made an “inappropriate gesture” at the end of Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. . . . Kitchener won the game in OT to tie the best-of-seven series, 3-3. Smith had a goal and two assists in the victory. . . . The teams played Game 7 on Monday night in the Soo, with the Greyhounds winning, 4-3 in double OT, to advance to the championship final against the Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . Smith, who turned 20 on Feb. 27, sat out last night. He was a second-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . The OHL final is scheduled to open Thursday in the Soo.


With Ian Herbers officially having returned to his post as head coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, it means that Serge Lajoie is looking for work. Herbers spent the last three years on sabbatical as he worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. With him gone, Lajoie took over as the Golden Bears’ head coach and won the 2018 USports championship. . . . It’s an open secret that Lajoie has talked with the Saskatoon Blades about their head-coaching vacancy. The Blades are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired at season’s end. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia reports that Lajoie also has talked with the Red Deer Rebels, who have an opening after they and associate coach Jeff Truitt chose to part company.


Erik Largen is the new head coach at the U of Alaska-Fairbanks. Largen, 31, spent the previous two seasons with the Nanooks as an assistant coach. He now is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I hockey ranks. . . . Largen takes over from Lance West, who had been the interim head coach for the 2017-18 season after Dallas Ferguson left to take over as head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. . . . College Hockey News has more on this story right here.


MacBeth

D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) signed a one-year extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had three goals and seven assists in 49 games. . . .

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in five games with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), and 14 goals and 11 assists in 43 games with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL). . . .

D Jim Vandermeer (Red Deer, 1997-2001) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). As a player/assistant coach, he had seven goals and 16 assists in 33 games this season. . . .

F Spencer Edwards (Red Deer, Seattle, Moose Jaw, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 44 games with Bordeaux (France, Ligue Magnus).


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Silvertips one win from WHL final . . . East final heating up . . . Broncos tell rowdy bunch to cool it

ThisThat

G Carter Hart stopped 29 shots on Thursday night, leading the visiting Everett Silvertips Everettto a 3-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The result left the Silvertips with a 3-1 lead in the WHL’s best-of-seven Western Conference final, with Game 5 scheduled for Everett tonight (Saturday). . . . The Silvertips took a 2-0 second-period lead on goals from F Riley Sutter (6) and F Reece Vitelli (4), and never looked back. . . . Vitelli, who scored twice in 70 regular-season games, has four goals in 14 playoff games. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (6) added an empty-netter for the winners, after F Riley Sawchuk (2) had scored for the home side. . . . Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas left the game with an undisclosed injury. His status for Game 5 isn’t likely to be known much before tonight’s pregame warmup. . . . The announced attendance was 3,537, representing the Americans’ largest crowd in six home playoff games. The Americans’ average announced attendance in these playoffs is 3,056 in the 6,000-seat Toyota Center. . . . During the regular season, the Americans’ average, according to announced attendance figures, was 3,649.


The WHL’s Eastern Conference final, with the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes tied 2-2, is scheduled to resume tonight (Saturday) in Swift Current.

Things seem to be heating up, too, especially off the ice.

Following Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, won 5-1 by the host Hurricanes on Wednesday, Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, used his Twitter account to take Lethbridge hockey fans to task.

Dylan Purcell, a former Lethbridge Herald sports writer, chimed in with a tweet of his own.

Estephan, 20, played 288 regular-season games with the Hurricanes and was the team captain when he and G Stuart Skinner were traded to the Broncos in January.

Lethbridge fans responded Wednesday by booing Estephan when he was in possession of the puck. Of course, they also verbally abused Skinner, but that pretty much comes with the territory for a visiting team’s goaltender, doesn’t it?

Skinner responded by saying: “I’m fine with it. I like when fans get on me, but I would have expected a little bit more respect for the fans. Especially after everything me and Giorgio did for them.

“It kind of shows you the type of respect they have for us and how fast things can change. I’m fine with it . . . I saw it coming a long (time) ago.

“I want to beat the fans now. I’m ready to go.”

Meanwhile, in advance of Game 5, the Broncos announced a crackdown on “abusive or violent behaviour” at their home games. It seems the rowdies have been in evidence there, too.

In a news release, Trent McLeary, the organization’s acting chairman, stated that the SCBroncosteam “would like to ensure all of our fans that we are aware of incidents that have occurred at a couple of games in the first two rounds of playoffs involving visiting fans from Regina and Moose Jaw.

“Management from the hockey club has discussed behavioural issues with a number of individuals involved in incidents and made them aware there is zero tolerance for this behaviour in the future. All fans should be aware that abusive or violent behaviour will result in removal from the facility by security personnel and may be subject to review by the RCMP. . . .

“There have also been changes made to the seating arrangements for visiting fans to ensure everyone is having a safe and fun time at our events. We encourage our fans to hold themselves and others to a high standard that reflects appropriately on the hockey club and our community.”


The SJHL-champion Nipawin Hawks, led by three goals and an assist from F Brandan Arnold, downed the host Steinbach Pistons, 4-3, on Friday night in Game 1 of the ANAVET Cup. The best-of-seven series features the SJHL and MJHL champions against each other with the winner getting a berth in the Royal Bank Cup tournament at Prospera Place in Chilliwack, B.C., May 12-20. . . . Arnold snapped a 3-3 tie with his third goal at 18:56 of the third period. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight (Saturday) in Steinbach. . . . Arnold, 21, is from Dodsland, Sask. He has played 80 WHL games over three seasons, all with the Swift Current Broncos, recording five goals and five assists. . . . The Hawks got 29 saves from G Declan Hobbs.

In Wenatchee, Wash., F A.J. Vanderbeck scored at 6:17 of OT to give the BCHL-champion Wild a 3-2 victory over the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series for the Doyle Cup. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Wenatchee tonight (Saturday). . . . Vanderbeck, 20, is from Monument, Colo. In 20 playoff games, he put up 13 goals and 15 assists. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky gave the Wild a 2-1 lead at 12:51 of the third period. . . . Spruce Grove D Brad Forrest tied it at 14:22. . . . The announced attendance was 2,486.


TheCoachingGame

Jeff Tambellini is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke TrailEaters. He replaces Cam Keith, who was fired on April 9 after two seasons on the job and despite having gotten the Smokies into the Interior Division final, where they lost in five games to the eventual-champion Wenatchee Wild. . . . From Port Moody, B.C., Tambellini played two seasons with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, during which he was named junior A player of the year in 2001-02. He played at the U of Michigan for three seasons before going on to a pro career that included 242 NHL games and finished in Europe. . . . He spent this season, his first after retiring as a player, as an assistant coach at the U of Michigan. . . . Tambellini’s father, Steve, is from Trail, while Steve’s father, Addie, played for the 1960-61 Smoke Eaters, the last amateur team from Canada to win the IIHF world championship.


Jay Woodcroft is the new head coach of the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Woodcroft takes over from Gerry Fleming who, along with assistant coach Tony Borgford, were fired. . . . Woodcroft, 41, spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the Oilers, under head coach Todd McLellan. The two of them also were together for three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and seven with the San Jose Sharks. . . . This season, the Condors finished 31-27-9-1. They were seventh in the eight-team Pacific Division and missed the playoffs. . . . The Oilers also dumped assistant coaches Ian Herbers and Jim Johnson. . . . Herbers just completed a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears and will be returning to that post. Serge Lajoie, who was the head coach in Herberrs’ absence, has been interviewed by the Saskatoon Blades, who are looking for a head coach to replace the fired Dean Brockman. . . . With Herbers behind the bench, the Golden Bears won the Canadian university championship in 2014 and 2015. Lajoie just led the Golden Bears to the 2018 title.


Dominique Ducharme, the head coach of Canada’s national junior team at each of the past two World Junior Championships, has been signed as an assistant coach by the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . A veteran QMJHL coach, Ducharme spent the past two seasons as GM/head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads for five seasons. . . . The Canadiens also announced that assistant coaches Jean-Jacques Daigneault and Dan Lacroix won’t return, while goaltender coach Stephane Waite has signed a new contract.


MacBeth

F Mike Aviani (Spokane, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract extension with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). A dual Croatian-Canadian citizen, he had 10 goals and 14 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Andrew Clark (Brandon, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract extension with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). In 54 games, he had 24 goals and 35 assists. He led his team in scoring and was sixth in the league’s scoring race. . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). In 41 games, he had two goals and two assists. Next season will be his seventh with Plzeň. . . .

D Troy Rutkowski (Portland, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 20 goals and 27 assists in 45 games. He led his team in goals, led the league in goals and points by a defenceman, and was named to the league’s all-star team. . . .

D Kristian Khenkel (Lethbridge, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). In 55 games, he had two goals and three assists. . . .

F Greg Scott (Seattle, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract extension with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). An alternate captain, he had six goals and seven assists in 36 games.


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Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Playoff matchups all set . . . Record night for Bajkov . . . Gerlach fills his hat . . . Burzan sinks ex-mates . . . McGovern votes for shutout


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The WHL’s regular season will reach a conclusion today with three games, none of which will have any bearing on the final standings.

The final matchups were finalized on Saturday night, so the first round of the playoffs will look like this . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw: The Warriors, who finished atop the overall standings, open at home Friday against the Raiders, who wound up in the conference’s second wild-card spot.

Brandon at Medicine Hat: The Central Division-winning Tigers start at home on Friday against the Wheat Kings, who finished in the conference’s first wild-card spot. Brandon will morph into the Dauphin Wheat Kings as its home games will be played in Dauphin, Man.

Regina at Swift Current: The Broncos, who ended up second in the East Division, draw the third-place Pats in the first round. They’ll get started in Swift Current on Friday.

Red Deer at Lethbridge: The Hurricanes placed second in the Central Division and will start at home against the third-place Rebels on Friday.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett: The Silvertips finished first in the Western Conference, so they also led the U.S. Division. They will clash with the arch-rival Seattle Thunderbirds, who ended up in the conference’s second wild-card spot. That series opens Friday in Everett. . . . The Thunderbirds will close out their regular season today in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans.

Tri-City at Kelowna: The Rockets won the B.C. Division, so will play the first wild-card team, which is the Americans. This will be the first series to get rolling as it starts Thursday in Kelowna.

Spokane at Portland: The Winterhawks placed second in the U.S. Division and will open at home on Saturday against the third-place Chiefs. They also will play this evening in Portland to wrap up their regular-season schedules.

Vancouver at Victoria: The Royals are the B.C. Division’s second-place team, so they draw the third-place Giants in a first round that is scheduled to open Friday in Victoria.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4 in a shootout. . . . Brandon (40-27-5) has won three in a row. It will meet the Medicine Hat BrandonWKregularTigers in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-5) has points in five straight (3-0-2). The Warriors will go up against the Prince Albert Raiders in the opening round. . . . Moose Jaw went 5-2-1 in the season series; Brandon was 3-5-0. . . . The Warriors led 4-0 halfway through the second period. They got two first-period goals from F Branden Klatt, who has seven, and one from F Tanner Jeannot in first period and another at 6:17 of the second. The fourth goal, scored while shorthanded, was Jeannot’s 40th of the season. . . . F Evan Weinger (31) started Brandon’s comeback at 11:42 of the second. . . . F Luka Burzan, who came over from Moose Jaw in January, made it 4-2 at 13:49. . . . F Ty Lewis (44) scored, on a PP, at 7:36 of the third period to get the home boys to within one. That goal also gave him 100 points this season. . . . Burzan’s second goal, and 15th of the season, tied the score at 18:53. . . . Burzan then scored in the sixth round of the shootout to beat his former team. . . . Brandon got two assists from F Connor Gutenberg, with Lewis adding one. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Tracey picked up two first-period assists for his first WHL points. Tracey, from Calgary, was playing in his fifth game. He was a first-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . F Brett Howden also had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs of the Warriors wasn’t able to score — he was stopped on two overtime breakaways — so finished the season with 70 goals, which means he shares the franchise’s single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum (1988-89). . . . Halbgewachs finished with 129 points, so he will lead the WHL in goals and points this season. . . . Brandon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 17 shots for Brandon. . . . At the other end, Adam Evanoff made 30 saves. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke missed his seventh straight game. D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their fourth consecutive games, and D Kale Clague sat out his second straight game. F Barrett Sheen completed a four-game suspension . . . Announced attendance: 5,621.


At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen scored in OT to give the Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Swift Current (48-18-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . SCBroncosRegina (40-25-7) finished with points in its last eight games (7-0-1). . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Friday in Swift Current. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 5-0-1. The Pats were 1-4-1. . . . D Aaron Hyman (3) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 17:51 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it as F Kaden Elder (18) scored at 18:57. . . . The Pats went back out front at 12:27 of the second period when F Jared Legien (23) scored, on a PP. . . . The Broncos tied it again at 14:45 with F Beck Malenstyn (17) finding the range. . . . Steenbergen, who also had an assist, won it with No. 47, at 0:32 of OT. . . . Regina was 1-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-4. . . . The Broncos got 30 saves from G Stuart Skinner, while Regina’s Ryan Kubic stopped 31. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin returned from an illness-related injury on Friday night in Regina, but was scratched from this one. . . . The Broncos also were missing F Tanner Nagel, who completed a three-game suspension, and F Andrew Fyten, who drew a TBD suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct — he hit Regina D Libor Hajek — during Friday’s game. . . . Among Regina’s scratches were G Max Paddock, Hajek, D Josh Mahura, F Sam Steel, F Koby Morrisseau and F Cam Hebig. . . . The game was delayed in the third period after Regina F Matt Bradley broke a pane of glass. Presumably the WHL will be launching a thorough investigation in the interest of player safety to see why the glass was repaired with tape and not replaced. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Saskatoon, F Max Gerlach scored three times to lead the Blades to a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (35-33-4) won its last three games but didn’t Saskatoonmake the playoffs. . . . Prince Albert (32-27-13) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and meet the first-place Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . The Blades won the season series with Prince Albert, 6-1-1; Prince Albert went 2-6-0. . . . Gerlach, who finished with 35 goals, got the Blades on the scoreboard at 8:48 of the first period. . . . The Raiders tied it on F Spencer Moe’s ninth goal, at 16:45. . . . Saskatoon then rattled off three straight goals. D Mark Rubinchik (4) scored at 17:45, with Gerlach scoring at 18:49 and then completing the hat trick, on a PP, at 9:21 of the second period. . . . F Curtis Miske (27) got the Raiders to within one at 10:46, but D Evan Fiala (7) got an empty-netter for Saskatoon at 17:09. . . . Prince Albert made it interesting as D Sergei Sapego scored twice, at 18:12 and 19:19. He finished with four goals this season. . . . The Blades got two assists from F Kirby Dach and one from Rubinchik. . . . D Max Martin had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 27 shots for the Raiders, four fewer than Saskatoon’s Tyler Brown. . . . Blades F Braylon Shmyr, 20, played in his 300th regular-season game — the first 138 with Brandon and the last 172 with Saskatoon. He finished with 111 goals and 129 assists. . . . F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with Prince Albert. He was first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Raiders were without D Vojtech Budik, D Braydon Pachal, F Parker Kelly (suspended) and F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Kelly drew a one-game suspension after taking a spearing major — on Dach — and game misconduct on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 9,624.


At Cranbrook, B.C., G Dustin McGovern turned aside 19 shots to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Kootenay (27-38-7) finished with points in its Kootenaynewlast five games (2-0-3). The Ice missed the playoffs. . . . Red Deer (27-32-13) lost its last two games. It will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round. . . . Kootenay went 5-1-1 against Red Deer; the Rebels were 2-4-1. . . . In their final game, the Ice’s three 20-year-olds combined for the game’s first goal on their first shift — with Colton Veloso (25) getting the goal, on assists from F Colton Kroeker and F Alex Baer. . . . The Ice got two goals from F Cam Hausinger, who finished with 21, F Kaeden Taphorn (6), shorthanded, and Baer, who got his 30th. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . McGovern’s two shutouts this season are the first two of his career. . . . Red Deer got 41 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . F Mason McCarty and F Kristian Reichel were among Red Deer’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: Unavailable.


At Medicine Hat, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tigers, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (33-33-6) snapped an eight-game losing streak. Lethbridge Lethbridgefinished second in the Central Division and will open at home against the third-place Red Deer Rebels in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat (36-28-8), which finished atop the Central Division, is to play the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. . . . Lethbridge went 4-3-0 in the season series with Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on two goals from F Tyler Preziuso, at 0:25 of the first period and shorthanded at 1:03 of the second. He has 17 goals. . . . F Zachary Cox (2) got Lethbridge to within a goal at 8:11 of the second period, and F Jordy Bellerive (46) tied it at 17:19. . . . F Logan Barlage (7) got what stood up as the winner at 1:14 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 33 stops. . . . G Jordan Hollett, who last played on Feb. 3, started for the Tigers and made 20 saves. He had missed 15 games. . . . F Mark Rassell and D Linus Nassen were scratched by Medicine Hat, each missing a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.


At Edmonton, F Jake Kryski had a goal and two assists to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (24-36-11) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . CalgaryEdmonton (21-42-8) had won its previous two games. . . . The teams will meet again today, this time in Calgary. . . . The Hitmen took control with three first-period goals and another in the last minute of the second. . . . F Jakob Stukel started it, on a PP, at 7:55, with D Dom Schmiemann (1) making it 2-0 one minute later. . . . F Mark Kastelic upped it to 3-0 at 19:43. . . . F Luke Coleman (15) made it 4-0 at 19:21 of the second period. . . . Edmonton got its goal from F David Kope (14) at 4:47 of the third period. . . . Kastelic (23), on a PP, Stukel (37) and Kryski (16) finished Calgary’s scoring. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from each of F Hunter Campbell and F Riley Stotts. . . . Calgary was 2-9 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . G Matthew Armitage stopped 27 shots for Calgary. . . . Edmonton starter Josh Dechaine gave up three goals on 15 shots in the first period. Boston Bilous finished up, stopping 22 of 26 shots in 40:00. . . . Announced attendance: 15,271.


At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (34-27-10) will finish in the Western SeattleConference’s second wild-card spot and will face the first-place Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Portland (44-22-5) had won its previous two games. It will finish second in the U.S. Division. . . . The Winterhawks won the season series with Seattle, 8-1-3; the Thunderbirds were 4-7-1, but this was the first time the Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks in regulation time. . . . Seattle’s first three goals all came from defencemen. . . . Reece Harsch (10) got the first one, at 3:41 of the first period, with Austin Strand (25) scoring, on a PP, at 15:50. Turner Ottenbreit (9) made it 3-0 at 15:53 of the second period. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (12) scored Portland’s goal, on a PP, at 11:37 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (35), on a PP, and F Donovan Neuls (22) had Seattle’s other goals. . . . F Matthew Wedman and Neuls each had two assists for Seattle, with Andrusiak, Ottenbreit and Strand getting one apiece. . . . Seattle was 2-9 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler blocked 25 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 6,160.


At Prince George, F Nick Chyzowski, playing his final WHL game, scored in a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 6-5 victory over the Cougars. . . . Kamloops (30-37-5) had lost Kamloops1its previous five games. . . . Prince George finished 29-37-6. . . . Neither team made the playoffs. . . . The Blazers went 6-3-1 in the season series; the Cougars were 4-5-1. . . . F Brogan o’Brien, playing on St. Patrick’s Day, gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 6:10 of the first period. . . . The Blazers went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Brodi Stuart 916), at 3:37 of the second period, and D Devan Harrison (1), at 4:42. . . . The Cougars went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Reid Perepeluk (2), at 6:31, and F Connor Bowie (2), at 10:38. . . . The Blazers took a 5-3 lead with three goals before the period ended, from F Connor Zary, at 11:39, F Luc Smith (21), at 15:31, and Zary (11), on a PP, at 19:33. . . . D Cam MacPhee, back from a one-game suspension, got the Cougars to within one at 19:56. . . . O’Brien tied it 5-5 with his 17th goal at 12:56 of the third period. . . . Zary and Chyzowski both scored in the shootout, while the Cougars were blanked. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . G Max Palaga stopped 29 shots for Kamloops, two fewer than Taylor Gauthier of the Cougars. . . . Kamloops D Brady Reagan played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . Cougars D Joel Lakusta sat out the second game of a three-game sentence. His suspension will carry over to next season. . . . Announced attendance: 5,106.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs built a 3-1 lead and hung on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . Spokane (40-25-6) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It will SpokaneChiefsfinish third in the U.S. Division and meet the second-place Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Tri-City (37-25-9) had a five-game winning streak snapped. It will finish in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and meet the Kelowna Rockets, who won the B.C. Division, in the first round. . . . The Chiefs won the season series with the Americans, 7-3-2; the Americans were 5-3-4. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead when he scored No. 40, on a PP, at 17:14 of the first period. . . . Tri-City F Jordan Topping (38) tied it, on a PP, at 10:35 of the second. . . . F Riley Woods (25) put the Chiefs out front just nine seconds later, and D Filip Kral (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:10. . . . Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen (31) scored at 13:21 to make it a one-goal lead, but Chiefs F Jake McGrew (18) got that one back at 18:24. . . . F Morgan Geekie’s 30th goal, at 19:24, moved the Americans back to within a goal before time ran out. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from F Eli Zummack and one each from McGrew, Woods and Kral. . . . D Juuso Valimaki had two helpers for Tri-City, with one each going to Geekie and Topping. . . . Tri-City was 1-1 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 18 saves. . . . At the other end, Beck Warm blocked 25 shots. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto was scratched for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,003.


At Kelowna, F Leif Mattson and F Dillon Dube each had two goals and two assists as the Rockets romped to an 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (43-22-7) KelownaRocketsfinished with points in six straight games (5-0-1). It will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Vancouver (36-27-9) has lost two straight as it goes into a first-round series with the Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets went 5-2-1 in the season series with the Giants, who were 3-4-1. . . . Kelowna scored the game’s first three goals, from D Libor Zabransky (2), at 14:43 of the first period, Mattson, at 6:16 of the second period, and Dube, at 10:50. . . . F Milos Roman (10) scored Vancouver’s goal at 16:03. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (7), F Kyle Topping (22), Dube (38), Mattson (25) and F Kole Lind finished Kelowna’s scoring. . . . Dube hit the 100-goal mark for his career in the process. . . . The Rockets also got two assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Marek Skvrne, with Topping, Lind and Ballhorn getting one apiece. . . . Kelowna was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G James Porter stopped 21 shots for Kelowna, while Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 36. . . . The Giants scratched their two best forwards — Tyler Benson and Ty Ronning — along with F Brayden Watts and D Bowen Byram, among others. . . . Kelowna sat F Carsen Twarynski. . . . Announced attendance: 5,759.


At Victoria, F Patrick Bajkov scored three times and added a record-setting assist as the Everett Silvertips whipped the Royals, 8-1. . . . Everett (47-20-5) has won two in a row. . . . VictoriaRoyalsVictoria (39-27-6) has lost two straight. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the franchise’s sixth U.S. Division flag, will finish atop the Western Conference and meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Victoria, second in the B.C. Division, will face the Vancouver Giants. . . . Bajkov drew an assist on his club’s eighth goal to set a franchise record for career assists, with 176, one more than F Zach Hamill. . . . Bajkov’s four-point night also left him with 100 points, 33, of them goals, the first time in franchise history that an Everett skater has reached the century mark. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (24) and F Connor Dewar (38) had two goals each for Everett, with F Matt Fonteyne (35), who had four assists, adding one. . . . F Matthew Phillips (48) scored for the Royals, at 5:55 of the second period. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis had three assists, and Dewar had one. . . . Everett was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-5. . . . Everett G Carter Hart, who will be named the WHL’s top goaltender for a third straight season, finished 31-6-4, 1.60, .947. He also put up seven shutouts, giving him 26 in his career. That tied Tyson Sexsmith, who played for Vancouver, for the WHL’s career record. . . . G Kelly Guard holds the WHL record for lowest single-season GAA (1.56), set with the Kelowna Rockets in 2003-04. . . . Last night, Hart stopped 13 of 14 shots over 40 minutes, before Dustin Wolf came on to finish up, stopping all five shots he faced in the third period. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Dean McNabb. . . . D Scott Walford was among Victoria’s scratches. He left Friday’s game with an apparent arm injury. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki drew a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major — he hit Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas — and game misconduct in the first period of Friday’s game. . . . Fasko-Rudas was scratched from Saturday’s game. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Eastern Conference matchups set . . . Halbgewachs reaches 70 in loss . . . Glass latest to get to 100 points

MacBeth

D Renat Mamashev (Moose Jaw, 2000-01), D Shaone Morrisonn (Kamloops, 1999-2002) and three other players with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) have had their contracts terminated and have been declared unrestricted free agents by the KHL. In announcing the terminations, the KHL said: “The basis for the decision was the debt of the hockey club ‘Admiral’ to the players on wages for more than two months.” . . . Morrisonn had one goal and six assists in 29 games with Admiral. This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), Mamashev had two goals and one assist in 18 games. With Sarov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and 11 assists in nine games. He signed with Admiral on Nov. 24, and had one goal and three assists in 19 games. . . . If you were wondering about Admiral’s salary levels, the total players’ salaries for this season was US$6.4 million plus US$1.6 million in bonus money. That total of US$8.0 million is the third-lowest in the KHL. . . . The top paying team in the KHL was SKA St. Petersburg at US$39.3 million in salaries and US$6.0 million in bonuses, for a total of US$45.3 million. . . . The lowest-paying team was Dinamo Riga at US$5.1 million in salaries and US$600,000 in bonuses, for a total of US$5.7 million.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

So . . . what’s left to be decided as the WHL regular season heads into its final two days?

Not much.

Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where the playoff matchups all have been decided.

The Moose Jaw Warriors will lead the WHL in victories. They have clinched the Scotty whlMunro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions, meaning they also won the Eastern Conference and East Division pennants. They will meet the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round of the playoffs with that series opening Friday night in Moose Jaw. . . . The Raiders will finish in the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Swift Current Broncos will finish second in the overall standings, the Eastern Conference and the East Division. They will open the playoffs at home against the third-place Regina Pats, who will be host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament. The Pats beat the visiting Broncos, 3-2 in OT, in a penalty-filled game on Friday night. They will meet again tonight, this time in Swift Current, before opening that first-round series in Regina on Friday.

The Medicine Hat Tigers, who won their second straight Central Division pennant, will face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. The Wheat Kings will finish in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. That series is to open Friday in Medicine Hat. The Wheat Kings will play their home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in their home arena. Last season, the Tigers swept the Wheat Kings from a first-round series.

The other Eastern Conference series will have the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who will finish second in the Central Division, face the third-place Red Deer Rebels. They will open in Lethbridge on Friday.

As for the Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice, Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oil Kings, well, they’ll have to buy tickets to watch playoff hockey.

——

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference . . .

The combatants in one series, that involving the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants, now are known.

But that’s it.

The Everett Silvertips lead the conference with 97 points, four more than the Portland Winterhawks. Everett will wrap up its season in Victoria tonight. The Winterhawks are at home to Seattle tonight, then will entertain Spokane on Sunday.

The first tiebreaker is regular-season victories — Everett has 46, with Portland at 44. The second tiebreaker is points in games between the teams and if it comes down to that the Winterhawks have the edge, 11-10. Portland is 5-4-1; Everett is 5-5-0.

The second-place finisher will meet the Spokane Chiefs or Tri-City Americans. The third-place Chiefs hold a one-point edge over the Americans. They will meet tonight in Kennewick, Wash. On Sunday, the Chiefs visit Portland, while the Americans entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are locked into the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Kelowna Rockets will finish atop the B.C. Division for the seventh time in franchise history. They will meet Spokane or Tri-City, whichever team finishes in the conference’s first wild-card spot.

The second-place Royals and third-place Giants will open their first-round series in Victoria on Friday.

The conference’s other two teams, the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars, will wrap up their seasons in the northern city tonight. They are in next-season country.


It is almost 23 years since Ed O’Bannon led the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA Division I men’s national basketball title. After helping the Bruins beat Arkansas in the final, he would go on to a pro career, then spent five years involved in a lawsuit against the NCAA, one that asked for student-athletes to be able to control the use of their likenesses in such things as video games. . . . If you haven’t yet read O’Bannon’s book — Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA — you should consider giving it a look. . . . In the meantime, William C. Rhoden talks with O’Bannon and the result is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Stelio Mattheos scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-4) had won three in a row. . . . Brandon (39-27-BrandonWKregular5) has won two straight. . . . Moose Jaw is 5-2-0 in the season series; Brandon is 2-5-0. They will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . F Linden McCorrister (20) put Brandon in front 1-0 at 2:15 of the first period, only to have F Tristyn DeRoose (4) tie it at 3:13. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Caiden Daley (7), at 7:24, and Mattheos, at 15:42. . . . The Warriors tied it on two PP goals from F Jayden Halbgewachs. He got No. 69 at 17:42 of the first and No. 70 at 9:35 of the second period. He is the first WHLer to score 70 goals in a season since F Pavel Brendl of the Calgary Hitmen in 1998-99. Halbgewachs now shares the Warriors’ single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum, who got to 70 in 1988-89. Halbgewachs leads the WHL points derby with 128, three more than Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (19) gave Brandon a 4-3 lead at 14:31. . . . The Warriors pulled even at 1:29 of the third period as F Tanner Jeannot (38) scored. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (18) gave the Wheat Kings a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 9:25. . . . The Warriors forced OT when F Justin Almeida (43) scored at 19:59. . . . Mattheos won it with his 43rd goal at 1:17 of OT. . . . Daley also had two assists for Brandon — he actually had all three points in the first period. . . . Brandon also got two assists from F Luka Burzan, with Mattheos, Reinhardt and McCorrister getting one each. . . . F Brett Howden drew four assists for Moose Jaw, with Halbgewachs and Almeida getting one each. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 1-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw made his fourth straight start for Brandon and stopped 26 shots. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 26 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a sixth straight game, while D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their third consecutive games, and D Kale Clague also was scratched. F Barrett Sheen served Game 3 of a four-game suspension. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,817.


At Regina, F Nick Henry’s OT goal gave the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in a penalty-filled game. . . . Regina (40-25-6) has won seven in a row. . . . Swift ReginaPats100Current (47-18-6) has lost four straight. . . . The Broncos hold a 4-1-0 edge in the season series, with the teams meeting again tonight, this time in Swift Current. . . . They then will begin preparing to meet in a first-round playoff series, with the Broncos holding home-ice advantage. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (42) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:33 of the second period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Sam Steel (33), on a PP, at 5:12, and F Jared Legien (22), at 14:06. . . . D Artyom Minulin (13) got the Broncos into a 2-=2 tie, on a PP, at 12:58 of the third period. . . . The Pats got two assists from F Matt Bradley. . . . Minulin and Gawdin also had an assist each for the visitors. . . . Swift Current was 2-8 on the PP; Regina was 1-4. . . . Swift Current took 61 of the game’s 119 penalty minutes. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, while the Broncos’ Joel Hofer turned aside 29. . . . G Ryan Kubic was back on the Pats’ bench, backing up Paddock. . . . F Cam Hebig and F Koby Morrisseau were among Regina’s scratches. . . . Regina’s lineup sheet listed veteran WHL G Kyle Dumba as an AP. . . . Swift Current had F Glenn Gawdin back after he missed three games with an illness, while F Tyler Steenbergen was back after a one-game absence. . . . Gawdin picked up one assist to run his point streak to 27 games. Teammate Aleksi Heponiemi had the league’s longest streak this season when he went 28 games. . . . Swift Current F Andrew Fyten took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina D Libor Hajek, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Broncos F Tanner Nagel didn’t play as he served the second game of a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Prince Albert, the Saskatoon Blades scored two third-period goals to beat the Raiders, 2-1. . . . Saskatoon (34-33-4) has won two in a row. . . . The Raiders (32-26-13) had points in Saskatooneach of their previous 11 games (9-0-2). . . . With the teams to play in Saskatoon tonight, the Blades are 5-1-1 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-5-0. . . . F Parker Kelly (29) gave the home team a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 19:31 of the first period. . . . The Blades tied it at 14:37 of the third period as F Max Gerlach scored No. 32 on a PP. . . . F Chase Wouters (18) won it with a PP goal at 18:19. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-5. . . . G Tyler Brown earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots for the Raiders. . . . D Zack Hayes of the Raiders was a healthy scratch as he missed his first game this season. They continue to play without F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, felt the Blades’ play left a bit to be desired. “They came out and they were chippy all game. Play hard, but don’t play stupid — that was stupid,” Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of of paNOW.“I mean, they were out there, they got nothing to play for. Play hard but play with class, too.” . . . That story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 3,033.


At Red Deer, F Gillian Kohler scored twice to help the Kootenay Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Kootenay (26-38-7) had lost its previous 11 games (0-7-4). . . . Red Deer (27-Kootenaynew31-13) had won its past three games. . . . Kootenay is 4-1-1 in the season series; Red Deer is 2-3-1. They’ll complete it tonight in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Red Deer’s loss means it will finish third in the Central Division and open the playoffs in Lethbridge with the Hurricanes holding home-ice advantage. . . . The Ice grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Alex Baer (29), at 5:29, and F Colton Kroeker (15), on a PP, at 19:59. . . . F Brandon Cutler (6) got the Rebels on the scoreboard, at 12:06 of the second period. . . . Kohler restored the two-goal lead at 13:02. . . . F Mason McCarty (38) pulled the Rebels back to within a goal at 14:34. . . . The Ice responded with the game’s last three goals, from F Keenan Taphorn (7), on a PP, at 17:37; Kohler (8), on a PP, at 9:07 of the third period; and F Peyton Krebs (17), into an empty net, at 13:22. . . . D Martin Bodak and F Brett Davis each had three assists for the winners, with F Colton Veloso getting one, and Kroeker, Krebs and Kohler adding one apiece. . . . Kootenay was 3-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 26 stops from G Matt Berlin. . . . G Riley Lamb surrendered five goals on 36 shots in 56:25 for Red Deer. Ethan Anders stopped the two shots he faced in 3:18. . . . Announced attendance: 5,205.


At Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers scored two goals late in the third period and beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . Medicine Hat (36-27-8) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tigers Logo OfficialLethbridge (32-33-6) has dropped eight in a row. . . . Despite the loss, the Hurricanes clinched second in the Central Division and will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with Red Deer. . . . Each team is 3-3-0 in the season series. They’ll finish it tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Calen Addison (11) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 4:26 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 12:13 as F Josh Williams (11) scored. . . . F Bryan Lockner (14) gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead 16 seconds into the third period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (45) tied it at 11:41. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (21) broke the tie for the Tigers at 17:23, and F Tyler Preziuso (15) got the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . D Cole Clayton had two assists for the winners, with Preziuso and Chyzowski each getting one. . . . Addison added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-6. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes got 35 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . F Mark Rassell was among Medicine Hat’s scratches, ending a stretch of 208 straight games. . . . D Linus Nassen (ill) also was among the Tigers’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 5,203.


At Portland, G Cody Glass scored three times and added two assists to lead the Winterhawks to an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (44-21-5) has Portlandwon two in a row. . . . Seattle (33-27-10) will finish in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Winterhawks lead the season series 8-0-3; the Thunderbirds are 3-7-1. They will conclude the series in Kent, Wash., tonight. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with his 32nd goal at 17:44 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks took control with four second-period goals. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (11) got it started at 4:46, and Glass, on a PP, gave Portland the lead at 10:01. . . . F Keiffer Bellows scored his 40th goal at 13:21, and Glass made it 4-1 at 16:14. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie (46) upped the lead to 5-1 at 3:47 of the third period. That was his 100th career goal. . . . Seattle F Sami Moilanen (22) scored at 9:18, but Portland added three more — from F Reece Newkirk (8), D Brendan De Jong (6) and Glass. . . . F Samuel Huo (3) got Seattle’s final goal. . . . Glass now has 100 points, including 37 goals, in 62 games. . . . D Clay Hanus, F Ryan Hughes and Bellows each had two assists for Portland, with Jokiharju and McKenzie adding one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . G Cole Kehler earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Seattle starter Liam Hughes stopped 34 of 41 shots in 53:06, with Dorrin Luding coming on to stop one of two shots in 6:54. . . . Announced attendance: 9,676.


At Kamloops, G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 51 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 4-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . Prince George (24-38-9) had lost its previous six games (0-5-PrinceGeorge1). . . . Kamloops (29-37-5) has lost five in a row. . . . The Blazers hold a 5-3-1 edge in the season series; the Cougars are 4-5-0. They’ll wrap it up tonight in Prince George. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (36) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:49 of the first period. . . . The Cougars promptly scored three times on their first five shots. . . . F Max Kryski tied the score, on a PP, at 7:43, and D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors the lead, at 11:28. . . . Kryski (8) upped the lead to 3-1 at 14:45, and D Austin Crossley (4) made it 4-1 at 9:07 of the second period. . . . F Connor Zary (9) scored the Blazers’ other goal, at 10:50 of the third period. . . . F Ilijah Colina had two assists for Prince George, as did F Jared Bethune. . . . Loewen added an assist to his goal for Kamloops. . . . Prince George was 1-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . DiLaura played 58:40, missing 1:20 in the first period after the blade fell out of his right skate. Taylor Gauthier came off the bench to stop the only shot he faced in 1:20. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . The Cougars were without D Cam MacPhee, who served a one-game suspension, and D Joel Lakusta, who sat out the first game of a three-game sentence. . . . F Nick Chyzowski, the Blazers’ captain, played in his 342nd regular-season game, passing F C.J. Stretch and moving into second place on the franchise’s career list, behind only F Brendan Ranford (348). . . . Announced attendance: 4,253. . . . The Blazers finished 1-9-2 in home games when the announced attendance was greater than 4,000.


At Spokane, the Tri-City Americans ran their winning streak to five as they beat the Chiefs, 2-1. . . . Tri-City (37-24-9) is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Chiefs. TriCity30. . . Spokane (39-25-6) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Chiefs lead the season series 6-3-2, with the Americans at 5-2-4. Each team has 14 points, so maybe the season series is tied? They will finish the series tonight in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (30) put the visitors ahead, on a PP, at 8:40 of the second period. . . . D Juuso Valimaki (14) upped it to 2-0 just 54 seconds into the third period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack (15) got his guys to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:44. . . . Rasmussen and Valimaki had one assist each. . . . The Americans were 1-4 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-5. . . . G Patrick Dea got the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto was among Spokane’s scratches. The Chiefs continue to play without F Zach Fischer. . . . . . . Announced attendance: 8,934.


At Langley, B.C., F Carsen Twarynski scored the game’s first two goals to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (42-22-7) has KelownaRocketspoint in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . Vancouver (36-26-9) will finish third in the B.C. Division, and will open a first-round series in Victoria on Friday. . . . The Rockets hold a 4-2-1 edge in the season series; the Giants are 3-3-1. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . Twarynski, who has 45 goals, scored a shorthanded goal at 10:40 of the first period, then made it 2-0, on a PP, at 13:14. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (6) upped it to 3-0 at 18:31. . . . F Ty Ronning got the Giants to within two goals with No. 61 at 8:40 of the second period. . . . The Rockets went ahead 4-1 at 10:28 of the third period as F Kyle Topping got his 20th goal. . . . F Brayden Watts (17) scored for Vancouver at 17:38. . . . Topping got the empty-netter, at 18:35. . . . Kelowna was 1-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-7. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 37 shots for Kelowna, 16 more than Vancouver’s Trent Miner. . . . F Kole Lind, F Cal Foote, D Nolan Foote and F Dillon Dube were among Kelowna’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,624.


At Everett, F Luke Ormsby got the winner in the third period as the Silvertips beat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Everett (46-20-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . Victoria (39-Everett26-6) had won its previous two games. . . . The Royals did clinch second in the B.C. Division when Vancouver dropped a 5-2 decision to visiting Kelowna. Vancouver will visit Victoria in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . Everett D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (25) tied it at 18:33. . . . Everett went ahead again at 14:36 of the second period as F Garrett Pilon (34) scored a PP goal. . . . Victoria tied it again, this time on F Noah Gregor’s 29th goal, at 2:48 of the third period. . . . Ormsby’s second goal of the season, at 4:50, stood up as the winner. . . . D Ondrej Vala had two assists for Everett. . . . F Patrick Bajkov of the Silvertips drew an assist on Pilon’s goal to tie F Zach Hamill’s franchise record for career assists (175). . . . Everett was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips. . . . The Royals got 41 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki left at 1:39 of the first period with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Martin Fasko-Rudas. . . . Announced attendance: 8,377.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

——

SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

 

Warriors, Raiders set for first round . . . Ronning gets No. 60 in win . . . Rockets win seventh B.C. Division flag

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The 2019 World men’s curling championship will be played at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, running from March 30 through April 7. That means that the Lethbridge Hurricanes will have to take their show somewhere else should they be in the playoffs at that time. . . . The World women’s curling championship was played in the same facility in 2012. The Hurricanes co-operated that spring by not making the playoffs.


Two goaltenders with ties to the WHL will be inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame this year. Grant Fuhr and Mike Vernon are among the class of 2018 that officially will be inducted on July 22 in Canmore. . . . Fuhr, who won five Stanley Cups with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, played for the Victoria Cougars (1979-81). Vernon, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, once each with the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings, played for the Calgary Wranglers (1980-83). Vernon also was with the Portland Winterhawks as they won the 1983 Memorial Cup. A roster addition, he ended up as the tournament MVP. . . . Also to be inducted are broadcaster Ron MacLean and long-time hockey coach Wally Kozak, who spent one season (1986-87) as the Wranglers’ head coach.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Jesse Gabrielle scored the lone goal of a shootout to give the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina (39-25-6) has won six in a row. The Pats ReginaPats100are third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon with each having two games remaining. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-13) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). The loss means the Raiders will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and will meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round of playoffs. . . . Regina was 8-0-0 in the season series; Prince Albert was 0-4-4. . . . F Jordy Stallard (44) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 11:16 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:51 of the second period as F Sam Steel got No. 32. . . . The Raiders went ahead 2-1 at 11:24 on F Regan Nagy’s 25th goal. . . . Regina F Cam Hebig (41) tied it, shorthanded, at 11:51. . . . Gabrielle, the shootout’s second shooter, scored the only goal of the skills competition. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, who continues to be the starter with Ryan Kubic injured. On the season, Paddock is 18-7-2, 2.94, .902. . . . The Raiders got 33 stops from G Curtis Meger. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Swift Current, F Max Gerlach scored twice, giving him three straight 30-goal seasons, as the Saskatoon Blades dumped the Broncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (33-33-4) had lost it Saskatoonprevious three games (0-2-1) as it fell out of playoff contention. . . . Swift Current (47-17-6) has lost three in a row (0-3-0). It will finish second in the East Division and meet either Regina or Brandon in the first round. . . . Saskatoon went 4-3-1 in the season series; Swift Current was 4-4-0. . . . F Kirby Dach, who also had three assists, got the Blades started as he scored his seventh goal at 19:45 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (37) made it 2-0 at 4:47 of the second period. . . . The home side tied it on second-period goals from F Kaden Elder (17), at 5:32, and F Matteo Gennaro (41), on a PP, at 12:38. . . . F Michael Farren (11) broke the tie, on a PP, at 19:51. . . . Gerlach, who has 31 goals, scored twice in the third period, at 1:14 and 7:02, the latter on a PP. . . . Gerlach had 30 goals as a freshman in 2015-16 with Medicine Hat, then added 34 goals last season. This season, he had 16 goals in 35 games when Medicine Hat dealt him to Saskatoon. He has 15 goals in 28 games with the Blades. . . . D Dawson Davidson drew two assists for Saskatoon, with Gerlach getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-3. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 42 shots for the Blades. At the other end, G Stuart Skinner made 22 saves. . . . The Broncos were without F Glenn Gawdin, who now has missed three games with an illness; F Tyler Steenbergen, who took a nasty hit from Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen on Saturday; and F Tanner Nagel, who sat out the first game of a three-game suspension. . . . D Zach Ashton, 16, made his WHL debut with the Blades. A third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, he played the past two seasons with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Calgary, the Hitmen scored three shootout goals to beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Calgary (23-36-11) has won four in a row (3-0-1) and moved into a tie with the Ice for Calgary10th spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Kootenay (25-38-7) has lost 11 in a row (0-7-4). . . . Kootenay won the season series, 5-1-1; Calgary finished 2-3-2. . . . The Ice got out to a 1-0 lead as F Brett Davis (25) scored at 10:13 of the first period. . . . Calgary took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Mark Kastelic (21), at 1:17, and F Riley Stotts (18), at 2:41. . . . Kootenay F Alec Baer (28) tied it, on a PP, at 2:37 of the third period. . . . D Martin Bodak had two assists for the Ice. . . . F Jake Kryski, Stotts and F Jakob Stukel scored shootout goals for Calgary, with Davis the lone Ice shooter to score. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . Matthew Armitage stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen. . . . G Jesse Makaj made his first career start for the Ice, and made 29 saves. He was a second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. This season, he played for the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . . Announced attendance: 6,849.


At Red Deer, F Kristian Reichel scored twice and added two assists to help the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . This was a meeting of two teams that will Red Deerclash in the first round of the playoffs. The only thing left to decide is who has home-ice advantage. . . . Red Deer (27-30-13) is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge (32-32-6), which has lost seven in a row. Each team has two games left to play. . . . Lethbridge went 4-2-0 in the season series; Red Deer was 2-2-2. . . . Reichel opened the scoring at 12:45 of the first period, with F Josh Tarzwell (10) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:04 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge F Zane Franklin (14) cut into the lead, on a PP, at 5:52. . . . The Rebels got the next two goals, from Reichel (34), on a PP, at 14:33, and F Brandon Hagel (18), at 3:37 of the third. . . . F Jake Elmer (18) got the visitors to within two at 6:40. . . . F Reese Johnson (23) scored Red Deer’s final goal, at 16:07. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel and Tarzwell each getting one. . . . Red Deer was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-2. . . . G Riley Lamb earned the victory with 32 stops, 12 more than Reece Klassen of the Hurricanes. . . . D Tate Olson and F Dylan Cozens were among Lethbridge’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,858.

At Kamloops, F Ty Ronning scored his 60th goal of the season as his Vancouver Giants skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Vancouver (36-25-9) is third in the B.C. VancouverDivision, three points behind Victoria with each team having two games remaining. . . . Kamloops (29-36-5) has lost four straight. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (35) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:51, but it wouldn’t score again. . . . F Davis Koch (22) got the Giants even, at 15:13, and Ronning got No. 60 at 1:13 of the second period. That turned into his ninth game-winner of the season, tying him for the team lead with F James Malm. . . . F Milos Roman (9) scored on a PP at 4:00 to stretch Vancouver’s lead to 3-1. . . . Roman hadn’t scored since Dec. 1, but this was only his ninth game since then, thanks to playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship and an ankle injury. . . . F Tyler Benson (27) got the empty-netter at 19:46. . . . Malm finished with two assists, with Benson and Koch adding one apiece. . . . Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Trent Miner was shaky on the Blazers’ lone goal, but finished with 39 saves in a strong outing. He was named the game’s first star. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Giants are without G David Tendeck, who may not play again until the playoffs begin. . . . Also among the Giants’ scratches were D Dylan Plouffe and D Matt Barberis. . . . Bill Wilms, the analyst on Giants’ radio broadcasts, worked his 2,000 WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,050. . . . This was the 10th time the announced attendance in Kamloops has been at least 4,000. The Blazers are 1-8-2 in those games.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored five times in the third period to beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-3. . . . Kelowna (41-22-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). With the victory, it KelownaRocketswrapped up the seventh B.C. Division title in franchise history. . . . Prince George (23-38-9) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Kelowna won the season series, 6-2-0; Prince George was 2-4-2. . . . F Aaron Boyd (14) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 13:30 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Nolan Foote (13), who had missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury, tied it at 17:07. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (15) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 17:45 of the second period and they took that into the third period. . . . The Rockets tied it at 0:23 as D Kaedan Korczak scored his fourth goal. . . . D Cal Foote snapped the tie at 6:08, and F Dillon Dube (35) upped it to 4-2 at 14:00. . . . Foote (19) added a second goal at 14:29, and D Braydyn Chizen (6) counted at 16:27. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (8) scored for the Cougars at 17:56, on a PP. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of F Kole Lind and F Leif Mattson, with Nolan Foote, Cal Foote and Dube getting one apiece. . . . O’Brien added an assist for the Cougars. . . . Prince George was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-8. . . . The Cougars took 62 of the game’s 114 penalty minutes. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 15 shots. . . . The Cougars got 44 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars had two players ejected at 8:41 of the third period. D Joel Lakusta took a headshot major and game misconduct, while D Cam MacPhee was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure. . . . At one point early in the third period, according to the Prince George Citizen, Prince George Richard Matvichuk let referees Mark Pearce and Colin Watt know his feelings by waving a white towel. . . . Prior to the game, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, tweeted: “My good friend Bob Tory, GM of the Americans, is in the house to do some pre-scouting on a possible opening round matchup.” . . . Announced attendance: 4,561.


At Spokane, the Seattle Thunderbirds broke a 3-3 tie with three second-period goals to beat the Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Seattle (33-26-10) holds down the Western Conference’s second Seattlewild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City with three games to play. . . . Spokane (39-24-6) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Spokane loss means that Portland, which is second in the U.S. Division, has clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Seattle went 5-2-1 in the season series; Spokane was 3-5-0. . . . Spokane jumped out to a 1-0 lead when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored at 3:30 of the first period. . . . Seattle scored three times before the period ended. F Sami Moilanen, who has 21 goals, scored twice, at 8:59 and 12:19, and F Samuel Huo (2) found the range at 13:38. . . . The Chiefs climbed into a 3-3 tie on PP goals from F Hudson Elynuik (31), at 19:50, and Anderson-Dolan (39), at 2:04 of the second period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee (4) broke the tie at 3:29, and F Matthew Wedman (17) made it 5-3 at 13:15. Seattle got its last goal from F Zack Andrusiak (34) at 15:20. . . . F Nolan Volcan had two assists for Seattle, with Moilanen and Andrusiak adding one each. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from each of F Kailer Yamamoto and F Ethan McIndoe. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-1. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes stopped 37 shots. . . . Spokane starter Dawson Weatherill allowed four goals on 12 shots in 23:29 before Bailey Brkin came on to finish up, giving up two goals on 17 shots in 36:31. Brkin was added to the Chiefs’ roster this week after playing with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,734.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

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

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

Victoria at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Scattershooting on a quiet Thursday . . . Organ donors front and centre . . . Four teams with special games this weekend

Scattershooting

Firstly, a huge thank you to the WHL and its 17 Canadian teams for all they have done and are doing in helping to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

If you’re a regular here, you know how much this means to me because of my wife, Dorothy, having received a kidney more than four years ago. She helped out with the selling of 200 mini-helmets on Friday when the Kamloops Blazers did their part and wore the Don Cherry-themed sweaters. It’s worth noting that while there Dorothy was approached by three different women who have been kidney donors. As Dorothy says, “Donors are the real heroes.”

On Thursday, she volunteered at a World Kidney Day function that was arranged by nursing students from Thompson Rivers University.

If you are interested in how she is doing, there’s more right here, including video that appeared on CFJC-TV today.

Don’t forget that four WHL teams — the Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels, Saskatoon Blades and Victoria Royals — will hold their Organ Donor Awareness Nights this weekend.


You are aware that the WHL season is into its final 11 days, but are you aware there hasn’t been an in-season coaching change for a second straight season? In fact, the last in-season coaching change occurred in 2015-16 when Lorne Molleken was dismissed as the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. Of course, that happened with just two games left in the season so likely shouldn’t count.


When you pay attention to a television event like the Super Bowl or the Oscars while also keeping an eye on a computer, you are left to wonder what all the closet comedians did before Twitter.


Hey, Ichiro is going to be back with the Seattle Mariners this season. What better place for him to finish up his hall-of-fame career.


Next season’s WHL schedule will have each team play 68 games, down four from recent seasons. That means each team will play two fewer home games. . . . There are 22 teams in the WHL. With season-ticket renewals on the way to fans, what is the over-under for the number of teams that will have lowered their prices?


Oh, here’s a note that just arrived from a fan who has received his renewal offer from his favourite team:

“ ‘More money for less product’ is not a good marketing tool. I’m not sure what they’re thinking, charging more money for fewer games when attendance is down in nearly all WHL markets this season. I still maintain it’s a great deal for the price you pay vs. the quality of the hockey, but I’m much more than a casual fan and they’re obviously having challenges getting people to games.”


If you are on Twitter and haven’t seen it, I would suggest you visit Slava Malamud’s account at @SlavaMalamud and read his 21-take analysis of the KHL and how this season’s championship has been pre-determined. The whole explanation is gold. . . . None of that will be news to The MacBeth Report, who has been keeping me filled in on Putin’s pals and their roles in the KHL for a while now.


Whenever I watch curling on TSN, I am left thinking that Russ Howard may be the best analyst on TV today. Any sport. Any channel. Any stream. The chemistry between Cheryl Bernard, Vic Rauter and Howard is rarely heard in a three-person broadcast team.


Watching Brendan Leipsic score in OT and draw two assists for Vancouver on Monday night had me wondering: How long before the Canucks acquire Ty Rattie from the Edmonton Oilers? Rattie was a pure sniper when he was with the Portland Winterhawks, but really hasn’t been able to find an NHL home. Vancouver head coach Travis Green had Rattie in Portland and knows what he can do, just like he knows all about Leipsic, another Portland product.


If the WHL playoffs started today, one first-round series would feature the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. On Thursday, Dylan Bumbarger (@dylandb) tweeted: “Series starts in Portland even if the Winterhawks don’t have home ice because Spokane is hosting NCAA regional women’s basketball.”


If you aren’t a fan of the Boston Bruins, don’t ever watch one of their games on NESN on a full stomach. Why not? Well, there are broadcasters who leave you wondering what game they’re watching, and then there is Jack Edwards, whose work is slanted beyond comprehension. How slanted? If he has a vote for the Lady Byng Trophy, you can bet he’s writing in Brad Marchand’s name.



TheCoachingGame

The MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines have signed Taylor Harnett, their general manager and head coach, to what the club called a “multi-year contract extension.” . . . Harnett joined the team in November after first-year coach Arnie Caplan was dismissed following a 1-16-1 start. The Wolverines finished the season with an 8-48-4 record. They didn’t make the playoffs as they had the 11-team league’s poorest record.


The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have released Adam Redmond, their general manager and head coach, and Doug Hergenhein, who was the head scout and director of player personnel. . . . Redmond was an associate coach with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks before signing with Olds prior to this season. . . . The Grizzlys finished 18-37-5, placing eighth in the eight-team Viterra South Division. . . . Hergenhein was in his first season with Olds.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

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

Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

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

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

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

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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